Donya 's Heart Surgery


Donya Leaves Israel With A New Heart

Posted on Sun, 02/08/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel


We gathered Wednesday morning with the families leaving for home, and shared both the joy and the tears which accompany the prayers offered as we sent them on their way back to their families.

The bonds formed with these women and children are a strong witness of the power of God's love as we live life together through the intense events which give the children new hearts.

Once on our way through the mountains around Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea, we made a brief stop for one last camel picture.

Donya didn't seem to be very impressed, and thankfully wasn't fearful of the big animal under her. She fell asleep as we rode through the Jordan Valley, and after being awakened while our van and luggage was searched on our way to the border, sat happily in her car seat the rest of the journey.

Because we had the crossing terminal almost to ourselves, our passport processing went quickly, and we found the bus waiting for us once we arrived at the bus stop. With more tears and hugs we bade each other farewell from the steps of the bus, and they said goodbye to Israel and hello to Jordan. They were happy to know that Dirk would be at the Jordan terminal to greet them, and host them until they flew home a few days later.

Keep praying for little Donya as her body grows into the strength she has now with her new heart. Those of us at the house have already noticed that she'd become stronger and her personality is blooming before our eyes. One thing I noticed is that she was laughing out loud a lot rather than just grinning at us. What a joy it is to experience such changes - it is only the love of God which could arrange for a tiny Iraqi girl to have life-saving heart surgery in the land of her supposed enemies, and for the Jewish doctors here offer the surgery because of their sincere desire to love their neighbors as they love themselves. All praise to God!

Farewell Party

Posted on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 00:00 by Donna_Petrel
Donya is too young to understand all that was going on around her today, as the Shevet house became a flurry of activity while her mother, and the mothers of Fanya and Azhin, prepared for their departure Wednesday morning. There was last minute shopping so that everyone back home would have a gift from the journey, last minute laundry to do and pack away, and lots of pictures to remember the special friendships formed here. Donya however laid back and enjoyed her usual activities while everyone else scrambled around her.
This evening we all gathered for a farewell dinner filled with lots of laughter and tears. We all pitched in to create a good blend of international cuisine, and finished it off with a wonderful chocolate cake from a bakery in the Old City. Follow this link to watch a video clip of Donya after dinner.

There were more pictures taken and as the mothers began to reflect on the reality of leaving, especially leaving behind their good friend Um Rasan, the tears flowed freely. These are precious relationships which will be lifelong opportunities to stay in touch once the families are home in Iraq again. It is our delight to send these families home with a literal new chance for life, and it is our prayer that their hearts have been forever changed by the grace and love of God they've encountered while with us.

Good News!

Posted on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 00:00 by Dorothy_Finlay


Donya's Mum was holding her breath as we went to the echocardiogram room for the last assessment of Donya's heart status. She was so looking forward to returning to Iraq this Wednesday with Azhin and Fanya and their mothers. What joy when she was assured that everything had gone well. The result was 100% successful, and following a course of medication at home Donya should be totally healed.

Donya's mother was so grateful, giving her thanks to the doctors and nurses and especially to God. Please rejoice with us as we see the love of God in action in His grace to this lovely family.

A Difficult Echo For Donya and Mom

Posted on Mon, 01/26/2009 - 00:00 by


Today Donya went in for an echocardiogram to see if she was healthy enough to return to Iraq. During the wait for the doctors, she and the other patients, Azhin and Fanya, played house like healthy girls.

After the doctors arrived they attempted to explain to Donya's mom that she would need to have one more echo next week to be sure she was healthy. The message apparently became confused in the translation from Hebrew, to Arabic, to Kurdish and Donya's mother understood that she would have to move in to the hospital because something was wrong with Donya. At this she began sobbing and fell to the floor. After everything was sorted out Donya's mother was still upset that she may have to wait longer than the other mothers to go home to Iraq. Donya screamed during the entire echo, and afterward she was reticent to allow anyone to touch her, and wasn't the happy babbling baby she normally is. Fortunately, by the time we left the hospital Donya seemed to perk up and return to her normal self.

Blood Pressure Checked

Posted on Thu, 01/22/2009 - 00:00 by Hank_Dannecker


Today Donya had another post-op appointment at Wolfson Medical Center. They did not do an echocardiogram as expected, but instead they took several blood pressure readings to see how her blood pressure is being affected by her new medication. After several hours we were given the green light to head back to Jerusalem. Donya has another echo scheduled for early Monday morning.

Heart Healing Well, Stitches Removed

Posted on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 00:00 by


We took Donya in for an echocardiogram today to see how her heart is healing. Before the checkup Donya was very happy and playful, but then she cried during the entire check up. Even afterward she seemed to recoil at anyone touching her. The news was good though. She is healing well, had her stitches removed today, and if everything is good on her echo in one week, she will be cleared to go home to Iraq.

After the echo the families at the hospital and I enjoyed a picnic lunch on the lawn. On the way back from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem we stopped for ice cream. After Donya's mother fed her a few fingers' worth, Donya perked up to her normal happy self again.

Heart Contracting Better, Released From Hospital

Posted on Thu, 01/15/2009 - 00:00 by Keleigh_Glisson


Much to our surprise Donya was released from the hospital yesterday with the doctors reporting that her heart was contracting better than before.

When Donya and her mother were taken in for Donya's echocardiogram on Tuesday, they didn't expect to be staying at the hospital. Donya's mom didn't bring a change of clothes or toiletries. The first thing she said to me today was, "Look at me, I am a mess!" Needless to say she was anxious to get back to Jerusalem and get cleaned up.

Donya's next echocardiogram is scheduled for Monday. Pray that we won't have a repeat of last week and that her overall condition will continue to improve.

Heart Not Contracting Properly

Posted on Tue, 01/13/2009 - 00:00 by


Today Donya had a checkup at Wolfson Medical Center. An echocardiogram was done which revealed that the operation was a success. But after a more thorough physical examination done by Dr. Tamir it was determined that her little heart is not contracting properly. After receiving the not so good news through an interpreter, Donya's mother broke down and cried. Donya was readmitted and will be treated with medication for approximately six days and then re-evaluated. This is hard on Donya's mom, as some of the other Iraqi children get ready to leave Israel tomorrow and head for home. Pray that the Father's peace might be revealed in this time of waiting.

A Happy Donya Released from the Hospital

Posted on Sun, 01/11/2009 - 00:00 by Dorothy_Finlay

Donya was released today from Wolfson Medical Center on a cocktail of medications but with a general sense of well-being. This little baby has done well and will return for echos later this week. The photo shows her feeding happily back in Shevet House and contented Mum. Please continue to uphold this child for complete healing and soon return to Iraq. The Lord has been so good to Donya and she is doing very well.

Strolling The Corridors

Posted on Thu, 01/08/2009 - 00:00 by Dorothy_Finlay

Donya is a picture today as her Mum strolled her around the corridors. She is doing well and some stitches were removed today.

It is hoped that this little girl will soon be discharged. Dr Tamir is happy with her.

Continue to pray for her and her mother to sense the love of God.