Strength will rise

Dear praying team,

This week our community has been encouraged and challenged to persist in praying and to rejoice in answered prayers. We have been blessed by seeing God’s faithfulness in many ways, answering prayers both asked and unasked.

We have begun a small board to spur us on in prayer and encourage us by what God has done even in this short week. Even when we are forgetful, God is faithful.

whiteboardAn amazing answer to prayer is the scheduling and completion of a catheterization for Eva, after weeks of no appointments or news of appointments for her, all happening the day after we prayed with Eva’s mother. Then only two days after the catheterization Eva was already taken into surgery!

Eva preopIt was the Glenn procedure, whereby one of the large veins bringing blood back to the heart is disconnected from the heart, and this blood is redirected to the lungs to be oxygenated. After this major surgery Eva’s body was struggling to adjust, and overnight she was closely monitored. We praise God that they did not need to place Eva on ECMO heart-lung support, as this was a strong possibility.

eva postopIn the morning the staff were not happy with Eva’s oxygen levels, so she had an additional unplanned cath Thursday. They found the blood pressure in her lungs to be too high, and that one vessel is currently too narrow; however the connection made during the Glenn procedure was working as planned.

We praise God for this girl and her mother and the blessing and joy they both bring wherever they go. We rejoice in the direct answer of prayers in speedy scheduling and protection through three major procedures. Today we are so pleased to see Eva’s oxygen level has improved slightly.

Eva todayWe ask that you would join us in persistent prayer, that Eva would regain strength, that her oxygen levels would continue to improve and the damaging high blood pressure in her lungs would be reduced.

The six Gaza families we are sheltering in Bethlehem have now become two households. Disagreement between some of the Gazan families led to fighting and division, but we see God’s great blessing that both sets still actively want to engage and build relationships with Shevet Achim, with Jonathan and Michelle invited to both camps to share meals and conversation.

Bethlehem famsDo continue in prayer for these families as they settle into separate homes and continue to build community and connections in the area. Please also pray for our coworker Keyla as she serves them so beautifully displaying Messiah’s love.

This week another beautiful but long-neglected boy from the Bethlehem area, Montaser, came to Israel for catheterization, and he is now waiting in Sheba hospital (with entertainment from Max) until his surgery early next week:

And another adorable little boy, Osaid from Hebron, also traveled into Israel this week for his post-surgery checkup. I found it a blessing to see these young boys with both parents able to accompany them, loving them, pursuing the best treatment for them and not willing to give up hope for their precious children.

osaid and dadWe are so blessed and pleased to have these boys starting and continuing on their treatments; however we also know that there are other children, including Hur – one of our Gazan children living in Bethlehem – awaiting funds or government permissions to receive similar treatment. Do pray for these blockages to be removed, and for success and favor in the treatment of Osaid and Montaser!

In Sheba hospital we often see many workers tirelessly serving our small children – although you cannot see them all, in this photo 10 medical professionals were all focused in an ICU room on one precious child:

medical teamIt reminded me of how God is the one who heals and changes hearts, and we are allowed to join together in this work, through prayer, community and small acts of service.

On Sunday and Monday of this week it felt very strange to be ‘empty nesters’ in Ashdod, with all our families at the hospital overnight (Rozh post-surgery, Sohaib and Eva for catheters). We were pleased that during this time the chicken’s nests did not stay empty, with them providing us with both amusement and eggs!

coopSwiftly both Rozh and Sohaib were discharged, and we were delighted to have them home. Please pray for Rozh as she continues to recover and will have check-ups in the next week:

Rozh dischargedAnd pray for Dr. Sohaib as his surgery must be delayed until his dental work is completed – the earliest available appointment for this currently being in January!

dr sohaibIn the week to come we are expecting changes in the house, with the planned return of Bethany on Monday and the departure of the Bagleys. The entire Bagley family have been serving and displaying God’s love and care both within and outside of the Shevet community.

bagleys and sohaibPlease pray for them as they return to serve in Jordan. Although their departure was expected last week we can now clearly see God answering un-prayed prayers by allowing the Bagleys to stay this week to serve and comfort the mothers during procedures and surgeries; playing with and distracting Sohaib from his 24-hour holter test; building up the Shevet community; and encouraging and blessing local Israelis with their presence, love and support.

bagley famWhile anxiously awaiting Eva’s return from the latest cath, we read with her mother how Messiah raised up from the dead the daughter of the synagogue leader Jairus. Eva’s mother is such a model of earnestly seeking God and his healing for her daughter – just like Jairus.

In the middle of Jesus coming to heal Jairus’ daughter, another woman needing healing reached out and touched Jesus. Whilst reading this in the hospital I wanted to skip over this other woman’s healing, the pain and discomfort in the waiting felt too difficult. My desire was to fast forward on my agenda to the ending.

But what miracles and transformation we miss out on when we rush on past. Our God is a God who heals, and strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. I hope we can be reminded of God’s goodness even as we wait whilst prayers are yet unanswered.

Kate for Shevet Achim