Where Messiah is

Dear friends,

As this week comes to a close Paul’s letter to the Colossians has been a consistent prayer through the very busy and long days:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Just before this Paul wrote, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” And this in turn references these preceding verses:

If then you have been raised with Messiah, seek the things that are above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. When Messiah who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 

It is significant that Paul’s starting point isn’t a standalone lesson that we should be more loving, more compassionate, and more kind. This chapter has stuck with me this week because I have seen in just how many ways I’ve failed to embody the characteristics of God’s kingdom. We can only put on compassion, humility, forgiveness and everything else because we are raised with Messiah to a new kind of life. His resurrection brought the inauguration of the kingdom of God wherein Jesus is enthroned as Lord. Messiah is risen–let’s start there.

Please pray with us for the needs of the families we work with. The sheer degree of need is overwhelming sometimes, but our prayer is that we would serve and care for these families with all of who we are in the risen Messiah.

Sunday began a week of first appointments for the six new Kurdish children:

meera echoOne-and-a-half-year-old Meera was seen first this week and immediately hospitalized after her echo. To see a child whose extremities are purple/blue is extremely jarring; this cyanosis is a tell-tale sign of her complex heart anatomy. Many of the doctors crowded into the room to see her heart while the echo was being done. It was not possible to capture the full picture with just an echo, so she also had a CT scan. It was a relief when the doctors decided to admit her to the hospital. After a long time, thank God Meera is now receiving the care and attention she needs to live.

mir echoMir had his echo which confirmed his diagnosis from Kurdistan. Before doctors can schedule his surgery he needs a holter monitor test. He is such a happy baby and brought the day a lot of joy with his adorable smile.

meena first echoTiny beautiful Mina who is three months old and urgently needing surgery to correct transposition of the great arteries had her first appointment on Monday. This surgery is best done in the first two months of life. Please pray for this sweet girl as her and father wait for this surgery.

noor first echoLovely Noor did very well in her first echo. Her mother worked to keep her calm for the duration of the exam. The results showed the intricacies of her diagnosis which is Tetralogy of Fallot. Her cardiologist said that the repair would be a big operation, and Noor’s mum received that information bravely as she knows this is the best thing for her beautiful daughter.

haveen first echoHaveen had her first assessment yesterday and captivated everyone with her cuteness. She also has a complex heart which will require a CT scan to prepare her for surgery.

double echoIt turned out to be a fun ‘double echo’ that also included Dalal, since both share the same cardiologist and the mothers both speak the same Behdini dialect of Kurdish, which is helpful since the other new families speak the distinct Sorani dialect. So the translation went from Arabic, which Haveen’s mother understands, into Behdini Kurdish when the doctor had questions.

basil postopBasil, the newborn baby who came by ambulance on Friday to Sheba had surgery yesterday. Our coworker Sabrina was with his mother for the duration of the procedure. She was extremely anxious especially because she saw her son resuscitated on the way to Sheba. The ambulance diverted to a hospital in Ashkelon after he went into cardiac arrest. Thank God he survived not only the rest of the ambulance ride but also we can say that he is doing well the day after his surgery. Sabrina who also saw his mother today said she was like a completely different woman now that her son is on the other side of this surgery.

kareem cleft palateOne-year-old Kereem from Gaza came last week for an echo, and was hospitalized because he needed an echo under sedation. Due to his cleft palate the E.N.T doctor had to see him first. He has ended up staying for surgery to repair his Tetralogy of Fallot, and this is planned for next week. We also hope the team at Sheba can begin the surgical repair of his cleft palate. Please keep him and his lovely mother in your prayers.

kenan sleepingKenan is a baby who had a stent placed in his heart through a catheterization last month. He was due to come back to Sheba today for another cath, but has not gotten the permission. As it stands now he is not doing well on Gaza at the moment, and the doctors say he is in danger and must come urgently. Please pray for this sweet boy, that God will protect his life and that the authorities would prioritize his clearance to come tomorrow.

carina and sabrinaLastly, this Monday we said farewell to Carina our dear sister and coworker (pictured above left alongside Sabrina). She was supposed to leave ten days ago but due to a (most likely) divine appointment mix-up she had to rebook her flight for this week. Her presence not just for the last week and a half but for the entirety of the three months she was here has been a gift. She is one of those rare people that is both idealistic and deeply practical. We relied on her nursing abilities as an R.N. and in addition to this she made our house feel more like home, as she shared her joy and her wisdom, and her deep love of Jesus. Her extroversion meant she would usually facilitate small games that none of us would think to play, and her insights always served to edify. I think the passage from C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce describes her best: “But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.”

Please pray with us for the door to open this week for new and returning community members to enter Israel and reinforce our teams in Jaffa and Jerusalem.

May God bless you,

Alena for Shevet Achim