Gaza Children's Heart Surgery

Gaza Children
Paid in full

God's Great Love

Posted on Tue, 07/26/2016 - 21:54 by Camille Piche

Camille with Omar

Today Brenda, Yousef, and I met up with four mothers and their beautiful children at Wolfson hospital. It was my first time working with the kids from Gaza and I had spent a lot of the morning drive thinking and praying about the time I would be spending with them this afternoon.

“Give me faith to trust what you say, that you’re good and your love is great, I’m broken inside, I give you my life.”

This song played in my mind, reassuring my heart that where my own strength failed God’s power and love would shine through in its place. As I sang in my heart this morning, God was faithful! From the moment I set eyes on these precious children, all uncertainty faded away-- they had stolen my heart! The smiles and laughter of these little ones filled the echo department as Brenda and I joyfully snapped dozens of pictures of these sweet babies!




Not too long after we arrived, May was taken downstairs to continue the process of being admitted for her upcoming surgery. The other children however, were in for a much longer day of waiting and tests. Salma, Miriam, and Omar individually had their vitals assessed and echos completed by the afternoon.  After what seemed like many hours of waiting, Brenda and I decided to run and get some coffee and snacks for the mothers. As we made our way back, Brenda joked that by the time we returned the children and mothers would be gone. Ironically, as we turned the corner to the pediatric cardiology unit, we saw our Gaza families piled into an elevator. Although these three children had been accepted for surgery, the doctors at Wolfson had decided to postpone them until a later time, which meant that they were free to return home. Even though our goodbyes were rushed, I could sense the impact that we had on one another.  My heart bursts with love and thankfulness to my Heavenly Father for the short time we were able to spend together today.  Please continue to pray that God will sustain these children until the time when they are able to receive the surgeries that they need. 


Tiny Baby, Big God

Posted on Tue, 07/19/2016 - 22:28 by Brenda Hofer
This morning, Yousef and I picked up a little baby boy, Kassem, and his grandma at the border for Gaza clinic day. I immediately assumed he was a girl since he had a pink blanket wrapped around him and and didn't realize my mistake until later. We arrived at Wolfson hospital and went straight to the exam room for tests. All of the nurses and techs kept on saying they thought he was a girl as well, because of the pink blanket. Even though there was confusion, Kassem was in and out of the exams in a short amount of time.

I found out in the meantime, that Kassem has a large hole in between the two ventricles of his heart. He also has not gained any weight since he was born which was 4 1/2 months ago. It was sad to see his ribs and spine showing so clearly during the exams. There were a couple of doctors and techs coming in during the echo tests checking to see how little Kassem was doing. It was very apparent the staff showed great care and concern for this tiny baby. Dr. Alona said we needed to take him downstairs today because he needed to be admitted for surgery.  

When I saw how tiny Kassem was for the first time, I prayed to Yeshua for healing on that tiny baby's life. We serve a big God who longs to care for His children. Please join me in prayer to our bigger-than-life God on behalf of little Kassem.

Into His Loving Arms

Posted on Wed, 07/13/2016 - 11:48 by Alexa Bigl

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abounds in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation." 2 Corinthians 1:4-6. 

Tiny baby Gomma has gone to be in the arms of our heavenly Father. After he was transferred back to Gaza two weeks ago, still ventilated, the doctors prepared the family for impending death a couple days ago. While the doctors at Wolfson tried everything possible, they could not medically heal Gomaa. We are thankful the family had time to prepare themselves, and while they are grieving, it seems it was a comfort being keyed into all the facts of the situation. After many weeks in Wolfson's ICU, Gomaa's lungs were not doing well and Gomma could not recover, outside of a miracle. As Gomma was transferred back to Gaza, our community prayed for miraculous healing. We are grieving with Gomma's family, but know Gomma is now in perfect health as he lays in the arms of God. Please join us in continued prayer for Gomma's family during this extremely difficult time.

Additionally on the Gaza-end of Shevet's ministry, we had a successful clinic yesterday. Eight families came in for screenings and echo check-ups. Everything went very well and Yousef and Suhail enjoyed getting to know the families during the drive to and from the border as well as during their time at Wolfson. We praise God for the opportunity to meet, serve, and befriend these beautiful people of Gaza.  

Our Voices

Posted on Wed, 07/06/2016 - 11:44 by

Hi, I’m Saalah from Gaza. I’m a big boy for only nine months old. I came to get my echocardiogram at the hospital yesterday. It was a follow-up on my heart surgery from January. Maybe you can see the scar on my chest. My parents first knew I had a problem when I turned blue. I had a hole in my heart and arteries had to be re-routed so they would work properly. The report of my echo test yesterday said “Excellent!" This made my grandfather smile a really big smile and say, “Praise God!” When returned to my parents, they too smiled and praised God. 

I'm Ahmad and I’m five and a half years old. I’m also from Gaza. I felt pretty good yesterday, but my mom was crying after the doctors talked to her about my echo test results. When I was only one week old, the doctors at the hospital in Gaza said something was wrong with me, but they sent me home later saying I was okay. When I was three months old, my face became very swollen and my parents knew something wasn’t right. Then the doctors said I had an enlarged heart. With the help of Shevet Achim, I had a surgery to help me with a defective valve. Yesterday’s echocardiogram was a follow up visit and the doctor needs to discuss my test results with other doctors. Then they will decide what can be done next. He said it is not easy to repair the problem I have with my valve and that the way they fix it isn’t always successful. Please pray for me. 

Hello. My name is Assam and I was born in September of 2014 in Gaza.

I had three holes in my heart and my electrocardiogram showed that two of them have closed. This was good news. The people at the hospital told my mom to bring me back in a year for another ECG. If that last hole in my heart isn’t closed by then, they will decide if I need a catheter or some other kind of surgery to repair it. I am so grateful to God for His kindness to me and my family. Please keep praying for me. 

A Beautiful Gift

Posted on Wed, 06/29/2016 - 19:12 by Mateo Patiño Trujillo

Tuesday was a beautiful gift from God. We had amazing weather in Tel Aviv, and we had the privilege of being at Wolfson hospital with six families from Gaza for their echo examinations. It's always a blessing to see people of different nations and religions together for the purpose of life. 

We were at Wolfson hospital with the families from around 10am, and we were joined by a coworker of Shevet Achim, Fatima, who helps us with translation. Yousef arrived at the hospital a little later and we then headed to the Erez border to pick up two other families who needed to be admitted. We returned to the hospital at 12, and from then on we spent time with the families, waiting for the rest of the echos to take place.

While we were waiting for the echos, we played with the kids and looked at pictures of children who had previously had treatment at Wolfson hospital. One father and son spent a lot of their time in prayer.

Very soon, our time at the hospital came to an end. Everything had gone well during the day. All of the echos had been completed and, after a day spent of chatting and playing, it was time to take the families back to Gaza. The sun had been shining all day and continued to do so on our return journeys. Thank you for this gift, Lord.

A Hot Summer Day

Posted on Sun, 06/26/2016 - 20:20 by Philip Rasmussen

On a very hot Summer day - halfway into Ramadan - six courageous families travelled from Gaza to Wolfson hospital for heart examinations. Last Wednesday's Gaza clinic was a blessed day with much joy and laughter. For four of the children the trip to the hospital seemed to be a timely variation to their long summer vacation from school. Our coworker, Yousef, made this clinic day much brighter for the children by bringing them gifts to help kill the long waiting time until their turn in the echo room.

The children unpacked the gift boxes with much excitement and started using the colours and jump rope. In between, the children would be called into the echo rooms by the doctors to have their follow-ups. The older children who already have seen many hospital visits in their short lives happily comply, and it is wonderful to see this kind of reaction from the children. It definitely pays tribute to the medical team at Wolfson. Look how confident our 8-year-old friend Na’iim looks in this picture: 

Though the gift boxes brought much joy to the children, the old run-down plastic playhouse in the echo department was the biggest source of entertainment. It gives the children a room where they can be themselves and keep out of mum’s watchful eye. It was thrilling to hear the children enjoy each other’s company and the hall was filled with their laughter. I was invited into their small fellowship and I am grateful for the small hearts that are knitted together at these clinics.

Encountering Lives

Posted on Wed, 06/15/2016 - 14:37 by Philip Rasmussen

It’s always a privilege to share news from the people of Gaza. Surely God is being faithful in His loving care for these people, and we try to keep up pace as He moves.

Weeks of silence on this blog does not at all reflect the activity of children coming to Israeli hospitals for treatment. A testimony to that is the adorable two-year-old Kaamel, pictured below, who we recently had the honor of taking back to the Gaza border, after having completed a very successful surgery. As Kaamel is being welcomed by loving arms on the other side of the crossing, our hope is Kaamel’s family themselves will be embraced by the message that their lives are worth fighting for.  

The cardiac team at Wolfson hospital continues the fight for Gazan children by searching for the best way to treat their congenital heart defects. Yesterday was no exception as we brought six families to this week's clinic. In these days our Muslim friends are celebrating Ramadan, a month of fasting, which is an essential time for us to come alongside them in service and fellowship. I had the opportunity to spend time with the families while they were waiting in the echo department. More than half of the kids were less than a year old and were escorted by anxious mothers hoping to receive good news about the newly discovered heart defects. I found it painful to look into the beautiful eyes of these small lives thinking of the hardships they are already enduring. 

Thankfully many of these babies could return back to Gaza with good reports. One mother in particular, the mother of Omar, was very relieved by the words from the cardiologists; Omar will most likely not need surgery in the future. 

We also had two older girls visiting the clinic today. Given their age they were easy to connect with and the hospital trip almost appeared to be a refreshing variation to daily life inside Gaza. Barra was smiley but also a bit shy. She stayed close to her escorting father as she seemed to be aware of what was ahead of her. She came to sleep overnight at the hospital, and then she will receive a catheterization on Wednesday. This procedure will give the doctors a better understanding of how her heart functions. 

The other girl, Ghazal, was a very cheerful six-year-old girl who proudly told me everything she had learned in school. Her English vocabulary was all related to food so I bought a delicious cup of coffee with milk which she happily prepared inside the small playhouse.

As evident from yesterday’s clinic there are plenty of reasons to give thanks to our Heavenly Father who keeps watch over each of these precious lives we encountered. 

Surgery for baby Gomaa

Posted on Tue, 04/19/2016 - 18:41 by Alexa Bigl

Sunday gave us a beautiful opportunity to spend some time with Gomaa's grandmother at Wolfson. After we transported Gomaa last week, his grandmother was very excited to see us and poured her many thanks onto us. After we sat with her and we drank tea together, we heard some difficult news about Gomaa. The doctors were concerned if Gomaa's medical situation would allow for them to be helpful with surgical intervention. There seemed to be a chance Gomaa would have to return home to Gaza, unhealed. In the end, however, it was decided additional tests would be done.

Praise God Gomaa is being treated with great care at Wolfson. After these additional tests were completed, a surgical course was deemed to be best for Gomaa. Today, this course was begun.

Gomaa was wheeled into surgery around twelve this afternoon. We were just updated; he is now back in the ICU after over six hours in the operating room. The surgery successfully dilated Gomaa's pulmonary artery. The ICU staff is currently working on getting him comfortable and keeping him stable. We will keep you all updated with Gomaa's condition and what the next steps will be for him. In the mean time, please join us in lifting him to the ultimate Healer, the Lord!  

Gomaa Comes to Israel

Posted on Wed, 04/13/2016 - 20:54 by Alexa Bigl

Suhail and I headed to the Erez border crossing late this morning to bring baby Gomaa (which means "Friday") to Wolfson. Gomaa is a tiny one-month-old baby boy with the cardiac defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. An ambulance brought Gomaa from a Gaza hospital to the border where Suhail and I picked him and his grandmother up. Gomaa was not stable enough to travel without oxygen, so we switched him over to our oxygen tanks before we were ready to head back to Tel Aviv. During the ride, Gomaa alternatively slept and cried. His oxygen saturation and heart rate fluctuated greatly, but he remained relatively stable and we got him safely to the ICU at Wolfson Medical Center. The doctors there quickly took over, getting Gomaa assessed and initial tests like a blood draw and an echocardiogram completed. Gomaa's grandmother was calm and appreciated Suhail explaining what was happening. Please join us in praying for this very cute, but very sick, little boy. He and his grandmother have quite a journey in front of them. We pray Gomaa will be able to receive surgical interventions to achieve a complete repair of his cardiac defect!

Mourn with those who mourn

Posted on Thu, 04/07/2016 - 11:44 by Rebekah Yang

God has provided us with sufficient grace as His children to walk with Him; as we face all sorts of circumstances and challenges daily.

Our mission yesterday was a very unique one for our Shevet hospital team. We had the task to go to Wolfson hospital to bring a Gaza mother and the body of her baby, Moayad, home to Gaza. On our way to Wolfson hospital, a Bible verse came into my mind, "to mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:5).

Our weeping mother was sitting outside in the garden area. Her sorrow and agony are emotions that none of us can really understand or relate to. The moment I saw her, I suddenly had the picture of Messiah in His suffering as He was praying at Gethsemane while His Father looked on in despair. I found this a way of relating to her feelings of pain at the thought of her beloved lost son.

While all of the logistic papers were being completed by the hospital ICU staff and Suhail, we took the baby and put him into a little baby bathtub which we covered with a blanket and a small bouquet of white flowers. Moayad’s mum requested that little Moayad be put beside her so she could touch him. I put this special coffin between us and then I held one of her hands and prayed during our journey to Gaza.

The mother told us that when she sent Moayad for surgery yesterday morning, she had a very bad intuition. She felt something bad was going to happen to him. She couldn’t help but think of the worst situation. After almost 11 long hours of heart surgery, Moayad had been sent back to the ICU for a period of waiting. During the surgery Moayad had been continuously internally bleeding. The surgeons were hoping to wait for a period of time so that they might be able to do the next phase of the heart surgery when he was a bit older. However, the bleeding did not stop and eventually he passed away inside the ICU. While his mother told us all of the details, the four of us could only remain silent and pray in our hearts for her, as well as for the rest of her family members.

Not long after, we reached the Erez crossing. The mother gave us kisses and thanks, and then we climbed out of our van to wait for Suhail. We watched the van slowly drive inside the main gate of the border crossing. My prayer was: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

One of our volunteers, Olivier, who came with us yesterday, sent me a summary of how he found the hospital experience:

"It was my first day at Wolfson hospital. We went to visit the children who are recovering from their heart surgeries, so I did not know what to expect. We had the opportunity to spend time with two children: Baran and Adil. Baran was sleeping so I had time to sit next to him in prayer. Christelle was playing with Adil, who is very well, and his dad was very happy to receive visitors and see new faces. Sadly, a two-month old baby, Moayad, had passed away. The mother was in shock and was also very tired. This little boy had arrived at the hospital by ambulance, when he was eight days old, with his mother. She had stayed with him ever since. She wanted to leave as soon as possible, and we decided to all go with her to the border. It was not an easy time for everybody as we had to bring the body with us to the border. The mother was in sorrow, so we decided to pray on the way.  I did not expect this situation to happen during my first trip to the hospital, but it was such a blessing to be placed with the mother and be with her as a source of support and to offer our prayers as best as we could by God's grace."