Shevet Sunday - The hands are beautiful


Thank you for the outpouring of prayer and love for baby Havi and his parents, whose story I shared last week.

The Father allowed Havi's short life on this earth to end in the ICU on Tuesday, two days after his father arrived from Iraq. The parents then had a few days to rest and recover with our community in Jaffa, and to visit Jerusalem for prayer on the Temple Mount and to see the Garden Tomb, symbol of the resurrection. Alena shares in Friday's farewell blog both the grief and the beauty of these days:

Last night we had a farewell gathering for Havi's parents and today we sent them off with our traditional Shevet tissue wave as the van drives away to the airport. Saying goodbye is never easy because the Kurdish families become like your own family. It is especially hard knowing that Havi's parents go home to face a new stage of healing and with much work ahead of them. Grief is relentless. It can come suddenly with tears of sorrow or a prolonged groaning too deep for words. But even in the midst of loss can come glimpses of beauty; like last night when we had a time of sharing about Havi and his parents we recalled the precious moments we had with them all.
havi farewell


And Lindsay gave Havi's mother their gift, which included a picture collage of Havi. Her breath became short as she pulled the frame out of the gift bag and her eyes met images of her son. Tears began to fall as she held the pictures close and kissed them. "Havi" she whispered, and I was reminded of how she would say his name when she sat by his bedside. When we were sharing she said, "Havi is in good hands now." Havi was fiercely loved by his parents. They fought for him, the staff at Sheba fought for him, we fought for him. But at the end of it all, it is a relief to say just what his mum said. He is in good hands now. Havi in the Father's hands.

I was privileged to meet the family early yesterday morning when they arrived at the airport back in Kurdistan, and to go with them for Havi's burial.

havi burial

Just two hours after burying his son, Havi's father spoke to me passionately as mourners gathered in the family home. He wanted us to know how grateful he was for all that was done by the doctors and by us, that he'll never forget it, and that he's ready to join us as a volunteer in his city. It is so humbling and moving to see the character of our neighbors, and how readily they respond to the love of God in the most difficult of times.

Six other Kurdish children have had their heart surgeries in Israel in the last 10 days (you can follow their stories on our website, now restored after hackers took it down for 36 hours this week). One of these children, Daryan, was featured on the i24 satellite news network this week. You may watch the three-minute report on Daryan's page or by clicking on the play button below:

i24 report

"There is a Kurdish expression of thanks," Daryan's mother told the network. "The hands are beautiful. The doctors' hands are beautiful here. They worked to exhaustion and spent the night watching over my child until he opened his eyes."

Can we pray together that those beautiful helping hands can be joined with the beautiful feet described by Isaiah:

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation [Yeshua],
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

I'm asking the Father to allow us to increasingly publish Yeshua in the Middle East as we step into the next season for Shevet Achim. One piece of good news this week: a Bahadini Kurdish translation is now available on smartphones of the complete New Testament. For the first time, the millions of people speaking this dialect can have widespread access to the bridge which allows the nations to share in the hope of the people of Israel.

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133).

Jonathan for the Shevet Achim community