Inas's Heart Surgery


A Joyful Reunion

Posted on Sun, 06/14/2015 - 12:50 by Konrad Wiedmer

On the 20th of May, after a sleepover at Hiba’s house, Hiba’s father drove us to Inas’ home. Before we got out of the car, we could see Inas standing in front of their house. I was so happy to have the possibility to see her, along with her whole family. Her grandmother, who was with her at Shevet Achim, has three sons and two daughters we all got to know during our stay. Her oldest son is the father of Inas. In total, there are three families living in the two-story house. It’s amazing to see a house full of so much life, as there are 7 children playing and walking around.

As with most of my time here in Kurdistan, I am so overwhelmed by the hospitality that we experience. Inas’ mother lovingly prepared a meal for us, which we enjoyed with the all the people who live here, which we were told is quite unusual for them.

In the beginning, Inas was as shy as she was during her first weeks in Jerusalem. However, after a while she opened up completely. Even more than before which was a joy to see. She was running around, playing with her sisters, and in the end she even wanted to be lifted up again and again.


After lunch, the youngest of Inas’ uncles took me on a ride in the car to see the housing complex nearby. He wanted to show me where he lives and asked me how I like it. On the way, I saw Inas with one of the other children getting ice cream. This was so beautiful to see because only a few months ago she was just lying around without much energy and playing on her tablet. Now she is walking and jumping around and we can only praise our Lord in heaven for that miracle!

Ruth, Sophie and I were also so happy to see Inas’ grandmother again, who we embosomed as much as Inas during their time in Israel. It was heartwarming to see how happy she was to have those around her who were with her in times of worries. It was such a joyful reunion and even more as we could see Inas in her normal environment.

We were invited to stay overnight and gladly accepted their offer. In the afternoon, Jonathan, Ruth and Inas’ grandmother went to Malak’s family. Sophie, me and two of Inas’ aunts went to their school for a mathematic test. On my phone I had my bible open and the teacher asked me in Kurdish what it is. With my limited Kurdish, I couldn’t explain, but Sophie shared with them and we were able to tell him that we are Christians and believe in the Messiah. When we came back from the school I saw Inas walking happily around and playing with other children.

In the evening we all had a meal together which, as usual, was very delicious. Later, we all sat down in their small garden in front of the house. I was amazed again and again by how the family lovingly lives together. Everyone cares about each child in the house as if they are their own and this is lovely to see. While we were sitting down, Ruth presented a wooden heart from Israel to Inas’ parents to congratulate them on their 7th wedding anniversary that day. She shared with them that God has so much love for us. She also shared how the heart is a symbol for their marriage. They were pleased by our gift even it was just a small heart.

Because Inas is one of the sweetest children on earth it is really necessary to share a few more pictures of her during our visit:

We lift the name of our God on high for Inas’ healed heart. He has done so much for her and we pray that the Lord will come directly into this loving family from Kurdistan.

God's Works Are Wonderful

Posted on Sun, 04/05/2015 - 20:19 by Julia Binder

Many families enter the door of Shevet Achim; each is unique and special. Every family shares something different with you. They have their own stories, sorrows, personalities, and spirits.

Four months ago, little Inas and her grandmother arrived here in Jerusalem. Not knowing what to expect, still Inas' grandmother was embracing everybody with her joy and love from the first day on. She is one of those people you would say is full of charisma. When she comes in a room, the whole room lights up.

Compared to her grandmother, Inas had a quite difficult start here at Shevet Achim. I still remember her gazing into space and looking at me without any emotions. Because of her silent, reserved bahavior in the beginning, she even had to go the pediatric neurologist to check her speech development.

If you would see her now, that would seem a little bit ridiculous because, over the time she spent with us, she totally opened up and became one of the happiest children I have ever seen. She just needed time to get used to the new environment.

In the beginning, I was looking for ways to get through her, just to raise a little smile on her face. The turning point was when we went with Inas' grandmother to a refugee clinic, and Inas didn't want to go inside. So I stayed with her in the car for one hour. How can you entertain a child for one hour without toys and without speaking their language? I didn't know how, but we had a great time together. And from that day forward, Inas was totally changed. She began to play, to talk, and to laugh. She conquered the heart of every volunteer with her big smile. What a blessing!

During the time that Inas and her grandmother had to wait before Inas' surgery, we were able to connect more and more with them. We went with them to the park, to the playground, to the market, to a church. We ate ice cream and drank coffee. What I really kept in memory was an afternoon at the Garden Tomb. Inas' grandmother had many questions concerning Messiah, and she seemed very open. She was sincerely interested and touched by the things Kristina shared with her there. You could see that our lifestyle raised questions in her mind.

Also, being with Inas and her grandmother on the surgery day was something very special. She had been admitted the day before, but it was not yet certain that she would actually have her surgery the next day. Those of us who were going to join them on the surgery day woke up in the early morning without knowing whether we should go to the hospital or not. I remember that I was reading my bible and listening to music and asking God: “Shall we go or not?” And then, suddenly, my MP3-player turned off, and I felt God was telling us to go. So we did.

When we entered Inas' room, she just was getting ready for surgery, and a few minutes later, she was in the surgery room. God is so good!

After her surgery, Inas was unstable for quite a while and had to go in for surgery a second time for a pacemaker. But through all these circumstances, she won the battle, and God again showed His faithfulness.

Last month, I was gone for two weeks for vacation, and usually when you are away, you have time to think and to reflect. I realized how special these two people, Inas and her grandmother, are to me and how much I miss them. God made His perfect work in creating them. They are both like sweet chocolate in a field of flowers on a sunny day; or like a beautiful song, sung on the beach at sunset; or like the sparkling starry sky over a bonfire in the wild. But God made them even more beautiful than these pictures – Inas' grandmother with her temperamental spirit and Inas with her overflowing joy.

Psalm 139:14 reminds me of God's thoughts for them: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

It was a big surprise for everyone that the two of them were able to go back one week earlier than expected, and it was also a bitter-sweet goodbye. They enriched our community very much and will leave a big void, but we are also happy for them! We are so glad that Inas is reunited with her parents again after four months. And I hope that the seed we were able to plant in her grandmother's heart will grow and that God will continue His work in her heart. Goodbye and xua hafiz (“God watch over you”in Kurdish)!

Big Surprise for Inas

Posted on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:07 by Kristina Kayser

Inas and her grandmother were ready this morning for what we all thought would be her second-to-last echo.

The doctor began the exam with Inas lying perfectly still. Several times it looked as though she might begin to cry, but instead, she gathered her courage and let the doctor continue. And then, the doctor announced a big surprise: "This is Inas' final echo!" I was not expecting this news based on last week's report, but it was certainly welcome.

Inas' surgery and recovery were quite difficult, but her heart is doing so well now that the cardiac team felt confident in her readiness to go home. The echo results showed increased improvement in cardiac function, with the help of a few medications. But before Inas could be given the final green light, a pacemaker exam was needed next. Praise God, this assessment also resulted in good news with Inas' heart rate and rhythm being regulated without any problems. Additionally, the current pacemaker should last for the next nine years with regular check ups. 

Once the exams were finished and the final report was written, we headed home to prepare for a grand farewell party in the evening. What an incredible journey Inas has been on! God has truly healed her in a profound way, and we rejoice in His perfect work in Inas' heart.   

Inas Improving By the Day

Posted on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 20:53 by Kristina Kayser

Inas may have been in a grumpy mood when we first arrived at the hospital today, but she soon cheered up upon entering the echo department. The reason for her sudden change in disposition was the colorful playhouse in the foyer! Her face lit up with a big smile. And the next minute, she was happily situated inside the house, sitting on a chair just her size. 

Dr. Alona arrived soon after and invited us into the echo room. So far, Inas has cried for every exam, and I wondered if today's would be any different. To everyone's surprise and delight, Inas didn't even make a whimper as the echo began. A "Dora Explorer" cartoon played loudly in the background, keeping her rapt attention. 

After a few quiet minutes, Dr. Alona announced that the results were very good! Inas' heart is functioning well, and there is firm reason to believe that she will be discharged the first week of April. Our day ended quite peacefully with this sweet girl dozing off on the way home. Praise God for His healing and grace towards Inas day by day.     

There and Back Again

Posted on Sun, 03/22/2015 - 21:39 by Miri Fisher

After being back in our Shevet home for a almost a week, Thursday evening Inas was feeling unwell, and we made an unannounced trip to the hospital. We left her there over the weekend as they observed and made sure she was not having extra fluid build-up around her heart. Today Kristina and I made our way to Wolfson to see how she was doing. To our joy, after a heart echo, Dr. Alona told us Inas was fine and could continue her recovery here at Shevet. 

Inas did not look too sure about the situation, not really realizing what was going on, but once we were in the car, her face lit up as she recognized where we were going. We piled Inas and her carseat, Inas' grandmother with all her baggage from the hospital, and several other mothers and their children, into a very full van after several hours of waiting around and gathering belongings. I could tell Inas' grandmother was so thankful to be heading back to her Shevet family and the other mothers here.

We sat next to each other on the way home, grinning widely and sharing a bag of popcorn to celebrate. Our Father is so good! Thank you for your continued prayers for Inas as she goes in for a final heart echo and blood test this Thursday - hopefully the last step before she will truly be heading home. 

Mighty Grace

Posted on Mon, 03/16/2015 - 22:50 by Konrad Wiedmer

This morning, we started from Shevet Achim with two vehicles to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv in order to asses four of our beautiful children. One of them was our sweet Inas from Kurdistan, Iraq.

She and her grandmother have lived with us for almost 3 ½ months now, and I am really grateful that I have had the opportunity to share this time with them in Israel.

Inas came to the hospital today because she was on the schedule for a heart echo. With this echo, the doctors can see how her heart is developing and working after her surgery, which was about three weeks ago. We have reason to praise our Father in heaven because Inas’ heart is doing great. Hopefully, she can go home in a few weeks to see her family again.

I found it very interesting today to watch how Inas reacts to different things. First of all, she cried when she realized she was at the entrance of the hospital, as well as during her echo.

Perhaps she was afraid that it was going to hurt. Fortunately, there was a television in the echo room. After she focused on the children’s program, she immediately stopped crying.

Then she began to cry again as we headed in the direction of the cafeteria. Later on, she again began to smile more and warmed every heart that saw her. She already has a strong personality and knows what she wants and what scares her. I realized again how wonderfully unique our creator made all of us!

After the echo, we went to eat something, and then it became clear that we were able to leave the hospital soon. Ruth had the brilliant idea that I should take Arwa and his mother, as well as Inas and her grandmother to the beach for a few moments. It was a beautiful spring day today, and we really enjoyed the waves and the wind.

Inas’ grandmother took Inas by the hand, and together they walked feet high into the water.

Inas had a very big smile on her face, which was joyful and heartwarming to see. They really enjoyed their time, and Inas liked it so much, that she was sad when we had to leave. 

The longer patients stay here, the closer we get to them and their guardians. Every time I am able to spend time with Inas and her grandmother, I am so stunned at how open her grandmother is. She is always so friendly and shows so much love towards all of us. We can see it so clearly how God brings us closer to the families and how he heals our children. As always, we would appreciate it if you would join us in prayer for the continued improvement of Inas’ heart. Everything that happens is by God’s grace alone, and our prayer is that he will continue to pour out that mighty grace on Inas!

Inas Home Again!

Posted on Wed, 03/11/2015 - 21:38 by Kristina Kayser

Our beautiful Inas reached a monumental milestone today. Two weeks of intense hospitalization, which included a difficult open heart surgery followed by a pacemaker surgery, has come to a glorious end. Dr. Alona told me early this morning that she believed Inas was ready to return home, pending echo results this afternoon.

"She doesn't like us here. She needs to go home!" Dr. Alona added. 

Inas' grandmother was delighted with the prospect of waving Wolfson goodbye. The last days have been burdensome, but you wouldn't know it from the huge smile that graced her countenance today. Inas, who has been very lackadaisical of late, was begging to go outside for fresh air. This was a good sign. When she didn't get her wish straightaway, however, she threw quite a tantrum. This passed, and she was soon enjoying the sunshine and putting the past behind her. 

It was then up to the echo lab, where Dr. Hanita gently and patiently examined Inas' heart. I looked carefully at the two scars on her chest and thought these are true badges of courage.

When the echo was finished, the results were like the cherry on top after a long and hard struggle. Inas' heart is functioning well with no complications, praise the Lord! Additionally, only two medications are needed to keep her on target. 

How happy Rebekah, Kyle, and I were to bring Inas and her grandmother home today! Thank you to everyone who has prayed so diligently for Inas' healing and recovery. May God be glorified for His faithfulness and great love for Inas!

Quiet Triumph

Posted on Mon, 03/09/2015 - 22:19 by Miri Fisher

This morning was the first time I've gotten to see Inas and her grandmother since they went into Wolfson Hospital. I hadn't realized how much I had missed both of them. I had missed Inas, her toothy grin, and the way her dark curls nestle against her face. And I had missed Inas' grandmother, who was smiling, cheerful, and content, as fellow volunteer, Ruth, and I walked in. We started out the day with some good news. Inas had been moved out of the ICU and into the Children's Ward! She is doing well and is stable with her new pacemaker. Dr. Alona informed us that they were having some trouble getting her to eat. I watched Inas sleep peacefully while her grandmother went to the cafeteria to get some lunch. She was back a little while later with some food. Inas was awake but didn't seem very open to the idea of food. 

She was still a little groggy, sluggish, and petulant, and her grandmother was extremely patient as Inas, over and over again, shook her head and grunted with stubbornly closed lips when food was offered. Together, Inas' grandmother and I took turns coaxing her until she eventually accepted four or five bites of bread with tuna. In between, she took several long drinks of water and several sips of her grandmother's coke. Her grandmother and I both breathed a sigh of relief. Later, a nurse came by with a basket of goodies - chocolate, candy bars, and lollipops! Inas became immediately interested and pointed at different things before finally settling on something.

Inas' grandmother looked at me, rolled her eyes, and laughed. I grinned. Inas ate the filling out of a cookie stuffed with chocolate, and nibbled at the treat she had picked while her grandmother tenderly pulled her hair out of her face and into a pony tail. We got her to eat another four or five bites of tuna and bread before Inas finally seemed exhausted and curled up to go back to sleep. Ruth took the opportunity to share with Inas' grandmother a beautiful picture of Inas, which she tucked carefully away in her purse. 

Praise God that Inas is doing so well and that, after a little encouragement, she felt up to eating today! Her grandmother thanked us as we left, saying that she thought our visit had done Inas good, and my heart was singing in quiet triumph as we left the hospital. Yes, she is still fighting, and please continue to pray (it would be good if she continued to gain an appetite and starts to eat more as her body works to return to normal). But at least, for now, the battle seems to be very much in our favor. Indeed, we know that it is, for "if God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). And we rejoice in all that He has done, and all He will continue to do, for this precious little girl!

Continuing To Fight

Posted on Sun, 03/08/2015 - 21:14 by Konrad Wiedmer

Today Kristina and I had the amazing privilege to visit our children at the hospital in Tel Aviv. As I arrived after parking the car, I saw Hibas mother and Inas’ grandmother sitting together with Kristina outside at the playground. They both seemed very tired and worried about their beloved ones in the ICU. Inas’ grandmother was worried due to the fact that Inas had surgery that morning! The doctors inserted a permanent pacemaker in her heart due to her irregular heart rhythm last week. All in all, the medical staff at Wolfson waited one week to see if her heart would beat normally. In the end, they decided to do an operation. We did not know that our precious Inas had surgery today, so we arrived directly after she came out of the operating room. In eight to nine years from now, Inas will need her pacemaker to be replaced.

We praise God that the surgery was successful and not too long! When we went inside to see her, she was awake, but she had a cough and was very thirsty. She was breathing with assistance from an oxygen mask, and said very often "ove" which means "water" in Kurdish. Sadly she is not allowed to have something to eat or drink until her breathing has normalized and the influence of the anesthesia is completely gone.

We could again experience her strong character today. After many days of being too weak to do anything, she was moving in her bed and needed to be calmed down. We have been concerned for Inas’ health for quite awhile, however we again have hope that we will see Inas completely healed in the upcoming weeks. She and her grandmother are both wonderful individuals, and I am very grateful that I could see them today. May God bless them and be their comforter. We trust our Lord in everything he does, and so we trust him for Inas and her recovery. 

Our Precious Little Fighter

Posted on Thu, 03/05/2015 - 21:37 by Rebakah Yang

Today is the Purim holiday, so people are dress up in all sorts of customs and blessing others by giving gifts and singing songs to celebrate this special day. Before leaving to visit our children and families in Tel-Aviv this morning, we were able to bless them through faith and prayer. We prayed to receive good news from the hospital today.

When Jesse and I went to the secondary ICU to greet little baby Araw and his mom, we were surprised to see our precious little fighter Inas, was inside the secondary ICU as well. Hallelujah! Yes, God is indeed at work in our dear Inas’ life. Step by step, and day after day…

According to the secondary ICU nurses, Inas was just transferred there this morning. Her general condition is improving a bit, regardless of her irregular heartbeats. Still, praise God! While we were visiting her, a specialist in peacemakers came to see her. He had already seen her twice that day. He decided to wait and observe her again this Sunday, to determine if she needed to have another heart surgery for a peacemaker.

Heavenly Father, I want to sing a rejoicing song like King David did, and continue to pray for her as we wait to learn more good news.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things.” ( Psalm 98:1)