Moshe and I visited our little friend Samir today in the secondary ICU.
He was not his usual happy self. Perhaps if he could express himself as we adults are able he might have said that he felt like a caged lion, trapped in a small space, unable to prowl around and pounce on any toy he could find, and enjoy every moment of that play.
Samir’s sweet mother watches over him as a hen watches over her chicks with a loving patience. She worries so much about Samir. It was still unknown today when Samir’s next surgery would happen. Perhaps tomorrow? The nurse reported that the medical team had discovered an anomaly but it is not yet disclosed exactly what. We pray that surgery happens sooner rather than later if it is to happen, or that God’s loving hand just reaches into Samir’s little heart and rectifies what is not right.
written by Amber
We arrived to find Samir’s mother lovingly at his bedside in the pediatric ICU. He has now been extubated and is breathing without the help of a tube attached to machines. We tried to get a smile from Samir, but his mother was finally able to get him to reenact some sparring, a playfulness that the Shevet volunteers have grown accustomed with him. For now, only Samir’s precious mother can illicit his attention. At one point, Samir lifted his finger, pulse oximeter still attached. His mother’s kiss to that little finger brought a measure of comfort that only she could bring. Unfortunately, Samir struggled with some nausea and vomiting while we were there today. Pray that will subside soon. Also, continue in prayer that Samir’s external pacemaker can be removed and that his pain will be managed well. Samir’s mother is such a lovely light. Let’s pray together for her endurance to remain and for God to receive all the glory in the lives of this family.
We got the phone call yesterday, after the sun had set from the first Shabbat holiday of Sukkot, to invite Samir in for surgery. The news sweetened the day, as it also coincided with Samir’s brother’s birthday, which they were sad to be missing.
Moshe and I brought Samir to the hospital last night, where there was already a bed prepared for him, and he was quickly welcomed and admitted. I felt so proud to accompany this beautiful family, and bring them into the hospital. At first, we ran into Gashbin‘s mother who was crying on the phone, so of course, Samir’s mother stopped everything that she was doing to comfort the other. She is so generous and caring, and has a heart to look out for other people.
So, today it was the big day of the surgery. We joined Samir’s mum early in the morning, just after he had been taken into the operating room. She was so composed during the many hours of surgery; occasionally crying, but for the most part, she was cancelling the many phone calls coming her way. She knows how to make the situation less stressful for herself.
We also had the company of some other Syrian Kurds who are visiting with us this week. They are from the same city in Syria as Samir’s mother. We also had the company of another Syrian parent, Rahaf‘s father. They had come for her first assessment, and so together there was a lot to talk about.
After around five hours, we were finally able to see Samir again, out of surgery and into the intensive care unit. His mum asked a nurse to take a photo, and she quickly then sent it to family and friends who were all praying for and thinking of Samir and her. There was a lot of people to send to, so there are a lot of people who have had the pleasure of being blessed with knowing Samir and his mum.
The update from the medical staff is that Samir is doing well, even that they may try to extubate him today. However, he is also attached to a pacemaker, currently externally. Hopefully the electricity of his heart will be able to recover and he won’t require a permanent pacemaker.
Please keep Samir and his family in your prayers, during this critical 24 hours after his surgery.
Winning over all our hearts
Curious brown eyes and an incredible smile directed at you – this is what you will see when you meet our beloved Samir. Since Samir arrived at Shevet he won over all of our hearts. How couldn’t you fall in love with this special boy?
Samir is a very open child that loves to color, take pictures and play with the other children. His beautiful smile will be seen with everything he does and his laugh is contagious. Even though he has to wait for his surgery, he is not getting bored. On the contrary, Samir is constantly looking for new things to do. One of his new favorite things is to come to the fence which separates the two balconies and to watch our dinners “in secret.”
Seeing his face pressed against the fence, you can’t help but smile widely. This little boy has been a ray of sunshine in all of our lives and a great addition to our family.
For all of us, it’s obvious where Samir got his amazing character traits – his mother. Samir’s mum has been simply amazing. Even though Samir has to wait a long time for his surgery, his mum stays strong and joyful. Samir was scheduled for surgery a few days ago, but there was a baby from Gaza who needed surgery more urgently. His Mum received the news very beautifully and with dignity. Samir’s mother isn’t only a patient but also a loving woman.
Julio who had to inform her about the rescheduling said: “I am so blessed by the heart of Samir’s mother towards the waiting. From the first moment she arrived, missing her bags for five days, she never complained about it. A few days ago when I had to break the news to
her about the surgery being delayed again, she said: “Xera tedaya,” which means, “it brings blessings.”. That thankful heart is reflected in Samir’s happy heart all the time.
Our little Samir has been learning to swim in the sea which he does with his joyful and brave heart. By his side, his incredible mother, who is very afraid of the sea herself but does not hesitate to accompany her son. She overcomes her own fears and her own sorrows in order to be there for Samir. Her love for Samir is sacrificial in every way.
Her overflowing love isn’t focused on Samir alone. This power woman cares for the other children as well. In showering Israa and braiding her hair, talking and caring for Dleza and her brother, cleaning the kitchen as if it was her own – to list only a few things – she is a great blessing to every family member.
I can’t put into words how thankful I am to have met Samir and his mum. God blessed these two with amazing gifts and overflowing love. Please keep Samir in your prayers, so he will get his surgery very soon.
Yesterday at the beach in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Samir bravely adventured to the shoreline and repeatedly asked his kind and gentle mother if he could venture further into deeper waters. Samir is brave. When we were at the beach, I was reminded of how the waters of the Mediterranean sea never cease to greet the shore. It reminded me of God’s unconditional love and grace for humanity. God is faithful. Samir naturally adapts to his surroundings. Yesterday he embraced the sand and the sea, and today he was gallivanting around the cardiac unit.
Today Samir bravely completed his first cardiac assessment. Samir was diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve, which is classified as a left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. He has severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve. The cardiologist and surgeon will discuss his projected surgery date. Potential procedures include either the Konno Procedure (an augmentation procedure) or the Ross Procedure (a valve replacement). They may have to decide on the specific procedure during the actual surgery. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors in choosing the best procedure for Samir and for peace during the waiting period.
Samir didn’t so much walk into the welcome hall of Ben Gurion airport as he did saunter with relaxation into the big, spacious room with a sippy cup of milk in hand. His ease surprised me, because of how much had suddenly changed in his life, but this sweet boy smiled at Colin and I, and whenever any of us turned to meet his gaze, he would break into a big grin! We’re so excited to have him and his mum with us! Please pray for all that lies ahead, we know that God knows it all. This won’t be his first surgery, as he had one two years ago, but his prognosis is aortic stenosis, and his first assessment is September eighth!
Good news from our friend Glenda with the Tikvah Rabah (“great hope”) outreach of the Rehoboth messianic fellowship in Vancouver, Washington, which has stepped in to intercede for Samir and his family:
We took some of our homemade things to “Lev Hallel” (“Heart of Praise”), a gathering of messianic dancers and a musician (Ted Pearce) in a park in eastern Oregon this last weekend, our first event to “Save Samir.” We raised $306!! God is good! We haven’t even announced our sponsorship yet but we had a flyer on the table about what we are doing. A great beginning I thought!
Syrian refugee family finding hope in Israel
Samir, his older brother, and his parents fled northern Syria when Islamist forces seized control of their region. They found refuge in a camp in northern Iraq, where they live in a tiny cinder-block home.
Samir needs surgery urgently to remove an obstruction of his left ventricle, which with each passing day is increasingly causing his heart to be misshapen. When his mother heard of the possibility of life-saving surgery in Israel, she bravely traveled with Samir back to Syria to secure passports. We have applied for his visa to come to Israel, and hope that with God’s help he can travel in July.