Naz's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

A Special Reason to Celebrate

Posted on Sun, 04/23/2017 - 23:43 by Eva Markewitz

On Wednesday evening, we had a special reason to celebrate: we said farewell to Naz and her mother, who had been with us for almost 4 months!

It was a joyful evening indeed: the sun was still shining, and everybody was in a good mood. We had a delicious dinner and when we did the worship songs, Naz herself was holding the sheets of music while I was playing the guitar. We were also singing her favorite song “Hallelu et Adonai.”

During her time in Israel she never grew tired of singing this song. “Hallelu halleluja! Hallelu…. Halleluja, hey!” And yes indeed, we have many reasons to praise God for his goodness! Naz got a full heart repair and is now able to return to Kurdistan to her family. Even though it was a challenging time for them since Naz had to wait for her surgery about three months.

In this three months, I got to know Naz and her mother quite well and they became close friends to me. Naz was greeting me every morning with a hug and a larking “good morning.” Often we were making jokes and even though my Kurdish is very limited, we could communicate well using easy vocabulary, hands, and feet.

Her mum had also a very sweet spirit. She was always helping and cooked lunch for us so many times that I can’t even count it anymore.

At the end of the evening they received gifts of love from our community: some clothes, toys and a beautiful picture (of both mother and daughter), drawn by one of our volunteers.

On Thursday night, we took them to the airport and had to wait quite a while because there were some complications at the check-in point. But even that was no problem. Naz pulled out her bubbles and I pulled out mine and so we started a funny bubble competition: Who can blow more bubbles?

When it was our turn at the check-in, everything went smoothly. Both joy and tears came up when I saw my dear little friend Naz and her mother leaving through the gate at the airport. I was so happy to see her returning to her family with a healed heart and many blessings and gifts. I pray that God may bless her and her whole family.

I’m so thankful for the time I could spend with the mother and her sweet daughter and I hope that one day I get to see them again!


Pleased with the Results

Posted on Tue, 04/18/2017 - 21:28 by Rebekah Yang

Early this morning, David, Joseph, and I accompanied Naz and her mum, as well as Safa and his mum, for their echoes follow up.

When we arrived at the echo department, there was only one child waiting ahead of us, praise God. Only a few minutes later, Naz was called into echo room for her turn.
Naz was checked out both by Drs. Demeke and Tamir throughly. They were very pleased with Naz's echo results. Dr. Tamir suggested that Naz only take one medicine for 3 months time and then continue to go to the pediatric cardiologist for echo follow-ups. Hallelujah! Yes, our precious Naz can go back to her sweet home in Kurdistan soon.

Nearing the Finish Line

Posted on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 20:06 by Susanne Minshull

The big question for me today (as I accompanied Naz to the hospital for an echo), was if this was going to be her last. If it was, it would mean I could be present at this lovely girl's "hafla" (farewell party) before I leave Shevet. But that was not to be and the routine for another echo in a week's time was kept. But as that means I get to spend a few more days with her I really don't mind. I have now spent almost 5 weeks at Shevet Achim and have fallen in love with the children here.

Please continue to pray for Naz as she nears the finish line for her medical treatment in Israel. 


Good Results

Posted on Mon, 04/03/2017 - 23:42 by Therese Pohler

Naz had an echo check-up today, and the doctor was very satisfied with the results.

The little girl was visibly glad about this and later on was able to have the stiches removed from her chest. We then returned to our home base and enjoyed a sunny, free afternoon, spending time together. Thank the Lord that our sweet Naz is smiling often.



Posted on Mon, 03/27/2017 - 23:20 by Ruth Zellweger

It was a joy to see Naz and her mother today. Since she is already eight years old and very smart, no one could fool her how painful and difficult the time of her surgery and recovery would be. And so she was very afraid before the procedure. By God's grace Naz recovered beautifully and quickly, without any complications. 

Naz underwent today one more echocardiogram, and afterwards it was clear that she was able to return to our Jaffa community, her home away from home. There is a small regurgitation of her mitral valve, and her left atrium is dilated somewhat, but overall the doctors are very happy with the results of the surgical repair. And so were Naz and mother. 

Instead of returning right away to our Jaffa home, they decided to keep Safa's mother company, while her son underwent his open heart surgery. And a few hours later Naz's friend Aveen showed up:

The two of them embraced tightly. While Naz was getting ready to leave, Aveen made herself comfortable as she was admitted for one night. What a sweet friendship the two of them have formed over the course of the past weeks. 

Naz and her mother are now back with our Jaffa community and we are all very thankful for God's grace and mercy for our little friend. To Him be the honor.


In the Children's Ward

Posted on Sun, 03/26/2017 - 23:45 by Rebekah Yang

When Sean and I arrived in the children's ward, Naz went with her mum for an echo check-up. We learned that she had been transferred to the ward over the weekend, and is doing well. 

After lunch time, the hospital had a children's musical instrument program. And our sweet Naz happily enjoyed her time with a few other kids.

Thanks so much for all of your prayers of support for our precious Naz!
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.
Psalms 103:1-3

Recovering Well

Posted on Thu, 03/23/2017 - 19:38 by Susanne Minshull

This morning I visited Naz in the ICU. She was sitting up in a chair and I arrived just as she was surronded by people doing the doctor's round. As the mother had left for a cup of tea while Naz was sleeping, I arrived just as she woke up. I was able to find out that she was doing very well and that her intravenous medication would be discontinued and that she also would be moved to secondary ICU. That was very good news. The mother gave her some orange to eat, which her stomach was able to accept. She was in a little bit of pain, but was able to be moved over to the bed without any problems. Her mother and I helped to push the bed into the second ICU.

After she was settled and connected, she took her tablets and had a little to eat before having a well deserved sleep. When I popped in later before leaving the hospital she was both smiling and waving carefully. Just the way I am used to seeing her. We are grateful to God that she is recovering well and pray that she soon will be back with us. Naz's mother later sent us a picture of the surgeon Dr. Sasson, pictured below:

We are very grateful for him and the all the medical staff caring for the children Shevet Achim brings to Israel.



Posted on Wed, 03/22/2017 - 22:49 by Alexa Bigl

I headed into Wolfson's ICU today excited to see Naz after her big surgery day yesterday. She was awake with her oxygen mask impeding her beautiful face. Naz was extubated around 10am this morning. Despite Naz being uncomfortable and thirsty, her mom was handling everything very well. The nurse did some assessments and around noon Naz was finally allowed to have some water. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to hold it down. So, her time to eat was delayed a bit longer. Luckily, she fell asleep soon after and her mom was able to take a shower and have some tea in the children's ward. 

The ICU doctors said today's echo looked very nice. Naz's heart surgery was a complete repair. Naz's mom was concerned her daughter would need a surgery in the future to help with her previously problematic valve. While we cannot know for sure how her valve will respond in the immediate future or longer-term, the doctors are hopeful this will be Naz's last surgery! 
Please continue to pray as Naz recovers from this large operation. It was sad seeing her painfully coughing today and struggling to tell her mom how thirsty she was. But this was strongly contrasted with the joy in her mother's eyes as she was reaffirmed all had gone very well with the surgery and Naz was already taking big steps in her recovery. May God, the Healer, receive all the glory as we praise Him for His perfect timing for Naz's heart repair. 

This is the Day

Posted on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 22:53 by Eva Markewitz
Three months she has been waiting with us for this day. Many times her surgery was delayed. But finally today, Naz had her surgery.
We arrived at the hospital early in the morning, while she still was asleep. When she woke up and the doctor came in to wheel the bed out of the room, she began to cry. Poor Naz was very scared of the surgery, and because she is already eight years old, she could fully understand what was going on.
For her mother, it was very hard to see and hear her daughter so frightened. She cried when Naz was wheeled into the OR. The doctor told us that the surgery would take about five hours. In the meantime the mother talked to her husband on the phone, went with Rebekah for a short walk through the hospital and the shops, and spent a lot of time with Safa and his mother. She has such a sweet spirit - even in this hard time of waiting she was helping others. At one p.m. we went back to see when Naz's surgery would be finished. Fortunately, we met one of the surgeons on the floor. He told us it had been a successful surgery, and that Naz  would be wheeled in the ICU in about ten minutes. 
Her mother was so thankful to see her daughter. Her face was just beaming. We had to wait another hour before everything was set up and we could enter the ICU. Then finally, mother and daughter were reunited.
Naz had a full heart repair and is stable now. Praise the Lord!

Naz's Admission

Posted on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 22:08 by Camila Buitrago
The mission assigned for today after our morning meeting was to bring two of the grandmothers from Gaza to the hospital. They spent last night in our house after the hospital asked for our help with them. It's good to be able to help others, and I've seen that a lot in my time with my Shevet friends.
After of our first mission, my friend Sean returned to the house to pick up Naz and her mother. Naz's mother made the suitcase for the days that they are going to spend in the hospital, and after many hugs the time to say goodbye to Naz had come. All the families and our volunteer friends spent some minutes praying for her. They had been waiting a long time for this day. Our beautiful Naz was admitted to the hospital for her surgery tomorrow. 
When Naz arrived at the hospital, she was very, very scared, but her mom was with her the whole time to encourage her.
In the children's ward the nurse performed all the medical tests, and finally they assigned a bed to Naz. During the afternoon, we spent time with Safa and his mother. A few hours later, Doctor Alona confirmed to us the schedule for Naz's surgery tomorrow.
In many situations in our life God tests our patience. We live in an express society that has accustomed us to having everything we want almost immediately, but we know ourselves when circumstances change and we must wait. A change, a response, a solution, or as in this case, a surgery. The things we ask for are sometimes superficial and fleeting, but Naz's situation has led me to see that, in God's time, even healing waits, because he really has everything in his hands.