Wow, this is a record! Two updates in one week! So the purpose of this email is two things. First, to let you know of four more children are leaving for Turkey tomorrow to receive heart surgeries! And second, to thank all of you who are wanting to support me for the fall!
The first piece of exciting news is about the four children traveling to Turkey tomorrow. PLC received an unexpected financial gift this month, enough to send four children to life-saving heart surgery! The PLC staff and children will arrive in Istanbul tomorrow evening and the first surgery might begin as early as Wednesday. Here are the kids headed to Turkey:
Mohammad. Mohammad is eleven years old and has a fourfold combination of heart problems called Tetralogy of Fallot. I don’t know the details of his condition but like most heart problems, Mohammad’s heart does not circulate enough oxygen to his body resulting in his skin, fingernails and lips turning blue and a lack of energy. Mohammad can’t play football and run around with other children because his heart isn’t strong enough. If not fixed, Mohammad’s heart will not sustain his life. Though his surgery is somewhat routine, Mohammad’s quality of life will be greatly improved. Though routine, there are still risks and Mohammad’s older age makes the risk higher.
Mazyar. He is a precious three-year-old little boy whose condition is complicated. His heart will not be fully corrected with just one surgery. Mazyar had his first heart operation last year and this will be the second stage of the heart repair. Mazyar will need several surgeries as he grows to fully correct his heart. He also has a cleft pallet. We have looked into some cosmetic surgeries in Turkey that might correct this, but that will be done sometime in the future. We played with Mazyar today at the office. He is just like any other toddler; he is full of life. His laugh is contagious and one cannot miss the love his mother has for him. Multiple times today she would pull him into her arms and hold him showering him with soft words of love. It was a sobering moment to think of the difficulties this family has faced (and all the families for that matter). I can’t imagine receiving news that your child has something life-threatening and you are powerless to change it. It will be an incredible journey for PLC to walk alongside this family as we are hopeful that Mazyar will continue to improve after each surgery.
Ruzhan. This shy but beautiful eight-year-old girl entered the office today. She quietly sat with us and colored, smiling widely when we told her her picture was “zor juana” (very beautiful). I do not know the extent of her heart condition but she is in need of this surgery. Ruzhan came to us from a connection PLC has with some Americans living in a city on the norther border of Iraq. The business these Americans run came together and donated 50% of the money needed for Ruzhan’s surgery to PLC. How incredible is that? ONE organization is funding her surgery. What if just one business from each state of the US funded one surgery this year… 50 innocent Iraqi kids would have a chance at life.
Daryan. Daryan just turned four months old today. His heart situation is extremely serious. The Kurdish doctor we use here in Iraq says Daryan’s condition is the worst he has ever seen. Daryan is malnourished and extremely small and weak for his age. The odds are stacked very high against this little boy. It brought tears to my eyes to see this tiny baby this morning who is probably half the size he should be. There is not a very big chance that he will survive surgery, but without it, he will surely die. I want so badly to be able to do something, to change this for Daryan and his family, to even take his place and give him a chance to grow and live…. all the while feeling powerless because really, what can I do? The amazing thing about this is that we do not serve a God who only works in easy situations. We serve a POWERFUL God who holds the worlds in the palm of His hand. Who is the ultimate healer. I am reminded of the verse that says His ways are higher than our ways. It’s in times like these that I have to trust His ways whatever they may be. So, join alongside of me in praying wholeheartedly for Daryan’s life and the lives of Mohammad, Mazyar and Ruzhan.
I will try and keep you updated on these kids as they arrive in Turkey, are examined to determine if they are a candidate for surgery, and for the outcome of the surgery. PLC has a blog that will be updating every step of the way, probably faster than I even receive information. I invite you to check this often and prayerfully. http://preemptivelove.org/blog/
Please pray for these families as they travel tomorrow. Pray for peace for their hearts as they are in a strange land hearing a strange language and carrying very heavy hearts for their children during this confusing time. Pray for Dr. Cicek, the pediatric heart surgeon who will perform each of these surgeries. Pray for wisdom for him and that the Lord would guide his hands. Pray ultimately that not only will their physical hearts be healed, but also their spiritual hearts. Pray for the PLC team as they travel with them to Turkey. Pray that God will give them the exact words to comfort, love and offer peace. Pray for rest also as the next couple weeks will be long draining days at the hospital.
I know I have said this before, but I can’t tell you how thankful I am for everyone’s support. God has blessed me immensely through your prayers and financial support. In my last email I talked about my support needs for the fall. A few of you inquired about how to send support. I am amazed at how the Lord is already guiding hearts to give in different ways whether that be through money, prayers or encouragement. All three are SO very important for my being here. I know the Lord will in turn bless you richly. My dad is setting up an account for me in the U.S. for my fall support. If you feel led to give please make out checks to him (Steve Spelce). My dad will then be able to send the funds to Iraq. I want to say again how thankful I am for you helping me to be here. As cheesy as it sounds, I really couldn’t do it without each and every person. What an incredible example of true fellowship and a model for what the Church should look like.
If you feel led to give, email me and I will send you the address in which you can mail support.