God met us in a new and real way

Dear coworkers,

For two months doctors in Israel have fought non-stop for the precious life of Wareen, a soon to be one-year-old from Kurdistan with Down syndrome:

wareen in hospital

They’ve taken her through two open-heart surgeries and a lengthy hospitalization to fight off a virus. It appears by God’s grace they are winning the battle. 

But until this week, it appeared that the Israeli medical staff were on the battlefield alone. Although Wareen was featured on the top of our website all this time, not a single contribution came in to help support her hospital expenses. And outside of our stretched-thin Jaffa community members, we weren’t aware of any group of people praying specifically for Wareen, or building relationship with her family. 

That’s background to explain why it was such a joy and relief when David and Gail from the UK stepped in to be Wareen’s local leaders this week. Here’s how they introduce themselves on Wareen’s blog:

We are David and Gail from Somerset, UK. Our daughter is a volunteer with Shevet and when we visited her in April, we had the joy of cuddling Wareen and meeting her devoted father Mohammad on the first day they arrived in Israel. It was a pleasure to meet them both. Precious Wareen and Mohammad have now been in hospital for over 50 days. During that time it has been my privilege to keep in regular contact with Mohammad, who speaks good English, and to share their journey through this difficult time as Mohammad sits with his daughter. We had our own experience of being the parents of a very poorly baby and were sustained and encouraged by the kindness of not just family and friends but by the prayers of people we hardly knew at all. God met us in a new and real way.

After our son’s visit to Shevet last week we decided to become local leaders to raise funds for Wareen’s treatment and to support the wonderful work being done by the community there. We have not done this before but are trusting that as we step forward God will bless our endeavours and the money will come. We feel that is important to encourage people to become involved not only by giving financially but by sharing Wareen’s story with your family and friends and keeping them in your prayers. Thank you. David & Gail

Friends, can you see the beauty of it–what happens when any of us throw aside our misgivings, and say for Jesus’ sake I will not pass that child by? It means so much to the family, and to the doctors, and to our community members, to know they are not alone in this struggle. And the final outcome is totally out of our hands. If we pray, give what we can, share a child’s story, and build relationship with the family–God’s right in the midst of it. This is the story of Shevet Achim and the promise of Psalm 133: look how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity…there God commands the blessing, life forevermore.

Sophie saw the same dynamic at work today in the hospital room of newborn Reem from Gaza, who is still intubated and sedated after her emergency catheterization last Sunday:

talitha cumi

Her eyes are covered to prevent them from becoming dry and she has a heat lamp over her body. She is very delicate. It was a joy to link up by video with Local Leaders Dan and Lucy today in the hospital room and learn more about their brave actions in faith they are making to cover Reem in prayer and provide for Reem financially. 

Reem’s mum was really encouraged by a scripture Lucy and Dan shared with her today from Matthew 9: 24-25 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. It was Reem’s own people who told her mother to just pray that God would take her quickly and her mum was made to feel silly to hope and yet she did and she still does. Please pray this scripture over Reem, that she may soon stop sleeping for Jesus is with her.  

Sophie’s also calling us to prayer for Lana from Kurdistan, who had her large and complex heart surgery today (and is still in need of a local leader of her own):

lana from kurdistan

Lana is 13 years old, she is an only child and lives with just her mother at home. This is quite a rare family set-up for a Kurdish family and having come from the same background myself I wouldn’t even want to imagine the pain her mother was experiencing. She seemed to hold her breath for the entire 8.5 hours it took for her to be reunited with her daughter. She wept often and was restless but thankfully due to our large Kurdish and Palestinian community at Sheba currently, Lana’s mum was never alone…

When the surgery was over the doctor reported that it had been a very long and difficult surgery. Lana so far seems to be tolerating it well and she is stable however the next 24-48 hours mark a critical time for her and she is vulnerable over this time. As we were leaving the hospital Lana was waking and beginning to raise her hand to show the doctors she was aware of them. 

Finally friends: we’re a family of believers grafted by faith into Israel, and therefore like Israel called to bless all the families of the Middle East. Here are a few essential stories of the week to help us watch and pray over what the Father is doing in our region: 

Arabs becoming less religious, BBC survey finds

Whatever happened to Myriam, the Iraqi schoolgirl who forgave ISIS?

More than a million Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in reeducation camps in China

And finally, a must-see video of the road unveiled today that pilgrims took to the Temple in the days of Jesus.

With love and blessing from Jonathan and the Shevet Achim community