Hussein's Heart Surgery


Overcoming Obstacles

Posted on Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:01 by Philip Rasmussen

Many days have passed since Hussein’s last update. Currently there is still no treatment program for Hussein. Though different hospitals have been in the picture, no agreement has been reached as to what Hussein's treatment will cost. This is a huge issue we would ask you to intercede for with us. This is, unfortunately, not the only concern we and especially Hussein and his father have. After several days of pain, Hussein’s father went to the hospital for a few exams and discovered a tumor on his bladder. He is now taking small steps towards an operation to remove the mass as he looks for the best surgery option available. We have encountered much good will from our Jewish neighbors, and our next step is to hopefully set a final appointment with an urologist before surgery. You can pray for open doors and a quick process, as Hussein’s father is dealing with a lot of physical discomfort. We are also facing an unforeseen expense from this whole situation, but we are exploring whether or not the hospital will continue partnering with us and lower the price of the father’s surgery. We look to our generous Lord and ask Him to meet our needs.

Though different, unexpected obstacles have arisen, we have also had many pleasant moments with Hussein and his father. In only two and a half weeks’ time they have become a central part of our community.

By living in the room next to our kitchen, they are placed in the heart of our community quarters, and they seem to be thriving. They have, on their own initiative, helped out with various tasks. Within a week they had already made dinner for over twenty people, and now Hussein has acheived a spot on the dinner chores list.

Every night he is responsible for emptying the trash. This tangible help is the fruit of their naturally observant personalities. They have an eye and a heart for their fellow brothers and sisters (a title they put on us since the first day they arrived) and find ways to serve us. It’s delightful to see they have caught this touch of family which dwells here at Prophet’s Street, as they have left six family members behind. They are often in touch with their dear ones, and on their second day here I overheard Hussein telling his mother that “everyone loves me here!” As I’m writing this, Hussein is Skyping with relatives and telling them how he and his father have met a lot of friendliness from the Jews, especially during a recent day when they received medical care totally free of charge at an Israeli hospital! I hope the love of God will continually have good opportunities to reach their hearts.

Last Friday was a big day for our Syrian friends – the day of the annual International Jerusalem Marathon. They woke up early to help prepare breakfast for the Shevet runners and a group of supporting staff, and at around 5:30 AM we all headed out to the marathon starting area and mingled with many thousands of people. It must have been a rare sight for them. Hussein stayed with us throughout the many hours of waiting and cheering, and it paid off eventually as he got a picture with all the runners!

The day didn’t end here, though. Later in the afternoon Hussein and his father went on a picnic with the Kurdish families to celebrate Nawroz, the Kurdish New Year. They enjoyed spending time in the sunshine.

Please join us in praying for a breakthrough concerning Hussein's hospital treatment and for his father as he prepares for surgery and patiently endures this difficult time. We are blessed to enjoy their company and support them for as long as they remain with us. 

Practicing Patience

Posted on Wed, 03/12/2014 - 21:09 by Shannon Kelley

Today we traveled to Sheba Hospital with Hussein and his father to give them an introduction to the hospital. Normally Hussein would have been admitted for his first assessments, but due to his age, the hospital is hesitant to offer the discount for his treatment they usually give to the children we bring. This means Hussein must wait a bit longer while the hospital administrators decide how to proceed. In the meantime, we enjoyed playing air hockey and foosball in the recreation center. Hussein even taught his father how to play pool!

Hussein's father also connected with some other Arabic speakers at the hospital, proudly pointing to himself when explaining where he and Hussein are from and stating, “Syria!”

This visit to Sheba marks the beginning of a long journey for Hussein and his father, but we are encouraged by their positive disposition and patience. We ask for the Lord to give us grace as we deal with Sheba's administration and to make straight the paths for Hussein's healing. Please join us in praying for the hospital administrators to agree to treat Hussein at the discount rate they usually offer us.

A Welcome Arrival

Posted on Tue, 03/11/2014 - 22:04 by Shannon Kelley

Hussein and his father arrived at 29 Prophets Street late last night! Praise God all the necessary paperwork was obtained in Jordan to facilitate their travel. 

This morning, Jesse and I took Hussein and his father to Damascus Gate and the Old City.

It’s possible seeing Damascus Gate was a sweet reminder of their home in Syria. Although it is separated by over 200 kilometers from its namesake, Damascus Gate faces in the direction of Hussein's home. We pray their home felt a little closer today as they long for Syria and adjust to Israel.

While walking by some market stands in the Old City, I was quick to point out one of my favorite desserts: baklava. Before I knew it, Hussein's father had bought us all pieces! Continuing our brief tour about Jerusalem, it felt like we were simply spending time with old friends.

At his first dinner alongside the Shevet community, Hussein's father spoke in front of all of us, remarking on how he enjoys truly seeing us as brothers and sisters. Soon thereafter he also wanted to make sure food was saved for a volunteer who was late for dinner. His and Hussein's sweet gestures have already been blessings to our community, and we rely on the Lord's grace to show God's love to them.

We praise God who has sustained Hussein's life for this long, as it is quite unusual for someone with his heart defect to live to the age of 18 without treatment. Please pray with us as we live life together with Hussein and his father for the Holy Spirit’s work in our midst and the Lord’s healing of Hussein's heart in an incredible way.

Coming Soon

Posted on Sun, 12/29/2013 - 23:52 by Kelsey Cannon

Seventeen-year-old Hussein was born with a rare and life threatening heart defect known as Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). Those persons born with TGA live in a perpetual state of dangerous oxygen deprivation due to the mix up of the pulmonary artery and the aorta, the two main arteries emerging from the heart. But TGA is not the only heart defect Hussein was born with. He also has large holes in both the upper and lower chambers of his heart, effectively leaving him with one large chamber in his heart instead of four. Fortunately for Hussein, help is on the way. He has been invited for treatment at Sheba Hospital in Israel. We hope to have him with us in the next few weeks.