Mustafa's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

A Bright Smile, Joyful Heart, and Great Love

Posted on Tue, 11/15/2016 - 13:36 by Alexa Bigl

Very early this morning, our two-person airport team brought Mustafa and his dad to Ben Gurion airport. They are heading home to Kurdistan!

After we got the final word of Mustafa's discharge from yesterday's echo report, the planning for his farewell party kicked into high gear. By 5:30, we were ready to celebrate Mustafa, his father, and the healing miracle our Heavenly Father has performed. We began the evening with eating a beautiful meal. Our neighboring Finnish School, once again, hosted us for our 'under construction'- themed party.

It was so beautiful hearing the chatter all around the large table as people ate and engaged in conversation. 

After this, we headed across the courtyard area to a second room where we entered into a time of worship. It's very important for us, as these families pour out thanks in light of their children's healing, to return the focus to where it belongs. It's through the powerful hand of God and according to His will Mustafa has been healed. In singing worship songs together as a group, we can ensure our focus does indeed remain on Him.
We then entered into a time of sharing with Mustafa and his father. Some central themes people shared about this father/son duo were Abu Mustafa's love for his son, both of their joyful spirits, and how they have become part of the family.  
It was then time for gifts. As different balls, toys, and clothing items where shown to Mustafa it was so adorable seeing his little eyes light up. He loved his colorful ball that lights up and delighted in it the rest of the evening. We also had the opportunity to gift Abu Mustafa with some Biblical resources. 
During Mustafa's time with us, there were multiple opportunities for us to share the Gospel with his father. We pray God has used us to plant seeds and we pray Scripture and resources will be used by God to grow a desire in Abu Mustafa's heart to continue seeking information about the Messiah. Please join us in praying for Abu Mustafa, that his heart will come to know The Lord. 
We lift up loud and joyful praises to God for the amazing work of healing He has performed in Mustafa. His glory shines bright through the physical healing of this precious boy!   

Treasures Beyond Pearls

Posted on Mon, 11/14/2016 - 20:51 by Marilyn Isaacson
I was privileged to take Mustafa for, hopefully, his last echo at the hospital today. On our way, I was singing and clapping to him and his beautiful smile was a God-given moment.
At the hospital, there was a film crew from Ghana interviewing the doctors there and the crew fell in love with Mustafa. His radiant smile could melt any heart. They took pictures of him which will be shown nationally in Ghana. The Lord always arranges these divine appointments when we least expect them. 
The doctor was delighted at Mustafa's progress and he was discharged to go back home without needing to take any further medication. He returns home to Kurdistan tomorrow morning with his dad. They are going to have a very big welcome party when returning home. 
The love and wonderful care that the dad shows his precious son is a real gift to see. I truly felt blessed to have seen this.

Father's Love

Posted on Mon, 11/07/2016 - 19:49 by Agnes Bruna

Suhail and I drove to the hospital today so Mustafa could have an echo to monitor his recovery. Mustafa was quite happy during the journey, but as soon as he was put on the table for his echo, he started to cry.

His father was very good with him, and then he requested some cartoons to be put on on the screen. Sure enough, as soon as that came on Mustafa calmed down and started smiling and even chatting with the technician in his baby talk. 

The echo looked good. Mustafa has a little bit of fluid around his heart but after checking his files, Dr. Alona decided he has always had that so it is nothing to worry about. His medication was reduced which is a good sign. However, his incision has a little bit of infection and she would like the surgeon to have a look at that and maybe prescribe some antibiotic cream. Sadly, because the surgeon was in surgery it could not be done today so he will need to go to the hospital again tomorrow for a checkup. 

The good news is Dr. Alona is planning for next week to be Mustafa’s final echo. His father got so excited and he tried to negotiate an earlier date for leaving but that doesn’t look likely. Especially as his incision still needs looking at. Can't blame him for trying!

It was wonderful to see Dr. Alona's and the echo technician’s love for this little boy whose smiling and chatting has captured our community's hearts too. May this family also get to know our Heavenly Father’s special love for him, and for all of them. We look forward to more good news for him next week.

In and Out

Posted on Mon, 10/31/2016 - 21:54 by Brenda Hofer

This morning I had the privilege of driving our kiddos to Wolfson so that they could have their echo tests performed. We left a little later than I wanted, but it must have been the right time to arrive. I went to go get gas after dropping the families off, and then I went to find a parking space. By the time I got to the echo department, they were finished! Rebekah said Mustafa’s echo was good, but he will have another follow-up echo next week.

The next stop for Mustafa in the day was to have his stitches taken out. He was patient and quiet until the nurse started removing them. He cried and whimpered, but not as much as I thought he might have.

After the nurse was done, Mustafa’s dad picked him and all was well. It was such a joy to see how loving Mustafa’s father behaved towards his small child. We headed joyfully back to Jerusalem after having lunch. It was a very smooth work day considering we were able to get in and out so quickly. Please join with me in prayer that Mustafa will continue to physically improve and he and his father will feel our Heavenly Father’s love for both of them. 

A Joyful Father

Posted on Sun, 10/30/2016 - 21:16 by Alexa Bigl

Mustafa has been discharged from Wolfson to our Jerusalem base! After recovering well from his operation initially, he ended up contracting pneumonia. This caused Mustafa to require more time at the hospital in order to receive IV antibiotics, supplemental oxygen, specialized breathing treatments, and close monitoring. He is doing much better now. While he will continue to need breathing treatments and monitoring, we are excited to have him back with us at Shevet for the continuation of his recovery process. To ensure everything is progressing at our home, Mustafa will get a check-up and echo back at Wolfson tomorrow.  

Mustafa's father was his usual chipper self as Suhail and I helped prepare for their departure. He happily chatted away about who would be back at the house and what his plans were for the coming days. Mustafa's dad had made many friends at the hospital, and as he said goodbye it was obvious he had blessed the fellow caregivers there with his beaming smile and loving ways. 

Praise God we get to hang out and live with Mustafa and his dad for the coming weeks as Mustafa heals!

Still Small Voice

Posted on Tue, 10/25/2016 - 20:23 by Sean Perez

In the hospital there can be many things going on at once. Whether it's babies crying, nurses and doctor's giving reports to one another, or maybe friends and family are visiting each other. With all these elements occurring, the atmoshpere in a hospital can sometimes feel like you're standing in the midst of a wind, a rain, or even an earthquake. Then there is passing by Mustafa's room, where there is this sweet and adorable little boy, who was finally deemed well enough to move out of the ICU and into the ward this morning. He is this still small voice, that even though he may be battling a few of his own elements, such as a high fever and pneumonia these past couple days, perfect peace was on him and his father as you walked into this room.

Nothing seemed overwhelming when you sat by his bedside!  Even his temperature, which had already been subsiding, is almost now right where it should be (at 37.3). His heart rate is great (at 137 beats per minute), he had a good blood pressure of 96/30, and his oxygen saturation was 98%. Which is an excellent indicator, that he is progressing well, despite that he is still battling a slight infection in his lungs. The doctor's have Mustafa on 4 days of antibiotics to combat the infection, and everybody is pretty encouraged this too shall pass!

There was a time when Elijah was told to go stand on the mountain because the presence of the Lord was going to pass him by. And for Mustafa, it was just like Elijah, God wasn't in the wind (his fever), and God wasn't in the rain or the earthquake (his lung infection). But, just like Elijah, you could see God's still small voice saying, I am in your healing Mustafa, as he and his father rested in perfect peace throughout the whole day!

Mustafa is Extubated

Posted on Thu, 10/20/2016 - 22:47 by Ruth Zellweger

Due to the first assessments of our new families we went to the hospital fairly early this morning and were met by a radiant and cheerful Abu Mustafa (which means "father of Mustafa" in Arabic). He had been sleeping overnight in the children's ward and had just started with his breakfast. A little while later he was called into the ICU as Mustafa had been woken up and extubated after the echocardiogram in the morning. 

Around lunch time I was able to see precious Mustafa with my own eyes. He was lying in the big hospital bed and looked quite miserable, even though he had been allowed some milk. His loving father was at his side. He told me proudly that Mustafa had drank quite a bit because he was so hungry. 

We are thankful that Mustafa is doing so well and trust that his recovery continues to be smooth and without complications.

Covered by God's Hand

Posted on Wed, 10/19/2016 - 22:38 by Deborah Burke

"Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." 

Job 12:9-10

At about 7am my co-worker Sean and I arrived at Wolfson hospital ready to support Mustafa's father through the long and often emotionally draining process of his son's heart surgery. This father of 10 has been so excited about this day since he arrived in Israel over 1 month ago and, as we walked through the corridors of the hospital and took the small journey in the elevator down one floor to the OR, his excitement was palpable.

In the waiting area of the OR Mustafa's father was happily posing for photos in surgical scrubs. I affectionately call him "General" as he has been a proud soldier in the peshmerga (Kurdish army). Today was a different kind of uniform, a different context, a different type of soldiering but nevertheless a fight for life and freedom. Today he was a prayer warrior. The brave "General" who has fought for the freedom of his country could only stand by and watch his little son be wheeled away from him into the hands of strangers he had to trust would physically fight on his behalf using their surgical skills as weapons. All that was left for him to do was pray and wait. This fun loving character showed his soft and devoted heart as he spent the most part of the next 4 hours in a very emotional state.

Sometimes it's difficult to know how individuals will react in stressful situations. With the assistance of the only Gazan parent presently in the children's ward, Mustafa's father was kept distracted. As the time was drawing closer for expected completion of surgery, and while we were having lunch together, it was obviously becoming more stressful again for Mustafa's father so we quickly went back to wait outside the ICU. We must have just missed Mustafa's delivery to the ICU and found out via one of the cleaners who pointed him out through the perspex door. The nurses were still preparing him/connecting the monitor, tying tubes into place etc.

When the doctor came out of ICU he was all smiles. He was very happy with the surgery. Everything they planned to do was completed and Mustafa was in a stable condition. Mustafa's father seemed in disbelief. The simcha (joy) was only truly obvious after 2 lots of telephone translations and when he was able to physically touch his son and be briefed about ICU procedure.

We finished the day with chai (tea) in the children's courtyard giving thanks to God for his healing hands.

Earlier today I received an email from one of my Australian prayer partners. It was a newsletter written by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. We are currently celebrating the Feast of Sukkot and he writes, "...The celebration of Sukkot serves to remind us that this whole world is one big sukkah. We are all totally dependent on God who covers us with his love. Remember how God loves us infinitely...We cannot possibly control everything, but the good news is that we don't have to. Our loving Father in Heaven has got us covered." Isn't that indeed good news.

Thank you faithful prayer warriors from all over the world who today called on our Heavenly Father to cover Mustafa with his healing hands.

An Abundant Life

Posted on Wed, 10/19/2016 - 00:37 by Sean Perez

There is a goodness from God that is attached to all His promises. Whether it is to heal us and make us whole, or to give us life that we may have it even more abundantly. Those are all things that we are trusting God to do in the life and heart of Mustafa. In Hebrews 6:12b, it states that all the promises of God are inherited through faith and patience, and the day has finally arrived where Mustafa was admitted for his heart surgery (which will be taking place tomorrow).  

He's probably been with us now for over a month, so we have been praying and patiently waiting for this day to come. Everything transitioned pretty smoothly as we entered the hospital and greeted the hospital staff (as they welcomed us in). They were very friendly and even though it took a little while for us to get our room, once the ball got rolling, it was like clockwork as they began prepping Mustafa for his procedure.

They did all his bloodwork, took his vitals (temperature and blood pressure), and then kindly escorted us down to the radiology department for one last x-ray before the procedure.  As these routine preparations were completed, all that is left is for Mustafa's dad to patiently wait one more night - and our God to complete the good work which He has begun in Mustafa. And we know that this goodness from God doesn't stop at him being made whole, but God's got a plan to bless him, give him hope, a future, and life more abundantly.

Peacefully Overcoming

Posted on Wed, 09/21/2016 - 22:28 by Olivier Bareaud

Today we got the news that Mustafa and his dad will be back in our community base in Jaffa. Mustafa has been admitted to Wolfson hospital since Monday as he suffered from heavy breathing and coughing, and it is a great pleasure to have him back in our home.

I first met Mustafa and his father at the Erbil airport in Kurdistan and flew to Israel with them and two other children with their escorts. The first moment I met him, he was already smiling to me. Mustafa is a very quiet and happy little boy. Mustafa is a very clever child and surprises me a little bit more everyday. Since we arrived in Tel Aviv, I have shared the bedroom with him and his father, but also Tamara and her father (little girl who also traveled with us to Israel from Kurdistan). It is the first time that I stay full time with parents and children. It can be quite challenging but also a very positive experience to support them, be a friend, and someone who is here when they struggle. I have been more than blessed to be with those two fathers that are amazing people and great parents.

Once they were set up at the Jaffa apartment, we went for some check-ups at the hospital the first day. Then, we decided to bring them to the beach. Mustafa and his father seemed a bit impressed by the sea and stayed in the shade while they were observing around. But the next day we brought them back again to another beach in Tel Aviv, and this time the father was much more confident, and decided to come enjoy a swim with me. I also brought Mustafa close to the water to let him feel and enjoy the Mediterranean sea on his little feet. At first he had no reaction, and I wondered if he was scared of it or if he enjoyed it but suddenly a little smile appeared on his face while he was looking at his feet. I have become very close to Mustafa since I met him and it was very special for me to be with him while he was experiencing the sea for the first time of his life.

Then he spent some time playing with Deborah (volunteer from Australia). At first his father kept Mustafa very close to him and did not seem to like it when I started to play with Mustafa for too long. But I did not know that he has ten children in total and has been a dedicated father for a long time. So suddenly having another man taking care of his baby must have been a bit disturbing I guess.

Then the next day Mustafa started to cough, then started to breath heavily, so we decided to send him to the hospital as Tamara was recently diagnosed with pneumonia. Wolfson hospital decided to keep him during the night and diagnosed him with a viral infection. Even at the hospital, Mustafa stayed quiet and peaceful as usual. It was good to see that he went through this first experience pretty well, which gives me good hope for his heart surgery as some children have very negative experiences during their time at the hospital.

As I am writing this blog, Mustafa and his father might be on their way back to the apartment and I am glad to have him back with his father in good health to enjoy the beach and some rest before the next challenging steps concerning the heart surgery.