Our primary identity

Dear praying friends,

Thank you for supporting us all here.  As our coworker Amar reminded me this morning, we are in a spiritual battle, not against flesh and blood, so to know that there are others across the world faithfully standing with us and our families is encouraging and important.

Our staff numbers are quite few, and our Kurdish and Gaza families are very busy at the hospital, so this morning for the first time since I’ve been here at Shevet our community dog Shevvie and I were the only attendees of the Jaffa morning meeting! I feel very privileged to be able to spend each morning studying the Bible with the Shevet community (family), hearing God speak through so many different people of different ages, cultures, and backgrounds. So this morning, I called Amar (the only attendee of the Jerusalem morning meeting), and together we made a video-chat morning meeting. We read Psalm 27, and the words which stood out to me were from verse 14:

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

I witnessed a moment this week which has stayed with me, with the Gaza mother of precious baby Abed from Gaza who has come with the hope of eye surgery to save his vision. Abed is one of twins born prematurely, and his brother died only a week after being born.  Following the assessments here, his mother was told that it is not possible to make any surgery for his right eye, and for the left eye it was only possible that a surgery could help. The mother was distraught; after already losing one of her babies, it was hard for her to contain her grief and tears at the thought of Abed being blind. She cried as we waited for the hospital transport van to return us to the pediatric building, and another Muslim lady came over to see what was going on. She was beautiful and firm with her encouragement, as she exhorted this young mother telling her “We are Muslims!” (literally ‘those who submit to God’) and that their identity first and foremost comes from being people before their God. This means that she should take courage and trust and pray that God will show her baby mercy.

The moment was so moving, and her phrase has stuck with me each day. Alena and I have really felt how profound it is to encourage us all with the reminder we are Christians, first and foremost. Everything we are doing, saying, and our attitudes should stem from that reality of our primary identity as followers of Jesus, believers, children of God.  So when I read the words in Psalm 27.14 today, I felt it again, the exhortation to take courage, and remember that the lives of the families and everything which happens is in the hands of God, and it is our privilege to be able to bring them before our Father.

Please join us this week then, in praying for our families:

For Abed, who did have a successful eye surgery today:

abed postop cuPraise God that it seems possible to save the vision in his left eye!

Please pray also for Asmeen, our only remaining Kurdish child in the hospital now, who had a tracheostomy this week due to breathing difficulty:

asmeen post trachPlease pray that she would see God’s healing soon, as her recovery from heart surgery is very slow. Her mother is holding up well, and has a beautiful patient heart.

Also for Lalo, whose echo yesterday revealed that he will need another intervention: a catheterization or perhaps another surgery!

lalo echoThe mother has been very sad about the situation, but she too is taking courage. She is drawing strength from her family in Kurdistan and from all of us here; we are blessed to have her here.We are thanking God as well this week for the successful surgery of our sweet Mohaned:

mohaned postopDespite the warning that the surgery was high risk and dangerous for him, praise God that he has come through it quickly and safely so far.

We welcomed Awmed to Jaffa earlier this week, after two surgeries, including placing a pacemaker. His grandma is so happy to be home:

awmed to jaffaWe also are welcoming two new Gaza families to our Jaffa home, both of whom are waiting for their hospital appointments; one is teenaged Mohammed from Gaza, who we remember from a few months ago (but now three inches taller!). The other is Asma, who is a candidate for endovascular interventional catheterization in her brain, done at Schneider hospital which is new to many of us:

family dinnerPlease pray that all will feel at home here, and for us moving forward with forming relationships with the new hospital.The main prayer request from all of our Kurdish families this week is that the airport would reopen, as hoped, after the 20th of February. Many of them are ready to return to Kurdistan now, and feeling eager to get back to their families. We also join with this prayer, as it means that we can look forward to the return of Jonathan, Michelle, Julio, Luzma and Paula, who we have been missing for a while now! We also remember the six urgent children who are now waiting to come from Kurdistan for their life-saving treatment.

Please pray for us that we will continue to take joy and courage in the reality that we are living lives as beloved children of God, and that we will continue to grow in all of the fruits of the Spirit.

Thank you.

Georgia for Shevet Achim