“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4


Yesterday I was in the Galilee region with two friends, and we visited the Mount of Beatitudes. As we walked along the path through the garden, we read each beatitude that was carved into marble along the pathway. When we came upon verse four, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” my heart sank. I thought of how just the day before baby Havi died. I thought of how his mother tenderly sat at his bedside in the ICU of Sheba and whispered his name, begging him to wake up, telling him that his mama is here with him.  Since baby Shadi died a few weeks ago it seems as though mourning and death are ever present companions. And what can we pray? I’ve prayed for comfort but it seems so futile a thing against the agonizing grief that comes with losing a child. To ask the Father for comfort in the face of death has made me feel helpless because I simply do not know what to pray for in these circumstances, and comfort seems like the only thing I do know what to ask for them. But while we were sitting and reading the Beatitudes yesterday, the Spirit gently reminded me that to pray for comfort was not just something I made up because I couldn’t think of anything else; it’s right here in Matthew 5:4, God’s comfort to those who mourn is a promise of Jesus. When Jesus says this, he is not only promising His comfort to those who mourn, He is identifying with those who mourn. As He preached the Sermon on the Mount, He Himself would soon mourn, but not be comforted as He drank the cup of the Father’s wrath and bore the sin of humankind. Oh, Jesus knew what it was to mourn, and because in His hour of death there was no comfort to be had, this means that in our hour of death, when we are faced with pain beyond measure He is right there, able to comfort us. “ I know what you feel,” is what the Father whispers to Havi’s parents, to Shadi’s parents, and to Nazgol’s parents. They are not alone, and neither are we. He comes and sits with us in our darkness, but, “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” (Psalm 139:12).  And down here, in what C.S Lewis called ‘the weeping valley’ we will need comfort, so friends, please pray for Havi’s family, that when they mourn, the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, the Spirit who knows anguish beyond belief, will comfort them and make their darkness as bright as day. And friends, let us also give thanks to God for Havi’s life, and that he is now in the presence of God whose face shines like a million suns. His body is restored and his soul is at rest, for He has met his savior.
Along with Havi’s family, little baby Awyar needs your prayers and support as this past Tuesday was a trying day for him. He had the first of two surgeries, and the first step was to put in a band and shunt to strengthen the heart enough for the second surgery where the operation would be to switch his arties, but on Tuesday night the doctors had to reenter to put in a larger shunt because the original one they put in was too small. The doctors are hoping that by this Sunday the heart will be strong enough for the second step in the surgery process, but we got word today that his blood pressure and heart rate dropped; thankfully the nurses were able to stabilize him. Please pray for discernment for the doctors on how to proceed with the second surgery, for God’s protection to be around baby Awyar as they wait for his heart to grow stronger, and peace for his father, who is very nervous.
Among the trials there are also causes of celebration: Aryan and Peryar both had successful surgeries yesterday (that’s right a double surgery day for Shevet!) As of today, they are also both extubated! Praise God His healing and for the doctors who performed these lifesaving operations! Peryar will need regular checkups in Kurdistan for the next couple of years, and will need another surgery at 14- 25 years old, to implant a PA valve, so please pray for the Lord’s continued protection and provision over his life.
Further praise reports are that of Daryan and Mohammed! Mohammed had a successful surgery this past Sunday, the 29th, and his heart rhythm has steadily improved since then! Yesterday, Mohammed’s drainage tube was also removed. He should be discharged hopefully tomorrow! We are so grateful for the health of this sweet boy! Daryan was discharged yesterday! This little boy and his sweet mum are happy to be back at the Shevet house after a few weeks in the hospital and we are so pleased to be back with them again! Truly these two little boys are a blessing for a community and we praise God for their continued recovery.
A few minutes ago, Vareen and Taim returned from scheduled appointments! Vareen still has fluid around her heart and they increased her medicine for blood clotting; please pray for her as she as another checkup on Sunday, we believe our Father can heal her completely, so that’s what we are praying for! Taim’s mother had a pre- surgery consultation that went well and his surgery will hopefully be Sunday! Please pray for no complications for baby Taim’s surgery and peace for his mother as her son goes into the operation.
Baby Hassan from Gaza was moved back to the ICU yesterday after his lower left lobe collapsed; a nasal cannula administers oxygen to  him to help with breathing. Please pray for this little one that the Father would pave the way to healing after a turbulent time in the hospital.
This week we had a great Gaza clinic after a quiet month in April. Six children came out from the border and two were admitted on Tuesday! Rafif was re- intubated after cardiac arrest and needs a tracheostomy to heal his throat issues. Like baby Hassan, Rafif’s journey has had many ups and downs, but we trust God even in the valleys, for we are His workmanship. So please join us in asking our Father to work in Rafif’s body. A beautiful young girl, Dahlia and precious, young Mahmood were both admitted, Dahlia for a CT scan and Mahmood for surgery!

Lastly, Viyan, whose birthday we celebrated last Thursday had an appointment this past Sunday where she received an ECG device so the doctors can monitor her heart and see what the problem is, so please pray for wisdom and divine inspiration for the doctors in deciding treatment. We know that God made her and knows her heart, and we pray for Him to impart that knowledge to the doctors treating her. She is a wonderful young woman and it is such a treat to have her here and become friends. Please pray that she would know she is cherished in God’s eyes, she is a daughter of the King, and Jesus paid the highest price for this intelligent and beautiful girl. We love her very much.
A week ago today we threw Viyan an eighteenth birthday party, tonight we are having a farewell party for Havi’s parents who fly back to Kurdistan tomorrow. The loss is still so raw for us and for them most of all. There will be many emotions and questions from family, and especially from Havi’s older brother and sister. And here I am again, at a loss of what to pray for, when I think of two young children coping with the death of their baby brother.  So, God give them comfort, give them restoration, and a new hope. Give them a hope that will not fade no matter the circumstances, give them the hope that Havi has now seen. Give them your Spirit, Lord. I am reminded of Jesus’ last words to His disciples in the Gospel of Matthew: “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Day after day after day until the very end, He is with us.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Alena for Shevet Achim