Abdalla's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

A New Heart Full of Love

Posted on Tue, 05/17/2016 - 22:15 by Mateo Patiño Trujillo

Abdalla and his father laughing at their farewell party

After a good period of recovering, the time of the last echo had come. Most of the day for Abdalla was at the hospital, but when we got back something special was waiting for him. Every volunteer gave their grain of sand to make an unbelievable evening for this father and son. It was an evening party shared with Adil and his father - they came to Israel together and now God let them go back together.

There was a short time right before the party was ready, that the volunteers were playing with Abdalla and Adil. It was one last chance to really play together before the two kids left. It was also a time of some silly picture taking. 

It was time for our last dinner together in this journey of healing and recovering for Abdalla. Everyone took a place at the table. Abdalla was sitting with Lindsay and me, playing with Shevi (Shevet’s pet dog) and laughing with us. I noticed he and his father were enjoying everything and they expressed that weird feeling in which they want to go home on one hand, but on the other hand they were so much part of the Shevet family that they felt this mix of feelings.

We had a great time eating and sharing with them one last time.

Then it was time to lift up the families with worship and prayers, before we watched the slideshow video with all the pictures of them during their stay at Shevet. The development of the worship was in a family environment the whole time, in every single moment of the farewell we were talking, laughing and playing, and then singing to the Lord together.

But this time it wasn’t just us playing the worship music. Abu Abdalla (Abdalla’s father) also joined the Shevet’s band, playing drums and his recovered son filming him in every single song.

We sang our farewell songs with Abu Abdalla on the drums, Abdalla singing with the girls and doing the hand motions for some of the songs, Adil’s father clapping, and Adil laughing.

As it is tradition at Shevet, they didn’t go back with empty hands. According to what they like or need, Shevet gives some gifts at the farewell party. They go back to their home with a new heart full of the love of Yeshua, in their minds the memories with us and in their hands some physical memories. The response of Abdalla and his father was a big smile and lots of thanks for everybody; they were really grateful and happy.

Carol, a local friend of Shevet who comes in every week for story telling, shared her appreciation for Abdalla paying close attention to her, how he wants to learn English and that he actually learned some things being with us. She cares for him that much that she came to his farewell party, and not just that, she gave him a gift to encourage him to keep learning English.

We laughed; also some of us cried a little bit and now was the time for one last song and then the good-bye. "Anta Atheemun" (You are Awesome) was the last song played, and this time the band was joined by a friend from the Finnish school (a partner organization that hosted this party and also shares living quarters for our families). He played the violin, which gave a special touch to the last song. 

That night I realized what a blessing they have been in our lives. I was so close to them that the three of us couldn’t resist and we broke in tears; tears of happiness because they were going to see their families and tears of sadness because our time together was over. Thank God  that everything went well and they are going back with a new heart and with a blessing.

At 4 am in the morning today, they were ready to leave and continue with their lives - with new health and two new hearts. May God be with them in their new lives.

Kurdistan - Sweet Home

Posted on Mon, 05/16/2016 - 22:42 by Rebekah Yang

Abdalla and his father were so excited to go for his second out-patient echo after his heart surgery today. On our way to Wolfson hospital, Abdalla and his father told us that they had prayed for a final echo today and the green light to go home.

We arrived quite early, and praise God, Abdalla was called for his echo straight away. The echo exam was very quick and without any problems. Dr. Hanita was very pleased with Abdulla’s echo result; she was very happy to announce Abdalla would be discharged today and can now go back to his sweet home in Kurdistan.

While we were waiting for his discharge medical report, Abdalla’s father did some last minute shopping for his family back home. After he had finished buying all of the gifts for his family, we went back to check if Abdalla’s report was ready. Unfortunately, all of the doctors were very busy due to an urgent case in the secondary ICU. Therefore, no doctor was around to write his discharge report. At around 3:30pm one of the doctors came out and tried to complete it. However, again there were several other cases that kept her very busy. In the end, she told us to return to Jerusalem and wait for it to be sent by email.

Thank you God for the good news that Abdalla and his father can go home tomorrow morning. Please continue to pray for both of them to have strength and mercy, especially for their early journey back to their sweet home in Kurdistan.  

"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall," Malachi 4:2.

Strength to take the Last Steps

Posted on Sun, 05/15/2016 - 18:42 by Valentina Jaimes Vargas
Our Abdalla is a strong child, full of joy. He has won the heart of all of us here at Shevet Achim, and we are happy to see him getting better. However, a few days ago we were worried about unexpected hair loss on his head so, today we went to an appointment with one of the hospital's dermatologists.
Once we were at Wolfson hospital everything happend very quickly. The doctor said that the hair loss was caused by accumulated stress that Abdalla has been feeling. This is probably related to his heart surgery. Even so it is nothing serious and he will have hair on his head again! He just has to use a cream for a few weeks and then everything should be fine - praise God for this good news!
Lately Abdalla and his father have really enjoyed going shopping, so after the appointment, they took advantage of our time in Tel Aviv and decided to buy some things. With the help of Baran's mum, we went to buy some clothes and had a really good time together. I especially enjoyed my time with Abdalla because we played with balls and different things that were in the mall and we had a very nice experience.
Tomorrow Abdalla has an echo that, we hope, could be the final one. But we leave this in the hands of God who has control. We also continuously ask God that He may be give Abdalla a calmness in his heart so he can continue to enjoy being a happy and strong child.
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31). 

Good News for Abdalla

Posted on Mon, 05/09/2016 - 21:20 by Rebekah Yang

This morning Aad and I brought Abdalla and his father to the hospital for his first post-surgery echo follow-up. On our way, Abdalla was sitting very quietly in the van and looked a bit worried for his echo exam.

Right after we arrived, we were called into the echo room. Praise God there was no waiting and Abdalla was able to go to his appointment immediately. 

It did not take Dr. Hanita long to bring the good news regarding this echo result. She was very pleased and is hoping that Abdalla can continue to maintain his good physical condition until next Monday for another echo check-up. We are praying that Lord willing it could be the final echo for Abdalla.

After we came back from the echo room, we got together with another family for a quick lunch. Then started part two of Abdalla’s physical treatment. The children's ward doctor has arranged for us to go to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) department to check on an ear ache he's been having. Fortunately, the ENT said his ears have no infection at all which was more good news for us to thank God for.

Also, Abdalla has been losing quite a bit of hair recently on the left side of his head. So, Abdalla's doctor discussed his case with a few other doctors, and then decided to consult a dermatologist for possible treatment. It took some time of waiting before we got a response. In the end, his doctor told us that we can go back Jerusalem to wait for this new appointment with a dermatologist.

While we were waiting, a nurse removed Abdalla’s chest tube stitches without any complications.

Thank God for all the good news we had for Abdalla! Please continue to pray for him and his father to have strength and patience waiting for his finial echo to come. 

Abdalla's Discharge

Posted on Sun, 05/01/2016 - 21:01 by Christelle Fonjallaz
Today was Abdalla's discharge! Almost two weeks after his surgery, Abdalla was able to leave Wolfson hospital. He seems to be doing well - he can easily walk, talk and do most things. 


As we arrived this morning, Abdalla and his father were ready to leave and seemed quite impatient about getting back to Jerusalem. However, some things still needed to be done before their departure. I waited with them, exchanged some words and played a little bit with Abdalla. It was great to see him as I knew him: laughing, smiling and talking. 

We also shared lunch together before going home, and Abdalla offered me some coffee! When we finally left the hospital, both Abdalla and his father looked really happy, which is understandable after two weeks of being there!

Abdalla slept during the entire journey to Jerusalem and we are so happy to have them back with us! 

Please pray for the continuation of Abdalla's recovery after his surgery and for their time here with us.

New Steps

Posted on Wed, 04/27/2016 - 18:11 by Naomi Knight
This morning, we arrived at Wolfson hospital around 10am, after having dropped off two of our volunteers at the airport to return home. After sad farewells, it was such a joy to see Abdalla sitting up in bed, smiling in the childrens' ward. 
He has had his chest tubes removed and is now on the his final stages of recovery in the hospital before he can return to Shevet Achim. We had such a fun day spending time with Stuey the clown, playing a fishing game, watching Tom and Jerry, and taking lots of photographs. Abdalla is definitely a budding photographer!
His father had mentioned to the doctors Abdalla had been experiencing some pain, unrelated to his surgery. This afternoon, we took him down to have a sonogram. The results showed there was inflammation. He has been prescribed medication for this, and we hope for a quick recovery of this nondangerous, but annoying, pain. 
For lunch, we had the opportunity to share some time with other mothers who were at the ward, including Baran's mum, who has now returned to Wolfson after two nights of peaceful sleep at Shevet Achim. It was such an enjoyable experience to get to know these mothers.
Abdalla was also eager to spend a lot of the day on his feet, as he has been couped up in bed. Despite being slightly rocky, due to the all the needle pricks and tubes he's endured, he did incredibly well and managed to stand and walk a fair distance.
We thank the Lord for these new steps in Abdalla's recovery, and we pray for a continuation of strength through the ones that are to come.

A Big Step of Healing

Posted on Thu, 04/21/2016 - 21:37 by Rebekah Yang

While I entered the children's ward to get Adil’s folder for his echo, Abdalla’s father called me from behind. I was so surprised, but very happy to learn Abdalla was transferred to the secondary ICU last night. The nurse asked his father to have him to sit on the chair after she helped him with a bath.

Despite that he had a right-sided chest tube and one IV cannula, he looks much better. We tried to cheer him up by giving him a smiley face hat and few little toys, however, he still very weak and he hardly spoke any words to us.

He only spoke when I wanted his father to offer Abdalla some juice, his father did not understand what I meant, and Abdalla became a translator to talk to his father in Kurdish to explain what I was saying.

According to this morning's echo follow-up, his heart is doing great. Tomorrow they may be able to remove his chest tube and start to restrengthen his legs to stand up and walk a bit.

Around lunch time, Suhail pulled Abdalla’s father away from his bedside to have a quick lunch with us, for the sake of giving a break to his father. Praise God for He provided all of us delicious food that we could enjoy together as one Shevet family.

Please continue to lift Abdalla and his father in your prayers; may this Passover period bring God’s healing, peace, and salvation to them. Amen!! 

Awake at Last

Posted on Wed, 04/20/2016 - 20:46 by Miriam Svensson
When we arrived at Wolfson hospital this morning I was excited to see whether Abdalla would be awake.
At first I had to stay with another of our children for one of their medical exams. Luckily, Suhail spent time with Abdalla's father. I was thankful Suhail could do this, since he can communicate with the father in Arabic. He told me later he had explained why there will be no bread in the hospital and at Shevet Achim next week, and told him the story of Passover.
After a while I could go to the ICU and visit Abdalla! I was happy to see he had already been extubated. He was still very tired, but he squinted at me under his long eyelashes and raised his hand to say hello. His throat was probably a little sore after the breathing tube, but he managed to whisper some words and ask his father for water. How precious to see him capable of expressing his needs after sleeping for two whole days.
Thank you for your prayers for this brave boy! We praise the Lord for His healing hand on Abdalla and pray that his recovery will proceed smoothly.

Sleeping Prince

Posted on Tue, 04/19/2016 - 19:10 by Naomi Knight
It was an early start this morning when our crew set off for the hospital. We were going for two main reasons: to see Abdalla after his surgery and to support Baran's mother as he went into surgery today. 
When we arrived, we went into the ICU and found Abdalla fast asleep in his bed. The doctors had not yet taken him off the medication that was keeping him asleep, but, we were hopeful to see him awake later on in the day. While we were by his bedside, one of the medical staff arrived in order to do an echo. We waited until it was over and spoke to the doctor. He was positive about the results.
Later on in the day we heard from the doctors that they would not be extubating him today and that he would remain asleep for the rest of the day. We were sad that we would not be able to speak to Abdalla, but his recovery is the most important thing. 
This little prince of ours is definitely a mover! Even when fast asleep his body kept twitching and I amused myself by imagining all of the adventurous dreams that were taking place in his head. Occasionally they had to wake him slightly before sending him back to sleep to ensure a coma type state did not occur. However, they were experiencing very difficult problems in getting him back to sleep. Abdalla desires to be awake; he desires fun and games; may God restore his heart so he can live out his desires!

A Long Day

Posted on Mon, 04/18/2016 - 20:52 by Mateo Patiño Trujillo
This morning, at around 6:30am, Miriam called Wolfson hospital to ask if Abdalla was having surgery today. They said they had to wait for the doctor to confirm, but they thought the surgery might be postponed until later that day. We didn't know what to do - go to the hospital as planned or wait for a while until we knew the exact time of the surgery. We decided to go early and just see what we could do at the hospital. However, by the time we arrived in the nurses' office and we asked about him, he was already in surgery.
Christelle and I went to the preparation room to see if he was still there, but just as we were arriving Abdalla's father was coming out. He told us Abdalla was already in surgery. Abdalla's father told us Abdalla had been asking for us just moments before the surgery, and he had been crying and was upset. But, even in those things God is in control. I would have loved to have seen him before surgery and prayed with him, but sadly things didn't turn out that way.
And so the waiting time started. Abdalla's dad was anxious, but during the day he occasionally smiled and we tried to keep his mind occupied on good things. We prayed and walked all around the hospital. He didn't want to have lunch, which is normal in the love a father has, as he anxiously waiting for his son. The only thing that mattered was thinking about seeing his son after the surgery, and to then see him recover.
After seven and a half hours of waiting, Miriam saw the doctors taking Abdalla into the ICU. We went there straightaway, and we waited for another hour until they finally let us into the ICU to see him.
Finally, at 5:02pm the waiting was over after about nine hours. The doctors were pleased to confirm that Abdalla's surgery went 'perfectly', and as it always is, the glory at the end of the day is for God. May the Lord be in this new stage of life for Abdalla while his heart now recovers. Tonight he will sleep, intubated, at the hospital with his father, and tomorrow will be a new day for the Lord to work in.