Sarur's Heart Surgery


Sustained by God's Grace

Posted on Sun, 11/02/2014 - 22:12 by Kristina Kayser

While in Kurdistan a few weeks ago, Jonathan, Ruth, Sophie, and I saw one more glimpse of God's grace on our final day in the region. On the outskirts of Erbil lies a sprawling tent city of approximately ten thousand Syrian Kurds.

It was here that God first led us to find fragile baby Sarur nearly nine months ago. Miraculously, Sarur is still alive despite being only five kilos at fifteen months of age and having severe risk of pneumonia and cardiac failure.

His family of five siblings and parents live in the heart of this refugee camp. After going with his family to meet the compassionate medical team caring for him within the camp, we made our way to Sarur's home through streets of thick gooey mud. His mother suddenly handed him to me, and I could feel his whole chest rattle with each cough as I held him close to me, afraid I would slip at any moment. 

Thank the Lord I didn't! I've been in impoverished conditions as well as refugee camps before, but this was unique. Everything looked so dismal, and recent rains have only made things more difficult in the camp with the cold and mud. Nevertheless, we found the redeeming love of God at work once again. He is the one who found Sarur, like a faithful Shepherd. He is the one sustaining Sarur day by day as we pray for his travel documents to be released. He is the one shedding light in darkness and into the hearts of this family! 

Their humble tent was literally a place of refuge as well as a home. It's warmth and tidiness stood in stark contrast to the bemired, cold environment outside. All of the children sat quietly watching and listening along with their parents as we shared our hope for new life for Sarur. We told the stories of other Syrian children who have also come to Israel and received healing for their hearts. We prayed that God would inspire them to see that there is hope for their family as well. 

It is true that the needs in Iraq and for this specific family are overwhelming and the outlook appears dismal in many ways. But I believe there is reason to believe that God is inviting us to be part of something greater than what we can see on the surface. After all, He is the God who is near to the brokenhearted. He is the God who rides the heavens to our help. He is the God who is able to bring life even from death. So may we not only see with our eyes and hear with our ears, but act in faith and with love that is tangible. Nothing is too difficult for the Lord! We trust Him now to provide a breakthrough for Sarur's travel documents to be released. Please pray with us that God will continue to sustain baby Sarur day by day and that he and his father will be soon be with us in Israel.

Coming Soon

Posted on Tue, 03/04/2014 - 22:05 by Kelsey Cannon

The semi-permanent tent structure seen above is home to nine-month-old Sarur and his whole family. They fled unbearable living conditions in their native home country of Syria to seek safety in one of the many sprawling refugee camps in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan. And though his family may now have the safety from fighting and violence they so desperately desired, their little Sarur remains in the way of a danger he cannot flee from - a congenital heart defect.

Sarur was born with an atrial septal defect (ASD), or a hole between the two upper chambers of his heart. When big enough, this hole permits oxygenated blood to flow from the left to the right atria and eventually to the lungs, an aberration of the normal blood flow from the left atria to the left ventricle and out to the rest of the body. Without proper surgical treatment, this abnormal increase of blood flow to the lungs puts a heightened amount of pressure on the vessels leading to the lungs, which eventually leads to their hardening - a condition also known as pulmonary hypertension. And pulmonary hypertension could eventually lead to congestive heart failure. 

As refugees in Iraq, Sarur’s family members do not have the resources available to them to obtain the advanced medical treatment Sarur so desperately needs. And even if Sarur’s family were able to find the resources needed to secure him open-heart surgery, no surgeon in the country would operate on him because of his tiny size and failure to thrive. Therefore, if there is any chance at saving this sweet boy, he has to have heart surgery at an advanced cardiac center abroad. Amazingly, Wolfson Medical Center in Israel has stepped up and invited Sarur for surgical treatment. The only thing standing between Sarur and his new heart are the last remaining government permissions which need to be issued before he travels. Lord willing, Sarur will be here in the next coming weeks.