Matti's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

A Playful Heart

Posted on Tue, 07/14/2015 - 23:01 by Megan Taylor

Matti is a lively, active boy who is full of life. I could feel Matti and his father’s absence when Matti was called into the hospital for surgery as he makes his presence known running around Shevet Achim keeping ‘busy’ playing, chasing Shevie, the dog, and interacting with volunteers. His father is a friendly, simple, relaxed man who can often be found sitting in the garden speaking on his phone or having some quiet time.  

When I arrived at the hospital I was pleased to find Matti in hospital pajamas. I wished I could speak Arabic as I was curious to know how someone had managed to get them on Matti after yesterday’s pajama situation. Matti’s father had winked at me yesterday and shown me a toy which he had put aside as a bribe/reward for Matti for when he put his pajamas on. I wondered if this strategy had been utilized.

I had never seen Matti as quiet as he was this morning. He is usually running around and doesn’t sit still, but this morning he looked tired as he had been woken up early and was quiet and snuggling into his father.

It didn’t take long for the ‘usual’ Matti to wake up, however, once he realized there were toys in the pre-op room that he could play with. He leapt off his bed and made a quick search of the toys; plasticine, wooden cars, legos… these are the things that keep this 5-year-old boy happy.

Matti’s father was teary after seeing Matti wheeled into surgery and needed some quiet time alone. He then rejoined us and Andi and Radwan’s mothers. It was nice that they were all there together to support each other.

Matti’s father is a thoughtful and generous man and he continued to think of others at this difficult time. He bought sweets which he gave to everyone waiting with him at the hospital.

Matti’s surgery went a little longer than expected. The doctors explained that during surgery they discovered Matti also had a problem with some of the valves in his heart so they did some extra work to repair this problem. The surgery, however, that Matti went in for was successful. We will wait to hear how the doctors want to proceed with regards to the problem with the valves, and hope and pray that Matti’s heart will be made fully whole.

Matti’s father was tentative to go into the ICU to see Matti after surgery. However, with encouragement he went in for a quick visit. It appeared to be good for Matti’s father as he was smiling when he exited. He indicated that he is thankful to God that Matti’s surgery went well and that Matti is ok. Matti’s father saw us out to the car and waved us goodbye from the hospital, visibly relieved and with a big smile on his face.

Says "No to Pajamas!"

Posted on Mon, 07/13/2015 - 21:30 by Jesse Tilman

We're glad to report Matti's admission today for surgery tomorrow! 

One by one his father watched the other families in our building be invited for surgery in the last few days, and this morning they told us it was Matti's turn! This father and son quickly packed a hospital bag and gathered some toys to take. We headed out after a joyful lunch and wound our way down Highway 1 through the Judean hills.
At the hospital as we entered, we met up with the volunteer crew seeing Andi and mother through his surgery. He had finished and it was good to see a resting mom. Then we passed on to the children's ward and began Matti's admission process. The normal battery of tests he endured, but he couldn't bare the hospital pajamas! After he cried a bit, the nurses allowed us to give him back his normal clothes and just save the hospital gown for tomorrow morning. Then we went for an x-ray and found something he really likes! He hammed it up for the special attention and enjoyed the machine workings.
After everything was finished, we went over to the indoor playground area and joined Andi and Radhwan's mothers there. As Matti released some energy going around the playground, we got up to date with the other families. It's a blessing to have several of our families at the hospital together and able to support each other. 
We're looking forward to the awaited surgery tomorrow and thanking God for Matti's opportunity at a new life! Please keep his operation in your prayers tomorrow.

A Joyful Afternoon

Posted on Sun, 07/05/2015 - 22:20 by Konrad Wiedmer

Energetic Matti, his father, and some of the other kids from the house went on a joyful park-outing last Monday afternoon. All together we were a group of eight people and as we were walking towards the park, we discovered some umbrellas hanging above a street. This was quite unusual, so we decided to take a group picture.

Already on the way there we could experience Matti’s energy as he was jumping around quite a bit. Before we left we prepared a box of water balloons. Matti and Yad were both very excited to try them out. When we arrived in the park they took some of the balloons and it was amazing to see how Matti loved to play with them. We expected them to bounce in the grass but instead they exploded very quickly which made all of us laugh.

Also, Matti’s father was throwing the balloons with us in a triangle; I loved to see him be actively involved in our outing. It was lovely to see father and son walking through the park. We could see that in the hand of his father, Matti was calm and happy at the same time.

As always, pictures speak more than words. Please enjoy the following pictures of Matti having fun in the park, followed by a few specific prayer-needs below them.

In the prayer-update two weeks ago, it was mentioned how easy it is to forget about the difficulty of Matti’s heart defect as we see him so energetic day-by-day. This is true because he is full of life and screams and runs around. Sometimes it’s hard to calm him down, which is necessary from time-to-time. Please pray for him and God's plan and timing for his open-heart-surgery. Also, the father and his family back home would be blessed by your prayers. Last week I saw Matti sitting on his father’s lap, talking to his mother on the phone. He just listened so carefully to hear her voice and I am sure he misses her a lot in these days.
We know that God already knows everything about the future for this little boy and we trust the Father in heaven for that.

Matti's Victory

Posted on Fri, 06/12/2015 - 10:06 by Jesse Tilman

Being with Matti and his father today was heartwarming. They are an easy going family as they played and laughed with each other throughout the day.

Matti's echo came in two parts as, first, one technician looked him over extensively before we all went for lunch. Afterwards, Dr. Alona also came and took her time getting to know his heart. He has a somewhat more complicated heart and they want to be sure they have a handle on it before going further.

He is an energetic kid as he would run up and down the hallways and then back to his father’s cell phone, playing games. Thank God that this youngster is full of life now and will have the operation necessary for his future to be just as promising.

Trust in the Lord

Posted on Wed, 06/10/2015 - 17:40 by Konrad Wiedmer

Since this Sunday, we have two new lovely members in our Shevet community, which we have been entrusted to take care of. They are four-year-old Matti and his father from northern Iraq. They are Believers and had to flee their home because of the invasion of ISIS. Thankfully, both of them are fine, and Matti can be here in Israel in order to receive medical treatment for his heart defect.

His heart defect is called Atrioventricular Septal Defect or AV Canal Defect. This basically means that the cardiac structures in his heart failed to develop properly. The four chambers of his heart are not as divided as they should be, resulting in a crossover of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.

Right now, Matti is doing fine and is a very active child, who jumps and plays around. Praise the Lord! He is happy most of the time and is also very curious about what is going on in his environment. Yesterday, I saw him exploring parts of the back courtyard and climbing around.

It's good to have a father at the base again, and I am looking forward to getting to know them better in the coming time. When we were in the hospital on Monday, I could already see how good the relationship between father and son is.

Also, Matti's father is very cooperative, as he speaks not only Kurdish but also Arabic. In the hospital, he helped to translate, which we were very thankful for.

Please pray that they would settle into our community and the routine here at Shevet quickly. Also, please join us in prayer for the right time for Matti's surgery, as well for peace for the father and the family back in Iraq.

Let's expect the Lord's good work in Matti's life and in his way to a healed heart here in Israel. We want to trust God in everything, so we give the time of our two new community members into His caring hands.

Islamic State Refugee Reaches Israel

Posted on Mon, 06/08/2015 - 01:07 by jonathan

Four-year-old Matti and his family fled their home last year as the Islamic State swept in. Since then they've found refuge in Kurdistan, and today they found more friends in Israel. Matti was born with the Partial AV Canal birth defect, and doctors at the Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv have agreed to repair his heart through surgery.