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Joshua’s story: a speech therapy miracle in Uganda

Sometimes God transforms lives in unexpected ways. Find out how BMS World Mission worker Lois Ovenden has used her language skills to help a young boy with Down’s syndrome learn to communicate and thrive in Uganda

Joshua’s whole life has been transformed by something most people in northern Uganda have never heard of – speech therapy.

Joshua was born with Down’s syndrome in northern Uganda. It’s an extremely difficult diagnosis to receive in the country because there are so many health problems that come with the condition. The heart problems related to Down’s syndrome can be very difficult to treat and many children born with the condition in Uganda don’t survive.

Joshua was one of the lucky ones, as he was able to access surgery, but the first two years of his life were extremely difficult for both him and his parents. Joshua didn’t have any additional support outside of home and he wasn’t learning to communicate. His parents felt isolated and didn’t know how to help him. They couldn’t see any hope for his future.

Thankfully, hope came in the form of BMS mission worker Lois Ovenden, who works as the only speech therapist in her part of Uganda.

“When I first met Joshua, he didn’t have any significant communication,” says Lois. “His development was also very delayed – more than you would expect for a child with Down’s syndrome.”

Lois began to do speech therapy with Joshua and amazing things started to happen. His communication and development started to take off. He began walking, talking and signing after therapy sessions with Lois. For this first time, he had a way of communicating with the world around him.

“It’s been amazing to see Joshua blossom through speech therapy,” says Lois. “And it’s been amazing to see his mum blossom too.”

Joshua’s mum was very encouraged by his progress through speech therapy and finally felt like there was hope for his future. In fact, Joshua’s parents were so encouraged that they decided to get him into a school, something that generally doesn’t happen for children with disabilities in Uganda.

“It’s a huge deal that he is going to school,” says Lois. “Through the speech therapy his parents have seen that he has potential and they’ve made his education a priority.”

It’s success stories like Joshua’s that keep Lois motivated to do God’s work in Uganda. As she works with children and adults in Uganda she is giving people the precious gift of communication. The gift of connection.


Please pray for mission workers Joe and Lois Ovenden and their two children Connie and Reuben as they continue to share God’s love in Uganda.

Does Joshua’s story inspire you to do mission? We’d love for you to join us as we share the good news and seek to transform lives around the world. Find out more today!

This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.   

BMS World Mission, 17/08/2016
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