Zhya's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq
Paid in full

Echo Day

Posted on Fri, 02/23/2018 - 22:37 by Johanna Ebert

Zhya had her echo appointment with two other kids from us today in the afternoon. She was in very good mood, smiling and playing during the drive. As we entered the echo room she started short with crying but we could distracted her with videos and picture books. She is a very smart little girl and taught me some words in kurdish.

The doctor could see some fluid around her heart, she was not really concerned, but prescribed her a further medicine.  She also want to see Zhya back in one week. Hopefully the echo looks then better.


Posted on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:54 by Johanna Ebert

Last week, little Zhya was admitted to Sheba hospital, and today I received a phone call saying that Zhya was ready to be released! She looks so much better having gone through surgery and recovery. This is a big surgery to undergo for any person, let alone a young child, but she is healing beautifully. We praise the lord for the gift of this little girl and the wonderful staff of Sheba. Zhya's mother was eager to return to Jaffa, but so gracious and patient in the waiting. This mother and daughter are so special to us and to God most of all.  

Zhya's Surgery Day

Posted on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:37 by Co-authored

"How precious is your gracious love, God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7

The fourth Kurdish child that came in the last group has now had her surgery! Zhya joins our group of 3 other children at Sheba Hospital.

She had a large hole repaired in the center of her heart as well as cleft valve repairs. A new wall was made in the left side of her heart where what is now two smaller chambers was one large one.  Surgeon Saraf said it was a full repair and Lord willing, there will be no need for a further operation.

The process at Sheba has been very quick and each of the children have been extubated the same day as their surgery. Zhya started waking up in fits and we had to restrain her hands from pulling out any of the tubes before they removed them.
Zhya's mom was crying a little bit during the send off to surgery and the long wait. She has a sweet gentle voice, just like her heart on her sleeve. She was glad to hear that the surgery was successful and that there would be no need for a second one.
We got to pray for Zhya and her family a few times throughout the day. They appreciated the care. One doctor came by who paused for a picture after he explained how the operation had gone. 
Written by: Noelle Chung and Jesse Tilman

Zhya, the little doctor

Posted on Wed, 02/07/2018 - 20:53 by Johanna Ebert

Thank God for His great timing! When we came in into the hospital this morning, Zhya with mom and two doctors met us in the hallway. They were right on the way to the CT. So we turned around to escort them. Zhya was in a very good mood, and we had to wait a little while she played "doctor" with her doll. The CT went well thanks to sedation. Though the results gave them all the information they need, Zhya and mom have to be patient until tomorrow for the surgery. Inshallah!

Please keep praying for Zhya, especially for tomorrow, that the surgery will go ahead, and go well.

Zhya Admission

Posted on Tue, 02/06/2018 - 21:03 by Alexa Bigl

Sweet Zhya and her mom headed with us to Sheba Medical Center this morning for a battery of tests and her admission to the hospital. Our few minutes of waiting before things got started were spent playing in the waiting room of the echo clinic. Zhya enjoyed a rocking duck and shyly hid her smile as our volunteers played with her. Soon, the nurses set us up in a room and began the admission process.

We headed downstairs for an xray and then back to her room for a sedated echocardiogram. Three cardiologists came in at different points and the echo was thorough and long. In the end, the team decided a CT scan would be needed in order to fully understand the anatomy of the heart. So, tomorrow Zhya will have a CT and hopefully will be slated for the second surgery slot, in the late morning or early afternoon. 

One of the surgeons also stopped by to explain the surgery and obtain consent from Zhya's mother. They are looking to do a complete repair with one surgery. They will close the hole between her atria and repair her valve. We pray for the Lord's hand to be upon the day tomorrowand for His guidance to be over the medical team. 
Zhya's mother, while nervous, did a wonderful job comforting her daughter and keeping her entertained. She is such and sweet and kind mother, it was a joy to spend the day with her. Thank you for praying for the upcoming surgery! 

Zhya's Assessment Day

Posted on Wed, 01/31/2018 - 21:49 by Coby van Wijhe


Zhya received her assesments at Sheba Hospital today. Tim and I accompanied Zhya, Haryad and their mothers. Zhya was sleeping on our way to the hospital. When we arrived, we had time for a cup of tea before it was her turn.


During the echo cardiogram she was very restless. Mom tried to comfort her by breastfeeding and I found some kids songs on my phone to help her as well.

After the echo the ECG was made and the doctor listened to her chest. The doctor agreed with the conclusion that was made in Kurdistan. The date for the operation is not made yet. Please pray for a smooth process.

Israel Welcomes Zhya!

Posted on Thu, 01/25/2018 - 03:18 by Coby van Wijhe

Zhya and her mother have arrived together with three other families at the airport in Tel Aviv! She was the first one who came out. It took an hour before the other three families were on their way to the arrival hall. They had a long and tiring flight. Zhya was fast asleep and even during the first assesment she didn't wake up.

We brought them to our Shevet house and setteld them down with a warm cup of tea. The other Kurdish moms, who already stay in our house, welcomed them too. They even made some food for them although it was already midnight. 

It was so lovely to see how they cared for the new families. Please pray that the procedure will go smoothly, that Zhya will receive a healed heart, and that they will have a meaningful time with us.

Preparing for Travel

Posted on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:32 by Madelyn Miles

Our community in Israel is preparing to welcome little Zhya to our home in Jaffa! We are currently making arrangements for their permission to travel and receive medical treatment here. Zhya was born in April of 2016 with a rare, genetic syndrom called Ellis-van Creveld Syndrome. This can cause a number of skeletal anomalies as well as heart defects. 

Please pray for this precious toddler, and consider joining in her medical journey by supporting the cost of her surgery. Please also pray for her family as they prepare for such a big trip. Zhya is the youngest of 4 children, and separating family members is always difficult. We trust the Lord with Zhya's life, and with her family who stay behind in Kurdistan.