Shevet Achim is a remarkable Christian organization that helps mostly Muslim families in Gaza, Iraq and other areas of the Middle East to bring their children to Israel where they can receive lifesaving heart surgeries from Jewish doctors in Israeli hospitals. This is the first time many of these families have ever met Jewish or Christian people. They must move beyond politics, fear, and the hatred that is part of their communities’ perception of Israel and of Christians to risk the trip to Israel to save their babies. What they experience is the love and support that people of faith coming together in compassion can provide to their families and their beloved children.
The phrase, Shevet Achim, is a Hebrew phrase from Psalm 133, that means “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together…” This becomes their vision verse that compels them to bring people together in love and compassion from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish worlds.
In the 1990s, it became clear to an American journalist that children outside of Israel with congenital heart defects were dying in the Middle East because they didn’t have access to adequate medical care. If they did, they didn’t have the money to have the necessary surgery. This Christian journalist met a Jewish surgeon who was willing, along with other nurses and doctors at his hospital, to perform surgeries on children without pay. The major hurdle was the mountains of paperwork needed for children from these other countries to enter Israel, as well as transportation costs, lodging for the child and their parent before and after surgery, and costs for the hospital stay and medications. Shevet Achim was created to fill this gap and open the door for hundreds of children to come to Israel for surgery without cost to the family. Of course, the children come from nations who are enemies of Israel, and there is mistrust and fear, but love compels parents to risk everything to go to Israeli doctors for help. Trust and friendship grows as families spread the story of their experience with their communities at home. As you read their stories, you will see God’s hand blessing the ministry so that today children from the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Iraq, are able to have lifesaving surgeries.
Shevet Achim’s work has become well known to the Israeli government and doors have opened for families bringing their babies for surgeries in amazing ways. People are able to look beyond borders and politics and show compassion.
Go to their web site, www.Shevet.org. Read more about them. Jesus preaches in the beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, “blessed are the peacemakers.” Shevet is a quiet peacemaker bringing people together so a child has a chance of good and long life.
This is our Mission of the Month for February. I’m delighted we are supporting such an organization.