Our time to invest is short

Dear coworkers,

We’re just back from a 48-hour team-building retreat near Bethlehem for the long-term members of the community. Our goal as we head into this new year of service: to love each other with humble hearts, and to share about our strengths and weaknesses without judgment, so we can be built up together into a dwelling place where our neighbors can encounter God’s spirit. 


Under direction of Martha from Split Rock coaching, it was eye-opening to see how we self-segregated ourselves into groups ranging from “Dread” to “Love” when contemplating each of the different tasks we face in our life together:

from dread to love

Then each had the chance to put their unique love gifts into practice with a flash assignment: within one hour prepare a memorable meal to inaugurate our new home in Jerusalem! Jana and Alena’s team amazed us with decorations out of thin air:   

jerusalem home

And with all of Jerusalem closed down on a late Friday afternoon, Lindsay and Luzma’s team somehow produced a delicious meal, and even a cake:

shevet achim cake

We’re working, God willing, toward moving the first families into the Jerusalem home in the coming days–and meeting this week with Hadassah Hospital administrators to see if we can agree on discounts that will allow us to bring them many more children from neighboring countries. I request your prayers for favor and for God’s will to be done; there is some natural suspicion and skepticism still to be overcome.

Meanwhile our wonderful partners at Israel’s largest hospital, the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, continue to go the extra mile in the way they care for and love their neighbors’ children. Here’s Tara’s picture of one of their doctors taking Kurdish baby Saida in for successful open-heart surgery today (after two and a half months of nurture to get his weight up to five kilograms/ten pounds!):

saida preop

And Georgia reports that Sheba cardiologist Dr. Sharon sent our beloved 15-year-old Musa back to Kurdistan this week, after everyone was surprised by how successful his catheterization treatments were in Israel:  

musa released

It was a really joyful time in the final consultation with the doctor. She said that the oxygen saturation [95%] is higher than they may usually expect, and expressed how she was really pleased to have carried out this work with Musa.

Another exciting time was sharing the news with the lovely Dr. Fitun from Kurdistan, who had requested to bring Musa to the Israeli hospital. Thank God for her hope and faith, as in Kurdistan they had wanted to remove Musa’s entire lung! This would have been a really dangerous operation, so I feel so grateful to God for this doctor’s voice in Musa’s care...  

It will be sad to say goodbye to Musa, who is like a brother to us all here (volunteers and families). Also to say goodbye to the father of Musa is going to be sad as well; he is a really kind man, who cares for all the other families too, and is also a good cook!

Four new families will be winging their way toward us Wednesday night, God willing, including Syrian Kurdish refugee Samir whose people have been driven out of their region by Turkey. He’s blessed to have the saints at the Rehoboth fellowship in Vancouver, Washington advocating for him as local leaders.

It’s also on my heart to ask our Father to raise up more country leaders, to help facilitate in their own nations Christian support for the outreach of Jewish doctors to their Muslim neighbors. We currently only have these leaders in the US and UK. As I watch the increasing numbers of children God is sending, I realize that only global involvement of the body of Messiah will be up to a task this big. So friends, as the Spirit of God prompts us, let’s respond. Much has been entrusted to us, and our time to invest it is short. From my journal this week, after reading Psalm 104:  

I am passing away.
The Lord may graciously give a few more seasons
they are his and not mine.
I am not here for my own purposes but for his.
I am not living to fulfill my own desires but his.

Jonathan for Shevet Achim

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