I recently sat across a table from a white, middle-class, 20-something American man from Texas and it was just so… wonderful.
No, I wasn’t having tea with a mirror.
When we aren’t helping Fallujan babies get heart operations, we’re constantly encouraging you to engage ‘the other,’ to find someone radically different from yourself—preferably someone you would deem an ‘enemy’—and to connect with them. You get extra points for learning from them, and even more points for loving them when they treat you poorly.
But there is something really sweet about connecting and refreshing with like-minded people, and that’s why our recent trips across the United States have felt like a breath of fresh air. We speak the same language, we agree that Mayo on fries is nasty, and we share a common cultural heritage. Not to mention you guys teach us so much!
The eyes-wide-open passion of the students and faculty at Cedarville University, Bryan College, Taylor University, Calvin College, and Pepperdine University blew us away; it gave us hope.
So, to all the individuals and institutions who have hosted us in recent days: THANK YOU! Your role in the Coalition is invaluable—you’re saving lives in Iraq, and you’re certainly making ours better.
We’re headed back to the States this month for a series of speaking engagements, and we’d love to see you! Check the listing below to see if we’ll be in your area, or leave us a comment/send me an email if you’d like to host one of our staff for a dialogue about enemy-love, peacemaking, or our development work in Iraq.
Houston Baptist University – February 19 – Houston
The Justice Conference – February 22+23 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Loft Church – February 23-24 – The Woodlands, Texas
Ecclesia Church – February 24 – Houston, Texas
Eastgate Community Church – February 25 – Cincinnati, Ohio
Cedarville University – February 27 – Cedarville, Ohio
Photo Credit: Calvin College
People sometimes ask us, “So, what happens to these kids after surgery?”
It’s a great question, but it isn’t easily answered. Thanks to you and our partners, we’re now providing exponentially more surgeries than we did during our early years. What once was 20 children per year is now 20 children per mission—over 300 children this year alone!
With that kind of volume, it’s difficult to keep up with all the families we help. But we still work to follow up with as many as we can; to make sure they don’t slip through the cracks. But the nature of that Followthrough has changed. Now we spend time encouraging local doctors to follow up with families, reminding them to call families for post-operative check-ups.
And, due to safety concerns, it’s often easier for families to come see us at the hospital (the last thing we want is to disrespect our hosts!).
Going cowboy and riding a taxi into downtown Fallujah to visit a family is not a good way to maintain relationships with partners and friends of the program.
One misstep could lead to someone getting hurt, the program getting canceled, and children not getting their hearts fixed—not something we’re willing to risk.
So we’re tip-toeing into these home visits with care, and Hussain was our first. Stay tuned for (hopefully) many more to come!
Zahraa has passed the test!
Her echo went well, and now she can go home. Watch the above video to get a quick update on Remedy Mission XII and to see shots of little Zahraa heading home with a healed heart!
We’re back in Najaf for our 12th Remedy Mission!
If you’ve been following our work recently, you may be surprised to hear we even left the city since we just wrapped Remedy Mission XI there a couple weeks ago. Some of the local hospital staff weren’t even sure we’d left!
But the first patient for this mission was lifted onto the operating table this morning, and we’re excited to introduce her to you. She’s a little 6 year-old girl named Zahraa, and she’s getting her heart fixed now!
Watch the video above to hear more about her situation, and then come back in a few hours to find out how she’s doing.
More to come…
This is our final O.R. update for Remedy Mission XI in Najaf, and we can’t think of a better time to thank you for the lives you’ve helped save than right now! You made this a happy ending.
You gave money that bought plane tickets that led to training that saved lives and led to Iraqi doctors saying things like “I never imagined I would be learning to operate like this!”
So thank you!
Also, please allow us to use this space to thank our partners at Living Light International for their role in setting up this mission with the Ministry of Health and the provincial government of Najaf. We could not do this without their expertise and their devotion to the cause and their belief in the vision toward which we are moving. Also, we are grateful to the International Children’s Heart Foundation and their cadre of staff and volunteers from Memphis to Melbourne. None of the staff at PLC have any of the medical skills necessary to save these sweet children. Our hopes and our vision for the future of Iraq would be dead in the water without Dr. Novick and ICHF.
In the video, we also share a bit about Hussain and his progress as well as info on our fast-approaching Remedy Mission XII, where we’ll introduce you to even more amazing children in need of lifesaving heart surgery. You can donate below to partner with us further, and keep reading here on the blog—the best is yet to come.
Help us go back to Najaf to save more lives by donating below!
Missions like this wouldn’t be possible without our excellent partners: Living Light International, The International Children’s Heart Foundation, and the local doctors and director of health in Najaf.
Thanks to them, 14 children received heart operations during Remedy Mission XI, and thousands of hours of hands-on training were provided to local professionals. Find out more about their work online here:
And get ready for our next mission with these great people—Remedy Mission XII is coming soon!
We’re in Najaf for our eleventh surgical Remedy Mission, and Jeremy just met Hussain! If you’ve been following his story, you know that we’ve had ups and downs in our attempts to get him surgery. But he is finally getting it here. Watch the video to see footage from his first day at the hospital, and then follow this link to see his campaign page.
Stay tuned for surgery updates…
At long last, our spunky little star has arrived! In Hussain-like fashion, he immediately began giving out high-fives and challenging local staff to imaginary games that he somehow always won.
Most of the children scheduled for surgery just show up and get it a few days later, and that makes it tough to connect with the kids and their families.
But Hussain is different. I know him, the locals know him, and you know him. He’s a familiar face to all of us.
And that’s why we’re so excited to share his journey through the hospital with you! He’ll start with an echo (a screening) to check up on his heart, then he’ll wait while the doctors make sure he’s a good candidate for surgery. Then, if he’s chosen, he’ll be prepped and sent into surgery, then released into the ICU, and then—if all goes well—he’ll be sent up to the ward to rest and await his release.
We plan to take you along this journey, so keep reading over the next week to share in Hussain’s excitement as he gets his heart fixed!
Before all of that, though, I wanted to tell him about you, so I grabbed a computer and showed him his personal update page. Below are some of the photos we grabbed of him perusing the site. If you haven’t seen it or left him a message, it isn’t too late! Head over by clicking here and leave him a photo, video, or note wishing him a successful surgery.
We’re back in Najaf for Remedy Mission XI, and the surgeries are well underway! Push play to hear our surgery count so far and how the local doctors are reacting to these fantastic training opportunities.
Keep watching to see updates of Hussain—we hear he’s in the hospital! This is the third of several operating room updates that we’ll be sending you, so keep watching and visit our Facebook page to see more photos from the hospital.
We’re back in Najaf for Remedy Mission XI, and the surgeries are underway!
Click the play button to meet our kind cardiologists (volunteers w/ the International Children’s Heart Foundation), and to hear more about their work so far.
Several children have now received operations and are doing well—we’ll introduce you to some of then soon.
This is the second of several operating room updates that we’ll be sending you, so keep watching and keep an eye on our Facebook page to see more!