Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Woodmy is 4 years old and a preschooler at LIFE Academy. His favorite activity in school is identifying shapes and colors.
Woodmy was born with a condition called arthrogryposis that causes shortening and rigidity of muscles and joints. These complications make it nearly impossible for Woodmy to walk properly without having major surgery.
Woodmy has been coming to LIFE Therapy since he was a baby when his mother and grandmother noticed his legs were “different”. He had surgery two years ago in hopes of making it easier for him to learn to sit, move, and potentially walk someday. He continues to work on mobility, sitting, and walking with a walker at LIFE Therapy but currently resorts to his own creative way of transportation most of the time.
Woodmy is loved by his classmates, peers, and teachers and treated the same as other students. This is the difference of LIFE Academy and physical testament to the impact the Gospel and myLIFEspeaks has had in Neply over the past 8 years.
This video is much more than an inspiring one of a little boy with special needs defying the odds and overcoming obstacles. Woodmy is a witness to his mother, his grandmother, his classmates, peers, teachers, and entire village commUNITY of what is possible with God.
Woodmy's LIFE is a testimony and a miracle for many reasons.
1.) In Haiti, children or people who are different or who have physical or intellectual disabilities are considered “cursed” or “disposable” in Haitian society. Families with children who have special needs are commonly excluded from society out of fear that there is a “curse” on the family. This leads many children born with abnormalities to be dehumanized and left to fend for themselves on street corners, front porches, or worse; offered at VooDoo ceremonies as human sacrifice.
2). In other villages across Haiti, it is common for people to throw rocks at and act horribly towards people like Woodmy. Thankfully this isn’t the case in the village of Neply where myLIFEspeaks is. Over the past eight years, our village commUNITY has been transformed and eyes have been opened to the Gospel to know that all people, regardless of differences, are beautiful, have dignity, and are made in the Image of God.
3.) Woodmy’s mom, Cindy, has been intertwined with myLIFEspeaks for years. Cindy was in a major motorcycle accident when she was 16-years-old. myLIFEspeaks staff was passing by after the wreck and saw Cindy on the side of the road badly injured. They stopped and put her in the car and drove her to the hospital where she was treated for a major fracture of her leg. Without myLIFEspeaks intervention, she would have never gotten the medical care she needed. Cindy was treated at the hospital for an infection after surgery and was very ill. She ended up coming and living with an American family who were onsite campus directors at the time (the King's) who fostered her until she recovered. We know God purposely crossed our paths so we could help her that day but also so Cindy would experience the Gospel and see the worth and dignity of the way people in Neply treated and saw people with special needs. In only ways that God can orchestrate, this paved the way and prepared her heart for her future son with special needs.
4.) Woodmy’s grandmother (Cindy’s mom) has also been an active participant in our Bél Ewo, Biblically-based parent support group for parents, since it began. Bél Ewo is for all parents in our commUNITY but has a special focus on empowering parents of special needs children. Woodmy's grandmother helps take care of Woodmy and is a huge advocate for him. She knows and understands his value and purpose and she serves as a pillar of strength and support for him in LIFE.
There is a cultural and spiritual awakening rippling out from Neply and at the core is the Gospel being lived out through myLIFEspeaks. It is people like Woodmy, whose lives' speak volumes and open the floodgates for God's Love to flow.