Leaders for the harvest

Dear coworkers,

On Wednesday, thank God, we were able to pay off all of our 2019 commitments to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and we are poised to go forward with them in 2020 if God wills. This comes after we paid over half our commitments two weeks ago to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, our main partner, toward the surgeries they did in 2019. They too are ready to go forward with us to help more children.

The challenge is in our remaining commitments to Sheba. As I’ve gone over the accounts again this week, it appears we are still at least $250,000 away from fully and faithfully giving the doctors there the support we promised them in 2019. Rather than watching our liabilities melt away at year’s end, as we’ve seen in the past, this week they seem if anything to have grown. So while both hospitals are willing to accept more children, I don’t feel that we are at liberty to keep adding to this debt. 

At a minimum I believe this means that the new children we’re taking on should be fully funded. And there are encouraging signs that this could actually happen. This week no fewer than three local leaders visited our community to meet the children for whom they’re interceding. Isaac, a young Jewish man who’s been working for Google, managed to pull together funding for Muslim Khalid’s surgery (even after Google refused to match his donation to Shevet due to our commitment to biblical sexual ethics):


What a picture! And in the background, visiting their sponsored child Khonav, are Marcia and Neil, leaders in a network of congregations which chose to leave the Episcopal Church rather than compromise the word of God:

khonav local leaders

And today another glorious visit–30 years ago Nikole’s baby brother Seth was born with Down syndrome and and had life-saving heart surgery in the US. Now her family is honoring the Father’s faithfulness by taking up the cause of baby Lawi, born seven months ago in Iraq with Down syndrome and a heart defect:

lawi local leader

Ah, friends, this gives us hope and joy to continue. But new children are coming in who have no local leaders–tonight newborn Mohammed, born with transposed great arteries and rushed to Israel from northern Iraq for surgery to switch them back:

mohammed needs a local leader

And alongside him another precious Down baby named Adam

adam needs a local leader

And we cannot fail to speak up for the children of Gaza, who for so long have had no one to truly advocate for them. Just 12 days ago we brought newborn Taleen to Israel in an ICU ambulance; today she returned home safe and well, glory to God, to await a second surgery. She too is still without a local leader:

taleen needs a local leader

As is this lovely Gaza boy named Yazen, who Colin found today recovering from his third heart surgery in Israel:

yazen needs a local leader

Yazen’s mother always greets and parts with the phrase “I love you.” I hope she knows that we also love Yazen and his family dearly. And most importantly, I hope that she feels loved by our God who loves Yazen with a perfect love.

So friends that’s the situation. Which of these little ones could we have turned away since they lacked sponsors? Over 25 years we’ve never had to deny a child access to heart surgery for financial reasons. If it’s the Father’s will that we continue, let’s pray. Only he can raise up the local leaders for this harvest.

Jonathan for Shevet Achim

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