Lexi’s Story: 2005-2011

This story begins in January of 2005. This is when we met Lexi, a vivacious 4 years old, who could not hear or speak legibly.  I spoke with Lexi’s mother, Youlanda, and found out Lexi had lost her hearing due to a lack of adequate treatment for high fever and ear infections, when she was
2. I then asked if I could work with Lexi to help her develop her language skills.

Bess and Lexi, age 4, in 2005

At that time, I had no idea how I was going to do this, but the special ed teacher in me, always believes that I can find a way to reach a child. This time, I found that Bess, who at the time was just about to turn 13, was much better at reaching Lexi than I was. So…I coached Bess on how to do it, and she worked with Lexi. Ultimately, it was this experience that has led Bess, now a Sophmore at Anderson University, to pursue a career in elementary and special education.

In May of 2005, it became clear to our family that we would only spend a year in the Bahamas and would then be returning to the US. But, before we left, in August of 2005, I made a promise to the Johnson family, that I would find a way to help Lexi, to get assistance for her hearing. Little did I know that His plan would take 6 years to come to fruition!

Fast forward to summer of 2009: our first summer back on Eleuthera. Our family moved to Eleuthera for the summer, to lead the mission teams for Caribbean Ministries Association, at The Eleuthera Bible Training Center.  James Cistern, our settlement, is a very smalltown, and of course, we once again made a connection with Lexi, now 8 yearsold, still vivacious, inquisitive and oh so very bright! The Holy Spirit began to work in my heart. Nudging me to remember the promise I made to the Johnson family and nudging Bess and Lydia too. We all decided it was time to do something more for Lexi, but what and how?

Enter Keith Doster, who happened to be having lunch with Mike and the topic of Lexi arose, since Keith had met her the summer of 2009, on a short term mission trip, with the Grace Chruch, student ministry. Keith just happened to have a long time friend, who is an audiologist in Florida. Many conversations later…the audiologist agreed to see Lexi for free and provide services that might be required to assist with her hearing. We just had to raise the money for her travel to Florida. Bess and Lydia did this by organizing a Wii Tournament with the Grace Church student ministry that raised enough money for Lexi and her mother to travel to Florida.

We now move to November of 2010, Lexi is now 9 years old and we go to board the plane in Governor’s Harbour, and find that Alexia’s passport expired less than one month before the travel date. Very discouraged, we left hoping that we could make arrangements to get a new passport. In the Bahamas you can generally count on at least 3 months to get anything done for any type of important paperwork.

In February of 2010, we still did not have the documents needed for Lexi’s travel, and in the meantime, an audiologist from Nassau came to Eleuthera and determined that Lexi no longer had any residual hearing left. An evaluation in the US would not help much, unless the intention is for Cochlear Implant.

Once again, the special ed teacher in me, which I have come to determine is how the Holy Spirit works through me, resigned me to the fact that there must be some way to get Lexi to a place where she can communicate with the hearing world, so that she can learn in school. In my mind it was tragic that this child was not able to function on grade level, just because she was deaf!

Enter, the Jacobs family, (Dave, Sharon, Sarah and Alex). Sharon, also a special education teacher, came to visit in February, to work with the students at the Center for Exceptional Learners, the only school that Lexi is allowed to attend. This school consists of 11 students varying in age from 6-15 and mainly of low academic achievement and ability. Sharon was also struck by the dire circumstances for a very bright and intelligent girl to be placed  in a school with low functioning students, and not to be learning.

Fast forward to October 2011: Lexi is now 10 years old, through much hard work and determination we have been able to get a passport/visa, and proper medical documentation from Nassau and the US through many individuals who have volunteered and donated time both medically and legally.

Lexi and her mother, with the new visa!

As a result, Lexi traveled with us in the month of October, she spent 2 weeks with the Jacobs family who have agreed  along with the permission of the Johnson family, to assume custody of her for 1 year, so that she can receive medical care including speech and language therapy and very likely Cochlear Implant. During her stay in October, Lexi was evaluated by an audiologist and ENT specialist that will oversee the surgery and she met with a Guardian Ad litem to determine if this is the best for her.

Lexi with Sharon and Sarah Jacobs Oct 2011

Paperwork is submitted for the temporary change in custody for medical services that will last for up to a year in Greenville, SC. Lexi will be living with the Jacobs family, and by the end of the year, God willing, be able to hear and to speak.

Praise to the Father for all that He has done to bring Lexi this far! Please pray for His continued blessing and guidance for all the people that He has worked through, and will be working through, to make this happen, and that it will be to His Glory!

-Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for this situation-

The Johnson, Jacobs and Fastzkie families

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