Shevet Sunday - Between the rivers

Dear coworkers,

My bride Michelle has a keen eye for details, and as we journeyed into Kurdistan today with our son Zak she noted that we were entering the land of Mesopotamia, "between the rivers."

First we saw the Euphrates from the air, flowing south from Turkey to effectively partition Syria between Assad/Russia/Iran to the west and 
the Kurds/US to the east:

euphrates river

Then from our bus window we saw the Tigris, the eastern boundary between Turkey and this emerging autonomous region for the Kurds in Syria:
tigris border
Then finally, of greatest interest to me, the Habor River, which divides Turkey from the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq:
It is to this river, the scriptures record, that the ten tribes of Israel were carried away captive by the Assyrians in 722 BC, then disappearing into the mists of history. Finally in our days a large and ancient Jewish community from this city was regathered to the land of Israel; and their former neighbors here, the Kurds, are now finding their hearts more and more knit together with Israel. Along the banks of the Habor we found Ronia, who'd been to Israel with us for heart surgery--once too weak and blue to walk more than a few steps without exhaustion, she now effortlessly climbs the steep banks of the river, to the joy of her family:
by the river
Not every surgery in Israel has a successful outcome. Tomorrow morning we'll visit the family of little Nazgol, who died last week while waiting home in Kurdistan for her second surgery. She'd just left Jaffa a few weeks ago, and many tears were shed when the news of her passing reached us this week. Once again we're challenged to believe that when our loving Father allows suffering and death, it is for a redemptive purpose. Please pray with us for the visit to Nazgol's family.

And finally this week, you may remember last weekend we were rocked by the arrival of two emergent newborns with transposed great arteries, following a long and hazardous journey to Israel. Glory to God, both have now had their arterial switch surgeries.
Mustafa to Jaffa

Mustafa (above) has already come home to us in Jaffa! And Dastan (below) is now out of ICU and coming our way soon, God willing:
dastan out of icu
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133).

Jonathan for Shevet Achim