Delbak's Heart Surgery


Joyous Delbak Homeward Bound

Posted on Sun, 04/05/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel
Delbak's journey to Israel came to an end over the weekend as we crossed the border to Jordan on Friday and delivered a joyous Delbak and her mother to the airport Saturday morning. The last few days were an encouraging time together with them. The families all came and asked to visit the Garden Tomb together, so on Thursday afternoon we walked over together and explained from the Biblical story, in Kurdish, about the resurrection of Jesus. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful garden there and were clearly giving deep thought to what they heard and saw.

Our travel on Friday was smooth and uneventful at both border crossings, but because we'd come from Israel one of the checkpoint policemen in Jordan asked us to pull over. He checked the car for just a few minutes and let us go, and the taxi driver told me he'd stopped us because this policeman was from Syria. Clearly he did not have an open heart towards his neighboring country.

Upon arrival at the apartment in Amman we made a Skype call on the computer so Delbak could talk to her father and let him know when to meet them at the airport the next day. We even convinced Delbak's mother to try the headset, and she was delighted to speak with her husband, discussing when they'd be home the next day. Saturday morning on the way to the airport our taxi broke down, and Delbak and her mother were beginning to fret when we had to wait for the back-up taxi to arrive. But we'd left in plenty of time with our regular driver, and I knew he would be sure we got there on time. His co-worker, another driver who helps us regularly, came quickly and we arrived in time for the flight. I was able to introduce Delbak and her mother to a gentleman on the same flight who was willing to help them get through passport control. That was a blessing for all as Um Delback was nervous since she speaks only Kurdish. It was a sweet parting as they returned joyfully to their family knowing that Delbak will not need surgery. Please pray for Delbak and her mother to have a revelation through their visit here of the fullness and goodness of God and His love for them. We all agreed that if we ever met in Kurdistan we would rejoice together over our friendship.

Delbak Does Not Need Surgery!

Posted on Sun, 03/29/2009 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel


We've just come down to the office after a celebration tonight for Delbak because of the news we received when she had her echocardiogram today. Praise God, surgery is not needed for her!! What a wonderful ending to a very long day for Delbak and her mother while decisions were made about whether to treat her in the children's or the adults' cardiac surgical department.

At the age of 23 years, she is not a child, but she was accepted into the children's surgical program, and ultimately that is where we began the admissions process late this afternoon. After a thorough echocardiogram examination, the doctor informed me that he could see no reason for Delbak to need any intervention at all, but he wanted to speak with Dr. Birk, the head of the department. She came within minutes, reviewed the echo, and told us that Delbak did not need any treatment at all - not even medication!

Delbak had a catheterization done in Baghdad five years ago which opened a narrowed pulmonary vessel, and at that time it was thought that she needed major surgery because of severe pulmonary hypertension. Today's results showed that Delbak has no narrowing of the vessel, and only mild pulmonary hypertension needing no treatment at all. I began to translate into broken Arabic to a very anxious Delbak while her mother called Um ("mother of") Rasan for translation, and Delbak immediately began crying tears of joy, and hugging her mother and me. As I told Um Rasan all the news and she told Um Delbak, there were more tears and hugs.

When Um Delbak handed the phone back to me, we shared a unanimous opinion: Delbak didn't need anything more for her heart except a party to celebrate the good news! Our staff made sure a cake was waiting this evening so we could gather after dinner and enjoy this good news together, complete with Kurdish music and dancing.

Besides the privilege of seeing Delbak and her mother receive this joyous news, which Delbak said made her feel like she was in a dream, it was a blessing to see her give the news by phone to her father in Iraq. Throughout the afternoon she would just break into laughter as it sunk in that her future was restored to her. I thought almost immediately of the reality for her of knowing she would be a mother, as she obviously loves children, and they love her. One of the things we did to pass the time this afternoon was look at some pictures of my grandchildren, and Um Delbak raised her hand to heaven and said, God willing, she too would have grandchildren. All of the family must feel that they have had a hope and a future given them this day through this news.

It is my hope that God's purpose for Delbak's visit to us will be fulfilled in the limited days we have left to spend together. She is a precious young woman, delightful to have around even when she was anticipating the difficult reality of heart surgery. It will be fun to spend the coming days sharing everything in our hearts before we send her back to her home and family in Iraq. Please join us in thanking God for His provision of healing for Delbak. Pray that every plan God intends to complete in her life will be carried through while she and her mother are here, for His glory to be made known.

Happy to Finally Reach Israel

Posted on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

23-year-old Delbak (pictured at right next to her mother) reached Jerusalem tonight after a 13-hour journey from Jordan, the last two hours traveling through a driving rain. You can understand how appreciated it was to find a beautiful welcome meal waiting prepared by Donna.


Delbak was always ready with a smile throughout the day, and especially beamed when Israel came into view. Her cheerfulness didn't flag even when security personnel at the Israeli border crossing singled her out for some reason for scrupulous inspection of all her belongings. Thank you for praying with us that the hopes and dreams of this young woman will come closer to fulfillment through her time with us here.