I have just found a wonderful ministry based in Israel. Shevet Achim is named for the Hebrew from Psalm 133, “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.” Shevet Achim searches the Middle East for children from Muslim families who are in need of life- saving heart surgery to repair congenital heart defects. They help the child and his parent obtain travel documents and visas, meet them either in Jordan or at the Israeli border, and bring them to a partner hospital in Israel. Israeli cardiologists, some of the best in the world, donate their time and services to examine and stabilize the children, and give them the life- saving surgery they need. The hospitals slash their rates for these children, charging just $7000 per child, even if the child needs 3 or 4 surgeries to be made completely well, and even if their hospital stay reaches into 3 or 4 months or more.
Shevet Achim raises the funds for their operations and living expenses while in Israel. They are involved with the family every step of the way, often providing counseling for grief- stricken parents and the hope of the gospel if the families ask, “Why are you doing this? No one in our country would help us.” Shevet Achim partners with several Arabic Christian churches in Israel who “adopt” families while they are in Israel, giving them a little taste of a familiar language and culture.
All of the staff of Shevet Achim are volunteers, raising their own funds from home congregations back in the US, so 100% of Shevet Achim donations which are designated for life- saving operations go to children and their medical care. One of the staff families was back in the states recently and was visiting with us. He said, “The parents are at first scared to enter the country of their “enemy.” Soon they realize, however, that what they have been told about Jews and Christians are lies. They experience God’s love as they never have before; and their lives are changed forever. Sometimes they become believers before they leave for home. But I can tell what they and these children will never become: suicide bombers.”
Follow the journey of seven- year- old Iraqi girl Niga (Broken link, active August 17, 2007) and her father as she arrives in Israel for her surgery through the lens of veteran Israeli photographer Nati Shohat. These are the children currently in Israel already who are going through surgeries and treatment. These are the children still waiting to arrive in Israel for their surgeries depending on the availability of funds. Can you help?