Fear and encouragement


We have experienced a time of blessing in the past week and lift praise to Him with all who join us in prayer. We say with Elizabeth when she conceived John the Baptist: Look what the Lord has done!

We had a few appointments at Sheba Medical Center this week and are gearing up for more in the weeks to come, as both Eva and Sohaib from Kurdistan are preparing for their next heart surgeries.

Eva’s condition is rather complicated, so doctors will likely need to perform both a catheterization and surgery for her. After her echo last week, we are simply waiting for a plan and a date for little Eva.

eva and maxEarlier this week we were concerned we may have to delay Eva’s surgery, due to our new guideline requiring funding to be in place before going forward with non-emergency surgery. The need was met by the Lord, who reminded us that her second surgery was already covered, and then also provided what was st needed for the cost of her first surgery within days! Now she is just waiting, enjoying life here, growing bigger and stronger daily:

Sohaib has one step before he can go into his surgery: getting his teeth cleaned up. He will need to have two teeth removed and two crowned, but due to his allergy to certain sedatives, the dentists will use general anesthesia, meaning we will need just one appointment to resolve this road bump.

sohaib playgroundWe are waiting for this to be scheduled, but Sohaib seems happy with the wait, spending his days playing with the volunteers and visitors alike, going to the parks peppering Ashdod, and talking to us about Spiderman constantly, even if we don’t understand him.

sohaib spidermanYear-old Osaid from the West Bank also came in for an interventional heart catheterization, arriving on Wednesday and having his catheter the day after.

happy osaidAll went well; doctors expanded the artery in his left lung and will prepare for surgery planned for this Wednesday. He will first have a chest CT scan though, and we pray for his well-being and that God will keep him healthy and happy leading up to and following his operation.

Our Gaza families sheltering in Bethlehem have also experienced lots of time in the hospital recently, as both Hur and Leen were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms, with Hur (below left) especially vulnerable as she awaits another interventional catheterization in Israel soon.

Hur and LeenPlease pray for Hur as we try to coordinate her travel and appointments, and for the Lord’s protection and work in the lives of all the Gaza families to continue.

In Kurdistan, we also are praying for the health of two kids, Milad and Asmeen, who are both experiencing sickness after returning from Israel, with Asmeen (below right) losing one-third of her body weight recently due to a severe chest infection:

milad and asmeenWe aim to see each kid return home healthy and do not let them leave Israel without a doctor’s confident confirmation that they are ready. We trust God for their continued well-being back home.

Another little guy we are working with, Sanad from the West Bank, has a catheterization happening this coming Thursday, so we are praying for him as well.

sanad at shebaAny procedure is nerve-wracking for a parent and carries some risk for a child, so at the end of the day, the best we can do is bring it to God.

We will also soon have another child from Kurdistan joining us, meaning we will be in the hospital more frequently in the coming weeks. Jonathan is bringing 13-year-old Rozh back from Kurdistan next week for heart surgery, as soon as her school exams are completed:

Rozh preopWe pray that Rozh and her family will be touched by the love of God during their time in Israel.

As Jonathan returns from Kurdistan, we saw Zech departing today to America for a well-deserved four-week vacation:

zech leavingZech has been serving here faithfully for nearly a year and a half, working through some of the most turbulent times in Israeli and Shevet history, serving as our community coordinator and leader, adapting to each challenge. But now it is time for him to rest and regain his strength. In the meantime, I will be working as community coordinator, so we are all praying for a smooth transition in this, and that we can see prosperity and fruit in both of our endeavors.

On the domestic side of life, we are very nearly done with our chicken coop, having all eight hens moved in with little fuss and periodically laying eggs:

coopI have found the chickens add much to the community, more personality and life. We are grateful that God has given us the opportunity and resources to steward His creation and reap both satisfaction and eggs from it. In the meantime, we are starting to plan out decorating the coop.

We have been in a small season of blessing and harvest here at Shevet, despite some hardships, including personal, communal, and financial. Eva’s surgery is paid for, more children are coming from Kurdistan, and generally we have experienced a period of peace and growth. Knowing how God often moves, He is likely preparing us for something to come, growing us and giving us rest. So we will embrace this and rest on Him, following in the example of the early churchLiving in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit.

These words remind us of His holistic goodness, the God whom we both wholly fear and who wholly encourages us. He drives us from evil and brings us to good, protects us from curses, and showers us with blessings. He is the source of support and growth in our hardship, as we follow him with a whole heart.

Thank you for praying with us,

Max for Shevet Achim