“We’re not here to count numbers and know how many people visited the clinic. We come for the relationships we have with the patients. That’s the aim.”
–Medical Project Team
A recent project team shared these words with us while in Jericho, and it perfectly sums up the Seeds of Hope model. We love to put numbers to the impact of our work and know how many children and families we’re able to serve, but the real win is in the relationships that are developing.
We saw this bear out so clearly once again during our annual medical clinic trip just a few weeks ago. Since 2014, North Point Community Church has sent medical teams to Jericho to host clinics for the surrounding community. Other than during the pandemic, they’ve sent teams every year and, more recently, twice a year.
North Point perfectly stepped into a need that our community feels deeply. Access to quality medical care is an ongoing issue for residents in the area. Since the teams started coming, these clinics have become a trusted source of care for many members of the community. We see as many patients as possible at the clinics and treat everyone with equal respect, care, and love.
Over the years that different people have visited Jericho as a part of various project teams, they have built strong relationships with many people in the area. When North Point sent their first project team in 2012, they met Essam, a husband, father, and local plumber in Jericho.
Essam was the focus of one of our construction teams led by Dan S., Durwood, and John, who helped him complete his home for his wife and children. This endeared Essam to Seeds of Hope in a significant way. So when his daughter, Bissan, was having health problems, he brought her to the medical clinic.
In 2014, Dr. Dan Eller was a part of North Point’s first medical clinic team in Jericho. That week, he diagnosed Bissan—nine years old at the time—with a heart condition. He was able to explain to Essam and his wife the parts of her heart that weren’t functioning correctly and advised them on what kind of treatment they should seek.
Since then, when Dan and his wife Brenda would return to Jericho, they would always check in on Essam and Bissan. They would see Bissan in the clinic to advise on her condition and visit the family at their home. And not just Dan and Brenda, but Dan S., Durwood, John, and several others from the North Point project teams stayed connected to Essam and his family. They prayed for them, reached out for updates, and always tried to visit them when they were able to come to Jericho.
A few weeks ago, Bissan had to have a critical heart surgery to treat her condition. We were all heartbroken to learn that she did not survive the procedure. As their family mourned the loss of their daughter, Seeds of Hope looked for ways to rally around them and offer encouragement during such a difficult time.
Shortly after Bissan passed, a group of people from past North Point teams were back in Jericho. Dan and Brenda had once again returned for their annual medical clinic, but leaders from past trips were also present, including Durwood, John, and several others who had come to know and love Essam and his family. When they arrived in Jericho, they wanted to offer their condolences as well.
We arranged a special visit that truly touched everyone. Essam and his family were so happy to see friends from the United States. “It helped us so much,” Essam shared. “To know that friends from around the world were with us in these tragic circumstances. The day they visited was the first day of brightness and joy since my daughter died.”
The team brought gifts for all the other kids and activities to do together. They talked and comforted one another while reflecting on over ten years of history together.
In the midst of all of this, the medical team still saw hundreds of patients at the clinic, as they always do, and built more ongoing bonds with other families and individuals. Still, moments like this highlight the depth of impact and relationship that Seeds of Hope is becoming known for.
In fact, this kind of connection is the backbone of our model. We want to help as many people as possible in Jericho and the West Bank, but we never want to lose sight of individual personal connections. We know that lasting change in someone’s heart doesn’t happen overnight. It comes with small deposits of trust and care over time.
We believe lasting change is possible—in our community and around the world. And we believe that relationships like the one Essam and his family have with Dan, Brenda, and the entire North Point team are the key to making it happen.