It was a great and exiting day yesterday for Maryam and her mom because it was their last day with the Shevet community in Jaffa. We had a farewell party, inviting the whole community to say goodbye in a proper way. While having cake, refreshments, and popcorn, we watched a Shevet-made DVD which depicted a poignant and chronological photo journey of Maryam and her mother Sara’s long but rewarding stay with us in Israel.
We‘re gratefully looking back on the process in which we really can see how God has done great things in both their lives. Sara started crying while seeing and realizing this work of God. We also had a time where a few of us said some words of affirmation and encouragement to Sara.
It was such a blessing to hear how the Lord has strengthened Sara through times of difficulties and struggles so that her faith has grown and her trust in him is bigger than before. She herself said that she always wanted to go home, but now when the time comes, she considered staying because it‘s so hard to leave.
Everyone was grateful for the help and love of each other and we‘ll miss each other. We sang a few songs to give thanks to God for his greatness and power, so praise the Lord for what he has done. After the farewell party, they had some time to pack their luggage and say goodbye. After waving to say goodbye the first time in the garage, then the second time outside and a third time at the next corner of the street, we finally drove to the airport and brought Maryam and her mom to the airport entrance.
Please continue praying that they‘ll arrive home and Mimi will remain in a healthy condition.
Maryam is so strong, she has endured three surgeries and three catheterizations in the last nine months. This morning she was taken to the catheterization lab of Sheba Medical Center, where she was playing while waiting for the procedure to start.
She has grown so much, and even seemed to be happy to be in the hospital at some times. Today in the cardiac catheterization, four different arteries were opened up with a balloon. Soon after the procedure, she was waking up and talking to us!
Please pray for her recovery. We are expecting her to return to the Shevet house soon. We hope that little Maryam and her mother Sara can be reunited with their family soon
For Maryam “Mimi” and her mother, it has been a long road. Today they felt that acutely as the realization of staying even longer for possibly two further catheterizations set in. It is a mix of emotions because Mimi is so much better than where she was before, but still there is more to go before the doctors are comfortable with discharging her, and this is so hard because both her mom and her are so tired.
Throughout their time in Israel, Mimi’s mother has remained so strong, brave, kind, and compassionate. I pray that God would work in Mimi’s body to accelerate her growth and healing and for her dear mother who has weathered so much, I pray that in the midst of these circumstances she is able to rest physically and mentally.
It’s been a beautiful time here at our Shevet home in Jaffa as we’ve seen a beautiful friendship growing between Maryam and her friend Leen from Gaza. Today I was blessed to spend some time with them and I loved seeing how they interact together.
Maryam is looking beautiful after her surgery only last week. We praise God for good oxygen levels which have also been an encouragement to her mother.
She continues to practice her role as doctor with our nurses here. She also loves playing hide and seek with her new friend.
We are thankful for this time with Maryam and her mother where we can give more one-on-one time as our number of families has now decreased.
Please pray for a good echo for Maryam on Sunday and for continued recovery for this precious girl.
Once again today, Maryam was discharged from Sheba hospital.
Some miracles comes in an instant, others takes place over time. As for me, I have seen the steady transformation in Maryam’s little body over time, and I give God all the glory.
Six months ago I saw Maryam for the first time, and it struck me how blue her skin was. It had a color that is common for children with these kinds of heart problems, but today when I met her in the hospital, a “Hallelujah” came spontaneously over my lips.
Her skin color was like that of a healthy child, and I couldn’t hear any strange sounds while she was breathing. Some time ago, approximately seven months, you could hear something when she breathed, but today I was told that her oxygen level is at 90 now, and it made me so happy.
She has gone through a lot of hardships, this precious little Maryam. But now I can see the positive results after all the struggle. When I looked into the eyes of her mother today, I was drowning in the joy and gratefulness that I saw them filled with, and once again the praise came over my lips, “Hallelujah!”
Thank you for keeping Maryam and her family back in Kurdistan in your prayers. She and her mother are eagerly waiting to go home to them.
Beautiful Maryam was unexpectedly called in for surgery at Sheba Medical Center tomorrow. The timing was impeccable because all of the families at Jaffa were about to load up in all three vans to go to the hospital for pre-flight Corona tests, and there was just enough space for Maryam and her mom to fit in the vehicles.
Maryam fell asleep in the car to blaring Kurdish dance music that was being played, and this was also a blessing because most times she gets car sick.
The admission process was very quick as the bed was waiting for her arrival. Please pray for Maryam and her mom. It is always difficult for a mom to endure the hours of waiting for any procedure, let alone a surgery, and Maryam’s mother has been through three catheterizations already for her daughter. Tomorrow will be Maryam’s third surgery.
We pray that she will be able to recover like she did the last time and quickly become her energetic, feisty self soon after. As one mother said a few weeks ago, children are more resilient than we think, and tend to surprise us.
Today, co-worker Debi and I went for the first time with little Maryam for an Echocardiogram. It was so much fun for Maryam and for me. Debi bought a nice toy that Maryam could distract herself with during the echo time. The toy turned the echo area into a disco as it flashed a few lights and played a cardiac rhythm. The first time that Maryam witnessed this toy she was laughing and enjoying it for a good length of time. In the end she was crying and we had to wait for a second echo with our disco toy but the second time Maryam enjoyed it.
Also today the doctors confirmed Maryam’s next surgery date as being this Sunday. She will be admitted on Saturday, please continue praying for Mimi and her mom, Sara. Sara is really worried about the next surgery and the potential surgeries in the future. She wants to hear that this one is the last one. With Maryam’s condition however, and according to the doctor, she will most likely need another surgery, probably as a teenager.
These two have walked a very long path since coming to Israel six months ago. Still, they are closer to the goal no matter how it may appear. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Maryam traveled to Sheba hospital for a check-up. In the car, Maryam asked if we could spend time in the hospital garden, to which we said yes.
The doctor was able to change a few medications and commented on how wonderful the catheterization procedure was for Maryam. Praise God for this news. Praise God for a fun day at the hospital, especially time in the garden.
We are now waiting for her next and hopefully final surgery. Please pray for peace and strength during this waiting time.
Beautiful Maryam was discharged from the hospital today! Her mother called us at the Jaffa house early this morning.
It was nice to see Maryam again, though she was asking to go home. She asked for a balloon, and we assured her that she would be receiving a balloon soon. We had a lovely time playing with balloons together.
Later while we were waiting for her report, she was even busy typing away working at the nurses station!
We hope Maryam will continue to grow and flourish as she waits for her next surgery.
When I arrived at Sheba Hospital, Maryam had just been taken into her catheter procedure. For Maryam and her mom, this was a big moment in the course of treatment because the results of the cath will tell when the next surgery for Maryam will be. Her mom was calm but eager to know everything was okay with her little daughter.
It wasn’t a long cath, just less than two hours and in that time they opened two arteries to aid blood flow and checked that her B.T. shunt was doing well. The doctors will discuss the findings of the cath together and decide on the best course of action for Maryam.
Her mom and I prayed together for God’s will to be done in Maryam’s life. He is our anchor when uncertainty threatens to overwhelm us. And on the oft repeated words of Maryam, “God saved me.”
Today we took Maryam and her mother Sara to Sheba hospital for her appointment admission. Her mother said she normally cries when she is there, but today she was smiling and laughing. She was even very helpful to the doctor. When the doctor mentioned she needed her pulse, Maryam held out her finger. When the doctor pulled out the blood pressure cuff, she put out her arm.
She did very well up until the echo. She struggled with the technician and finally cried, but all in all, she was a very brave little girl. After her echo she went for her xray. In between these (& other) procedures being done, Maryam’s mother Sara, Maryam and I had some time in between each. During these times, we walked the halls. Maryam’s smile captured the hearts of many. Children stopped to talk to her, people looked back just to smile at her and some just said hello. Her smile is quite contagious and captures your heart.
Sara and Maryam stayed in the hospital as Maryam will have a catheter done tomorrow. Once this is complete, they will know whether she will need the surgery now or in a year. So may we continue to pray for Maryam and her mother, as her mother is getting weary in the process. May our prayers carry her through this difficult period of waiting.
Today, a team brought Maryam (above left) to Sheba Medical Center for another echo. She is having echoes once a month leading up to her next cath which will measure her pulmonary circulation.
Her progress has been steady after two surgeries, she now waits for her third. Today’s echo results were good, she is gaining weight slowly, and is free now of the thickening agent which previously helped her to drink without risk of aspiration. She is also able to use her voice again, for which we are so thankful.
The day called for coffee and chocolate before we left the hospital as we had an hour’s drive back to the Shevet Guesthouse in Jerusalem where Maryam and her mother Sara are staying. The doxology played on my spotify as we drove the long and winding road to Jerusalem, and I thought of Mimi’s journey.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below, praise him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
He is the giver of every good gift, and seeing Maryam run around playing with the other children or hearing her speak where previously her vocal chords were damaged to the point where a whisper was laborious for her, is a picture of the words of the doxology. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Please continue to pray for Maryam and her mother who are patiently waiting through the good moments and the ones filled with anxiety.
It is a joy to see Maryam regain her voice and her strength. It always makes my heart happy to hear her voice call my name from her balcony, and then walk into my arms for an embrace. Mimi is incredibly intelligent and is so lovely. She loves the beach, and asks often to visit the beach.
Today she was dressed beautifully in a red dress for the hospital. When we left the house, she sweetly asked if we were going to the beach. Sara and I said that we could go to the beach later. When we started to approach the hospital, Maryam started to get more nervous. She often develops car sickness and vomits. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the hospital, her beautiful dress was soiled.
Maryam had a cardiology appointment at the hospital today. Her mother gently comforted Maryam throughout her echocardiogram. After playing with toys and being held by her mother, the doctors were finally able to perform the test. All the nurses and doctors love her. One very kind person even brought Maryam a gift, which was perfect for today — a new, beautiful pink dress. Praise God for his provision, and for a fresh change of clothes. Maryam later explored the hospital and smiled beautifully for this photo below.
Praise God for her smile.
The cardiologists would like Maryam to stay in Israel for the next three months, for Maryam to regain strength and for her pulmonary arteries to grow in order for the surgeons to completely repair her complex heart.
Praise God for her mother’s sacrificial heart. On the way back to the house, Sara mentioned that she was willing to wait for however long it was needed for Maryam to be well. She truly loves Maryam and hopes for Maryam to flourish.
Maryam will have another check-up in 3 weeks. Please pray for Maryam to gain weight, strength, and joy. We hope that both Maryam and Sara will feel loved and welcomed here. Please pray for a peace especially for Sara as she continues to be away from her husband and family; that she would have a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Today Mimi had a very hopeful Pulmonology appointment. I say hopeful because the doctor has said since she isn’t aspirating and is without auxiliary oxygen, she does not need to have a bronchoscopy. She hopes that in six to twelve months that the stridor and damage to her vocal chords will heal naturally, but what she needs is time.
So the Pulmonologist will see Mimi when she comes for her echo in two weeks, which will also provide more information the future surgery Mimi will have. Whenever that takes place however, her respiratory problems won’t inhibit her next operation.
For Mimi, although she gets very anxious at the hospital, everyone really loves her. The doctor who knew her from when she was first hospitalized, when he saw her, took Mimi in her arms and sat with her as she also provided Mimi crayons to color with.
It is a blessing to work with such caring and devoted doctors who make our kids feel loved. Please continue to pray for Mimi. We can see improvements even so soon after her discharge, so thank God for this evidence that she is getting better.
Maryam has returned to the Jaffa Center! All the families warmly welcomed them home. Maryam was reunited with many of her friends, and it was so lovely to see them playing together.
Please pray for Maryam and Sara to rest while they are here. We hope that Maryam will regain her strength. I always think of Maryam and Sara when I read Isaiah 40:29-31:
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Maryam will have appointments in a week to check her lungs and her vocal cords. The doctors then will decide if a bronchoscopy is necessary for Maryam. Praise God that from a cardiac standpoint, her condition is well. Some of the anatomy of Maryam’s heart will need to grow prior to her next surgery, and we hope she is also able to grow strong in preparation for that as well.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Maryam walking around outside the general pediatric unit. She slowly walked up to me and asked for a hug. It was so sweet to hold her, but also so sad to be able to feel her spine. She has lost more weight due to an increase of a medication that helps her reduce any excess fluid around her lungs.
Through the multiple procedures, she has still maintained her sweet personality. Maryam brings a smile to everyone she meets. She still loves playing with stickers, pulling identification cards from their badge reels (see this video of Ruth and Maryam), and exploring new places.
We hope that she will maintain her personality, even with the upcoming bronchoscopy. The doctors would like her to have one, but the time has not been scheduled yet.
Please continue to pray for Maryam and Sara as they continue their journey in the hospital.
This morning, I saw a very different Maryam to my last visit. She is obviously exhausted from the long hospital stay, having a test or procedure almost everyday. Following yesterday’s catheterisation, Sara, Maryam’s mum, explained Maryam’s fear of medical staff had returned. Although slightly better, her voice was still weak and her oxygen levels still low. My heart heavy with this news, I quickly messaged our staff Whats App group and asked if I could pray for “Mimi,” asking God to take away her fear and fill her with his peace.
Later in the day at Sheba Hospital, as I was visiting Mohaned, a baby from Gaza, Sara arrived to talk to his Grandmother and found me there. A huge smile on her face, Sara explained that since my visit, the doctors had taken Maryam off oxygen support and her levels were already much better, she had even eaten some chips!
I couldn’t believe my ears – I was almost speechless. Was it possible that she was talking about the same child I had seen so frightened that morning? God is truly at work in the life of this special girl. I am so thankful for the way he continues to answer our prayers.
Mimi’s (Maryam’s) mother and I remembered the words which one of the cardiologists had said to her during her first days here: that she will have a long journey ahead of her. Today, Maryam was in her fourth major intervention, a catheterisation. The doctors had told Mimi’s mother that they needed to find out why her oxygen was dropping so low, and whether or not she was ready for the next surgery. They are hoping it can be soon.
Mimi’s lovely mum had so much peace today during the time of waiting for the cath, and she reflected that it must be God who is giving her strength for all of this. Mimi was safely out of the cath after two and a half hours, and later this afternoon was awake again.
As she recovers over these next few days, we hope that the doctors will be able to use the information they found out today in the cath to decide together whether Mimi is ready for another surgery.
It was so lovely to see Maryam today again. She loves stickers, and loves to name the colors of the stickers.
Maryam had a blood test and chest x-ray performed today. The chest x-ray results were worse than her last x-ray, and they have switched the form of one of her medications so it can act faster. During Maryam’s blood test, her oxygen dropped dangerously low. We hope that the doctors are able to perform a catheterization for Maryam, so that they can learn more about what is causing her low oxygen levels and to improve this situation. Please continue to pray for Maryam and her mother as they wait for improvement.
How can I describe Maryam (or Mimi as we call her)? She’s such a unique girl, so beautiful and creative and just bursting with life. As Shevet Head Nurse Colin and I stood by her bed, playing with stickers and chatting with Mimi’s mum, there was so much joy and laughter in the room. Even Mimi seemed to forget the tubes and monitors around her.
Even though she looks much butter, Mimi still has a long way to go. The plan is for her to have a CT scan tomorrow. After this, doctors will be able to decide if they can do a complete repair of her heart and start to plan the next steps of her treatment. She’s still on Oxygen support at the moment.
Please keep praying for God’s peace to surround Mimi and her mother, Sara. It is amazing to see everything he has already done in their lives. Sara explained today that Mimi loves the doctors and nurses; they all enjoy playing with her. Mimi used to be really afraid of all the medical staff; it’s amazing to see this fear completely turned around and to see her looking so calm and happy.
Maryam’s beautiful mum stood by her bedside today in the hospital and explained to me that Maryam’s oxygen levels are better than when she came into hospital, but still low. She has a nasal canula for oxygen support, which the mum is able to adjust depending on the saturation. It is much worse when Maryanm cries. Her breathing patterns are still quite unusual, and it was sad for her mum to think about the long journey of healing for her little Mimi.
Today she was due to have an x-ray and also to see the ENT doctor, to hopefully get a clearer picture of Mimi’s condition. It could be that she is aspirating when she drinks, and having the fluid go into her lungs. Whatever the doctors find out from their assessments, Maryam’s situation is difficult and upsetting for her mum. Please pray for them both during this time in the hospital.
It was a joy to welcome Maryam to our home in Jaffa. Her mother often said how Maryam would ask her if she could finally return “home”, to return to her new brothers and sisters. She fondly recalled each of the children’s names. The families here also welcomed them home with open arms.
She was only at the home for one night. The next morning, her mother called and was worried about Maryam. I found Maryam cradled in Sara’s arms, exhibiting signs of difficulty breathing. With her history of respiratory complications after her second surgery, we brought her to the hospital for a further assessment.
The cardiologists received her with care and wanted to perform additional tests on Maryam. She was first admitted to the respiratory emergency department. She needed to first pass her coronavirus test prior to being admitted to the cardiac unit, but also needed to receive care during the waiting period for the test results. During this waiting time they were able to perform more diagnostic tests and to give her oxygen support. Her X-ray was worse than the previous day, and the doctors were able to give her additional medication to help remove any excess fluid.
Maryam was so afraid of the nurses and doctors, which only worsened her symptoms. Sara was so brave in comforting Maryam. She was scared, tired, and confused as to why Maryam was in this condition. Yet she brought all these concerns to God.
We were isolated in a room together for around 8 hours. In this waiting time, we prayed together, laughed together, and cried together. Sara shared about her hospital experience, and how Maryam still had a long journey in her road towards healing. Maryam will need more exams and more intervention procedures including another surgery. We were both comforted in knowing that God was walking with Maryam, every step of the way. Sara shared her trust in knowing that God is holding Maryam in His hands. He is not only with her now, but will be faithful and steadfast for the rest of her life.
Maryam was finally transferred to the intensive care unit, where they could perform more tests and monitor her. Please continue to pray for Maryam and her family as they continue in this long journey.
Our beautiful Maryam was welcomed back to the Jaffa base this afternoon! She is quite different to her pre-surgery self. Part of that is due to the damage her vocal chords sustained during intubation so she cannot speak above a whisper.
Maryam’s mum, Sara, was very happy to come back home. We’ve really missed them both! Sara is always helping others so having her in our community is a continuous blessing. Even today, at the hospital, as we waited for co-worker Marcus to come pick us up with the car, Sara found some time to spare for giving comfort and encouragement to another mother in the waiting area whose child was in surgery.
We got to the Jaffa base just in time to see a few of the other families returning from the shops with sweets for after Ramadan! Thank God for bringing Maryam through two surgeries in one week and through recovery. We pray that her vocal chords heal up completely and that she can return to her inquisitive, vibrant self, once more.
We have heard from Maryam’s mother that the days following the second surgery were more difficult than the first. Miryam’s oxygen levels were quite low, and she needed a very high amount of oxygen through the nasal cannula, physiotherapy and suctioning to help improve her condition. Thank God it seems like today brought better news, as Maryam is on a slightly lower volume of oxygen, and has been moved to the ‘step down’ side of the ICU. Her mum asked us to bring a pushchair, so that Maryam can be brought out of her room. Please continue to pray for Maryam and her lovely mum, to be strong in the Lord at this time!
Maryam had her second surgery today. It was like a repeat of the first surgery, but on the other side of the body. As a part of Maryam’s condition, she has some extra blood vessels which have developed through which blood flows to the lungs, as her heart is not formed in a way which allows the blood to flow in a typical way, including to and from the lungs.
Maryam or “Mimi” has been on this multi-step journey to address this, and the idea in these two surgeries is to group together these extra blood vessels, and reroute them. Already the mother noticed an improvement in Maryam’s oxygen saturation levels after the first surgery, and so she was hopeful that after this surgery there might be even more improvement. Still, this is not the end of the journey for little Mimi.
Today, Sara (Mimi’s mum) and I reflected on her previous worried feelings that she wouldn’t be able to come to Israel, worried for Mimi having a CT scan, and a catheterisation, and surgery, and another surgery – yet by the power of God, she has coped with added strength and peace in all of these difficult times of waiting for her daughter. Where does the strength come from? Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…
The surgery today took about 4 hours, which is longer than the last one. The surgeon told us that the result was very good, and that they hope to make a catheterisation for her next week. The reason will be to assess the condition of her anatomy. It’s likely that she will need another surgery after this, but perhaps not for another few years! We need to wait and see after the cath.
“Another cath! So soon! And then surgery!,” exclaimed Sara. It feels like this journey is a river, which flows freely with Maryam being taken along without a worry at all, and that Sara is to also jump into the river and be carried by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit during these times; she must rely only on God.
Thank Him for a lovely day together, and for the good news of another successful surgery for sweet Mimi.
Maryam is in a good condition following her surgery last week. She is alert and moving about nicely in her bed, giving the doctor a wave and a thumbs up.
She has been approved for another surgery tomorrow morning, and the purpose of this is to address some blood vessels – the same surgery as last week, but on the other side of her body. Still, this will not be her last surgery. After some time, the doctors will decide on how to approach an operation on her heart. Her condition is certainly quite complex, and God is giving her mum the strength to endure these days in the hospital.
Please pray for Maryam or “Mimi’s” protection, as she heads into surgery again tomorrow.
I heard Maryam before I saw her today; she was in her bed as her mum and two nurses wheeled it down the hall into the operating room. She was crying hard and as she went into the anesthesia room, she continued to cry inconsolably. Maryam was very aware of her surroundings, I think she recognized the room from when she had her cath and understood, something abnormal was about to happen. Her mum stayed strong, trying to calm her as she signed the papers for the surgery. The anesthesiologist put the sedation in her cannula and soon the room was very quiet. One of the doctors gathered Maryam in his arms after her mother said goodbye and walked through the doors into the operating room.
There is much to write about the hours that followed; the faith of Maryam’s mum is what stood out the most. When we sat down in the waiting area she immediately asked if we could pray. She in Arabic and me in English. We then looked at pictures of baby Maryam or ‘Mimi’ and her family back in Kurdistan. We shared parts of the bible. At one point, one of the women who cleans in and around the cardiac unit, offered to bring us coffee which we gratefully accepted. There is a common bond I find with people who love coffee, and Maryam’s mum, Sara, said this was something she and her family did every day: drink coffee together. We both agreed that Jesus probably drank coffee, even though there is no biblical evidence for it. We can ask him when we are in heaven together, and heaven will most definitely have coffee.
Our Shevet head nurse Colin, who was Mimi’s medical escort from Kurdistan, wrote a note for them. She quotes Isaiah 41, ” I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Much of the wait was spent in the echo area with other Shevet families such as Adam, Imdad, and Khonav. This was very good because Maryam’s mum was constantly with others who’ve gone through the same agonizing wait. She could talk with them and though her mind was always on her daughter, having the other families provided welcome support. Intermittently she would be on the phone or sit for a moment with her hands clasped and her head bowed, in silent prayer.
After four hours, the surgeon came out to say that the surgery was good, and they will watch her in these next one to two days, because she will possibly need a second follow up surgery to this one, where they would connect her pulmonary arteries. At this news her mum was initially dismayed and fearful. It is daunting giving your child over to surgery no matter how brilliant the doctors, but over the next hour as Mimi was brought out of the OR and stabilized in her room, Sara began to feel peace about this and the future.
Please pray that little Mimi’s heart stays strong and responds to the surgery well. Please also pray for her sweet mum Sara who wants to see her daughter healed. As we talked in the waiting area, I said how amazing it is that in our Christian faith, God knows what it is to give His most precious Son over and experience death, but in doing so gave us life. So when we say God is with us, it isn’t just for sentiment sake. He gave up heaven to have our hearts. He is with us and for us. Amen.
Maryam went to Sheba Medical Center looking like Cinderella in a blue and white dress. This afternoon the hospital called to say please bring Maryam for surgery tomorrow, so there was a rush for Maryam’s mum, Sara, to pack and get herself and Maryam ready. The other families, most of whom have been through surgery now and know well how it feels, all helped Sara to get everything together that she’ll need for this time: sugar, tea, bread, biscuits, and a random role of paper toweling, were among the items the other mother’s packed for her.
Sara has been anticipating this day for a long time. Her daughter Maryam, or “Mimi,” does not like the hospital. As we waited for the room to be ready, Mimi was her normal self: pacing up and down the hallway or watching YouTube videos. At one point, Mimi saw another waiting mom at the hospital go off to pray, so Mimi also, right there in the hallway, knelt down, pressed her hands together in front of her face, and started praying too.
As we walked the halls, her mum told me that Mimi often says, “God will make a surgery of my heart” and in bringing them here he has done that. Tomorrow He will be with them and with the surgeons in the operating room. But it also amazed me that in that one sentence, this little two year old basically analogized the Gospel: it’s God doing heart surgery on us.
When the hospital room was ready, we went up to the sixth floor. Immediately Maryam began to have a catastrophic melt down, even though she did not yet have to face the cannula. The rooms, the tests, the doctors all scare her, and only her mother can bring her some semblance of peace. She cried so much that when the nurse left, she fell asleep. She drifted into sleep gazing up at her mother’s face and stroking her cheek. Sara and I prayed together afterwards for the surgery and the future, for the fear, and for full healing. In the words of Mimi, ‘God will make a surgery on my heart,’ and if He is for us, who can be against us?
Maryam’s mother, Sara, contacted me quite early on in the day, sure that she would be discharged. We talked at the hospital as Maryam happily ran around playing. Sara expressed how worried she is as she has been told that Maryam would need more surgeries and catheterisations as she grows older. She cried as she spoke about how difficult she found this. But there is a comfort that she can know deeply inside her heart, and that is that she is not alone in these difficult times.
The doctors will discuss their findings from the catheterisation, CT scan and other assessments, and create a surgery plan for Maryam. In the meantime all the other families welcomed Maryam and her mum back home to the Shevet house in Jaffa.
Beautiful Maryam, or ‘Mimi’ as we’ve come to call her, had her diagnostic catheterization today at Sheba Medical Center.
While she was in her catheterization, I began talking with Maryam’s mother. I was reminded of the photo of her holding a painting she did with the words, “If God is for us, who can be against us.”
She is such a loving mother, and so strong. She is my age and she carries so much. She is a wellspring of courage and fortitude. We prayed together for Mimi and at the end she made the cross symbol from her forehead to her chest and across her shoulders, representing the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I told her I think it is a really beautiful physical expression of the cross and I love doing this after taking communion. From there we talked about our churches and about God. ‘The Father is always working,’ she told me.
Once again I was profoundly moved by this young woman’s faith. I think of the sermon on the mount when Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ The mother of Maryam has a beautiful and pure heart. She may be counted among that them that will see Him.
The cath ended after an hour and a half, and her mother was so happy to see Mimi again, who was already waking up when they brought her out! The cath went well and the doctors will discuss possible treatment options based on the diagnostic information they gathered today. Please pray for Maryam and her mother, that in this time they would grow deeper in knowing the love of God through Jesus.
Beautiful Maryam was admitted to Sheba Medical Center today! She had a CT scan and will stay over night for her catheterization tomorrow.
She is very bright. She knows she only travels in the car when her destination is the hospital, so she understood where we were immediately. As she wept, her mum was the best comforter, always steady and calm for Maryam.
When we got to the hospital, she immediately went to their children’s play area. As she explored, I remarked to her mum that she is very intelligent, to which her mum replied, she knows she is!
After this, Maryam asked her mom for a purple balloon, which she dutifully received, and then grasped as we walked to her room in the secondary ICU. The nurses were so welcoming and kind to her. Two of them were Arabic-speaking and could communicate with her mother.
We said goodbye to each other before I left both of them! They are in such good care at Sheba hospital. Please pray for Maryam and her sweet mum!
Sweetie Mimi had a blood test today, necessary before her CT scan next week. She is always a happy and content little soul, and it was just a few minutes of distress for her, having that blood test. She shouted the names of some of her new friends here in Israel “Imdad!!” “Ramyar!!” as a few tears rolled down her face, trying her best to let us all know that she was upset about the blood test.
And shortly afterwards, she forgot all about it, and enjoyed herself playing on the train and looking at YouTube videos. We waited for another Kurdish child’s echo to finish and Maryam enjoyed a gift of a very nice piece of baklava to sweeten the day.
For our new Kurdish princess, the first assessment was scheduled today. She hadn’t expected it when her mom woke her up in the morning. I think she sensed that something different was happening today be- cause she cried all of the way to Sheba Medical Center. She was so excited and scared that she ‘cast up her accounts’ in the car ride there.
But when we arrived, we were able to distract her with playing and the fear was gone. Thank you God, for calming her down! She mastered her first tests brilliantly. At first she will need a CT or a catheterization. The doctors are discussing about this and we will wait for the next appointment.
Another new kid is on the block! Today, from Kurdistan, two year old Maryam, together with her mother, arrived at Gen Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. They are members of a Christian refugee family.
Maryam has a complex congenital heart disease and needed extra oxygen during her flight here because of her low oxygen rate. After the landing she was very tired and slept until the arrival to our Shevet house. Her condition is stable now and we are looking forward to the helpful treatment she will receive at Sheba Medical Center.
She isn’t shy or cautious and started immediately to connect with the other kids. Her mum is very kind and I am so happy that she can speak a little bit of English so that I can also communicate with her.
The name “Maryam” means something like “The beloved.” We hope and pray that she feels beloved during the time at Shevet Achim and that she will get to know the unfailing love of our heavenly father. Her first assessment is scheduled for the first of March.