Ready to listen

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Psalm 61:1-3

Dear friends,

When I read this psalm immediately a picture came to mind of a beautiful moment we experienced this week. The lockdown and canceled flights and delayed treatments have been very difficult for Khonav and her mother. We had planned that nine of our families would be flying out of Israel on July 1, the first available flight back to Kurdistan. Khonav and her mother would not be included as Khonav is still waiting for an important catheterization.

And that leads to the beautiful moment we experienced this week…

Two days ago as we began our morning meeting Khonav’s mother came in and sat down without saying a word. This is very unusual as the families know this is a time we meet together and they will usually wait until we are done for anything they might need. But in this moment we could see there was something desperate going on in this mother’s heart. As she sat down, not one of us felt the need to say please come back later. It was a beautifully appointed time from the Lord. As she could feel our welcome and openness she began to share of her concerns about Khonav, her desperation to go home and her desire to fly back with the other families on that coveted flight on July 1. So we shared with her some encouragement and said we would talk to the doctors to see what could be worked out. She left still feeling down but knowing she’d been heard. And I think of that as a picture of our loving Father when we come to Him and share our heart. He isn’t saying, “Come back later,” or “This isn’t a good time.” He is right there, ready to listen.

Well God heard their prayers this week as we learned that all our flights booked on July 1 have been canceled. Even though this was difficult news to hear and even more difficult to share with all these eagerly-waiting families, I could not help but tear up thinking about how God has listened and answered the prayers of Khonav’s mother. Because of this delay, it is very likely that Khonav can receive her much-needed catheterization and still be able to travel with all the other families only a couple weeks later. What a God we serve who can take our meek and desperate prayers and say “I’m here, I see you, I know your heart.” And so we pray that Khonav and her mother would truly see God’s heart for them, that He sees them and loves them so deeply.

In the same way, we want to pray for the other families who received this difficult news today. Though two weeks may not seem very long, to them it is another shattering of a glimmer of hope. Please pray for peace and understanding for these families. We know God’s timing is always perfect and we hope to have more opportunities to show that love to these families in this time.

Not only do we have all of our Kurdish families waiting with us but we have also had the pleasure of hosting three families from Gaza during this time. Since they face a three-week quarantine upon return to Gaza, we’ve seen the need to house discharged Gaza patients at our home until the doctors can see that they are stable enough to go back to Gaza without needing doctor supervision. We’ve had some beautiful times with the families here at our home. And praise the Lord, little Mina was released to go back to Gaza today!

We thank God she is doing well after her surgery. Mohaned and Ahmed are also staying with us and still need further supervision from the doctors.

Baby Fayez reached Israel emergently last week, and is now finishing a course of powerful antibiotics so that doctors can perform his surgery:

And this week we’ve received two more urgent newborns from Gaza: Aya also just arrived two days ago and is at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem:

And just tonight nine-day-old Habiba reached the Sheba Medical Center, and is now in the ICU as doctors stabilize her tiny little body. Please pray for all these precious children and especially for Habiba who had to stop at another hospital on the way to Sheba because the ambulance crew felt she might not survive the journey. We praise God that she has now arrived safely to Sheba.

We also thank God for His hand over our community. Though we have had some small sicknesses and are feeling a bit tired, we are all very thankful for this time that we’ve been able to grow closer as a family and learn more about each other. We do ask that you would pray for our teams in Jaffa and Jerusalem, as well as Jonathan and Michelle who are now in the States with family and continuing the work of the Lord there. Please pray that their time would be fruitful and blessed.

We also ask you to continue to lift up our precious Maryam. Though she is getting better, she still struggles with speaking and has a rasp due to blockage in her throat.

Her mother has been discouraged and struggling at times because of her slow progress. Please pray for the Lord’s comfort and peace to cover her and for her to see His hands are resting on beautiful Maryam.

I’m so thankful that our God hears our prayers. He will lead us on and we pray that also for all of our precious families here. May it all be to the glory of His name.

Many blessings,

Lindsay for Shevet Achim