Nothing But Good News

God is the giver of good gifts.
If nothing else, I’ve learned this today.

Mohammad is in his own private room in the hospital and boards a plane tomorrow to come back home!
Mohammad Coloring

Beautiful baby Honya had surgery this morning.

Honya 1

Mom Kissing Honya

At just 12 pounds, she went into surgery this morning at 10:30.
Her mother watched as she was carried away, doing her best to be strong.

I’ve tried to place myself in the shoes of these moms.
These moms who are hoping for a miracle for their children, their children who are under a death sentence.
These mothers are in a foreign land.
Surrounded by a foreign language and culture.
Sleeping in a room by themselves, many for the first time in their lives.
Putting the care of their dying children into the hands of Turkish doctors and nurses.
The people who they’ve been told are the enemy.

I can’t imagine the uncertainty and fear they must feel.
The enormous amount of helplessness.

My prayer is that during this time, this time of fear, that God would reveal himself to them. And that they would have no choice but to cling to Him.

Honya’s surgery went beautifully.
No complications.
She is resting now in ICU.
Dr. Cicek is hopeful to extubate her tonight or tomorrow.

Praise God!

Honya ICU

Honya & Wires

Vary also had surgery today.
Hers was the scariest surgery of all.

Vary

Upon finding more problems with her heart, the surgery become far more complicated.

The doctors had to cool her body down to 16 degrees Celsius,
drain the blood from her body,
resect a portion of the artery dangerously close to a nerve that could leave Vary with neurological damage,
pump the blood back into her tiny body,
warm her back up
and restart her heart.

The surgery went perfectly.
Not only that. . .
but it was a full correction.
She will not have to have another heart surgery!

Friends
Thank you for your prayers.
Thank you beyond words.

But please don’t stop praying for these children.
Though the surgery is over
Though Dr. Cicek has fixed their hearts.
Now it’s their turn.
They have to fight for life.

-In awe of the graciousness of God

Find out more @ http://preemptivelove.org/blog/

Baby Honya Headed to Surgery

Honya in Hospital

This precious and fragile baby girl gets her chance at life in about 6 hours.
She is still sick with a lung infection but the pediatrician and cardiologist have both cleared her for surgery.

I have fallen in love with her.
I have never wanted life for a child as much as I want it for this beautiful girl.

But the Lord cares for her a million times more than I ever could.

God is in control.

Pray that Honya’s tiny body wants to fight for life.
Pray that God would give Dr.Cicek wisdom in surgery.
Pray peace over Honya’s mother and family as they face the most difficult 4 hours of their lives.
Pray that ultimately God would be glorified and made known whatever the outcome.

Honya

-Heavy heart for this sweet little girl.

Mohammad’s Surgery: A Complete Success

Mohammad received his long awaited surgery this morning.
Doctors repaired a huge hole in the upper chambers of his heart.
No problems.
A full correction!
He is now recovering in ICU.

Mohammed to Surgery

Headed to Surgery

Mohammed Bracelet

Mohammed

Mohammad's Mom

Praying for her eldest son

ICU

Recovering in ICU

Vary has had a tough time the past few days.
She is very fearful of her new surroundings
keenly aware of things going on around her.
The nurses had to sedate her to complete an echo.
Discovered coarctation as well as her VSD
This surgery is so much bigger than previously thought.

Baby Honya is quarantine with a right lung infection.
Pediatrician visited her today and isn’t too worried about it.
She is still all smiles and giggles
Good chance for surgery on Monday!

One surgery down, two to go.
Thank you for your prayers.
And good night from Iraq.

Mohammad. Honya. Vary.

At last you get to meet them.
The three amazing kids in Turkey for life-saving heart surgery.
Each group we send I love even more.

Mohammad, 8 years old
Mohammad
Mohammed is the oldest of three children. He lives with his family in a small village where they live on the top floor of their barn. He has been waiting a long time for a chance to have his heart repaired. He is looking forward to walking all the way to school after he has recovered from surgery. His mom thanks us tearfully every time we see her. She cannot believe it is finally Mohammad’s turn!
Please be praying for Mohammad.
He will be having surgery first thing in the morning which is only about 7 or 8 hours away!

Honya, 9 months old
Honya
Honya is a precious little girl. She is always smiling and giggling despite the lack of oxygen flowing in her blood to her brain and the rest of her body. At nine months old she weighs roughly 12 pounds. She loves music and toys that light up. Dr. Çiçek at the Johns Hopkins affiliated Anadolu Medical Center in Istanbul, Turkey is very hopeful that she will have a full correction and believes that she is likely to benefit significantly from surgical intervention.
I have fallen in love with this tiny little girl! She came to the office the other day in this pink and green outfit and was all smiles and giggles. She is so precious.
She arrived safely to Turkey, but she is sick with some kind of cough and can’t be operated on until she is better. The earliest she could possibly have surgery is Monday.
Pray for healing for her little body so that she might have a chance at surgery and a chance at life.

Vary, 2 years old
Vary
Vary is a spunky little two year old who loves stuffed animals. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her that her heart is failing, but she is actually an urgent case. We are hopeful that her surgery will set her back on track for a happy, healthy life running and playing with her friends. Her mom says she can go anywhere as long as “blankie” can go too!
I played with Vary in the office on Monday. She is so full of life and she definitely has some spunk!
We played with bubbles mostly. She would blow the bubbles and we would chase after them with our fingers and say “pop”!
The most fun I’ve ever had with bubbles by far!
Vary is still undergoing tests to find out when and if she can have surgery. She is very scared and unsure of her surrounding in this foreign place. Pray for peace for her heart.

More updates to come
For now, it’s almost 2 AM
I’m off to bed.

So grateful to be a part of something so much bigger than me.

3 Kids to Surgery!

Honya, 8 months
Mohammad, 8 years
Vary, 2 years

I will introduce you to each of these precious children tomorrow.

These three, their moms and 4 PLC staff members arrived in Istanbul Turkey this evening.
The next two weeks will be full of surgeries, uncertainty, and hope for three Kurdish families.

Please be in prayer for Dr.Cicek (the pediatric cardiologist) for wisdom, the families for peace in a strange and foreign land, and for the PLC staff as they minister and love on them.

13 Things . . .

. . . that have happened since I last updated
Which, lets face it, has been awhile:

Today I got stuck in an elevator.
It was a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

PLC bought a new car.
I miss the Patrol (aka The Beast)
But thanking God for providing.

I rode the Sulaymaniyah bus.
Payment for the ride is driven by the honor system.
I’m convinced it would never work in America.

My friend, Sazgar, helped me pick out Gili Kurdi (traditional/festive Kurdish dress)
Don’t worry, pictures to come.

I experienced culture shock for the first time at a foreigner’s party.
50 people attended (Dutch, British, Irish, Australian . . . but mostly American)
I realized Americans are loud and a tad bit obnoxious.

I visited Sulaymaniyah University with Kanar and Shaza, two good friends.
I almost felt as though I was at an American university.

I learned to sing Happy Birthday in Kurdish.

Angel and I made oreo balls.
SO good.

I sat on the top floor of our house for hours watching a thunderstorm with the window open.
I’ve missed the rain.

I bought a piece of artwork from my good friend and talented artist, Ismail.

I’ve read 5 books:
Unshaken by Francine Rivers
Unveiled by Francine Rivers
The Shack by William P. Young
A Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
Crazy Love by Francis Chan

God has been teaching me a lot about faith and prayer
and even more about my pride.

AND 3 new kids are going to surgery in Turkey on Tuesday!!
I’ll introduce them in the next few days

Extreme Joy – Extreme Sorrow

I realize this post is WAY overdue. To be quite honest, I’ve been avoiding writing it. I feel as if I don’t have adequate words to give to you describing the events over the last two weeks. I’m praying even as I write this that the Lord will give me the words I need to say.

This is a very late update on the three precious boys PLC sent to surgery in Turkey over the last month: Meer (15 years), Ramyar (4 years), and Daryan (5 months).

Meer was in need of urgent surgery when we flew him to Turkey. His surgery was a little over a week ago. It was perfect and a full heart correction was performed. Meer will live. Praise the Lord! Last Tuesday he flew home to his family to Iraq. Meer will live a normal life, grow up, get married and have a family. . . and live.

Thanks so much for your support and prayers that make this possible.

Meer - Homeward Bound

Ramyar is the four-year-old boy we sent to Turkey with Meer just a few weeks ago.We love this little boy. His laugh is contagious. He is always joyful. He is so full of life.

Ramyar was sent home from Turkey shortly after arriving. At four-years-old he is already inoperable. We are praying for healing. . . begging for healing for this boy.Ramyar’s family came to our office a few days ago to have a post-Turkey meeting. It was so bitter-sweet seeing him. . . more bitter than sweet. We were able to play and laugh with him for a few hours. The joy of having him in our office and seeing him so happy quickly awoke me to the realization that death is chasing after him. Without surgery, Ramyar’s broken, weak heart will stop beating in a year maybe two.

Please pray for healing.

This is a video of him and Joshua (a fellow summer intern) playing that day. Ramyar LOVED watching himself being filmed on our Mac computers. The first part is Ramyar and Josh playing and the second part is the two taking pictures on my Macbook. I’ve never laughed this hard while at the same time wanting to weap so deeply.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Extreme Joy – Extreme Sorrow”, posted with vodpod

Daryan was sent to Turkey a little over a month ago with an extremely sick heart. We knew the odds weren’t good but hope seemed to prevail when he made it though surgery. “His heart is perfect,” Dr. Cicek told us. We thought all he needed was time for his lungs to grow strong enough.

Daryan put up such a tough fight. . . so much so that we all thought he would pull through. Four weeks he fought for his life in ICU while intubated. The fight was too tough, though. His body, too weak.

Daryan Selah lost the fight at 5:40 AM on September 4, 2009. I am at a loss for words as of what else to say. His family is in pain. His mother lost her firstborn son. His family lost a precious baby boy.

Daryan

What now?

What happens when the reality of life and death for these kids is too much to bare?

Watching these children who are so sick…

Watching these families who are desparately searching for any kind of hope…

So, what happens when the reality of a child’s death doesn’t seem to match up with the goodness of God?

“A crisis of faith comes when God’s dealing with us seem to contradict his essential goodness, and can be passed through only by trusting God, even though we do not understand” -Beverly Hicks

Seeing children be healed and hope restored.

Seeing children die and famlies crushed.

Extreme joy, extreme sorrow . . .

Turkey Bound

On Tuesday morning, the Preemptive Love Coalition was able to send two more kids to surgery because of generous contributions to our organization! So exciting! Let’s meet them shall we?

Meer

This is Meer. Fifteen years old, he is one of the oldest kids PLC has sent to Istanbul, Turkey for heart surgery. Meer’s case is particularly urgent. He should have had this life-saving procedure years ago.  Also because of his age, he is able to understand what is about to happen to him. Meer’s surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

Please be praying for peace for him and his family and pray for wisdom and guidance for Dr. Cicek (the pediatric cardiologist who preforms the heart surgeries in Turkey).

Ramyar

This precious little four year old boy is Ramyar. We met him just a few short weeks ago when his family came to visit our Iraq office. His family was able to collect all the things needed to send him to surgery (i.e. passports, echos, paperwork) in about two weeks. Amazingly enough, all of this usually takes months. Ramyar is borderline inoperable. In Turkey, diagnostic tests will be performed to determine if he is a candidate for surgery. These tests will determine if his little heart can handle surgery or if it is too late.

I don’t understand all the logistics of these complicated surgeries, but pray that Dr. Cicek finds what he needs to in the preliminary tests, that this child has a chance at a long, healthy life.

You can follow these kids over the next few weeks on The Preemptive Love Coalition Blog. You can also follow on Twitter ( Meer’s Twitter Page and Ramyar’s Twitter Page )

Also, I would ask you to keep praying for baby Daryan. Daryan is about five months old. He was sent to surgery in Turkey with the last group of kids, almost a full month ago. Despite staggering odds, he survived surgery. His heart is completely healthy, completely corrected, and in essence, perfect. However, his little lungs are not yet strong enough to control the increase in blood pressure. Daryan has been intubated and in ICU for the past four weeks (1/5th of his short life) on several drugs hoping his blood vessels will dilate enough to support his tiny little life. Dr. Cicek said that it is now a waiting game. Pray for healing.

This video of Daryan was taken in the few days following his heart surgery:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Special Update #3

I have nothing but good news to report and I am in awe that this is the case. I wish I had words to describe the awesomeness of God but really there are none sufficient.

Ruzhan (the young girl) is back in her village in Iraq. She is doing incredible and really is as good as new. She called the other day to thank PLC for making it possible for her to receive surgery.
Mazyar (3-year-old boy) is now back home in his village as well! The doctors are astounded at his recovery. Just days after surgery he was running and playing in the hospital courtyard. As much as the nurses tried to slow him down as a precaution, Mazyar kept skipping around. Nothing could slow him down. He is now reunited with him mother and other family.
Mohammad (11-year-old boy) had a really tough week. The doctors were very pleased with his surgery as he received a full heart correction from FIVE heart defects! They were very hopeful until they realized he was having difficulty speaking and eating in ICU which left him malnourished. They feared he had Tapia’s syndrome –  a congenital problem affecting the vocal chords, causing atrophy of one side of the tongue and the opposite side of the vocal chords. Mohammad received an MRI and neurological exam revealing that his brain was completely normal! Praise the Lord!  He was sent back to Sulaymaniyah yesterday! Although he will use a temporary feeding tube until he is able to eat solid food on his own, the doctors are confident he will be 100% in a few weeks.
Daryan (4-mo-old baby boy) is still in ICU in Turkey. Despite all odds, this tiny baby survived surgery! He was doing very well for the first days in ICU, but as soon as the nurses extubated him, Daryan’s pulmonary pressures skyrocketed. If a child dies post-heart surgery, it is usually because of high pulmonary pressures. They had to reintubate him and put him on a treatment of nitrous oxide which is suppose to dilate his blood vessels and therefore lower the pressure. Although he has been on the treatment almost a week, his pressure is slowly but steadily decreasing! Where there was very little hope in the beginning, doctors are fairly confident that Daryan will pull through. What a miracle!
Pray for these children as they continue to recover. Although Daryan is improving, he is not completely out of the woods. Pray for healing. Daryan’s mom is alone in Turkey. This is the first time she has been away from home and in an unknown culture hearing an unknown language. All of these factors plus the constant fear and anticipation that Daryan will not make it, have taken it’s toll on this young mother. Pray that the Lord would engulf her in peace and comfort.
 In other news, God has completely provided the money for me to stay in Iraq until December!!! WOW! Time and time again God provides for me in ways I can’t even understand. God is good and SO worthy to be praised!