Jwana's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

A Day Worth Hoping For

Posted on Wed, 03/20/2013 - 20:06 by MadelynMiles

We left the house in Jerusalem a little after 6 am, and I still felt uncertain if Jwana

Clinging On To Hope

Posted on Tue, 03/19/2013 - 20:20 by Ruth Zellweger

The last couple of weeks have been an emotional roller-coaster for Jwana, her mother, and for us at Shevet Achim as well. Several times we were told that Jwana is on the surgery schedule, only to be cancelled at the last minute. During this challenging time Jwana never became angry. Of course she was sad at first, and sometimes shed some tears, but then soon became her old self. 

Jwana has blossomed since she first came. She is a beautiful teenager, perceptive and helpful. For our younger children at the house she has become a wonderful "dada" (big sister). They love spending time with Jwana. And I and my fellow volunteers dearly love Jwana as well. We have brought her before our Heavenly Father many times. Even when we do not understand why she has had to wait so long, we trust Him for the right timing. I have to admit that personally I have been challenged by this. It is a daily decision to trust God with everything. And serving with Shevet provides plenty of opportunities to exercise exactly this. 

Last Thursday we heard that Jwana is on the schedule for tomorrow morning (Wednesday). So late this morning we gathered in our courtyard to pray for Jwana and her mother, before traveling to the hospital for her admission. Tears started flowing, both from Jwana and her mother. Before we headed out the door towards Tel Aviv, they gave last hugs to the other Kurdish mothers and our volunteers. And then we were on our way. 

When we arrived at the children

Quick Trip to the Hospital and Beach

Posted on Tue, 02/26/2013 - 21:14 by Jenna Hazard

Today Jwana and Shaida went to Wolfson Hospital to meet some people from Israel

Art And Friendship During The Wait For Surgery

Posted on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 23:25 by Johanna Magnusson

Unfortunately Jwana is still in the house, waiting for surgery. I am glad that she and her mum like to be here, but it

Sisters and Friends

Posted on Sun, 02/03/2013 - 19:04 by Ruth Zellweger

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother [sister] is born for a time of adversity."  Proverbs 17:17

Evers since I started volunteering with Shevet Achim, it has been my desire to serve our Kurdish families in the best way possible. It is important for me that they know me not only as their nurse who cares for their physical needs, but also as someone who cares for them personally. I want to be their sister and friend, a person they can trust and rely on. And I love it when they call me "Dada Ruth" (big sister Ruth). 

However, life at Shevet Achim also has its challenges - for the families as well as for the volunteers. There are times when we all rejoice over a successful surgery, and other times when we weep together as a surgery has been postponed. Each mother has usually left at least one more child back in Kurdistan, and they want to go home as soon as possible. In Jwana

Getting To Know Jwana

Posted on Sun, 01/20/2013 - 19:05 by Anna Gilmour

Since Jwana arrived in Jerusalem at Shevet Achim, the staff and other Kurdish families have had a chance to get to know her much better. She was very quiet at first and revealed very little, except a gentle, kindhearted smile, while staying close to her mom

Jwana Returns to Jerusalem

Posted on Thu, 01/03/2013 - 21:32 by Kristina Kayser

When I called Jwana's mother this morning, I met a clear and joyful voice on the other end of the line. There was no hint of anxiety, only gratitude. I told her I would be at Wolfson soon to bring her and Jwana home. Yesterday's catheterization was a beautiful success and our patient was ready to leave the hospital. When I arrived in the children's ward, I peeked inside Jwana's room to find her bed surrounded by ten or so medical students. They were each taking turns listening to her heart as a doctor carefully explained her diagnosis. My first thought was, "Oh no! She and her mother must be so concerned about why all these people are assessing her." Then I made eye contact with Jwana's mother through the crowd, and she offered a smile. Jwana, likewise, looked towards me and smiled calmly. As the medical students filed out, her mother thanked them all for their help. I was so impressed by their gracious response to being the subject of an impromptu lesson. After our ascent into Jerusalem, both mother and daughter were happy to back among our community. They seem to be settling in very well and at home among the other Kurdish women and children. I am so thankful for the beauty they add to our mosaic of hearts here at Shevet. May the Lord continue to bless Jwana and her mother as they now wait for her upcoming surgery. 

Strength in Spirit

Posted on Wed, 01/02/2013 - 23:09 by Kelsey Cannon

I often find it difficult to imagine the full scope of what the heart patients here must be feeling. As much as I struggle with the difficulties of overcoming some frustratingly steep language barriers and the insecurities which accompany it, I know it

Jwana Admitted for Catheterization

Posted on Wed, 01/02/2013 - 00:06 by Kristina Kayser

As the calendar would tell you, today marked the beginning of a new year. While this bears chronological significance, I find it more appealing to focus on what the calendar date represents: a fresh beginning. Isn't this something we've been destined to hope for since the first genesis? What a beautiful thing it is to step into an unblemished, unwritten chapter of life, daunting as the future may be. For young Jwana, an important and invariably hope-filled year lies before her. She has survived eleven years without any medical treatment, but all of that is about to change. A cardiac catheterization has been scheduled for tomorrow afternoon as the first step towards a new heart. But before heading to the hospital for her admittance, we inaugurated the new year with an outing to the sea!

Our amiable group could not have chosen a lovelier day to spend at the Mediterranean. Even in January, Israel's coastline was warm and sunny. Jwana and her mother were joined by Sara and her mother, none of whom had ever been to the Sea. I couldn't wait to see their response! Without any prompting, Jwana took off her shoes and socks and walked bravely towards the waves. Stopping once to see if I was following, I was struck by the quiet confidence she exudes. While her friend Sara boisterously expressed her excitement, Jwana remained subdued, but undoubtedly happy. She quite enjoyed the spray of salt water and cool sand beneath her toes. Gerrit and Gre, our two Dutch volunteers, also gently swung her above the waves. Jwana's real fascination, however, was wrapped up in the countless shells washed up on shore. When I told her we could make necklaces from them later, she made it her personal mission to find the perfect shapes. My hands were soon overflowing with all of her treasures.

During our picnic lunch, I shared how every time I come to the sea, I am reminded of the vastness of God's love toward us. This object lesson is even more poignant when sharing it with two young ladies waiting to have heart surgery. Their lives are so valuable in the eyes of God. I believe it is because of His immeasurable love that Jwana is here, that she has not been forgotten, that there is yet hope for her future. If Jwana doesn't know this truth already, I pray she will understand it in the fullness of time.

Sun-kissed and content, we waved goodbye to the beach and made our way to nearby Wolfson. Jwana, once again, impressed me with her courage when the doctor started the IV in her arm. She silently grimaced but for a moment. I explained that she and her mother would spend the night in the hospital to prepare for tomorrow's catheterization. Both nodded quietly and then simultaneously teared up.

Noticing the change of countenance, Sara and her mother rushed to their side. They began telling them there was nothing to be afraid of and that everything would be okay. Their words bore weight because they had walked the same road less than two weeks prior. Sara hugged and kissed Jwana several times, and I saw Jwana's courage returning. 

May tomorrow find Jwana strengthened once again by love. For God's faithfulness towards her is great, and His mercies are new every morning.

"Now, we are friends"

Posted on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 22:40 by Johanna J

This morning, Kristina and I left for Wolfson Hospital with precious Jwana and her mom. It took awhile for the day to get going. While waiting for her initial assessment tests to start, we sat down to wait and were able to eat some lunch. The waiting today is virtually nothing compared to what Jwana has had to endure all her life waiting for medical treatment. In fact, Jwana