“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” – Psalm 133
Shadi had a difficult weekend, holding onto life with the full support of the ECMO, and many medications at high doses. It was a blessing to spend time with his beautiful mother, and to stand by her as she steadily took in all the information she received about Shadi’s declining condition. She kissed his head and feet and hands over and over again, and she loved him, and prayed for his every minute. I think it is the instruction of Jesus to watch and wait and pray in these difficult times, when we are choosing not our own will, but His:
PLEASE PRAY FOR SHADI
For about twelve hours on Tuesday the surgeons operated on Shadi. It was a long and difficult procedure. He deteriorated in the night and was placed on ECMO heart-lung support the next morning. He remains now at a crossroads: if his condition improves he can live, but if it worsens he will die, as he is already receiving the maximum support the Israeli medical staff can offer:
Do you remember the ISIS refugee baby Sulaiman, and the agonizing 53-day wait for his permission to enter Israel in time for his emergency heart surgery?
Two weeks ago he was between life and death on the ECMO device after surgery; last Sunday surgeons at the Sheba Medical Center were finally able to close his chest. And tonight Georgia shares that he has been discharged to our home in Jaffa:
GOD OF ALL COMFORTS
There is no more beautiful way to open this letter than with the news that Sulaiman had his chest closed on Sunday, was extubated yesterday and today was moved to the step-down unit of the ICU, to his mother’s great joy!
CRACKING THE STONY WALL
Last week I wrote you about the painful loss of the Kurdish baby Ayan, caused at least in part by the long delay of his entry visa by Israel’s interior ministry. Tonight Georgia reports that the mother of another delayed baby, Sulaiman, is “bursting with good news” after his chest was finally closed 12 days after his surgery:
A CRY OF THE HEART
So far Mohammed has twice been denied a visa to enter Israel for treatment. At 33 years old, he is no longer a child and yet if we believe that every life is a valuable gift in the sight of our generous, kind and merciful God, we must believe that his life too is precious.
MAKING ALL THINGS NEW
Please pray with us now for the last of the delayed transposition babies, our own dear Sulaiman, who waited 53 days for permission to enter Israel. Tonight Georgia shares that he is right in the balance between life and death:
DEATH AND LIFE IN THE ICU
For the past three weeks it is no exaggeration to say the hospital staff have worked tirelessly for these two boys. The surgical team did three surgeries in one day last week, two for Mohammed and one for Ayan, and it seems every other day they were taking one or both of them into the OR. The effort to save both of their lives was incredible:
Zhiir is flying out to Israel at this very hour, and God willing will arrive at the ripe old age of 43 days — right within the recommended window for switch surgery:
ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
Please pray especially this week for Ayan from Kurdistan, who is at the moment in the most difficult situation of all the children here. Tuesday he was taken into a diagnostic catheterization, and then after doctors found his coronary arteries were very narrow he was taken immediately into surgery:
SHEVET SUNDAY - NEVER TURN AWAY A CHILD
We need to pray. Two of the Kurdish transposition babies whose entrance to Israel was delayed by the interior ministry are in the most critical condition tonight:
Jonathan is asking for prayer for yet another new emergency: Mohammed from Kurdistan, a young man who had two previous surgeries for his congenital heart defect but is now close to dying in Iraq. We’re asking the interior ministry for an urgent visa for him to come to the Sheba Medical Center in Israel for a last-chance surgery to extend his life:
ISRAEL WE KNOW AND LOVE
Meera was discharged from the hospital today, after three months of being honored and loved to the full by her father and by the staff at Sheba Medical Center. I believe that because of the love she received from them, she is a different girl than she would have been otherwise.
SHEVET PRAYER - STAND FIRM
Sulaiman's finally in the hands of doctors in Israel. And the other transposition babies in his long-delayed group so far seem to be coming through their surgeries safely, thank God!
COMFORT MY PEOPLE
Sulaiman's crying awoke me early from across the hall in the Baptist guesthouse in Jordan near the border crossing into Israel. We’d been waiting there for nine days after all the other children in Sulaiman’s group of transpositions entered Israel the previous week. Now it appeared another week had passed and Sulaiman was still left waiting outside.
As I thought about his predicament I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I pulled out the computer and drafted a strongly-worded Hebrew tweet:
A FLOW OF PRAISE AND GRATITUDE
Sulaiman has finally made it into Israel for his emergency surgery! He joins some 17 other little ones whose families brought them to the Jewish state seeking new life.
Our tiny staff carries on until new workers are allowed into the country. Never has our Father done so much through so few:
The seventh transposition baby is still waiting in Jordan near the bridge to Israel. It appears that Sulaiman’s paperwork was simply lost in the shuffle, and our daily appeals on his behalf mostly ignored by Israel’s interior ministry.
What’s painful about this is it’s the exact opposite of what we see day in and day out in the hospitals of Israel. There the doctors–mostly secular–treat each child as if his or her life is the most precious thing.
When Haveen was brought to her room, I couldn’t see past the fact that she was gone and not coming back to this life. In those moments when death is just before you, maybe the resurrection, with all its power, is at the same time a candle which burns persistently and stubbornly against the hovering darkness.
We all mobilized and celebrated Pentecost today by welcoming the first four of the emergency Iraqi babies across the Jordan River into Israel!
SHEVET PRAYER - THE GREAT BRIDGE BUILDER
Firstly, thank God for the approval today of the nine new Kurdish children, seven of whom need emergency surgery to switch their great arteries. I want to express how it is truly a privilege to work with the Sheba Medical Center; with these nine new families, the total number of Kurdish families in country will be 22 and Gaza families are five (two of which are remaining in country due to the fighting which has closed the Erez border crossing). The staff at Sheba are not just partners but also dear friends, many of whom make themselves available to help us around the clock.
Shevet Achim communities help children from Gaza, Iraq and Syria come to Israel for open-heart surgeries. The first community formed in 1994
in response to the plea of a mother who came to Israel seeking life-saving treatment for her son at a cost of $64,000:
“Will you help us?”
Few of us have the resources to respond to a request like that. But we found if one person will hear that question–and then pray, give whatever they have, and share the child’s story–our Father will form a rescue community that unites all kinds of people around the shared goal of saving a child’s life. And doctors and hospitals in Israel are ready to partner with us and take more than half of the costs on themselves.
Here are some of the families of children who are asking the same question today: “Will you help us?”
How it Works:
Each of these children is invited for heart surgery in one of Israel’s largest hospitals, the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, or Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. If God gives you the faith to intercede for one of these boys or girls, you can apply to become a local leader. When approved you’ll be given your own page on this website through which you can call together friends, family, and neighbors, to join you in meeting the financial goal. Everyone agrees that a child’s life should be saved–you’ll find yourself partnering with people you never would have expected! You’ll share with them regular updates on your child’s progress, including updates sent from the Shevet Achim community in Israel. And you’ll be invited to come and personally meet your child while he or she is in Israel for surgery.
Here’s how you can get started.
And here are the stories of the children now in Israel: