Throwback Thursday- Willy

Willy is the first child that we took into Precious Kids Center that was completely abandoned. To this day, we still don’t know who his parents are or where he came from. We got a call one day to go down to the District Hospital and meet a child that was left alone in the ward. District Hospital can be a little tricky to navigate at times because many times they will say a child is abandoned simply because they know the child’s family cannot pay and they do not want the extra cost of keeping a child there, so after meeting Willy we decided to hold off.

Willy on the very first day we met him.

Willy on the very first day we met him.

Eight months later, we got another call to go see a child that was abandoned in the same ward. Before heading in, I knew that if it was Willy, then it was his time to come to the house. Sure enough they walked us straight to see him and we began the paperwork the very same day to get him discharged from the hospital.

Willy's face lit up when he heard that he was going to his new home.

Willy’s face lit up when he heard that he was going to his new home.

Willy has severe epilepsy and Autism. His seizures are violent and if he is standing he will suddenly go stiff as a board and fall straight backwards. During the 8 months that he was at District Hospital they kept him locked in a crib all day and night, to keep him from hitting his head if he had a seizure. If the mother of the child in the bed next to him was kind, she would help bathe and feed him, if not he had to fend for himself. When he first came, he had a lot of trouble processing what was being said to him and needed a lot of  extra time for it to sink in before he could respond.When he first came he would replace some words with others and it took us a little while to figure out his style of talking, but eventually we knew exactly what he meant. He was also so excited to be able to roam around and be free that he did not want to sit down at all. We became well known at the room at the hospital where they do stiches, because as hard as we tried (and often even if Willy was sitting down) he would have a seizure and hit his head. He had lots of old wounds from hitting his head repeatedly in the same spots his whole life so little bumps turned into big wounds. After a few months we were able to get him a rugby helmet so that his head was well protected and he could roam the compound freely with the other kids.

Willy playing freely outside with his new helmet.

Willy playing freely outside with his new helmet.

Once he was in the house Willy’s health improved. He began to gain weight and he was able to interact, be social and his speaking quickly improved. The biggest struggle was finding a combination of seizure medications that kept his seizures under control. He would be fine one day and the next day would have ten or more seizures. This would drain his strength and make him get to the point where we had to cater for his every need. He needed to be fed, he couldn’t sit without support, he wouldn’t talk or respond and when we went to the hospital there was usually no other illness. He would get so bad that he would have seizures every fifteen minutes and would struggle to breathe after each one. I tried everything. We did brain scans and they didn’t provide any clues as to what the problem was.

My house moms kept telling me that I needed to take Willy for prayers because they were convinced that he was demon possessed. I brushed it off. I knew that I was living in a different culture and that many disabilities were commonly explained as something that could be prayed away. Willy continued to struggle and he kept doing more things that lead me to believe that my house moms might be right. He began to see things before he would have seizures. One day he was playing and stopped suddenly and got a fearful look in his eyes. He said, “Look at the cat. It’s coming, It’s coming. It’s here.” As soon as he said it’s here, he would begin to seize. He would see cats, bugs, snakes (and other things that weren’t actually there) coming towards him and then have seizures. He would have multiple seizures every time we tried to go to church and also at the mention of the name of Jesus. Then one night he was having a bit of a rough patch and hadn’t been able to do anything himself for five whole days. He had been unresponsive and he had a seizure in the living room, so one of the house moms helped me carry him to bed. We stood over him and talked for a while. She asked me, “Do you really think this is still epilepsy?” Instantly, Willy looked right at us began to laugh as hard as he could for about five minutes and then went back to being unresponsive. I didn’t know what to think. We had tried everything else and nothing was working, so the next day we drove out to see a pastor and told him Willy’s story and went back to him twice a week for prayers for almost two months. Slowly but surely Willy began to improve. After that first day, he stopped seeing things coming at him. Then he slowly began to have fewer siezures and was able to go longer and longer without having them. He still has seizures if he is sick and still takes medication daily, but now we have finally been able to see the real Willy.


It has been over a year since Willy has been hospitalized and he is getting better every day. He has a great sense of humor and keeps everyone on their toes because if he is quiet for longer that twenty minutes he is usually up to something. He takes less time to process what is being said to him and loves being given the responsibility of helping with small things around the house. He loves the other kids and is always the first to run up and welcome new kids when they come to the home.

It has been such a crazy journey with Willy. I have learned so much through all that we have been through with him and am in awe of how much progress he has made. Through all the doctors appointments and prayer meetings, God has really shown me that He is in charge. He cares about the lives of each of these children and holds them in their hands. Some nights Willy will go around the room, lay his hands on each of the other kids and pray for them. It’s usually a simple prayer that goes something like, “May you be healed in Jesus name.” To think that very same name used to cause him to have a seizure and, now, to see his faith and joy as he prays for the other kids is amazing.

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