What does the LORD require?

With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:6-8

Dear friends,

This is a beautiful picture of God’s steadfast love for us. How easy it would be for God to require of us our firstborn children for the sins of our soul. And yet, instead He sent His Son for our sake. So what is our response? What does God ask of us? We see it in these three things: do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly. I believe those are three things we see daily here in our community.

But it’s not easy. It’s a daily laying down of our lives for the other. Whether it’s an emergency child coming from Gaza, a surprise discharge from the hospital, a difficult update for one of our children, or even something between us volunteers. We are called to live out these three requirements each day, as we trust and walk with the Lord. It’s not by our power that we seek to respond with love and humility. It is by His Spirit.

As we are looking to help the helpless and love the forgotten it can take a toll on our mortal bodies. And we need God’s continued refreshing to give us strength to get up again each morning and go where He leads us. I am thankful for the community we have that looks to the needs of each other and lifts up the weary arms. We thank you, as well, for continuing to lift us up.

We have many praises to give this week regarding our Gaza children. Both Kenan and Mariam were discharged from the hospital this week and are now waiting with us in our home in Jaffa for their follow-up echos:

We are so thankful for both of these precious little ones and their beautiful recoveries from emergency heart surgery. And we thank God for making space for them to come and be with us as they wait. With the current situation in Gaza, all of the families face a 21-day quarantine when returning home, so we are keeping them if they must be seen again in Israel within 1-2 weeks. We have seen the beauty and the blessing of housing these families in the interim and getting this extra time with them.

We also welcomed our old friend Mohammed and his grandmother from Gaza this week as he finally was able to come for a long-awaited MRI and CT scan in order for the doctors to decide the best surgery plan for him:

They are now staying with us in Jaffa as the doctors make their decision. Please pray for peace for Mohammed and his grandmother as they wait during this time. Especially for Mohammed it is difficult to be away from his family and he is daily crying out for his “baba” (or father). It has been beautiful to see, though, how he is opening up more and more to each of us here. His smile, when given, could light up an entire room.

Maryam, from an Assyrian Christian family in northern Iraq, has successfully passed three surgeries and two catheterizations due to her very challenging anatomy (most heart programs around the world wouldn’t have accepted her).  She will have an echo in one month as doctors decide when she should have yet another catheterization:

And Leen from Gaza (below left) is keeping company with Maryam and my daughter River (right) while waiting for her own appointment to undergo eye surgery:

Please pray for the beautiful girls and their mothers as they continue to wait. They have been wonderful hostesses to our other Gaza families staying with us and have opened their arms tremendously to all of us.

Khalid and his father have also continued to be a blessing to our team in Jerusalem. The father has a servant’s heart and has been helping us and the other families in many ways:

We are praying for a door to open soon for him and his father to return home. Please pray for the right timing and the perfect flight for them as they anticipate returning to their family in Kurdistan.

We also want to continue lifting up our sweet children in the hospital. This week we received the wonderful news that Qusai from Gaza is now in the children’s ward at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, after two weeks in the ICU following his surgery. We praise God for his continued recovery and pray for the right timing of his discharge:

Saif from Gaza after ten weeks at Sheba Medical Center is slowly gaining weight and his mother continues to be a rock and a source of strength for him. Please pray that his recovery would not be halted in any way and that he can continue to breathe well and eat well:

Ziad from Gaza is doing the same as he waits for another upcoming surgery next week. His mother also has continuously been by his side more than four months without a word of complaint or being tired. We pray for both Ziad and his mother to have strength and peace as they wait for his surgery.

Precious Zakaria from Gaza is still fighting for his life in the ICU. Praise God he has remained stable after coming off of the ECMO machine. His condition is still very difficult without much improvement.

We are praying for the Lord to give grace to Zakaria and give strength to his heart and lungs so that they can function on their own. And please pray for strength for his lovely mother as she stays by his side.

Our sweet Ghada from East Jerusalem is also doing better. She had a good echo today and is now waiting for eye surgery which will be in a couple weeks. Please pray for her mother who is struggling after waiting by her daughter’s side in the hospital for two months:

And Raghed who arrived urgently last week has already undergone her surgery and is now recovering in the ICU. We praise the Lord she was successfully extubated two days ago. However, after getting a fever the doctors have decided to put her on oxygen flow to keep her stable:

Please pray for Raghed to be free from infection and for her heart to work as needed so she can continue to recover well. We also pray for her grandmother. May the Lord give strength and comfort for this family.

We have seen many beautiful and also difficult moments come this week as we have loved and served these precious families. Please pray for the Lord to be speaking to their hearts as we share His love and hope with them. We are thankful for each of these moments given to us. To God be the glory.

Many blessings,

Lindsay for Shevet Achim