Mohammed's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Chubby Mohammed

Posted on Thu, 08/25/2016 - 16:28 by Sophie

Two days ago we had the privilege to visit baby Mohammed. Before surgery he was so skinny and blue, but now it was hard to believe he's the same baby I had met in Jerusalem. 

Mohammed has three sisters and one brother; it's very nice family. When we got there they had been waiting for us awhile. They showed us much hospitality and had a special cake prepared for us, sharing much love! 

Mohammed's father is a baker, he is working from 3am to 7am. After his work, sleepy Mohammed, his wife, and he brought his fresh bread to the place we were staying. What a sweet thing to do that made our day very special! It was so precious for us to be together again, we were so blessed by their presence.

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-25

Until We Meet Again

Posted on Sun, 07/24/2016 - 10:28 by Ruth Zellweger

Baby Mohammed reunited with his family in Kurdistan

Little Mohammed is back in Kurdistan. That he is alive and well is a miracle in my eyes, as he was very sick when he came and had to overcome several life-threatening incidents. 

Our Shevet family gathered on Monday evening to celebrate Mohammed's and Bawar's healed hearts, as well as the farewell of three volunteers. We started with a picnic meal in the beautiful garden of the Finnish School, and then continued with praising God by singing songs. Mohammed's mother had told us several times before that Mohammed loves these times, when we sing worship songs. As we shared our memories with her afterwards, it became very clear how much she and Mohammed have become part of our family. They have won our hearts with their sweet and loving spirits. Mohammed's mother has become to many a wonderful friend and encourager. She cooked many delicious meals, she laughed with us, listened to us, did our hair and so many things more. And Mohammed's smile captured hearts immediately. Throughout the evening he wandered from one arm to the next, as most of the female volunteers wanted their share of him.

Afterwards, we presented both mother and son with some gifts. Mohammed received several pieces of clothing, a soft blanket and toys. His mother's favorite gift was a Kurdish version of Scriptures, and it was obvious how much it meant to her. Last week she had been at the Garden Tomb with our Kurdish speaking friends, who had explained to her the significance of that place for us followers of the Messiah. 

As we watched Mohammed's farewell DVD, we could recall his journey from being  a very sick and blue child  to the point when he underwent open-heart surgery, and through recovery afterwards. What a testimony to God's great love for this little one and his family. Mohammed's mother presented us with a framed picture of herself and Mohammed at the beach in Jaffa, wanting to express her love and gratitude. As she had been throughout her time with us, so she left: loving and giving. 

Because all the flights had already sold out for Tuesday, Mohammed - along with Bawar and Dyari, who had also been cleared to return home - got seats on the flight Wednesday evening. Agnes and I had the privilege of taking them to the airport to send them off. According to Shevet tradition, our entire community stood on the street and waved them off, as our van made its way to the airport. Mohammed's mother became quiet and she told us that she would miss us all very much. 

At the airport it took some time to get the three families and their luggage through security and check in, but finally it was done and we sent them off with a final hug and kiss. And a few hours later they were met by their entire family at the airport in Kurdistan, and are enjoying family time now. 

I will miss this special mother-son duo very much, as they have blessed me more than I can say. Our hope is to meet again soon in Kurdistan. But more than that I pray that we all meet together one day before our Creator and worship Him together. 

Final Echo and Special Blessing

Posted on Mon, 07/18/2016 - 22:33 by Ruth Zellweger

Today, Mohammed's mother went with much anticipation to the hospital, as she knew that it would, most likely, be Mohammed's final echo. They didn't have to wait long until Mohammed's heart was examined carefully. His heart continues to heal beautifully after his open heart surgery.

After we heard the final word from Dr. Alona, we still had to wait for the discharge report. In the meantime, we found out that it was not possible to secure a flight for them for early tomorrow morning. Instead, they have to wait now until Wednesday night to fly home. Mohammed's mother took it well, as she has more time to enjoy being with our community. 

On our way home we stopped at the airport to pick up a new volunteer. While we were waiting, a man approached our van and started talking to us. When we mentioned Shevet Achim, he told us that he knew about Shevet, even where we used to be located on Prophet Street. He was happy to meet the two Kurdish mothers in our van, and asked to see the children. When he saw Mohammed, he started to pray a blessing over him. It was special encounter that we had not expected. 

We are thankful for God's healing hand on little Mohammed. 

A Cheerful Checkup

Posted on Mon, 07/11/2016 - 21:05 by Camille Piche

Today Mohammed was brought to Wolfson for an echo to check on the progress of his recovery.

He however, was not the only one who was needing this procedure completed today. Bawar and Alan were also scheduled for a check up, as well as many children from the Save A Child's Heart organization. As we entered the doors of the echo department we were immediately greeted by a roomful of laughing and playing children. Many of them ran up to the mothers and their babies, welcoming them with big smiles and friendly touches. It is heartwarming to see the connection our sweet families are able to make with other children here at the hospital. Mohammed was his usual cheerful self for most of the morning and was able to complete his echo after lunch this afternoon.


According to the doctors, everything is looking great for Mohammed and his heart! As of now, next week will be the final echo before he is able to go home with his mother! We are praising God for this wonderful news and the grace He has given Mohammed and his mother thus far! 
Please continue to pray for Mohammed as he his nearing the end of his stay here in Israel, and that the doctors would continue to have wisdom in the next steps for him! 

My Little Blue Hat

Posted on Mon, 07/04/2016 - 20:15 by Juanita Florez Parra

In the morning, little Mohammed and his mother were ready for us as our hospital team headed over to the Finnish School. He was wearing a beautiful blue hat because today he had an echo appointment at Wolfson hospital to see how he is doing. Marilyn, Suhail, Alexa, and I accompanied him and his mother. 

On the way there he was smiling, showing his tongue, and also sleeping for a while. When we arrived, we went to the echo department. During the echo, Mohammed cried quite a bit, but at the end we were all happy and glad because the doctor said Mohammed was progressing very well. He will receive a couple more echos over the next weeks to continue to check on his heart's recovery. 

We then had time to visit Mohammed's friend, Alan. The nurses also removed the stitches from the sites of Mohammed's previous chest tubes. It was good, and he didn't cry too much during the day. Mohammed was in a really good mood, and we praise God the news was that his heart is healing beautifully. 

A Hopeful Future

Posted on Wed, 06/29/2016 - 19:48 by Basye Peek

It has been an eventful 24 hours for little Mohammed! Last night as we gathered to send off Zina and her mother, one of our nurses decided to do a quick, impromptu check-up on Mohammed and his vitals. Thank God she did, as we discovered his oxygen saturation was low enough to cause some serious concern. Our nurses came together and decided he needed to be taken to Wolfson as soon as possible. In yet another display of God's providence, the new Jaffa team had decided to spend the night in Jerusalem and so we were able to quickly change our plans, grab our overnight bags from the night before and run out the door with little Mohammed. All I could think as we pulled out of Shevet with Mohammed screaming through the oxygen mask was Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know that plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." The Lord had his hand in this plan, and we are so grateful we arrived at the hospital safely knowing our new home in Jaffa was waiting when we had finished admitting Mohammed. 

When we arrived at the hospital, Mohammed's oxygen saturation was still low, but the nurses graciously welcomed us and prepared a bed for him while he was being admitted. We made our rounds saying hello and goodnight to the three other mothers and grandmothers from Shevet that were staying overnight, and we left Mohammed in the capable hands of the Wolfson nurses. 

This morning we returned to find Mohammed doing well, off of oxygen and with good saturation from room air. The doctors explained to us Mohammed still has a small hole in his heart, residual from fetal cardiac anatomy, that the blood occasionally flows the wrong way across. This right to left shunt causes a relatively harmless decrease in Mohammed's oxygen saturation. The rest of the day marked a great deal of waiting, as doctors decided whether or not he could be discharged and discussed options surrounding some medication changes. While we waited, Mohammed's mother stayed calm, even braiding our hair and making jokes with us. By the end of the day, little Mohammed was discharged and seemed to have slept on every available surface in Wolfson- from our arms, to the table, to the slide in the playground. It was good to see him finally get some rest and to be able to provide companionship for his sweet mother. 

Please continue to lift Mohammed and his mother up in prayer as he recovers. We know the Lord has a plan for their lives- plans for hope and a future!

Restoration in Body and Spirit

Posted on Mon, 06/27/2016 - 18:21 by Sophie

Before Mohammed's echo, I had the privilege to hold this precious baby for a while. Sadly, when I put him down on the echo room's bed he started crying.

During the whole day, Mohammed was not in a good mood; he cried a lot. He is tired, but he is struggling to sleep. He always wants someone to hold him, so his mother was exhausted. Because of this, his mother was anxious to be discharged from the hospital. 
Thanks to God, Mohammed's echo was good enough for him to get the 'ok' to come back to Jerusalem. We hope and pray both mother and son will be restored in body and spirit.


Posted on Sun, 06/26/2016 - 22:15 by Brenda Hofer

When I walked into the children’s ward this afternoon, Mohammed was fast asleep with his mom standing right by his side. The hospital must have taken him out of the secondary ICU during the weekend. I wanted to capture the moment quickly, so I took out my phone to snap a picture. I got the picture I wanted, but unfortunately the sound the camera makes stirred Mohammed from his sleep. He didn’t seem to mind at all. He was in a happy mood.

This is the first time I have ever seen him like this. When he arrived at Shevet just over a week ago, he was so sick and was not a cheerful baby. His transformation is incredible. His mom cradled him in her arms and I began wildly taking pictures again. It was so funny to see him get very animated when he was going to have his afternoon snack. Mohammed’s eyes grew larger in anticipation for his bottle. He couldn’t drink the milk from his bottle fast enough. 

I was so glad to see Mohammed feeling better. I was particularly amazed to see the color of his hands and cheeks because they are now a beautiful shade of pink. His heart is repaired, and he can be the happy kiddo he wants to be.

I invite you to continue lifting up Mohammed and his mom during this recovery time. May the Lord do a work, not only physically in both of their hearts, but spiritually; that they will know how much their Heavenly Father cares for, and adores, them.

Mohammed Extubated

Posted on Wed, 06/22/2016 - 20:22 by Rebekah Yang

After our crew arrived at the hospital this morning, the first good news came to us. Our little Mohammed was extubated this morning! I was so glad to enter the ICU and couldn't wait to hug Mohammed's mum. I did not find her when I first arrived, but then I saw her sleeping in the children's ward.

After she woke up, she hugged me and gave me greetings of kisses. We then sat and had a chance to chat and catch up. From her candor, I could tell how happy she was to see her precious little Mohammed's condition has improved within these few days since his surgery. Praise God His healing power is working mightily in Mohammed's body.

At the moment, Mohammed still has one chest tube to drain fluid from his lung. We do appreciated and value your prayers for Mohammed's continued recovery!

Joy in Waiting

Posted on Mon, 06/20/2016 - 22:37 by Basye Peek

Today was a long and exhausting day at the hospital, but thankfully it ended in joy. This morning, our team of three headed out for Wolfson at 6am: the tell-tale sign of a surgery day! Little Mohammed received his surgery this morning, and the three of us arrived just minutes before he was wheeled from the ICU up to the surgical floor. We were able to walk with Mohammed’s mother behind his bed, as the nurses pushed him through the hospital. Due to his labored breathing, Mohammed was intubated last night and so his pre-op was brief and he went right in for surgery.

While his mother was very strong even just after dropping Mohammed off at surgery, we could tell that it would be a long day of waiting for news and his safe return. As our community is about to open up a new apartment in Jaffa within walking distance of Wolfson hospital and the beach, we suggested taking a walk to visit the new place, and to see the ocean. Mohammed’s mother gratefully told us she would take any distraction and we set off in the early morning heat. It was wonderful to be able to see the lovely new apartment, and we officially received the first mother’s stamp-of approval, from Mohammed’s mom. After spending thirty minutes at the apartment, we walked the 5 minutes walk down the hill to the beautiful beach.

The calm of the ocean waves and the sand beneath our toes was a perfect distraction from the surgery taking place just down the street. Mohammed’s mom laughed and stood in the water, taking great comfort in Ruth’s companionship and the serene setting. We stayed at the beach for as long as we felt we could spare, and then started to walk back at around 10am.

The rest of the afternoon was marked with waiting, waiting, and more waiting as Mohammed’s surgery was much longer than the average amount of time; almost 9 hours. His mother was remarkably calm and the friendships of Zina’s mother and Baran’s mother were so appreciated.

At around 4pm, Mohammed surgery finished and he was moved back to the ICU, where we learned that his post-surgery echo revealed a beautifully repaired heart.

Praise the Lord! This first night will be difficult, and more specifics about his outcome will be relayed soon, but we are taking time to thank the Lord for His healing, His provision, and His timing in Mohammed’s surgery. Continue to lift up Mohammed's recovery and his mother’s perseverance!