Roween's Heart Surgery


Thanking the Lord

Posted on Sun, 06/14/2015 - 12:55 by Konrad Wiedmer

On our way through Kurdistan, northern Iraq, we got to see sweet little Roween and her parents. First we met Roween’s father at the International Bible Society in their city, where he collected us by car to meet Roween and her mother in a restaurant. When we entered the place, we saw Roween sitting quietly in a high chair.

She looked so peaceful, and at first, she might have asked herself who those people are. But after a while, she seemed pretty happy and was walking around and making noises.

It was a blessing to see a child on which God performed a true miracle by closing the hole in her heart without any procedure. We really can thank the Father for what he has done for sweet little Roween.

At one point she was walking to her dad, and he picked her up on his lap. Especially for these moments I was excited to come to Kurdistan, to see the children with both of their parents and how they interact. It was really nice to see father and mother both with their child, and once again, I just can be thankful that I had the opportunity to meet them while we were in Kurdistan.

Roween's father also shared with us about the past, where they had been living in another city, and how dangerous it was at this time. He listed a few situations where he could only have survived by God's grace. It sounded almost like the people got used to those attacks in the past, so the only way to handle it was to trust and rely on the Lord in heaven. This made me realize how much security we have in the western countries and even in Israel. In the end, her father mentioned that the inhabitants of Kurdistan are just tired of having wars after the Iran War, the Saddam Regime, and now ISIS. Let's pray for the people of Kurdistan and especially for those who live in areas where fear is still a daily companion.

After we had finished lunch, we took some pictures and then made our way to Roween's grandmother's house, which was nearby.

We were welcomed warmly and had, as usual in Kurdish culture, a cup of tea. We were able meet Roween's grandmother and her mother's sister, as well as Roween's brother. When we left, we had a very friendly farewell and saw them waving as we left in a taxi. May God bless this beautiful family and may he use them to daily be a light among the people of Erbil.

What god is like our great God?

Posted on Sun, 03/29/2015 - 15:47 by Lindsay Martin

It was a brief and wonderful time with beautiful Roween here on Prophets Street. It started with Roween’s first appointment at the hospital revealing that her mother’s fears were confirmed and she would need open-heart surgery. But Roween’s mother is a woman of faith, and as one of our first believing mothers, she immediately turned to the Lord in prayer. Believing that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” she knew that He could perform a miracle in little Roween’s heart.

A couple weeks later, Dr. Tamir asked for Roween to come in for another echo to confirm what the previous echo had concluded. Roween’s mother went in with full expectation of God’s power and healing. And her many prayers were answered when the echo revealed that only a catheterization would be needed to heal Roween’s heart!

When the day came for Roween to receive her catheterization, the doctors were very careful to say that it is still possible that Roween would need open-heart surgery. But when they began the catheterization, they were amazed to find that muscles had grown in and closed the hole in her heart! Our God is truly a God of miracles and Roween’s mother knew that God would bring a miracle in her daughter’s life.

If I were to summarize Roween’s time here, it would best be described in Psalm 30:2, “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”

So often we look at our time with the families as a way to serve and bless them. But I believe that God sent Roween and her mother to bless us, to encourage us, and to remind us of God’s healing power.

We are thankful for the time we had with Roween and her mother; it was a blessing and a gift. And we are excited for the beautiful plans God has in store for His precious child. To Him be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old, I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is like our great God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.”

Psalm 77:11-13

Hafla Hafla for Roween

Posted on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 22:12 by Konrad Wiedmer

Usually, we take the children who are officially discharged from the hospital to the sea in order to let them have a good time there. And today was the last day for our one-year-old Roween to go to Tel Aviv in order to see the beautiful beach. Before we went to the beach, though, Arwa, another of our children from Shevet, had an echocardiogram, so Roween and her mother joined us waiting there. Also, we were waiting for Roween's final report, which we received at the end of the day in the hospital. When Dr. Alona saw Roween and her mother keeping Arwa and his mother company at the echo department, she asked, ”What is she doing here?”

There is no doubt that our beautiful Roween was healed by our Lord and can grow up as a normal, healthy child. She can do everything she wants without any exceptions. What a great joy that is for her family, as well as for us here at Shevet. We praise God for the miracle He has done!  

Throughout the day at the hospital, we spent much time playing with Roween, and she was very happy and excited to discover and see all the things around her. And later on, we headed to the beach. It's always nice to see the families having fun at the beach, and today was no exception. Roween's mother noticed the amazing smelling air, and she was happy and thankful to be able to spend some time at this beautiful place. Sometimes we had some trouble escaping the waves, but that made it even more fun. 

Pictures can speak much more than words ever could, so please enjoy some more impressions of the lovely day we were able to have with Roween and her mother.

Thank you all for all your prayers and all your support for Roween, we appreciate this a lot.

Roween's Miracle Day

Posted on Fri, 03/20/2015 - 12:05 by Kyle Carlson

This week I had the privilege of witnessing a miracle take place. While I truly believe it is an amazing miracle every time a child’s heart is healed through the hands of a doctor, it is also incredible to witness a different kind of miracle, a supernatural one. God touched little Roween, and she experienced God's power in a tremendous way. He unmistakably healed her heart. She no longer needs surgery or a catheterization, and she can live a normal life. Here is a video we produced that shows what happened. It has an interview with the Senior Pediatric Cardiologist, Roween's mother, and Shevet Achim volunteers, as well as other film from the day. Join us in rejoicing in what Messiah has done for this precious girl! 

What A Miracle!

Posted on Wed, 03/18/2015 - 21:54 by Kyle Carlson

We took Roween today to Wolfson Hospital for a catheterization to fix a hole in her heart. The doctors were not entirely certain that a catheterization would fix the problem, and surgery was still a possibility. They performed a final echo, and then informed us they would proceed with the catheterization. Thirty minutes into her cath, the doctors came out and said Roween was completely fine! The hole is no longer a problem because muscles grew in and almost completely closed it. She can live a completely normal life! One of the doctors said, "This was God, the Lord did this." Praise God for the miracle he did today! We are preparing a very special video about this day. It will have an interview from Dr. Tamir, who is the Senior Pediatric Cardiologist, an interview with Roween’s mother, and footage of her reaction. This video will be available tomorrow. 

A Cozy Time

Posted on Tue, 03/17/2015 - 21:55 by Camilla Berg

This afternoon, we took Roween and her mother to the Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv. We had a peaceful car ride from Jerusalem, even though we all knew that the next couple of days are going to be tough.     

The moment we entered the hospital, Roween knew what was going on. She became quiet and observant, and when the nurses wanted to take her blood pressure, she immediately started to cry and wouldn't stop until we left the room and there was no more danger. She is a smart little girl with a good memory. She definitely knew what was going on.  

After that, Roween and her mother got installed in a room with a bed close to the window, which Roween's mother was very happy for. We waited quite some time for the doctor to come and take blood samples from Roween. In the meantime, we visited Duaa and her mother who are staying next door. Duaa is doing well, and she and Roween enjoyed each other's company.

The waiting time was long, but we had a nice time drawing, singing, and playing with an orange. It was a cozy time!    

Tomorrow, it will be time for the repair of Roween's cardiac defect via catheterization. Our prayer is for God's protection and strength for Roween and her mother.

She Came Expecting

Posted on Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:32 by Kristi Brashear
Overcast skies and a fine mist of rain had no ill effect on Roween as she and her mother emerged from Shevet Achim this morning.  Roween was bright eyed and full of anticipation when she realized she was going on an adventure with Kyle, Kristina, myself and her mother. 
The car ride was full of laughter and a medley of songs serenaded by Kristina. One could not, however, ignore the pensive state of Roween's beautiful young mother, who I sensed was praying over her precious child. There was a peace that passed all understanding was also present, a peace that only a child of God would know. Roween's mother knew within her heart that today would be a turning point, because she came in expectation of an answered prayer. She came expecting a miracle for Roween. 
We arrived at Wolfson Hospital located in Tel-Aviv around 10:30am. Kristina was warmly greeted by staff as she checked Roween in for her exam. We were ushered into the small room as Dr. Tamir arrived. He greeted the family and mentioned how blessed Roween was to have a mother that is fluent in so many languages. 
Small talk subsided as Dr. Tamir sat down at the echocardiogram (echo) machine and attached three electrodes to Roween's chest. This machine provides a 2-D computerized picture of the heart in action. As Dr. Tamir began to examine Roween, we learned more about why he invited her for an echo today. Her last echo at Wolfson several weeks ago confirmed that she has a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) as well as the likelihood of a Double-Chambered Right Ventricle (DCRV). This defect happens when the muscle of the right ventricle grows too thick and hinders the heart function. At that point, open heart surgery was the only option given to repair these two defects. 
Dr. Tamir wanted to double check the previous test one more time. He had a hunch that the results might be different today. We stood watching Roween's little heart beat on the monitor for several minutes as the doctors continued checking and consulting each other. Meanwhile, we were silently praying under our breaths. After going to a second room and watching the doctors check her on a different echo machine, the final results were in: Roween will NOT undergo open heart surgery! The echo showed no muscle mass large enough to require surgery! She will be able to have the large hole repaired during a heart catheterization procedure within the next few weeks! "Miracle!" exclaimed Roween's mother. "I knew it--I just knew it. I had peace that God was doing a miracle!" We gathered our things and celebrated by eating chocolate cookies in the waiting room. Yet to me, the miracles were not over - you see, as Kristina and Kyle went to visit mothers of the other children that are in Wolfson Hospital, Roween's mother ministered to the mothers that came into the waiting room. She encouraged them with words of kindness and calmed their fears as she translated for them the things their doctors could not.  
Then a Jewish boy sang songs to Roween as she grew tired from the long trip. So, today I saw Christian, Jew, and Muslim all gathered together at one point or another loving on each other! You see, today God is still in the miracle business and nothing is too big or too small! Stop and notice the miracles, and come "expecting."

Bearing Burdens

Posted on Mon, 02/16/2015 - 20:52 by Miri Fisher

This morning fellow volunteers Ruth, Konrad, and I took little Roween and her mother (who just arrived last night) to Wolfson Medical Center for her first assessment. Roween's mother was obviously nervous as she buckled her bundled daughter into her carseat, but she handled the hour-long car trip well.

After we reached Wolfson Hospital, we had a long waiting period before they started Roween's tests and examination, so I got to spend some time getting to know the two of them better.

Roween's mother is incredibly intelligent (she fluently speaks four different languages, including English!), and she is a courageous young woman, who in spite of of her obvious weariness made an effort to talk with me. She is also from a Christian family and very proudly wore a golden cross around her neck. Obviously, she has a very close bond with her baby - what mother doesn't? It is amazing the lengths that a mother will go to ensure her baby's safety and happiness. It made me think about how much God cares for us and how much He was willing to give to rescue us. While Roween was intrigued with "the new people", and we often provided a good distraction from some of the uncomfortable procedures, it was quite plain at different times throughout the day that Roween needed her mother, and only her mother would do. The tenderness between them was touching. As her first assessment, there were some routine tests and checks to go through: drawing blood, taking her weight and blood pressure, looking at her past medical history, and just getting a feel for the case. Her adorable little coo's and giggles made the nurses smile as they worked with her. 

This took most of the morning, and Roween, while crying some at different parts, calmed down remarkably fast once the ordeal was over and even fell asleep in her mother's arm in the waiting room afterward! 

In the later afternoon, we went to see Dr. Alona to get a cardio echo. Dr. Alona gave us some medicine to put Roween back to sleep. However, Roween threw it up, so we decided to just go ahead and try without it. Roween was not happy about having to lay down and stay still again, but she calmed down after multiple attempts to distract her with cartoons and blowing bubbles. Roween was mesmerized by the bubbles and quieted almost immediately. After the cardio echo was finished, Dr. Alona sat down with Roween's mother and gently explained what was going on with her daughter's heart. Roween has a Ventricular Septal Defect, a hole between the right and left chambers of her heart. Roween's mother had been led to believe by doctors in Iraq that all they had to do was repair the hole; however, Dr. Alona discovered that the body has attempted this on it's own by having a large muscle mass grow over it. That's why the effects of the VSD have not been as serious recently as they had been in the past. This large muscle mass growing in Roween's heart, however, if left on it's own, might cause even greater problems. Dr. Alona concluded that Roween would need an open heart surgery in order to first remove the muscle mass, and then repair the hole in her heart. 

Roween's mother had a hard time keeping her composure. It was overwhelming news after a long day and a tense and exhausting trip the day before, and the emotional aspect of things was beginning to take a toll. She rocked a sleepy Roween outside the cardio-echo room, sniffling tears. 

It was very clear that I did not have in myself what was needed to comfort Roween's mother, this woman that, even after only half a day of knowing her, I admired. I prayed silently while placing a comforting hand on her arm. Should I say anything? And what do you say to someone you've only known for a matter of hours when she is frightened for her daughter, who has to go through a dangerous open heart surgery? We were from different worlds, but we came together in that moment, just a scared young mother with her baby, and a fellow sister in Christ who was there to love them. I was reminded of the verse from Galatians 6:2, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." 

The bottom line is, it doesn't matter what it looks like. It may be speaking to someone, doing something for someone, or simply just being there to love them through it; Christ, the great Burden Bearer, will guide you through it. God simply asks us to be a willing vessel, to sit beside someone and share their pain until the time comes to, together, lay it down at the feet of the King. 

On the way home in the car, both Roween and her mother slipped into sleep. All in all, the day had been draining, but it was good to finally get a solid idea of what we were dealing with. And Roween seemed relieved and content. Please pray that Roween and her mother will have a peaceful, restful time here as they absorb the diagnosis, wait for further news (we may have to go back on Thursday to finish a urine test that didn't get completed), and adjust to living with the Shevet Achim family. Also pray that the other families and workers here would be able to come alongside this precious lady and her daughter and together shower them with the "bearing up" love of Christ. 

Roween Has Arrived!

Posted on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 12:03 by Jonathan Miles

Roween finally reached Jerusalem tonight after a long wait both for visas, and also for her weight to reach the optimal level before intervention. Tomorrow will be her first day of exams at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.

Coming Soon

Posted on Tue, 12/02/2014 - 13:07 by Sarah Powell

Roween is a beautiful, nine-month-old little girl from a Christian Iraqi family. Her family has been living in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, as refugees for some time now. Roween has a defect known as a Ventricular Septal Defect, which is the most commonly appearing congenital heart defect. Basically, that means that she has a hole between the left and right chambers of her heart which allows her oxygenated blood to mix with her deoxygenated blood, resulting in an overall reduced supply of oxygen for her body. We hope that she and her mother will be joining us in our Shevet home very soon.