Frishta's Heart Surgery

from northern Iraq

Border Gates Swing Open for Frishta

Posted on Sat, 10/22/2011 - 00:00 by jonathan

After a wait of ten days, Frishta's visa to transit across Jordan enroute to her home still hadn't come Friday morning. We set out for the border nonetheless at noontime, equipped with trust in God and a verbal permission from the visa authorities. On arrival at the border we were told "You'll have to go back," not once but twice. Another American was just trudging out of the terminal, his Vietnamese wife also sent back since she had arrived without a visa.

These moments help me see how clearly our work could grind to a halt if God's hand were lifted from it. And thank God, He is still giving us favor. Sympathetic intelligence officials took matters into their own hands and somehow graciously produced a visa for Frishta and her mother.

After an overnight at our Amman office it was off to the airport. Frishta's transformation I realized has come full circle. She leaves not only with a healed heart, but a whole new outlook on the world.

When I picked her up from the airport she was too fearful to even look at me, always hiding behind her mother. Now she was full of smiles and confident enough to take my hand. Inside she even surprised me by blowing kisses!

It was also a blessing to have my wife Michelle along on this trip, as one mother's heart can communicate with another's even without a common language.

Frishta's mother was happy to be returning to her other nine children back in northern Iraq, and proudly showed us pictures of her grown sons now studying in the university. We look forward to visiting their home in Iraq and continuing the relationship with another family which has grown near and dear to us.

A Hitch And A Hooray, All In One Day

Posted on Mon, 10/10/2011 - 17:43 by Donna_West
Frishta went to Wolfson Hospital today to see her friends who have been absent from the Shevet household for a few days. The only

A Good Echo for Frishta

Posted on Mon, 10/03/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Frishta broke into tears just thinking about going to the hospital today. Add to that, we had a longer than normal ride (part of our route was closed) and spent more time getting back and forth from the car and having lunch than the time we spent with the medical staff. The echo was very quick. So it may have been a bit frazzling for poor Frishta, but we can praise God because there were no heart problems to be found!  When Frishta left the hospital she was on NO medicine and now it seems as though she will be released to return to Iraq after one more echo next Monday. The last stitch was removed today and we were quickly ready to begin our journey back to Jerusalem.

Frishta Recovering Fast, Returns to Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 20:39 by Jeff Sheehan

Surprise surprise, young 6 year old Frishta returned to the Shevet house in Jerusalem barely 4 days after open heart surgery. She was diagnosed with a membranous Ventricular Septal Defect, a hole in the lower area of the septum, thus reducing the blood supply to vital organs and giving the right side of the heart extra work to do. The hole was repaired with a Gortex patch. The operation was on the 21st of September, and she came back to us today, the 25th, looking fit and well, and moving about quite freely.

Normally after heart surgery a child is kept in the hospital for 5 to 7 days. Frishta has recovered more quickly than any of the other children that I've been involved with here at Shevet. She also comes back to us with no medications. This indicates that the medical team is totally satisfied with the outcome, and the way in which her heart is working. Frishta and her mother are delighted to be back in familiar surroundings. They were greeted warmly by the Iraqi mothers, and by our Shevet staff. It was really good to have them back. We give thanks to our Father for His healing and protection on this little girl who has been extremely brave in what she has had to face up to.

Emotional Surgery Day

Posted on Thu, 09/22/2011 - 00:00 by Stephanie Ventura

The day before, as Frishta checked into the hospital, was filled with fearful hesitation. Today, Frishta

A Fearful Frishta Called In For Surgery

Posted on Tue, 09/20/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

An unexpected call from Wolfson Hospital today was good news for Frishta's mother. An invitation to come to the hospital today for surgery tomorrow means less waiting time before she can return home with her daughter.  For Frishta, the news was met with fear and reluctance.  She was just beginning to come out of hiding here at the house and now, just like a frightened little turtle, she went back into her shell.  Frishta is fortunate her mother is a strong and compassionate woman.  She was not shaken by Frishta's fear and soothed her daughter on the ride and after we started the admission process.

Frishta's surgery is scheduled tomorrow afternoon but as always, a sudden illness or fever involving the child having the first surgery could change the timing of Frishta's surgery.  Please keep this mother and daughter in your prayers. This morning when the hospital called,  Frishta's mother was at the local clinic receiving an antibiotic for her own health.  They will both need our prayers.

A Time of Discovery

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2011 - 00:00 by Donna_West

What's a pretty little lady like you doing hiding your face? Now is a time of discovery between Frishta and me. I need to discover what she likes and what she is afraid of and she needs to discover I am her friend. Despite her shyness at the Shevet house, this little girl was so entertained by two volunteer clowns at the hospital today! With the ice broken from the clowns, we got through many of the procedures, such as ECG, blood pressure, oxygen levels and vital signs without a tear. Frishta's diagnosis is a moderate VSD.  
Frishta is the youngest of 11 children.  With a family that large, I would think you wouldn't mind having lots of people around. I realize I can't imagine what it is like to be her, so we have time to take it slow. Sometimes these precious children come to us with great fear or nervousness. And no wonder! They've traveled far away from home and are in the midst of a brand new culture. As Frishta begins her journey, Lord willing, to a healthy heart, we pray that she will grow emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. Pray with us that with or without words we can help her feel welcomed, safe, and loved.


Not Yet Seeing Eye-to-Eye

Posted on Sun, 09/11/2011 - 00:00 by jonathan

Six-year-old Frishta and her mother reached Amman, Jordan from Iraq by air on Wednesday night, and together with two other Kurdish children we traveled across the Jordan River on Thursday to the Shevet Achim center in Jerusalem.

Frishta is a pleasant girl but very shy when encountering a stranger or a camera, so despite my best efforts the only pictures we have are of the side of her head! It will be fun to watch the transformation in her (and her mother) when they leave Jerusalem in a few months, Lord willing totally relaxed with us and as our close friends.

Frishta is scheduled to report to the Wolfson Medical Center on Monday for her first examinations, and we will keep this page posted