Arwa's Heart Surgery


Precious Times

Posted on Sun, 10/04/2015 - 22:08 by Ruth Zellweger

Each child that is welcomed into our Shevet family is a precious gift from God. Over and over again we are allowed to witness the beautiful transformation that takes place when a child undergoes a successful surgery that repairs the heart of that child. We rejoice with the parent and the extended family abroad, praising God for His healing touch. However, sometimes the outcome of a surgery is not as we have expected, hoped, or prayed for. It is especially during these times that we have to chose to trust God that His ways and plans are perfect. 

Baby Arwa and his mother joined our Shevet family in the beginning of this year, after we had prayed for several weeks for their permission to enter Israel. Both mother and son became soon beloved members of our community that we did not want to miss. Arwa underwent two open heart surgeries and spent many weeks at the hospital, his pregnant young mother constantly at his side. She would do whatever was necessary to comfort or distract her beloved son. Their bond of love was so strong - it was almost tangible. When our community celebrated Arwa's farewell, we didn't know then that his prognosis was not good at all. We found out shortly after his discharge, and Jonathan shared this news with Arwa's young parents in their home. 

God granted the family five more months with their beloved son and brother. In the beginning of September, Arwa's little heart eventually failed and after one night in ICU, he passed away. We are so thankful for our co-workers Ryan and Lizzie, who were present and able to support the family right away during that difficult time. 

Yesterday, Jonathan, Annie and I had the opportunity to visit Arwa's family one month after his passing. We arrived around noon time at the house to which they recently moved, and were greeted warmly by the parents. They led us in the house, where we spent some time talking. Their two older children, Walid and Ghoufran, were playing, while their youngest daugther, Houda, was lying in a cradle. A beautiful and healthy little baby girl, who looks a lot like her brother Arwa. 

I was impressed by the calm and peaceful demeanor of that young couple, knowing how much they had loved Arwa. After we had talked about their current living situation and circumstances, our conversation focused on little Arwa's passing and that our Shevet community and friends have been praying for them. They responded with gratitude.

While the men stayed in the house and continued a conversation, Arwa's mother gave Annie and I a tour of the big garden aound their house. We enjoyed the beauty and took some pictures. Even though we couldn't communicate much verbally, there was a bond of hearts that needed no spoken words. 

The visit with Arwa's family meant much to me and I treasure the time I was able to spend with them. Before we left, we took some time for prayer, asking our Heavenly Father to continue to comfort them and reveal Himself to them. 

May Arwa's family experience God presence and peace in a very special way in these coming days and weeks.

"He sets on high those that are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety."  Job 5:11

In the Arms of His Heavenly Father

Posted on Wed, 09/09/2015 - 13:33 by Sarah Powell

On Monday, we received the news that Arwa did pass away. He is now in the arms of His heavenly Father. Please join us in praying for his family. We will share more with you when we receive an update from Ryan and Lizzie, our co-workers in Jordan, who are helping Arwa's family during this time. 

"Do not despair, for God is with you"

Posted on Sun, 09/06/2015 - 21:58 by Ryan Foley

I visited Arwa and his parents at the hospital tonight, in Jordan, where they live as refugees from the civil war in Syria. Earlier this year Arwa came to Jerusalem to have his heart repaired, but doctors found after his first surgery they weren't able to fully repair a faulty valve. With the further complication of medically irreversible pulmonary hyptertension, doctors concluded there was little hope for Arwa to live long-term.

He's been back in Jordan nearly six months, his family cherishing the time they still have remaining with him. Now his heart has developed an arrhythmia, causing his heartbeat to average over 220 beats per minute. He is now in the ICU receiving medication that should help slow his heart back to an acceptable level. Tonight will be very telling whether or not the medication will work, so please join with us immediately in intercession. Also, his hospital bill will likely be around $1,000, if any feels led to help shoulder this weight.

When I was setting up his unscheduled visit to the cardiologist this morning, I began trying to decipher a sign swinging from the cabbies' rear view mirror. It said, "Do not despair for God is with you." At the hospital tonight, this is what I prayed over Arwa and his parents, for all of us at Shevet and for all of you out there praying for us. I invite you to join me in this petition.

To Give You a Future and a Hope

Posted on Sun, 04/05/2015 - 20:21 by Lindsay Martin

On Monday night, we said our farewells to Arwa and his mother. It was a sweet time as we recalled all the amazing work God has done on his heart and the precious moments we were blessed to share with them.

Arwa had a long and hard battle at the hospital, with two surgeries needed in order to repair his heart. Throughout everything, I saw a strength in Arwa's mom that was constant and unchanging.

She has such a unique relationship with her son, incomparable to any I've ever seen.

He is always looking into his mother’s eyes, finding refuge in her arms. It reminds me so much of the way we look to our Father throughout the day, finding comfort and peace in His presence. Knowing He is by our side, we find safety.

We were able to visit with Arwa and his family in their home a few days after their return to Jordan, in order to share the news that we received from the doctors. There is still one valve that could not be repaired because Arwa is too young. There is a possibility that they could perform the surgery when he is older, but because of his pulmonary hypertension, the surgery would be too risky.

As we shared this news with Arwa's mother and father, they took it very well. They both are such loving and committed parents who take good care of their children. And we know that Arwa has an even greater Father in heaven who is holding him in His hands. Our God knows the number of days Arwa has, and we are praying that as he grows, God will do a work in his body that will cause this valve to heal and no longer require surgery. There is always hope with our great God!

God has big things in store for this precious little boy. He has already begun the work and we look forward to how He will continue it in the years to come. We love you, Arwa!

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Messiah." Philippians 1:6

Safe and Sound

Posted on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 22:55 by Co-authored

By Konrad Wiedmer and Julia Binder:

Today, we drove to the hospital with the expectation that Arwa would have his final echo. In the car, mother and son were extraordinarily happy and delighted.

Arwa was the first one who was called into the echo room, but the last one to receive his results.

With great joy, we heard the good news that Arwa's heart is doing well and that he got officially discharged. That means he is going back home tomorrow!

In order to check his heart conditions, he will have a follow up back in Jordan. On the one hand, we are very happy for them, but on the other hand, we will miss Arwa's sweet smile and his gentle mother, who was interacting so lovingly with her son. Everytime Arwa is in his mother's arms, he smiles even more and is joyful. In her arms, Arwa is always calm because he knows he is safe and sound there.

Later, we received news that one of his valves is not functioning properly. They need to replace the valve in order to restore his heart; however, he is too young right now for the surgery. He also has a condition called pulmonary hypertension, which has the potential to make a future surgery to repair his valve very difficult or even impossible. We know our God is powerful enough to perform a miracle in Arwa's heart, and we are praying that He will do a work in his precious little body.

The picture of the love Arwa and his mother share reminded us of God's care for us. If we are in his presence, we can relax. He is the One who holds us, and in Him, we are safe and sound. Even the if a situation seams hopeless, we can trust God in this.

A Beautiful Smile

Posted on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 22:32 by Camilla Berg

From this day, I take Arwa's beautiful smile home with me. He is so adorable when he smiles. It is not possible to not fall in love with his beautiful smile!  

Today, we took Arwa to the hospital in Tel Aviv for an echo. Arwa was so calm during the echo; he almost didn't notice what was going on. It was so amazing to see him so relaxed. It was probably because his mother did a great job distracting his attention. The echo went well, and hopefully, his last echo will be next Monday.

I really admire Arwa's mother; she has two older children back home and one more coming. They have not seen their family for two months now, but soon, she and Arwa will be able return home to their family.

After the echo, we enjoyed a good falafel with Roween and her mother before we all went to the beach. It was a very good day!

Step by Step

Posted on Mon, 03/16/2015 - 21:54 by Ruth Zellweger

Arwa is such a content little boy. Whenever he smiles, his eyes shine brightly. I also love to watch his first tooth coming in more and more. It is a joy to have him and his lovely mother around. But she, of course, would love to return to her family in Jordan as soon as possible. She does not talk about it much, but I can tell by the look on her face whenever she looks at pictures of her other children. However, I have not heard one complaint yet. She would do anything for her precious son to be well.   

Today, we went for Arwa's first follow up echo since his discharge from the hospital last week. He was a little bit whiny at first, but then calmed down. The echo was satisfying for the doctors, and they want to see him again in another week. They did not give us any information on how long until Arwa would be discharged and able to return to his family. But we know and trust that his life and time with us are in God's hands. He takes good care of his children.

Arwa Back On Prophets Street

Posted on Thu, 03/12/2015 - 21:13 by Ruth Zellweger

To our surprise, beautiful Arwa was discharged from Wolfson Hospital today. When Lindsay and I arrived at the hospital, we found him asleep in the ward, ready to go. He continued sleeping on our way home, which was longer than usual because we first went to the Gaza Border to drop off a family. Arwa's mother is glad to be back at our house. We praise God for the mercy He has shown little Arwa. Great is His faithfulness!

Arwa Moved To Children's Ward

Posted on Wed, 03/11/2015 - 21:59 by Kyle Carlson

As usual, it was wonderful to see Arwa and his mother this morning. He was smiling and laughing when I entered the secondary ICU. He has been improving so much that he was transferred to the children's ward this afternoon. His mother seemed very calm and thankful for Arwa's health. She is a proud mom and was happy to show us all some of her favorite pictures of Arwa. We are thankful he continues to improve, and look forward to the time when he can once again join us in Jerusalem.

Video Update from ICU Doctor

Posted on Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:09 by Kyle Carlson

Here is a video of an ICU doctor updating us on all three children at Wolfson Hospital. This includes Inas, Hiba and Arwa.