Written by David Willcocks
Gail and I went to Jerusalem to stay in the Shevet guesthouse there for two days over Shabbat. It was there that we met Shahad for the first time. We were immediately touched by her happy and smiling character and beautiful spirit. She seems to melt the heart of anyone she encounters.
On Saturday afternoon, along with Almuth and Johanna we spent the afternoon taking precious Shahad into Jerusalem old city. We first stopped at an Arab shop to buy a walking stick for her aunt Miryam who is struggling to walk with a painful knee and then we stopped at the Christ Church tea room for afternoon tea and cakes which Shahad enjoyed.
We then played hide and seek in the garden of the church. Afterwards we went into another shop nearby to look for gifts to take home. The shop keeper was immediately captivated by Shahad. He had heard about the work that Shevet does. He talked with her about where she was from and how she was. I saw that he was very moved. We tried to buy a multi colouring pen for Shahad but he wouldn’t accept any money from us and instead drew a picture of Donald Duck for her to take and colour in with her new pen. His parting words were, “We love you Shahad.”
On our way back home Shahad was fascinated by some large animal statues inside another shop. Seeing this, the shop owner invited her in to have a better look. She asked about where Shahad was from. We told her she was from Gaza and was here to have her heart fixed. We could see the lady’s heart melting before us. She then insisted that she wanted to buy Shahad something sweet so she immediately locked up the shop and then walked hand in hand with Shahad and us to a nearby shop where she told Shahad to pick whatever she wanted. When Shahad picked a chocolate bar she told her to choose more. She ended up taking Shahad round the shop choosing sweets and chocolates and drink. At the counter the cashier insisted on giving Shahad another pack of sweets. We then went back to the ladies shop where she wanted to know how she could follow and pray for Shahad. She told us she was a Christian and we could see she was almost moved to tears by Shahad’s beautiful spirit and the Father working. Johanna told her about the work of Shevet before we left and she said she would follow Shahad and pray for God to heal her completely.
The whole day with Shahad was a very moving and powerful demonstration of the Father working to change people’s hearts through these children. What a powerful witness to the world Shevet Achim is. God bless Shahad and her kind Aunt.