On a mattress on the floor in Gaza

Dear friends,

I’m sitting tonight looking out from the top floor of the home we’ve been blessed to rent for families and volunteers by the Jaffa seafront. It’s such a beautiful and relaxing area–even the name of the street (Margoa) translates as “pacifying.”

Yet the spirit reminds me that 45 minutes down the coast some of our Gaza neighbors are in desperation. Due to a tax dispute, their government has stopped paying for any urgent medical cases to come into Israel, meaning that newborns with life-threatening heart defects are being left to die. Nothing has changed from where we started 25 years ago.

And I believe we are still called to equip Israeli doctors to fight for the lives of those children. Just two hours ago our Gaza coordinators Yousef and his son Amar were here in the office, working through a stack of new life-and-death medical reports. What looks most urgent is two-month-old Reem: critical narrowing of the aorta, only 60% of normal oxygen reaching her body. In any of our home countries she would have been rushed into emergency surgery. Instead she’s been laying in a Gaza hospital bed, waiting. Today they sent her home because a virus is sweeping through the hospital. Reem’s young parents are trying to keep her alive with an oxygen bottle in their home:

reem waiting at home

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the people of Gaza is that they might be saved. I long to see the word of God, once delivered to the nations through the people of Israel, also reaching the hearts of their Muslim neighbors.

Yet we don’t dare open our mouths if we’re not also caring about the dilemma of children like Reem. Tonight we’ve sent Reem’s report to Israel’s largest hospital, the Sheba Medical Center. In the morning we hope to hear that they have a bed for her in their ICU, where she belongs–not on a mattress on the floor of her cinderblock home in Gaza.

How can we carry the costs for Reem, and other children like her? Sheba’s only asking us for 37% of the normal cost. And we have a grant to cover another 17%. Our part is only 20%, or about $4500 to rescue Reem.

That’s still too much for most of us. But we’ve been encouraged this week to see two new local leaders step forward, taking responsibility to pray and share about a specific child, trusting God through their community to provide what is needed. I’m asking you Father to do the same now for Reem.

Friends, there’s much more I could share this week, but I don’t feel we should turn our eyes away now from the dying one at the side of the road. (If you’re able to drink from the fire hose of good reports coming out each day, you can follow Shevet Achim on Instagram, or see the same updates now at the top of shevet.org).

Thankful to be walking the Jericho road with you.

Jonathan for Shevet Achim

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133).