A joyful and tearful farewell
Nearly two months after coming to Israel for his urgent surgery, Wasim and his joyful mother were finally cleared today to return to Gaza. Georgia and Alena were both on hand to wrap up their faithful ministry to this family, with Alena calling Wasim’s mother “my favorite lady ever.”
Wasim is looking much stronger than when we saw him taking his stroll outdoors nearly a week ago (see blog below). But this week doctors at Sheba wouldn’t let him go home until they made sure we had provided all the medicines he will need back in Gaza. Many phone calls and emails were exchanged; Wasim’s mother agreed with us today, this is a sign of how much they love him!
Wasim’s aunt left Gaza years ago to marry and live in Israel, and she was choking back tears today as she said her farewell to these relatives that she can otherwise never see:
We had good conversation on the drive back to the Gaza Strip checkpoint; we’ve agreed to keep in touch, and told the family we expect an invitation to Wasim’s wedding in one, or at most two years.
For now, goodbye Wasim and mother, we love you!
Friends, in the the blogs below you’ll see Wasim was between life and death following his difficult and lengthy heart surgery. So you’ll understand it was such a joy to find him today out walking in the sunshine outside the Sheba Medical Center!
Recovering, slow but sure
Today at Sheba Medical Center, I saw the bright smile of Wasim’s mum when she walked into the waiting area. Behind her sat Wasim in a wheelchair, being pushed by a nurse. I ran over to greet them. This was my first time meeting Wasim so I introduced myself. I showed him a picture of co-worker Georgia and said that we were both here for his surgery day. He answered with the usual Arabic courtesies which apply when first meeting someone. It was so good to finally meet him. He is still healing, so please continue to pray for this precious boy.
It’s always hard to see children recovering after surgery, particularly if it was as long and hard as his was. But with older children, like teenagers, it is really very hard, because they are so aware of everything going on. His mother remains positive and is so devoted to Wasim. We are so thankful for them and for the care he is getting at Sheba.
Jana, one of the German Shevet volunteers who is back in Germany, sent me a song to give Wasim and his mum. I recognized her Jana’s voice immediately as I heard it many times leading worship while she was serving here. She was singing the blessing from Numbers 6, and now I will always associate it with this dear family:
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
It has been some time since we have been allowed to visit Wasim’s mother due to the corona virus restrictions, although we have had the pleasure of seeing her for some brief moments in the hospital.
Thank God for continuing to give his mother a beautiful, generous and patient spirit during this difficult time.
We heard today that Wasim was back in the operating room, as the doctors found he required the placement of a pacemaker. Thankfully, this surgery was much more straight forward than the previous, although it must have brought back many memories for his mother. It was a joy to hear that after only a few hours, Wasim was back in the ICU, and beginning to recover.
Please continue to pray for Wasim and thank God that He is upholding his life.
Praise God that Wasim has been extubated, less than a week after his massive surgery. The staff at the hospital expect that his recovery will be fairly slow, however this is a really good step for him.
He doesn’t appear to be having seizures any longer, although his neurological state will continue to be monitored and, we must pray, will improve.
Thank God for his healing hand on Wasim so far!
Our precious Wasim remains stable with no significant change from the weekend. The staff at Sheba continue to care for him with excellence and his wonderful mother remains calm and strong.
I saw Wisam’s mother today at Sheba Medical Center. She was so happy to see co-worker Georgia and I, and it felt like seeing our sister. She spoke of his improvement as being little by little, under diffecult circumstances. I was struck by her joy in the midst of pain.
When we got home, and co-worker Amar asked if she was okay or not doing well. I could honestly answer yes, there was nothing in her countenance which denoted hopelessness or anger. Please keep praying for Wasim and his mother, our dear sister.
After 17 years, returning to Israel
Doctors in Gaza contacted us this week with an urgent appeal to rescue 17-year-old Wasim, who was in heart in the ICU in Gaza. Wasim had surgery in Israel as a baby, but was never followed up, and now the conduit placed long ago was far too small for his grown heart.
Our Gaza team pushed with all their strength to get Wasim to Israel and he arrived at the Sheba Medical Center Friday night, after the Sabbath had already arrived. And thank God, because Sunday the crossing from the Gaza Strip was closed by authorities there over fears of the coronavirus.