Sarur's Heart Surgery


A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Posted on Sun, 08/28/2016 - 18:03 by Ruth Zellweger

Over the course of the past year our Shevet community has been in close contact with Sarur's family and visited them several times. We praise God, He has been watching over that precious family and has brought them through changes and much difficulties. He is faithful!

Little Sarur is not so little anymore. Instead of being malnourished and very delicate, he is now a chubby and quite heavy boy. He is loved by the whole family. However, he has not yet started to sit or crawl on his own, and we ask you to join us in praying he would be able to learn that soon. 

Sarur's father and oldest brother left for Germany last year, hoping for the rest of the family to follow them soon. This has not been possible yet. Our former co-workers, Sarah and Konrad, had the opportunity to visit father and son recently in their new home. They miss their family and are in daily contact with them. 

Sarur's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the beginning of this year. After several months of not communicating this and hoping to get treatment in Germany once they had moved, she finally entrusted us with the news and medical reports. About two months ago, she had a surgery and is now undergoing her third cyle of chemotherapy. So far her prognosis is good, as the cancerous tissue was removed completely, with no metastases found. She is still weak, but we praise God for sustaining this precious mother of seven. 

It was our joy and honor to visit the family in their new house in the refugee camp a few days ago. We had to wait for quite a while to get permission to enter the camp, but the time spend with the family was worth that time of waiting. This family lives together in unity, and it was nice to see how the children help out and take on responsibilty with their father being gone and their mother not being well. They surprised us with a beautiful and delicious meal, prepared by the mother and oldest daughter.

Afterwards, during tea, we got out the guitar and sang a few songs of praise. 

It was already dark when we bid our farewell and left the camp. We continue to trust our heavenly Father that He will perfectly take care of the needs of these dear friends. 

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2

God Provides

Posted on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 00:44 by Ruth Zellweger

If I recall correctly, Sarur and his family are the first family that I have visited in a refugee camp. It was during my first visit to Kurdistan in October last year. It had just started raining that day and we walked through the mud to the little tent house that belonged to Sarur's family. I still remember what I thought when I entered. Even though the environment in a camp is far from pleasant, the tent felt like home. Its residents, a sweet family with seven children that had to leave everything behind in Syria, gave me the impression of a displaced royal family. They were walking, speaking, and interacting with so much calmness and dignity, despite their devastating circumstances. I was impressed.

A few months later, Sarur traveled to Israel for his heart surgery, together with his father. Because he was so malnourished, he was put on a high calorie diet and very slowly gained some weight. His father was very patient during that time, caring for his son with much love and diligence. He never complained about anything, but was content with whatever he was given. Only once did he ask for something: On the day of his departure he asked for the stroller that he had been using during his time in Israel to take back to Kurdistan. We gladly sent the stroller with him.

When we visited Sarur a few weeks ago we were sad to see that he lost much of his slowly gained weight. His parents told us that it started when Polycose, a carbohydrate supplement, had run out. They had not been able to find it in the country, and so Sarur started to deteriorate- but we have a God who watches out for children. He provided the special powder through two journalists from Israel, who came to Kurdistan for writing an article. A few hours before their departure they went to a pharmacy in Jerusalem and bought two cans of Polycose.

Sophie and I were privileged to visit Sarur this past Tuesday to bring the special powder and spend some time with the family. Sarur's father came to the entrance of the camp and welcomed us. First thing he handled us a bottle cooled water. And when we arrived in their home, we were treated like special guests. It is embarrassing and makes you feel uncomfortable, when you see how they treat you, how they offer you the best of the best, when you know that they have so little to live of themselves. It is a great lesson in humility and hospitality.

The parents were very happy to see the two cans of Polycose, and we told them that we will organize more to bring on a future visit. Sarur's brother were playing outside, while his two sisters were spending time with us. They are very gentle with their little brother. It is obvious how much Sarur is loved by his family. While the mother took a nap, the father helped his little daughter to make a bracelet. It was so sweet to watch.

Before we left the camp, we took time to pray for little Sarur. He still has a long way to go, but he is loved very much by his family, and even more by his heavenly Father. His life is precious in God's eyes.


Small, But Fighting

Posted on Tue, 06/02/2015 - 14:15 by Sophie H.

After Sarur left our community, we wanted to see how is he doing so we took a chance and went to the camp to see him. When we first saw him, I was so shocked to see how small he still is. Later on, we learned that he recently had a chest infection and stayed in hospital for ten days. He did not eat much which caused his weight to drop from 6 kg to 4kg .Now he is over two years old but still only weighs 4 kg . He really needs a special powder to help him gain some weight but they cannot find here. We hope to find this special powder for him soon.

After a while, Sarur's father brought his neighbor's son to us. We were told he has a cataract. Jonathan had a chance to talk with them and then we prayed for their healing while anointing them with oil. We believe God will take care him in the best way. Please keep praying for these families.

A Long Time Coming

Posted on Sun, 02/22/2015 - 22:47 by Kyle Carlson

Just under three months ago, Sarur made the long journey from his refugee camp in Kurdistan to Jerusalem. We had been working, and hoping, to bring him here for the entire previous year. His situation was dire, and he needed treatment for his heart defect and nutrition deficit. We were very excited that he had finally arrived and was going to receive the care he needed.

I was privileged to accompany Sarur and his father to the hospital their first day in Israel. I will always remember how difficult it was to even watch the doctors perform their tests on his fragile, little body. He had many health problems, including a heart defect and lack of proper nutrition due to his down syndrome. Throughout all the tests, I really began to gain an understanding of how grim his health really was. His father told me that he was just excited to be receiving answers to questions he had since the beginning of Sarur’s life. His father is one of the most loving fathers I have ever had the opportunity to observe. He found himself in a situation where he was responsible for Sarur 24/7, but he remained joyful. Because of Sarur’s health, they stayed in the hospital for over two months during their stay in Jerusalem. However, no matter what was going on, Sarur’s father never lost his smile or hospitality. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with him, and he will always be a good friend.

Sarur’s present health is drastically better than when he first arrived. Even though he only gained 500 grams during his stay, the comparison is drastic. When he arrived to Jerusalem, he was severely underweight and had a life threatening heart defect. When he left, he had learned how to properly eat and absorb the nutrients he needed, and his heart was healed. The Lord truly worked many blatant miracles in Sarur’s life. The fact that he does not need a feeding tube any more is just one of many examples. I am so thankful to have met Sarur and his father, and even more thankful for the work God did in his life! Here is a video blog we developed to remember some of the milestone’s of Sarur’s time in Israel. 

Sarur's Final Appointment

Posted on Thu, 02/19/2015 - 23:30 by Lindsay Martin

Sarur traveled to Wolfson Hospital yesterday for potentially his final appointment. He received wonderful news and was released to travel home. Here is a video blog about his day. 

Back in Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 22:32 by Brian Mace

Archie and I were blessed to make a quick afternoon trip to Wolfson hospital today where we said our greetings to Arwa, then collected Sarur and his dad, who had just been discharged, bringing them back to Jerusalem. Here is a picture of Surur, who is looking content and happy – and a little heavier than when he first arrived in Israel.

His dad reports that Sarur has even been hungry and wanting his fortified milk, for which we praise God.

Soon and Very Soon

Posted on Wed, 02/11/2015 - 23:05 by Konrad Wiedmer

Today, Kristina and I had the pleasure of visiting sweet baby Sarur and his father in the hospital. When we left after the morning meeting, we knew that the doctors would close the hole in Sarur’s stomach, which was caused by the feeding tube he had to have before. It is because the hole in Sarur’s stomach didn’t grow together as expected that he had to undergo the procedure today.

When we arrived in the children’s ward, the operation had been successfully accomplished and the small baby was sleeping calmly in his bed. The father was happy and welcomed us with his warm and friendly smile. Because Kristina and I were two people and we had two children in the hospital, I was able to stay with the father. Kristina was with Arwa and his mother, who had a very intense – but also successful – day, as Arwa’s heart surgery took place today.

After a short time waiting and talking to the father, Sarur woke up and was very quiet at first, but after a while, he began to cry.

The father explained to me then that this skinny baby had to fast the second day in a row today because of the extraction of the feeding tube. He was always saying to Sarur: “No milk today. Tomorrow, tomorrow”. You could really see the hunger and distress in Sarur’s face, who longed to get something to eat. Let’s pray to our Lord that he may not have too much suffering while he waits to be allowed to eat again.

What was also very painful for this tiny, sweet boy was the taking of blood samples, but he passed every obstacle in the end, praise God!

Most of the time Sarur’s dad and I were trying to solve some Sudoku sheets, and we had great fun doing it. He is really intelligent, which I also could see in how he was translating different words from English into Kurdish and Arabic and the other way around for me. At some point, I found out he learned a few phrases in French once, which was also great fun.

I am thankful for this day and the opportunity to spend some time with this awesome father. His humor and his kind manner are amazing. I could see today what a great father he is. Our hope for the next days is that our God will strengthen Sarur’s body and increase his weight and health! Please join us in prayer for father and son who are waiting patiently for more improvements and recovery. We have already seen many miracles in Sarur’s life, and we trust the mighty hand of the Lord. 

Sarur Making Milestones

Posted on Mon, 02/09/2015 - 22:23 by Kristina Kayser

Sarur and his father have been such a blessing to our community in Jerusalem, and today, we all hoped and prayed for a successful hospital visit. Both an echo and a weight check were scheduled, the latter being the greater anticipated event. Less than a week has passed since Sarur miraculously transitioned from using a feeding tube to drinking strictly from a bottle. "How much has he gained?" we wondered. And would it be enough to convince the doctors that the feeding tube was no longer necessary? En route to Tel Aviv, Sarur's father made it clear that he wanted the tube removed as soon as possible because of his son's progress and due to the discomfort it caused. We would soon discover the answer to all of our questions and concerns...

Once the echo exam began, we were delighted to learn that Sarur's heart was functioning without any complications. He continues to recover without medication, and Dr. Alona scheduled his final echo for next Monday! The news only got better when it was decided that Sarur's feeding tube could be removed. His father was overjoyed and so thankful for this important milestone to have been reached. The tube came out quite easily, and the superficial opening was simply sealed with medical tape. According to the doctor, the skin would typically close on its own after a few days.  

The last stop of the day was at the children's ward, where Sarur's weight would be measured. His father and I began taking guesses at how much he currently weighed. It was an exciting moment as the scale began to register, and everyone seemed to hold their breath. Drumroll: 4.190 kg! Julia, Sarur's father and I started celebrating, and Dr. Alona soon joined us with much praise and joy. It was so beautiful to be a part of this moment and witness yet another example of God's grace in Sarur's life. 

While we had hoped to return home soon after, the wound left behind from the feeding tube began to leak. After redressing it several times, Dr. Alona suggested that he stay overnight for observation. If the wound did not improve, then they would close it with sutures. His father was quite anxious about this side effect but was assured that this was normal and would be carefully looked after. God willing, Sarur and his father will return to Jerusalem tomorrow. Thank you Lord for strengthening this precious boy and showing us Your glory through his life! 

Sarur is Home Again

Posted on Fri, 02/06/2015 - 10:29 by Kristina Kayser

Our community received the wonderful news this morning that Sarur was ready, once again, to leave the hospital and return to Jerusalem. We have been hoping and praying for this ever since Sarur was readmitted last Saturday after pulling out his feeding tube. But the tables began to turn for this small baby on Tuesday.

Without any medical explanation, he began to drink well from a bottle for the first time in his life! Prior to this day, Sarur had struggled with being able to adequately suck, which led to the insertion of the feeding tube to gain proper nutrition. Progress continued when the doctors discovered that he had gained 100 grams within twenty-four hours. This, my friends, is truly a miracle and a gift from the Lord. When no human idea or plan succeeds, God's grace is manifested in such a powerful way! If Sarur continues to make progress in weight gain, doctors at Wolfson hope to remove the feeding tube completely next week.

Sarur's father was more than ready to head home with us, and he carefully prepared his son for departure. Meanwhile, Marwan from Gaza came over to see Sarur one more time before he headed home as well. It was beautiful to see these special boys together and to witness the evidence of God's healing in their lives. Thank you Father for doing what seemed impossible to man and rescuing Sarur from death to life!

Sarur Readmitted

Posted on Sun, 02/01/2015 - 20:16 by Kristina Kayser

Sarur and his father were enjoying a reprieve from the hospital setting after being discharged last Thursday. And our community was likewise happy to have them in our home. An unusual incident happened early yesterday morning, however, that interrupted their stay with us. Around 3am, Sarur, small as he is, gained enough force to pull out his feeding tube. Ruth and I were on hand to assess him, and the hospital was called to get further instructions. It was decided that Sarur should come to Wolfson straightaway to prevent the stoma (opening in his stomach) from closing. He was so calm and peaceful all the way to Tel Aviv, that you would not think anything was wrong. 

A general surgeon was called to the children's Emergency Room to insert a new feeding tube. The attempt was unsuccessful and we then waited until a pediatric specialist arrived several hours later. Sarur continued to remain calm throughout as did his father; I was amazed and thankful at how God's peace rested on all of us.

When the pediatric specialist arrived, a new feeding tube was replaced quickly and painlessly. Our little friend, Marwan, from Gaza was also on hand to check on his friend Sarur and make sure everything was sorted out. With much relief, Sarur's father immediately gave his son milk before we headed home to Jerusalem around 10:30am. 

All seemed well until early Saturday evening, when Sarur's bandaging around the feeding tube was wet throughout. I called the doctor once again to report the leak, and once again, we were asked to come to Wolfson. These are moments when it's good to remember that the Lord is in control and that He has a purpose for everything. He loves this little boy so much and wants the best for him! Sarur was admitted overnight so that he could be re-examined in the morning and give doctors time to troubleshoot the situation. His father accepted the decision with grace, saying that as long as his son was taken care of, he was happy. Brian and I left father and son in the capable hands of the medical team, but mostly in the strong and loving hands of our heavenly Father.  


The most recent update from the doctor was given by phone this afternoon. It appears that yet another feeding tube was replaced and Sarur will be observed in hospital until at least tomorrow. Please pray that this device functions well and that Sarur will continue to gain weight and be able to return to Jerusalem in God's perfect timing!