When Joshua was one year old, he suffered from severe asthma and was hospitalized.
After he was discharged, his mother Joy had to give him steroid puffs twice a day and Ventolin puffs three times daily. Even so, there was no telling when the next asthmatic attack might happen. In the middle of the night, Joy would wake up with fear in her heart, to check if her baby was still breathing.
On top of that, Joshua had another chronic condition to fight. From the age of two, he began showing signs of developmental difficulties. His pre-school teacher alerted Joy on his lack of eye contact. Socially, he was withdrawn and isolated. Few things interested him. He would engage in repetitive behaviors such as rolling on the floor, as well as opening and shutting the doors continuously. Joshua seemed to be living in a world of his own.
His parents brought him for a psychological assessment and he was diagnosed with mild autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Fighting a developmental disorder would be a lifelong battle. With unclear causes, there was no certain cure available for Joshua. The challenges he faced as a toddler would continue to plague him for the rest of his life.
To help him acquire skills in his daily living and overall development, he was seen by four specialists: a child developmental specialist, a child psychologist, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.
Joshua faced special difficulties in communicating with others. He did not know how to use words and it was not until he was three years old that he first spoke “Mama” and “Papa”. Even then, those were the only words he could manage. It was a huge struggle for him to make a simple request and others took as much effort to understand what he was trying to say. In frustration, he would roll on the floor and bang his head on the ground. It tore his mother’s heart to see him suffer both emotional and physical pain.
When Joshua was turning four, Joy started bringing him to the Miracle Service at Lighthouse. Through the teachings at the healing service, she began to recognize the Lord Jesus not just as her personal Savior but also as Jehovah Rapha, her divine Healer. Over the next three years, Joy witnessed progressive healing in her beloved child.
Shortly after their initial visit to the Miracle Service, she saw his first sign of improvement. Joshua’s habit of banging his head on the floor had simply disappeared!
Gradually, Joshua also improved in his vocabulary and communication. When he formed his first sentence, “I want Milo,” his parents stood right on top of the world.
His family went for a mission trip in Batam and again, Joshua surprised his mother. As they visited the rural places, Joshua initiated handshakes with the other children they met. He was making friends with strangers! He actively helped to distribute food and clothing to the poor. Joy saw all these and her heart leapt. She knew that Joshua was getting better in his ability to socialize and relate with others.
Joy did everything else she could to nurture Joshua. His specialists recommended for him to be placed in a special school. Finally, his parents decided against it and instead, Joy started a schedule to play a more active role in his healing process. After a long day of work, she would hurry home to coach Joshua. Every day, they would spend an hour together in a 3- part regiment: pray, play and work.
It was a slow and tedious process. Learning the alphabets from A to Z alone took Joshua two long years. At times, she felt wearied and very disheartened. But her great love for her son kept her going, trusting the Lord would complete Joshua’s deliverance. She also remembered that her Heavenly Father had never forsaken her despite her imperfections. Likewise, she could not give up on her beloved son.
Every morning, Joy would go into his bedroom and pray for Joshua. Every night, she would play the healing messages preached at church for him. That way, Joy established an atmosphere of faith in their home environment.
As Joy depended on the Lord and led her little boy each step of the way, she recognized that God was developing in her own character, patience and perseverance.
Today, at the age of seven, Joshua studies in a mainstream Primary school. He no longer engages in repetitive behaviors. His social and communicative skills have improved. At age two, he received a “below average” score in his cognitive assessment. Now, compared to a typical child of his age, his latest score was “above average”.
Autism has been termed as a lifelong developmental disorder. Joshua’s improvements cognitively, behaviorally and socially were nothing short of extraordinary. In reviewing his progress, his clinical specialists remarked, “Joshua’s remarkable improvement is a miracle.”
And his asthma? God had healed him and his medications are no longer necessary.
As Joy shares about her journey with Joshua, she concludes, “Nothing is impossible with God when we keep believing, praying and persevering.”