Sara's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Lovingly Watching

Posted on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 22:34 by Carol Clifford

With joy this afternoon I walked to the hospital to visit baby Sara. Now she has had her surgery and is extubated. Sara was quietly resting but trying to get a finger or two in her mouth, showing signs that she was hungry! After a wriggle here and there, I heard the softest whimper. Then, in only moments Sara was asleep once more. Her dear mother was lovingly watching close by. Let us be faithfully in prayer, daily, for mother and baby. 

Sara's Intense Surgery Day

Posted on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 22:32 by Virginia Birss

Today was a very long, tense and emotional day as Rebekah and I sat with Sara's Mom, prior to surgery, which was delayed for almost 2 hours. And then we continued to sit throughout the very high risk critical open-heart surgery, which lasted for 5 hours. We cried together, prayed together, walked the halls of the hospital together, sat quietly in the sunny garden together, hugged and committed little Sara into God's hands trusting Him for a miracle, not knowing how Sara was faring in surgery.

Throughout the day we talked about God and His love for Sara and her mom. She shared how much she loved Sara saying that Sara is her life. She has walked with Sara through her very fragile first two months, most of which have been in the hospital due to Sara's very critical and complicated heart defect. We cried out to God for His grace and healing for Sara, and after 5 long hours, ecstatically received with relief and joy the news that little sweet Sara had made it through the first of two surgeries. The ventricle defect was repaired with a patch and in one or two years when Sara is older and her heart sufficiently healed, the second surgery to repair her other defects will be done.

Meanwhile we are rejoicing in God's goodness towards His sweet child Sara, in giving her the miracle of life. Upon seeing Sara after surgery, her mom very tenderly kissed Sara on the forehead as she was being wheeled from surgery to the paediatric ICU.

Immediately upon arriving at the ICU she quickly fell to the floor in heartfelt prayer of thanks to God. Together we rejoiced in God's goodness and wept in relief. God is so good! The joy and relief was intense!

In front of the Save a Child's Heart display outside the ICU. Our partners at SACH are integral in our work. 

Sara is not out of danger yet. Please continue to pray for Sara, as the next three days are very critical, and it will be several months before her heart is able to adjust to its repair. Her heart needs to become more normal in size and strength before the second surgery can be done.

All of us at Shevet are praying in unity for Sara's continued healing and rejoicing in God's goodness. Thank you for your prayers!

Trusting God

Posted on Tue, 04/18/2017 - 22:06 by Ruth Zellweger

Today we had some visitors from the States with us, Cathy and Grant, who helped out in many areas of our Shevet life. In the afternoon they joined Simone and I on our trip to the hospital to visit Sara and Aveen. We had been prepared to support Sara's mother during the time of Sara's surgery, but in the morning we were informed that the surgery would not happen today. 

When Grant and I arrived in the ICU, we found Sara's mother resting, next to her sleeping baby. During the time that we were there, Dr. Alona and the surgeons Dr. Hagi and Dr. Sasson came to Sara's bed and explained to us that Sara was now on the schedule for surgery in the morning. Dr. Alona told us that it would be a complex surgery, and that it would be a two-step repair. Tomorrow's surgery would open up the outflow tract from the right ventricle to the lungs, to provide more oxygenation for Sara's body. If successful and the heart growing, then they would perform the final repair after about two years time. 

Sara's mother understood that her daughter is in serious condition, and that this surgery is necessary to save her life.  We gathered around Sara's bed and entrusted her into the hands of our heavenly Father, also praying for the surgeons and peace for her mother for the hours to come. Please pray with us. 


Sara Moved to ICU

Posted on Mon, 04/17/2017 - 22:45 by Rebekah Yang

Even though it was an Israeli holiday, somehow I felt I would like to visit Aveen as well as our newly arrived baby Sara, who just came as an urgent case.

So late this morning, I walked with Virginia to Wolfson hospital to inquire about Sara's current status. However, before we left I learned from the nursing station leader that Sara was transferred to ICU due to her low oxygen levels and needed to have further treatment and also intensive care.
After we arrived at the hospital, we were told that Sara's condition is pretty critical and she will need to have surgery tomorrow.
Please lift up your hands to pray for Sara and her mum, as they're brand new in Israel and tomorrow will face a big day for both of them. Thanks so much for standing with us to support Sara and her mum.

Resurrection Day: There Is Hope

Posted on Sun, 04/16/2017 - 22:23 by Ruth Zellweger

The Lord is risen! - He is risen indeed! - Hallelujah!

In many places all over the world, our brothers and sisters greeted each other today with these familiar words. Because Yeshua died and rose again, we have a hope. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. What a beautiful truth.

At sunrise this morning, several members of our Shevet community gathered with many more believers in front of the empty Garden Tomb in Jerusalem to celebrate the resurrection and great victory of Yeshua, our Lord and Savior. While they were worshiping and praising God, another group of Shevites made its way to the airport. Precious Sara was to arrive:

Originally, Sara and her mother were scheduled to fly into Israel on Friday morning, but at the airport in Kurdistan they were not allowed to board, as there was no oxygen available on that particular flight. Sara and her mother had to go back to their city, which meant a three hour car ride. Sara was hospitalized again until Saturday evening. Praise God, this time they had no problems checking in and boarding. 

Our group did not have to wait long until we could welcome mother and daughter. Even though Sara did not look well and was sweaty, she was stable, which was a big relief for me.

We introduced ourselves and then made our way to the hospital, where the medical team was already expecting us. Initially, the doctors had asked us to bring her after the week long celebration of Pesach/Passover, as many doctors and nurses are taking time off during these holy days. However, after we had heard from our co-worker John that Sara would be hospitalized in Kurdistan until she was able to fly, we inquired if we could bring her earlier. 

Dr. Tamir's simple, yet strong and positive response touched me, since it meant for him and others additional work. I was encouraged. The well-being of a child matters, Sara's life matters. There is hope!

Sara's mother was very exhausted from the long travel and rested a little bit in their room, while Dr. Sagi performed a thorough echocardiogram. His findings were even more serious than what we had heard before. Not only does Sara has a hole between the two ventricles, but two valves are also malfunctioning, causing all kind of problems. In his own words: "She is a poor fella." He will be discussing Sara's case with the other doctors and surgeons after the holy days are over. We know that they will try to find the best surgical solution for precious Sara. 

During the echo Sara fell asleep, with the help of some sedative, holding tightly to my finger with her tiny and cold little hand. It was obvious that she needed comfort. Afterwards Dr. Dafy took blood and because there were not many options for veins after Sara's week long hospitalization in Kurdistan, it took some time and was a painful experience for Sara. I was thankful that her mother was still resting, since I knew that what made me cry would have been even harder on her.

Finally, all samples had been taken and an IV cannula inserted. Sara was released to her room. Her mother asked about the surgery date and I told her that first the doctors will have to discuss everything. Her sorrow came through when she understood that Sara's condition indeed is very serious and also the doctors here are not yet sure if and how they are able to help. I shared with her that I can clearly see God watching closely over Sara. Her heart defect was diagnosed the day of her birth, she was accepted at Wolfson hospital soon after, the visa was approved quickly, and despite the oxygen issue at the airport in Kurdistan on Friday, Sara arrived safely in Israel this morning. 

What a special Resurrection Day. We do not know yet how God will intervene in Sara's life, but we believe that there is hope. And we will be holding on to that.

Little Sparrow Sara

Posted on Thu, 04/13/2017 - 22:22 by Ruth Zellweger
Our Shevet community is awaiting the arrival of little Sara early Friday morning.
Sara in the pink blanket with her parents and co-worker John
Sara was born 9 weeks ago with a hole between the two ventricles of her heart. She has been in serious condition since then and was hospitalized several times. But thank God, travel preparations are completed and she is currently on her way to the airport in Kurdistan. She will be traveling on oxygen and we pray that she will arrive safely. She will be seen right away by the doctors at Wolfson hospital.
We are looking forward to seeing how the excellent medical care that Sara will be receiving will transform her life. 
May Sara's little heart be healed and she soon be able to spread her wings and fly.