Mustafa's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

A Surprise Admission

Posted on Sun, 09/18/2016 - 22:43 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Mustafa and his father have enriched our Jaffa community with their sweet and joyful spirits. Over the past days we had many reasons to laugh and joke together, as we shared life with all its responsibilities and beauties. With each meal or excursion, we would get to know each other better and appreciate the other more. And after less than a week, there is already something missing when this sweet father-son duo is not around. 

Our small Jaffa community had already started making plans for Mustafa's birthday tomorrow, but this evening we realized that we will have to improvise, as Mustafa's health deterioated within a few hours. He was suddenly very congested and his breathing labored. Only a few hours earlier, his new friend Tamara had been admitted to Wolfson hospital with serious pneumonia. Mustafa followed a little bit later. He is usually the most happy and content little kid, but upon arrival at the hospital it was obvious that he wasn't doing well. He cried on and off, and was only comforted when someone held him. The nice doctor on duty came, checked him, took some blood samples, and sent him for an x-ray. There is no confirmed diagnosis yet, but it could be pneumonia as well. Mustafa was admitted and was only happy once he received his bottle of milk. 

Regardless where, if in the hospital or on the beach, we will celebrate Mustafa's life tomorrow. He is such a precious little child and we are thankful that he can receive such excellent medical care in Israel. May his life be a testimony for God's grace and love that He has shown precious Mustafa. 

The Patience of Job

Posted on Wed, 09/14/2016 - 22:07 by Deborah Burke

After arriving late last night from Iraq, little Mustafa and his father were up early this morning for a big day of assessments. It's enough when this happens in a familiar environment, but to wake up in a foreign country, surrounded by a myriad of foreigners of whom very few speak your language, and then to be poked, prodded, and have your personal being invaded by needles and thermometers is probably more than most of us could bear. This grateful dad was such a joy to be around and his little son Mustafa is one of those placid, sweet babies who doesn't seem to be too upset by the daunting situations such as he found himself in today.

I watched as Mustafa had his initial assessments done by the nursing staff. I observed his father try to understand the long-term consequences of his son Down's Syndrome. At one point he seemed quite flattened by the news, but this didn't negatively impact how he cared for his youngest son - the youngest of 10. He proudly stated all of his children's names in chronological order upwards, and introduced me to his wife and a couple of the other children on skype. It's always an honour to be included in these families, and so quickly and warmly. Even if Mustafa's father had been rocked by the developmental prognosis of his son, his dedication and love was obvious through the echocardiograph. 

His expressed gratitude to Dr. Alona did not go unnoticed by her.

I watched and participated with Mustafa and his father as they waited oh so patiently through every step of the process. Sitting in a few waiting areas throughout the hospital, trying to understand what was happening...and still there was a spirit of grace and gratitude for this opportunity to receive healing in Israel.

James talked about the patience of Job who endured great suffering in a short amount of time. Is there not some similarity in this story? What did I take from this experience today? No matter what happens we are called to follow in Job's example as we patiently endure in service and worship to the Lord, remembering that our God is full of compassion and mercy (James 5:11).

Mustafa's reward today for his endurance was some sedation-induced rest!