Yousif's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

In God's Hands

Posted on Fri, 06/02/2017 - 21:44 by Ruth Zellweger

Baby Yousif was not able to travel to Israel for the repair of his heart. During the night between Wednesday and Thursday this week, his little heart stopped beating. While this is especially hard for his young parents, we are so thankful that we do not have to give in to despair. We know that the One who created Yousif and called him into existence, is also the One who is sovereign over our lives. May his parents put their trust and hope in our heavenly Father, and experience His gentle touch and comfort. 

Everything in God's Perfect Time

Posted on Wed, 05/24/2017 - 20:54 by Ruth Zellweger

Yesterday morning, the Israeli Ministry of Interior approved the visa for Yousif and his mother. We were very thankful when we heard the news, as this coming Sunday turned out to be the best travel date with the best travel condition. But we also knew that there were still obstacles ahead. One was to have Yousif's flight approved by the air company. Dr. Serdar had informed us the day before that Yousif had recently contracted pneumonia, but considering all the different factors - like waiting time, risk of more infections, limited flight availability this coming week - he and the head of the ICU felt that it would be better to travel for Yousif sooner than later. As a nurse, I had come to the same conclusion.

This afternoon we were informed that Yousif was not going to receive approval for travel. We did not hear the exact reason, even though we tried to inquire several times. At some point, after some frustrating hours waiting to get a positive answer, we just stood still for a moment, entrusting this situation to our heavenly Father, as we know that He is still in control. Yousif's mother gave us the phone number of one of the English speaking nurses in the ICU, who updated us on Yousif's current condition. 

Yousif is back on high flow oxygen, but with a low oxygen saturation. His condition had worsened again over the course of the past two days. In this condition he would not have been able to travel. We can see God's hand in the disapproval of the flight for baby Yousif. He knows everything, and that is why He used the airline to hold us back from pursuing our own human plans, that seemed wise in our eyes. But God's timing is perfect. We do not know what His plan is for baby Yousif, if and when he will be able to travel to Israel. But God is watching over him. May we all continue to trust Him as Yousif is fighting this infection. Please pray with us for wisdom for the treating doctors, and for peace for his young parents. May God be glorified in Yousif's life.


Hope for Yousif

Posted on Wed, 05/17/2017 - 22:47 by Ruth Zellweger

Little Yousif was born less than two months ago, a first baby to his young parents, who are Christian IDPs (Internal Displaced Person) that fled the Islamic State and are now living in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Soon after his birth he was diagnosed with his congenital heart defect. His heart defect is very complex, one of the issues is a large ASD, a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart. Due to that large hole he has basically only one large atrium instead of two. 

Yousif was quickly accepted at Sheba Medical Center in Israel and we applied for his visa this past week. 

Around a month ago, Yousif contracted a bad chest infection that harmed his lung tissue. He is currently hospitalized in the pediatric ICU. My co-worker John and I had the opportunity this morning to meet with his treating cardiologist, Dr. Serdar, and Yousif's parents to assess if he would be able to tolerate the air travel. Since Dr. Serdar saw him last a few days ago, Yousif has improved some but he still very fragile and sick. The longer he is batteling the infection, the more lung tissue could be destroyed. Our hope is that his visa will be approved soon and that he will be allowed to travel within the next couple of weeks. 

Please pray with us for Yousif's life to be sustained, for his visa to be approved in time, and for all the travel arrangements. Because the living God knows and cares, we know that there is hope - hope for Yousif to receive a new heart. 

"For there is nothing my God cannot do." Luke 1:37