Today the time had finally come and Shahad was able to leave the hospital. Before that, she had been there for some time and repeatedly had problems with a high pulse. Thank God she is now making progress and receiving medicine to stabilize her pulse. She will stay with us in our community home in Ashdod for one week and then have another echo appointment at Sheba Medical Center next week to make sure the good development continues.
Let us pray that she does not have to return to the hospital early. This would be the case with symptoms such as a rising pulse or a fever. How nice that Shahad has arrived so well in our family home. Tonight, she made herself comfortable on the sofa in the living room.
Her doctor reported to me that Shahad had insufficiency in her blood and therefore probably won’t be able to be discharged in the near future. In order to get a more detailed picture of the problem, another echo should take place on Wednesday. Then the doctors will decide on treatment options.
As soon as the doctors have made their decisions about further treatment for Shahad, we will inform you of that. We are grateful for every prayer in the meantime.Let’s pray for Shahad who, despite the news, has remained in good spirits.
The doctor said the procedure went well and they will have to wait a few more days to see if the improvement from today remains. Twenty to thirty percent of patients regress back after the procedure, but he is very hopeful Shahad has a very good chance of success.
Shahad does have a reduced heart function due to the heart arrhythmia, but if the improvement from today remains, slowly the heart will be able to regain more normal function. Lord I pray that you would watch over this lovely young lady and that her heart would grow stronger day by day.
Shahad has been monitored via Holter test over the last few days at Sheba Hospital. Her doctor says she has an extremely irregular heartbeat. Her average heart rate is normal, but she has strong arrythmia. He seems pretty concerned about her, stating she is so unstable, even a cardiac CT scan cannot be taken at this time. They start today a new medication for her and tomorrow a second one to improve the arrythmia. Her doctor also thinks Shahad should undergo another ablation Cath, but they will decide about it depending on how she reacts to the medicine.
Shahad was moved to the Secondary Pediatric ICU and enjoys the time there with her dad. Prayers for this young lady are welcomed.
Our beautiful Shahad was discharged today to return to Gaza. As we waited for Colin to arrive with the vehicle that would drive us all to the border, she recounted the names of all of the women at the Jerusalem Guest House where she stayed between her first and second hospital admission, and got very sad whenever she spoke about having to leave them. She was so excited to see Colin, and our coworker Ruth also video chatted with her. Shahad is so loved, and I think she leaves knowing that. I pray that she knows she experienced something special yet real here. The love we have for her comes from having been loved first by God, as it says in 1 John.
It struck me that everyone would feel the absence of her at Shevet; I remember when I first met her how quiet she was when, but then to juxtapose that with today when I entered the hospital and she ran up and flung herself into my arms! Although her demeanor has changed throughout her time here, her intelligence, maturity, and vibrancy have remained constant. The more of her we got to know, the more beautiful our days became.
There is excitement in her departure, because we know these relationships will continue. Shahad will return again to Sheba in six weeks for a check-up. Please continue to pray that the love she experienced here will point her to Love Himself. We love you beautiful Shahad!
I was really exited to see Shahad again today as I haven’t seen her since she left the Jerusalem Guesthouse. She and her dear aunt greeted us warmly.
Lisa and I discovered that Shahad not only copies Ruth’s gestures but she also imitates our language. In her time in Israel she has already picked up a lot of English. She is much quicker with learning English than we are with Arabic. But in the same way, she is also imitating sounds like “oops!” which she says frequently. It’s funny when you suddenly hear a child speaking with your words.
Early in the morning, when I visited Shahad, I was warmly greeted by her sweet Aunt. Shahad was still sleeping, but when she woke up she immediately smiled. She then had a blood test, which she bravely handled despite the pain.
Almuth and Johanna, her dear friends from Jerusalem and my fellow staff members, printed out photos of beautiful memories from her time in Jerusalem. Shahad and her aunt loved seeing these photos and reflecting on all the sweet memories.
Later we received a call that one doctor was hoping to discharge her to return to Gaza, but then later we found out that the cardiologist would prefer her to stay for observation. Please continue to pray as they determine how to best care for Shahad.
As I spent time with Shahad, I noticed that she acquired mannerisms from Ruth, one of our volunteers. It made me laugh. I was reminded that as they share likeness in these gestures and facial expressions, both Shahad and Ruth also share in the fact that they have been beautifully made in the image of God. Praise God for creating them both so fearfully and wonderfully in His image.
Despite the disappointment of having to stay in the hospital for longer, Shahad is still smiling!
It was wonderful to see her smiling face. Please continue to pray for her and her aunt, especially for her aunt who is experiencing pain in her leg.
Her smile is back!!
Shahad is such a strong girl. Just yesterday she had her cath and the first thing I saw today in the hospital was her walking with one of the teachers to do some creative activities. I was just amazed about how much strength and joy this little girl carries with her. It reminded me of Isaiah 40.29: “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.“
As I watched Shahad get her smile back and earn new strength, I could see God’s miracle in her life. I sat by her bed while her aunt was asleep but she wasn’t tired at all. So we played games with our fingers and she taught me (very quietly) how to count in Arabic.
If I ever have to be in the hospital for a long time, I want to have her great smile on my face and her endurance. Hopefully she will be discharged tomorrow and can continue bringing joy to the people surrounding her at home.
Please pray that everything will be fine for her and that her aunt can get some rest. I‘m so thankful to God for His grace and His light that shines within Shahad. May she some day accept His light and love for her journey on this earth.
Today was possibly the first time I’ve ever seen Shahad without a smile on her face. After her catheterisation ablation procedure was finished about 3 o’clock this afternoon, I was finally able to go and see her. She looked completely exhausted and didn’t really feel like talking – miles away from her usual boundless energy. I sat by the bedside as she fell asleep, her hand in mine. Surrounded by the noise of monitors and hospital staff, I was relieved to see Shahad get some rest.
Shahad and her aunt are two really special people. If you’ve been following Shahad’s blog, you’ll have noticed joy is a recurring theme. People can’t help but smile when she’s around. Spending time with both of them has taught me so much about love, joy, creativity and generosity. Actually, I’m in awe when I think of all the ways God’s hand has been at work in their visit here.
After about half an hour, Shahad woke up again. We video called the Jerusalem Shevet family on my phone which cheered her up immensely – it was so good to see that smile back!
Thank God for his faithfulness and his hand on Shahad’s life. Please pray that his health and life will surround her as she recovers.
Lovely Shahad and her aunty joined us in Jaffa early this morning from our Jerusalem Guest house where they have been staying these past few weeks and winning the hearts of many people! They joined our morning meeting. It was a pleasure to hear some contribution from Shahad’s aunty as we discussed from James chapter 2. We prayed as she left to go to the hospital and it felt very much like she is a part of our family.
Shahad will have a catheterisation tomorrow to address the electricity of her heart. Please pray that it will go well and soon she will be able to return to her family in Gaza.
Written by David Willcocks
Gail and I went to Jerusalem to stay in the Shevet guesthouse there for two days over Shabbat. It was there that we met Shahad for the first time. We were immediately touched by her happy and smiling character and beautiful spirit. She seems to melt the heart of anyone she encounters.
On Saturday afternoon, along with Almuth and Johanna we spent the afternoon taking precious Shahad into Jerusalem old city. We first stopped at an Arab shop to buy a walking stick for her aunt Miryam who is struggling to walk with a painful knee and then we stopped at the Christ Church tea room for afternoon tea and cakes which Shahad enjoyed.
We then played hide and seek in the garden of the church. Afterwards we went into another shop nearby to look for gifts to take home. The shop keeper was immediately captivated by Shahad. He had heard about the work that Shevet does. He talked with her about where she was from and how she was. I saw that he was very moved. We tried to buy a multi colouring pen for Shahad but he wouldn’t accept any money from us and instead drew a picture of Donald Duck for her to take and colour in with her new pen. His parting words were, “We love you Shahad.”
On our way back home Shahad was fascinated by some large animal statues inside another shop. Seeing this, the shop owner invited her in to have a better look. She asked about where Shahad was from. We told her she was from Gaza and was here to have her heart fixed. We could see the lady’s heart melting before us. She then insisted that she wanted to buy Shahad something sweet so she immediately locked up the shop and then walked hand in hand with Shahad and us to a nearby shop where she told Shahad to pick whatever she wanted. When Shahad picked a chocolate bar she told her to choose more. She ended up taking Shahad round the shop choosing sweets and chocolates and drink. At the counter the cashier insisted on giving Shahad another pack of sweets. We then went back to the ladies shop where she wanted to know how she could follow and pray for Shahad. She told us she was a Christian and we could see she was almost moved to tears by Shahad’s beautiful spirit and the Father working. Johanna told her about the work of Shevet before we left and she said she would follow Shahad and pray for God to heal her completely.
The whole day with Shahad was a very moving and powerful demonstration of the Father working to change people’s hearts through these children. What a powerful witness to the world Shevet Achim is. God bless Shahad and her kind Aunt.
Shahad our beautiful and happy girl had an early start this morning. She was excited to go to the hospital. We left at 8:30 together with our visiting friends, Grant and Kathy, to Sheba hospital in Tel Aviv. Grant and Kathy stayed with us for two days and it was a blessing that they could drive us to Sheba. The journey to the hospital went very smoothly, we even arrived before Shahad’s appointment time. When we entered the echo departement, Shahad was invited to join a happy event:
Today was a special day because it was the Day of the Olive. This day is been celebrated by the Druze community. They showed Shahad how to make olive oil and the products they make from olive like soap. Shahad enjoyed it and found it interesting. It’s amazing what they are organising in that hospital.
After some time they called Shahad for her echo. She did really well and also the ECG was done with a big smile on her face. Shahad has an irregular heartbeat. She will need an ablation. Ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency energy (similar to microwave heat) to destroy a small area of heart tissue that is causing rapid and irregular heartbeats. Because the cath is not scheduled yet, Shahad and her Aunt came back to our Jerusalem guesthouse. We are very happy to have her with us but we also hope and pray that soon they will be able to perform the catheterisation.
We have a lovely girl from Gaza, Shahad, staying with us at our Jerusalem guest house as she waits for a catheterisation. She has ended up being with us for quite a bit longer than we initially were expecting and as a result, we have needed to get some more medication for her. We have a wonderful local pharmacist who is always extremely helpful and generous, but on this occasion, it was proving difficult for him to find anywhere which had this specific medicine in stock for Shahad. We tried other pharmacies, but everywhere came back with the same problem as our usual pharmacist: there seems to be a national shortage of this medicine. As there was no date in sight for when Shahad would be called back to the hospital, and the time was running out before we really, really needed the medication, I realized that we had another of what we are fondly coming to know here at Shevet as an “impossible mission.”
Now, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
So, as we had the task of being the last people in the hospital before the medicine would run out, here was an opportunity for me and Alena to receive the gift of faith on this day! Firstly I prayed for favor with…whoever it was who could help us. Within the next minute, I found Shahad’s cardiologist in his office, without any patient, with the door open and ready to help. He (as always) was willing to assist when I explained our situation. He even called our pharmacist to try and organize a different prescription or whatever was necessary, only to come to the same dead end; the medicine is not available in Israel at the moment. I was reminded firmly and without any doubt of the prayer which Diana my lovely friend and our head nurse last year would pray and declare every day in English and Spanish:
Nothing is impossible with God.
For now Shahad is discharged! She has to wait for a special Cath that is supposed to regulate her heart beats. Great for us, since she is enriching our community in Jerusalem with her adorable and lively spirit now! We displayed her creativity for many other volunteers in the hospital by painting pictures and enjoying stickers!
But our little friend can’t sit still for a longer time. She loves to move and to dance. Then her whole face is spreading contagious joy. Also on the playground you can’t stop the seven-year-old. “Schwey schwey” (Arabic for “slow down”) are the words she probably hears the most!
Furthermore our girl is also helping us with cleaning and cooking and shows the great care of a big sister for the 16-month-old named Rahaf, a Syrian refugee from Jordan, who is currently also living with us at the Jerusalem guest house.
Shahad is accompanied by her aunt from Gaza. The aunt is doing ok. She is missing her family and is also a bit upset that she can’t be there for her family at the moment. But she is cooking awesome food for us and gets along quite well with others in our community. Please pray for her that she also receives joy for this service to her niece Shahad and for her help to Shahad’s family! Please also pray for the girl and her aunt that they are allowed to experience God’s love, life and grace in our Jerusalem guest house!
Today we were at the garden tomb and told them the gospel. May the seed grow strong!
Written by Adrienne
It started with a notebook, one that was hastily chosen in an airport bookstore and that was “full” of entirely too much white space…
…and a single, blue highlighter.
A bright-eyed, brown-skinned, beautiful little girl sat cross-legged on her hospital bed as I donned gown and gloves and peeked around the corner. Eyes brimming over with expectation greeted my own then began searching, scanning, patiently waiting for anything that I might have brought that could help her pass the long hours of her confinement.
“Lord, I’ve got nothin’,” I breathed inwardly. But just as He took the loaves and fishes and multiplied them beyond human understanding and expectation, He used a little notebook and a blue highlighter, multiplying their value in ways that only He can.
Her name is Shahad. I don’t speak her language, nor does she speak mine. We live half a world away from one another, our cultures are vastly different, and I know nothing of the challenges of a child with physical abnormalities of the heart.
But God DOES…
With a notebook, a highlighter, and through the whispers of His Spirit, He knit together two hearts from worlds apart.
Simple sketches turned into great works of art as small, creative hands repeatedly reached into her own bag of supplies and gleefully retrieved crayons, a marker, then some dazzling stickers.
We traced our hands side by side, one large and gloved, the other delicate and unprotected—one more aged that offers much guidance, and one that is waiting…waiting…waiting on guidance.
I suddenly received a glimpse of Father God’s strong hand next to my own.
Only HE could have designed such a time of delight and joy as we shared today. Only HE could take such simple tools and make a work of art into a work of heART.
I pray this is a picture that will remain in my memory until He forever takes my hand into His own.
Thank you, Father, and thank you, sweet Shahad.
“That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’smystery, that is, Christ Himself.” Colossians 2:2
PS Please pray for the doctors as they continue to monitor Shahad’s irregular heart patterns. They are planning a electrical ablation procedure by catheter which they hope may help her.
There is never a boring moment with Shahad. Her joy fills the room like the light from a candle – you can’t help but smile too. We had so much fun today at the hospital: blowing bubbles, making necklaces together and even decorating a glove. As I looked round the room at Shahad and her mother, both laughing at the glove, I felt the difference God’s presence makes. He was there in a beautiful way, bringing his joy and peace to all three of us.
Shahad’s special spark of creativity, her beaming bright smile, and patient spirit always leave me feeling humbled as I reluctantly say goodbye. Today I was especially touched by this, and reminded of the words of Jesus:
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” – Matthew 19:14.
Jesus places a high value on children – he welcomed them into his presence and spent time with them while on Earth. Shahad is teaching me a lot about the joy of the Lord; I see it in her smile, her laugh – in that excited look she gives me when I first walk into the room.
Please pray that God would continue working in the lives of Shahad and her mother. May they come to know him as the source of their hope and joy. May he continue to give them patience during their long stay in hospital.
When I came to the pediatric ward I didn’t know where I had to look for little Shahad. All I had was a guess that she might be in Room 7. So I started my search there. As I entered the room I was welcomed with a lovely wide smile from this little girl. A smile that was contagious, a smile that was brave and a smile that showed her beautiful heart at this young age. But it wasn’t only Shahad that welcomed me warmly, her mum gave me a very lovely hug as well. Even though the possibility of discharge was mentioned, Shahad has to stay a few days longer due to a new treatment. Little Shahad and her mum didn’t seem discouraged by that, it was quite the contrary because
both kept smiling at me. Shahad is such a beautiful and brave girl and I pray that she will someday get to know Jesus and his love for her. I was reminded of Isaiah 62:3:
“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”
My prayer is that little Shahad will encounter this worth that she has in God’s hand. That her beauty will not only shine from the outside but also through what is filling her on the inside which is God’s love for her. Please pray for a good response to the new medication and fast discharge.
Sheba hospital has a new beautiful patient and her name is Shahad. Shahad is a 6 year old girl from Gaza and had to stay for a night at our base in Jaffa. But on Tuesday morning we gave her a ride to the hospital, which wasn’t so easy because she felt very sick but she entered the hospital safely. Therefore she had an appointment for a pacemaker and needed to stay for the night. But that was no problem for our brave Shahad and she is still doing great.
Today we were blessed by Shahad’s beautiful smile. Even though she is very tired and they don’t know what the next step is for her, her joyful heart kept us smiling while she wore funny glasses. We talked about important things in life like whether she likes dogs or cats. It was so good to see how God is giving joy to her even in painful situations. He is great and caring for us all the time. Please pray that the doctors will make a decision about her staying or leaving soon.