My son, Alistair Vincent D’Souza was born on 14th August 2006. Well into his 11th month now with a collection of teeth to fear and a long mane, Alistair began walking quite confidently. He would stand up and shake and dance to songs from Barney the Dinosaur etc. In short a healthy little bonny boy from birth. Last year in the month of November 2007, my son Alistair, then 1 year & 2 months old developed a bad chest cold & congestion. His Paediatrician at that time recommended a dose of medication which he termed as a bronchulator. At the same time he was teething for about 4-6 teeth at any given time. It was tough to diagnose why he began vomiting. Over a period of 3 weeks his vomiting increased and from about 9.35kgs he dropped in weight to 8.20kgs. My wife Coral & I decided it was time to consult a specialist paediatrician. Dr. Kassim (Al Shifa Medical Centre-Deira) was very helpful and comforting from our first visit and he helped by controlling and stopping the continuous vomiting Alistair suffered from. Alistair was intravenously given supplements twice which helped rebuild his strength. He then prescribed a collection of medicines to help build Alistair’s health and I am ever thankful for his always personal concern and care. X’mas 2007 & New Year 2008 were around the corner and the presence of my ever devoted sister-in-law (Coral’s sister) Marceline who was visiting us from Vasco-Goa helped us in many ways especially when Alistair was ill. The surprise visit by my sister Margaret, brother-in-law and God Father to Alistair, Vincent and their children Ulorica, Valeska & my God son Leandro was a welcome affair to remember for it’s fast pace and many memorable moments. The always ever ready presence of my UAE resident eldest sister Marilyn and her husband Camilo and their son Gary, helped Coral, Alicia (my eldest daughter) Alistair & I enjoy the festive season.
In early January 2008 we began to notice that Alistair vision was not correcting, he appeared squint many times. When in the presence of many people he would begin to shiver and shake, this he began to do even at home when alone. He would attempt to stand and would just fall down. He simply stopped walking and talking/speaking the few words he knew. His appearance looked very week and his movements were painful to watch. He developed temper tantrums and many mood swings. In mid January 2008 we visited Dr. Kassim again and appraised him of our concerns. He had his doubts in mind which he did not voice as a true professional. He recommended we consult a neurologist specialist. The thought of consulting a neurologist was very worrying and terrifying for Coral & I. After a wait of a couple of weeks with faint hearts we went to visit Dr. Sasikumar (specialist neurologist) from Al Mussala Medical centre. He recommended we bring in an MRI report of Alistair’s brain and would only then be able to further comment on his condition. That night Coral & I were a tearful bunch and did our fair questioning of our Lord’s care, concern and love. Our doubts were in bounded as we both come from very God fearing and religious families. After continuously praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus & Blessed Virgin Mary for over a week, on 27th February 2008, we took Alistair to Medic Centre in Dubai for his MRI. My brother-in-law, Lyndon, our 24 hours medical consultant helped allay our worst fears. My eldest sister Marilyn was present with Coral & I during the course of the procedure. Coral went into the room where the MRI machine took many images of Alistair’s brain. Praise the Lord !!!, the report by the radiologist confirmed that there was no abnormality in his brain and had no lesions or growths. This time we were all smiles seated in Dr. Sasikumar’s cabin. Having gone over his reports Dr. Sasikumar told us that Alistair was struck by case of “CEREBALITIS” .
Cerebalitis is a case where the antibodies within ones body due to weakness, attacks the cerebellum in the lower brain area. This results in impaired and distorted vision, effects bodily movements, speech. Now Alistair was back in Dr. Kassim’s care and his development has been on a continuous upward curve. Dr. Kassim advised us that this case Alistair suffered from would self remedy itself after a period of any where from 3 months – 3 years. In the month of March 2008 my wife Coral gave up her good job and decided that she would take care of Alistair (all this while he was in the care of a Baby Sitter). Very selfless, prayful & God fearing, devoted, goal oriented, a wonderful mother and wife is how I would describe my lovely Coral. Having researched and spoken with a few professionals, she with recommendation and self devised methods began Alistair’s physical rehabilitation. Her procedure may have appeared rustic and ill prepared to many a physiotherapist , but she always has the last laugh. Alistair since then began to show steady improvement, his smiles increased, he began to stand and walk.
My Mum & Dad in Belgaum-India, my pillars of strength, my sisters & their families, Marilyn & Camillo, Marena & Clarence , Margaret & Vincent (God Father to Alistair) children and extended family, sister # 4, Dr. Sr. Marilla (and her Loreto Community), my in-laws, Marceline & Agnel, Hazel & Tony , Lyndon & Sonia, Pearlishell & Elvis (God Mother to Alistair) and their children and extended families. My ever present & ready to help cousin Valerie and her husband Conrad and their best boys Aaron & Ashley. My friends, Edwin & Philo, James & Rosetta, Marcellus & Christina, Anthony, Savio & Clara, Mervyn & Ilona ( Canada ) their children and parents have created a prayer movement in different parts of the world. Our neighbours and associates from different faiths and religions too joined in offering prayers for Alistair. Our parish priest Fr. Peter, Fr, Freddy & Fr. Varghese (vice-provincial) have always been ever ready and willing to pray over Alistair. Coral’s cousin priest, Fr. Allan Noronha & (Pilar Fathers) have also been actively praying for Alistair. Our many loving cousins…so many of you the list is endless Lawrence & Cheryl, Sanu & Merle, Cinthu & Joseph, Joseph & Debra (Shalu), Douglas & Suzanne (Nalini) , Gavin & Dimpy & children, our Uncles & Aunts, near far and wide .
Coral & I after our fair share of being negative about Alistair’s condition, having shed many a tear openly and within closed corners. Asking the Lord, but Lord why us and why this child of ours. We think we have been righteous and good, but why our son. Our questions were endless our fears, worries, etc etc many , our answer only one – The Lord Jesus & our Blessed Virgin Mary. We collectively decided to take Alistair’s condition head on and have a 100% positive approach. Coral & I have been brought up in Belgaum India and our Cathedral is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and as we grew up our loving Mother Mary has always been our help and guardian. We began on a daily basis saying the novena to Our Lady of Lourdes (this being the centennial year) & Infant Jesus. Our good friends James & Rosetta (who shortly leave Dubai and move to Doha-Qatar) helped increase the prayer circle for Alistair’s case. Coral’s colleague from Oman Insurance, Brenda introduced us to Bro. Alfred Rebello and the Divine Mercy Prayer Group-St. Michael’s Church Sharjah.
Having being present for the healing services held by Bro. Alfred, we surrendered our worries, our concerns and most importantly Alistair at the Lord Jesus’ feet. We learnt the importance of prayer, forgiveness and devotion. We must thank Bro. Alfred & The Divine Mercy Prayer Group for their regular prayers and Bro. Alfred particularly for being ever ready to pray over Alistair. We began to notice many novel changes for the better in Alistair. I personally feel this set the ball rolling for the greater glory of God to be known to us.
11th November 2008, incidentally my lovely daughter Alicia’s 8th birthday. Our friends James & Rosetta told us that a lay minister by the name of Bro. Johnson was conducting a healing service that evening in a warehouse in Karama. Only a couple of weeks back my wife Coral has an awful fall at home and had hurt her ankle very badly. Since my good friend Edwin offered to escort us to the service that evening with a prayer on my lips and faith in my heart I took Alistair for the service. On entering the warehouse I saw people seated on boxes and some on chairs. We had reached late and were right behind. I could hear a very calming and charming voice but could not see the person speaking. Then I saw Bro. Johnson, & all of a sudden I saw him jumping up & down and he told the congregation in a loud voice “we are who we say we are”. This sentence lingers on embedded deep in my mind. He went on to say despite surgery to his legs he is still able to jump and praise the Lord. I could try and relate more of what Bro. Johnson said but I fear in my excitement and exuberance I may distort his quotes. Just before the healing service began, Bro. Johnson called all persons forward who had come for the healing service. I found myself and Alistair who I was holding in my arms right up in front. Bro. Johnson began with calling upon the Holy Spirit to be present. While the hymns were being sung Alistair was ok. Immediately thereafter Bro. Johnson began commanding all evil, evil spirits and Satan in person and in all forms to leave in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alistair was very restless during this time. He began scratching the back of my head. As I held him in my arms, he began squirming and shifting positions so much so I found it difficult to control him. So as to not disturb the people gathered, from my position right in front I gradually took steps backwards till I was right behind. All the time I was praying asking for the Lords strength to give Alistair & me the opportunity of this healing service. Thereafter I saw Bro. Johnson move amongst the people gathered there, praying over them and I noticed the peace and joy in their faces. There were some who had no expression too. A man with a frozen shoulder for a long time was able to swing his arm around after Bro. Johnson had prayed over him. An elderly lady in a wheel chair was commanded in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to get up and walk and she did. I experienced and am witness to these marvellous miracles. When Bro. Johnson stood before me and asked for what particular reason I had come for the healing service, my well prepared speech/explanation etc etc. hit the dust. I was overcome with emotion, and could not say a word. There seemed at that time no end to my tears. All the pain, hurt and disappointment of Alistair’s sickness came to mind. Bro. Johnson noticing my predicament, requested all present to raise the hands towards Alistair & I and I really cannot recall what he said there after. I began to feel peace and calm like never before a semi trance like condition. Alistair began sweating profusely only from the head, the rest of his body was ok and then he fell asleep. Following this prayers and hymns were recited / sung to the Holy Spirit.. Once the healing service was over I went to Bro. Johnson to explain why I was not able to speak and when I told him that Alistair has a case of Cerebalitis, he said to me, go home in the peace of Christ your son has been healed. Do you believe he asked me and I said yes. That day I experienced a sense that I never have experienced before. I abound in the motivation to speak and profess the word of God. Now days instead of speaking about sports or politics or current issues, I find myself speaking about the wonders about our Lord. Ever since 11th November 2008, the next day Alistair woke up and stood up, got down from the bed and walked to his toy box, picked up his favourite toy and walked back, stopped in the centre of the room and then walked back to Coral. Praise the Lord; this was something he could not do by himself before. He has begun to speak a few words, sings along with a few songs and nursery rhymes. His capability to walk and talk seems to increase every day. Right now he is recovering from a bout of viral cold and his recovery has been good. Praise the Lord!!!
I do not think the medication all of a sudden began to act with a force of 1000%, Coral too has been working tirelessly with him and with due respect to her exceptional qualities and the care and concern from Dr. Kassim, the sudden improvement can only be attributed to the healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our master, redeemer and benefactor. We went to him in all humility, with a wish in our heart and a prayer on our lips and we praise and bless him for the gift of healing Alistair has received.
To all of you who know us, my loving family, friends and acquaintances, and the many of you who do not know us and may receive this mail as it may be forwarded to you. Trust and love the Lord, His mercy, compassion and love He has for us has no bounds. Coral & I have had the blessing of experiencing this, and if you have a situation go before the Lord to experience the same, believe you will never be disappointed.
To my loving parents, my sisters and their families, my in-laws and their families, Alistair’s God Parents, our relations, our dearest friends and colleagues near and far, acquaintances and so many people whom we do not even know, religious communities (Loreto, Pilar Fathers etc) , prayer groups, Rev. Fathers of St. Mary’s parish-Dubai, Bro. Alfred and Bro. Johnson to my friends of different faiths, your love, concern and most importantly your prayers have helped in ways you don’t even know. In all humility, we ask you to kindly continue your prayers, strike the iron while it is hot!!!, Jesus is Lord and Master. Thank you very much, another blessing we have now is knowing persons like you. Please forward this e-mail at will so that many others will come to know the love of our Lord.
Praise the Lord
Ivan & Coral D’Souza
Belgaum-India / Dubai-U.A.E.