Barzan's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Farewell To Our Redheaded Friend

Posted on Fri, 03/26/2010 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

Last night was one of the sweetest farewells we've experienced. At least 35 people turned out for Barzan's goodbye party. Justina said he was so excited as he ran about helping her set the dinner tables (instead of undoing her work as he normally would do). After a mass parade to downtown Jerusalem for ice cream, we regathered in the Shevet House for worship, dancing, and a retelling of the story of the prodigal son who "once was dead, and now is alive again." 

The sense of God's love in the room was palpable and every heart was open. The next morning we blessed Barzan and his future as they set off together on the long drive to Jordan, so they could catch a flight back to northern Iraq.
Two things stand out in my mind from the drive in the car: turning around and seeing Barzan's mother weeping as she left behind all her new friends in Jerusalem; and later hearing Barzan sing along word-for-word over my shoulder as we listened to a Kurdish worship CD. Looking forward to the day we'll sing a new song together before the throne.

Sending Barzan Home With Their Blessing

Posted on Sun, 03/21/2010 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

Barzan had his final echo today and his doctor was amazed at how well he was doing. She even used the word excellent.

He is on no medications and the incision is healing amazingly quicker then anyone would imagine. You can hardly see it. He was so full of energy all day and really kept us entertained through a long day at two hospitals.

Barzan will be going back to Iraq as soon as it can be arranged. His mother is really happy too because she has a six-month-old baby waiting for her. We have a Kurdish worship C.D. for the families and Barzan loves to sing these songs. Please pray that the Lord's blessings will continue to go with them and that they will not forget what all He has done for them and the words of these songs will remain in their hearts and spirits.

Reasons to Celebrate

Posted on Sun, 02/28/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_West

Today's trip to Schneider Children's Hospital with our friend Veronika was a celebration from the time we entered the building. It began as a celebration of the Purim holiday, with small gifts, lots of noise and costumes and sweets being lavished on everyone in sight. What a fun time even in a hospital!

It has only been 12 days since Barzan's surgery and this echo appointment was met with great anticipation. To Barzan and his mother a good report is a quicker return to Iraq and family, where a four-month-old baby is waiting for his mother. So Barzan's mother had another reason to celebrate when she heard the "thumbs up, everything looks great" report for her son.

Immediately the next question was, "IRAQ?????" But not quite yet. Barzan's doctor wants to continue to follow his improvement for three more weeks just to be sure no fluid builds up around his heart or complications develop before sending him home with a clean bill of health. Please pray for continued improvement for Barzan and that God will fill his mother with peace for her baby's well being at home.

Barzan Leaves the Hospital Five Days After Surgery

Posted on Sun, 02/21/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Open heart surgery on February 16th and discharged on February 21st with no medications! The healings we are seeing and the remarkable recoveries appear almost as if Jesus "speaks the word only" and they are healed. Only six days after being admitted into a hospital where no one spoke their language, Barzan and his mother had made friends with at least five other women and their children who would not allow them to leave without hugs and warm wishes and bags full of gifts.

No matter what language the words were in, the actions were a universal language of human compassion and connection. As we drove through the congested and brightly lit streets of Tel Aviv, my passengers looked as though they were passing through a different world and they wanted to know what everything was called. Oh for an interpreter at that time! It would have been to both our delights. Barzan is due to return next Sunday for a follow up appointment and echo. Please pray the good work God has started in this young boy will continue to completion.

Barzan Eating and His Mother Smiling

Posted on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

I really had a wonderful surprise when I went to see Barzan today. They had removed all the tubes and oxygen except for a few small tubes around his neck. He was sleeping when I first saw him and when he did wake up he was telling his mother something and crying a little. We found out that he was telling her he was hungry!

As soon as we told the nurse she brought a tray to him and he ate all the meat on his tray and everything else except the vegetables. He looked so good and as I was taking his picture with his mother feeding him I thought to myself,"Now if I could only see his mother smile." As I was thinking this she turned her head toward me and she had the biggest smile I'd ever seen on her.

We had gotten him some lolly pops and he was eating them and drinking water and juice. This was the first time I'd seen his mother smile since his surgery. She had been real somber and cried most of the time. God is so good! He saw her tears and He answered this mother's prayers. After he had eaten and was awake for awhile he went back to sleep.

We went outside and walked around for awhile, and before I left Barzan woke up and his mother asked me to take a few more pictures, and as I did she raised her hands and was thanking God.

This turned out to be a beautiful day. When I left she told me she loved me and I told her I loved her too. Barzan thanked me with his eyes and nodded his head. The doctors told me he might be out of ICU tomorrow. Thank you so much for your prayers, you'll never know how much they accomplish. It says in the Bible, "The prayers of a righteous man availeth much."

Barzan Stable After Open-Heart Surgery

Posted on Tue, 02/16/2010 - 00:00 by Mary_Dailey

Barzan's surgery started at 8:00 this morning. We arrived at the hospital around 9:30 and when I walked in her room Barzan's mother was praying; when she saw me she started crying and I went right to her. She was very nervous and most of the time she wanted to stay in the room. I did get her to go outside for awhile and also got her to eat something. She was very sober and cried a lot until the surgery was over at around 2:00 p.m. and we were allowed to see Barzan in the ICU (pictured above).

I asked one of the doctors how the surgery went, and she said that Barzan is stable, and if all went well they would remove the breathing tube tomorrow. I stayed until 3:30 and noticed that Barzan started moving his arms even while he was still sedated. One of the medical staff said that meant Barzan was just slowly waking up.

Please continue praying for him that all goes well and pray that the Lord will give his mother peace, that peace that surpasses all understanding.

Barzan Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Mon, 02/15/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_West

Monday morning's admission to the Schneider Children's Medical Center was met as a new adventure for seven-year-old Barzan. It's hard to watch this mischievous little boy and keep in mind that his heart is in need of immediate and complicated surgery. Barzan met each part of the admission process with readiness, cooperation, curiosity and anticipation.

His playfulness and curiousness was enhanced by two very entertaining clowns that broke the language barrier even for Barzan's mother.

Our driver Vincent was able to coordinate several individuals to interpret from Hebrew to Arabic and Arabic to Kurdish for Barzan's mother. Tomorrow morning Barzan will walk down to surgery with his mother and this will be a long day of waiting to hear a successful report. Please keep them in your prayers.

First-ever Glimpse of the Sea

Posted on Wed, 02/10/2010 - 00:00 by Michelle_Bradburn

Barzan is now scheduled for surgery next Tuesday, so we wanted to take him to see the beauty of the sea beforehand. Most of the families who come from Iraq have never seen it before, and how wonderful it is to watch their faces light up when they see the hugeness of it for the first time!

I was so happy that Barzan's buddy Ahmed was also able to come along, as they have such fun together. Although everyone was enthralled, these two boys were definitely the most excited. Even while we were still driving they could hardly stay in their seats, leaning forward as much as they could just to get a glimpse of the sea. Once we hit the sand they headed straight for water, not even taking their shoes off before stepping into the water.

The sun was shining brightly on the sea, but their faces glowed even brighter with pure joy as they raced back and fourth from the waves to the sand. They skipped along the beach and showed me the shells they found, grinning as if they had found pure gold!

Apparently Ahmed and Barzan also have great artistic talent, and showed if off by taking great delight in building sand castles and even carving beautiful pictures in the sand.

It was a lovely day for all, and I'm so thankful for the chance these families had to see the sea, perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity for them. Something about the bigness and beauty of it helps us to look beyond ourselves, to remember how small we are. I pray that God would use this day and its sweet memories to lift the eyes of these dear women and children to his mercy. That amidst the fear and difficulties they face they would see that God's love is so much bigger, that he knows their fears, hears their cries, and he is the giver of all life.

Pray also for Barzan's surgery Tuesday morning. I thank God for the joy in this little boy's heart, and I pray that he and his mother would find great peace in God's love while they await this surgury, and that even before the surgery God would be strengthening his heart more and more with each new day.

The Greatest of These is Love

Posted on Thu, 02/04/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Barzan is soaking in all the new sights and experiences as he awaits his surgery next week. At tonight's homegoing party for three of the older Iraqi children he held a New Testament in his own language for the first time, and carefully followed along with his two friends Ahmed and Ahmed as Sawsan read from 1 Corinthians 13:

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Barzan To Surgery Next Week

Posted on Tue, 02/02/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Barzan is a lively seven year old who never sits still. He smiled and laughed at his friend as he watched Ahmed's wrists and ankles clamped to electrodes for the ECG and he was quite ready and willing to be next as his soon as it was his turn. When it came time for the boys to have their echocardiograms, Barzan was delight to get to go first this time. As the team of doctors at Schneider Children's Hospital gathered around him to discuss Barzan's pending surgery, his mother became quite frightened. She really hadn't seen such a large team of doctors work together before. Not being able to understand their language made her son's situation appear to be an emergency. It was a while before we were able to help her understand that although surgery for Barzan would be scheduled next week, he was still the same energetic boy she arrived with. Barzan helped her remember as he played and romped on the metal sculptures on the grounds as we went to visit the nearby McDonalds for their first Happy Meal.

Please be praying for an uncomplicated recovery for Barzan. He has had quite a bit of hospital experience due to an accident several years ago, and a large family that anxiously awaits his safe return.