Arina 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Visiting Arina and Family in Iraq

Posted on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 01:00 by Dirk_Kleinloh

In Sulaymania we met Arina's family. Her father is a Kurdish linguistic professor who speaks five languages, including perfect German. Too bad for Goran and Donna, a lot of the conversation was in German. :)

Arina's surgery went so fast, and it seems she is doing well now, although her father mentioned that there still is a minor unresolved issue.

Arina and her bother Shwan are very clever and tidy children. Just look at their beautiful room which they proudly presented to us. We came on short notice, so we know their room was tidy already before we came.

Arina's parents say "thank you" for the help they received. They were very glad that the surgery could be done in Israel. We were invited for a beautiful meal at a restaurant and listened to Arina's fathers very interesting social and etymological ideas.

Please continue to pray for this family.

Arina Flies Home to Iraq

Posted on Sun, 07/13/2008 - 01:00 by Dirk

Arina and three other children and their mothers flew back to Iraq today after spending three days with us in Jordan following their heart surgeries in Israel. (Arina is pictured with her mom in left foreground.)

We still remember the long waiting time in Jordan before the surgeries. Everybody was very tense then, and it used to take a while before we could cheer them up and make them smile.

Now, what a difference! These last three days have been relaxed and happy, and the families joined with our family in our evening worship times.

It's so nice to release happy mothers and children home to their families. Thank you Lord for all of your grace.

A Joyful Farewell to Israel

Posted on Thu, 07/10/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

Arina together with Shaima, Ranj, and Zhino and all their mothers came to Jerusalem Wednesday morning in preparation for their return trip to Iraq following their successful heart surgeries. Their last request was to see Jerusalem before they left Israel.

Hank drove them all over the city, showing them the spiritually significant sights in Jerusalem, including the Garden Tomb and even the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (both pictured below).

They arrived back at the Shevet house just before sunset. Once they arrived they prepared a nice dinner as part of the celebration that would take place that evening (Arina pictured below left).

Keleigh: "There was tremendous joy as all prepared to go back home. Around 11:00 p.m. dinner was served. Shortly after, Kurdish music was turned on and the real party began. All five of the children (Nari was among them, although he's not yet returning to Iraq) sang and danced for hours. Little Ali, waiting with us for his second surgery, loved watching the older children sing and dance, trying to imitate them as best he could. Their mothers also joined in intermittently encouraging the kids to continue on. I left the party around midnight and the children were still energetically singing and dancing."

Amy: "The next morning we weren't going to let them leave for Iraq without praying. So we gathered and prayed for those traveling. I said a tearful goodbye to all those that were leaving. They will surely be missed, but I am grateful to the Lord that they will be healthy upon returning to Iraq."

Hank then drove them to the border crossing, and Keleigh reports: "They checked out on the Israeli side and loaded their luggage onto the bus. Each mother and child gave us a hug goodbye and with it, the tears began to run down their cheeks. Shaimas mother hugged me and as I began to pull away, I felt her hold on. Through tears, the continual words out of each mothers mouth was, thank you, thank you!"

Cheering Up A Friend

Posted on Sun, 06/22/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

As I entered the room where Arina was staying, I was greeted by a big smile and a hug from Arina and her mom. Arina was a having a great time playing with her new Bratz doll. She has also been up walking around. After visiting for a few minutes, she and her mom wanted to visit Zhino. It was great to see Arina coming to visit Zhino. It cheered Zhino up quite a bit more.

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Talking and Smiling

Posted on Thu, 06/19/2008 - 01:00 by Amy_Denney

Today Arina was awake and speaking just a little. When I entered the room she had a big smile and waved hi, just like Arina would do even if she were not in ICU. Arina's mother was doing much better. She had a smile also, and seemed to be a lot calmer. Arina is doing very well.

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Arina Recovering Well in ICU

Posted on Wed, 06/18/2008 - 01:00 by Andrew_Peck

Arina came through heart surgery today, and she is recovering in the ICU very well. This has been a very emotional time for her mother. When Arina began to wake up a little bit early, her movements caused her mother a considerable amount of grief. Arina's mother wept openly for awhile before we left. Although she is very excited for her daughter, it is very hard for her to see Arina in this condition. Arina seems to be making a fairly normal recovery, and the doctors hope to have her out of the hospital sooner than usual.

Surgery Tomorrow!

Posted on Tue, 06/17/2008 - 01:00 by Hank_And_Michelle_Dannecker

Arina and her mother have been busy socializing since their arrival in Israel. Saturday afternoon, both Arina and Ali, along with their respective parents, enjoyed a time of fun, food, and fellowship at our neighborhood picnic/BBQ. Soon after getting settled at a table with some food, Arina's mother was busy videotaping the events.

And though Ali didn't venture too far from his father, he was content to sit at his feet and play with a toy truck. People from varying cultures and faiths were present, and it was a joy to see these two Iraqi families interacting and talking with others who spoke snippets of Arabic.

Before leaving to return them to Shevet house at the end of the day, both Arina and Ali were presented with a small gift of handmade quilts. Arina's face lit up when she noticed that her quilt had pink ballerinas on it!

It was a wonderful afternoon - a time of forging friendships and allowing God's love to be shown. Our hearts are grateful to Him for these opportunities!

Short-term volunteer Andrew adds:

After being examined, Arina was admitted to the hospital today. She will have her surgery tomorrow. It is not expected to be very difficult and will only last about three hours. Arina was very relaxed throughout the day, but her mother became a little emotional while Arina was tested for tuberculosis. Please pray for Arina, her mother and the doctors who will be operating on her tomorrow.

Arina Arrives in Israel

Posted on Fri, 06/13/2008 - 01:00 by Alex_Pettett

I met Arina on the Jordan side of the Beit Shean border terminal today. She had not a hint of shyness about her. Her mother too was warm and very excited about their trip to Israel.

We boarded the bus and made the crossing in record time. The Israeli side greeted her warmly even as they went through all her possessions.

After leaving the terminal and entering Israel proper, Arina's mother shared with us some candy made in her home town called lokach. I thought it sounded like a creatures name from a Tolkien novel. Im not typically a fan of Middle Eastern sweets but this one caught be by surprise with its creamy texture, hint of coconut, and pistachio stuffed shell. It was delicious and I didnt have to fake my reaction one bit.

We stopped at a falafel stand just inside Beit Shean not 10 minutes down the road. Given that Shabbat was almost upon us, everything was closing and quite deserted. We were greeted by curious falafel stand owners, a young man and older woman, who were wondering if we were transporting Greeks. (I dont have a clue why they thought they were Greek.) I explained who our guests were and why they were here. Immediately the young man piped in, My parents are from Baghdad! Then chimed the older woman, My family is from Mosul! (which is in Iraq). The connection with the familiar through all four people was electric. They considered it a divine appointment and began asking all manner of questions about our visitors.

In the end they declared it was holy work and a mitzva (which means commandment but has come to mean an act of kindness). I told them we were Christians. It was then I noticed Arina was wearing a cross. I asked her if they were believers. Arina's mother said no but that Muslims and Christians get along very well where they're from in northern Iraq. Someone apparently bought her the cross in Amman, Jordan.

A Jewish lawyer sitting behind me was listening to the whole conversation with fascination. He declared that he would like to be involved in the work. He is part of the management for a Jewish foundation. He believed the foundation would be interested in supporting us. You never know.

So, within an hour we can already see little Arina's life reaching into the hearts of Israelis. We cant wait to see what will happen when a whole week passes. Arinaand her mother are resting comfortably in Jerusalem now, awaiting their first medical appointment Tuesday morning.