How a little boy who couldn’t talk found his voice.

When Chelsea Lozano was pregnant with Landon, she really felt like he might be the perfect child. “It was the perfect pregnancy, no sickness or symptoms,” Chelsea says. “Even when my water broke at 33 weeks, I still had the most amazing pain-free labor.” But when doctors took a tiny, blue-tinted baby away from her, she knew something was wrong. Landon wasn’t breathing, and it was the first scare of many.

After a month in the neonatal intensive care unit, they finally took Landon home to meet his older brother. Things appeared to be normal until eight months later, when Chelsea noticed he seemed to be losing a lot of weight. Chelsea and her husband, Brandon, visited doctors who told them this wasn’t normal and ended up spending endless nights in hospitals trying to figure out what was wrong with Landon. Words like “failure to thrive,” “dramatic weight loss,” “leukemia,” and “cancer” were said, but no one could pinpoint a diagnosis. After two months in one children’s hospital with no answers, they sought out a second opinion. They took Landon to the ER at Cook Children’s where another team of nurses and doctors began assessing his condition.

The team discovered his oxygen levels were dipping every night and that he had sleep apnea. Basically, when Landon slept, his airways would close up and his body would wake him because he couldn’t breathe. Typically, a person with sleep apnea will wake up five times every hour. “Landon was waking up 164 times an hour,” says Brandon. “That means every two and a half seconds he would stop breathing and be forced to wake up.” With this new knowledge, Landon went through several surgeries to remove any obstructions to his airways, and doctors put him on a CPAP machine that helped him sleep with fewer disturbances. When they finally went home, everyone was sleeping in the Lozano house at night.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of Landon’s struggles. He was still often lethargic and ill, and at age two he still hadn’t walked or crawled because he didn’t have much muscle. So when Chelsea saw him standing up in his crib one day after a nap, she was pleasantly surprised. But then she noticed dark marks all over his hands and arms. She took Landon to the changing table, got a baby wipe, and started rubbing his hands to remove it, but there was nothing there. When she flipped the lights on, the marks were gone. “It wasn’t sitting right with me, so I called the doctor. And he said it was very serious and we needed to bring him to the hospital for surgery,” Chelsea says. “He said that Landon had lost so much oxygen that he was turning blue—this was the stage right before death.”

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The surgery, called a tracheostomy, was a blur for Brandon and Chelsea, who was eight months pregnant with their third child. They walked into the recovery room after the surgery to see Landon screaming without making a sound. The surgery remedied his breathing problems by creating an artificial airway called a trach that was open all the time, but it was at the cost of his voice. “In all the rush before the surgery, no one told us that afterward, he wouldn’t be able to talk,” Chelsea says. “As a parent, it was the most traumatic thing we’ve ever been through—seeing him in pain, confusion, and frustration. He would mouth words, and nothing would come out.” Brandon and Chelsea were devastated.

“If we tried to explain what happened to Landon, he wouldn’t understand—he was too young. We just asked him to trust us that it was to save his life. And we realized that’s exactly how we react to the Lord sometimes,” Brandon says. “Anytime there’s a crazy difficult situation, we tend to think, Lord, why? and ask for an answer, but we’re not always capable of understanding the answer. All we can do is trust Him.” And as they sat in the intensive care unit with their son, who was suddenly silenced and afraid, they began to look around at the other patients. “We felt like the Lord told us to shift our perspective. Our son was healing, but others were dying,” Chelsea says. “What if we walked over and comforted someone else? What if we were here for another reason? It was a transformational time in our faith.”

In the days following the surgery, Brandon and Chelsea drove to Fort Worth every day to see Landon. “We would get in the car every morning for the 30-minute drive, and we would say, ‘Okay, what are we thankful for?’” Brandon says. “We listed things the entire drive to the hospital because that’s what would change us. We did it so we could actually walk in and face our son and give him a big smile and be grateful he’s alive.” In a situation where it’s easy to be swallowed by worry and self-pity, Brandon and Chelsea knew gratitude was the only way through it.

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Brandon and Chelsea did their best to communicate with and understand Landon. It was not easy. They thought sign language would be a nice solution, but he got frustrated and would just point at things and make indecipherable grunting noises. In addition to losing- his voice, Landon couldn’t taste anymore because air was no longer going through his mouth and nose. That sensory deficiency caused his vision and especially his hearing to be heightened to the extreme. He became uncomfortable with crowds and loud noises and would often melt down if there was too much going on. “Landon was a very difficult, frustrated, angry kid,” Chelsea says. “Taking him anywhere was a nightmare. We didn’t know what to do. We were all so frustrated and really started praying that the Lord would allow him to speak.” This went on for a year and a half.

Then, when Landon was four, his grandparents, who run an international ministry, invited people from all over the world to their home for a council. One of the visitors was a Brazilian woman named Bianca. Bianca herself has an incredible testimony and had a trach of her own. When she saw pictures of Landon with his trach, she asked in Portuguese if she could pray for him.

When Brandon and Chelsea arrived with Landon in tow, Bianca introduced herself using a translator and they all began to pray. She read some Scripture and prayed, sang, and talked to Landon. In the midst of all the prayer, Landon’s grandmother leaned over to Chelsea and asked how they would know if Landon was healed. And Chelsea said, “If he spoke one word.”

Bianca started singing “hallelujah,” and that’s when something incredible happened. Out of nowhere, Landon said “hallelujah.” His voice was hoarse after not speaking for so long, but in that moment, it was the most beautiful thing they’d ever heard. The whole family cried and celebrated as Landon said “hallelujah” again and again. “From that day on, he began talking more!” Chelsea says. “Words like ‘cracker’ or ‘juice’ became so exciting for us! It was such a miracle.”

Landon is almost six years old now and a totally different kid. “He’s so laid back—all his anxiety and fits are gone. He’s no longer sick all the time,” Chelsea says. “And we’re learning that he’s brilliant.” After getting his voice back, Landon began doing some crazy things like completing a 100-piece jigsaw in five minutes or spelling complex words using his blocks. He taught himself how to read and was remembering things at an incredible rate. They had him tested and found out he has a photographic memory—possibly the result of heightened visual and hearing function during his developmental years. Brandon says, “He actually has the calendar memorized for the next three years!”

For the Lozanos, the past four years have been a series of devastating downs and incredible miracles. They celebrate the day Landon first spoke as excitedly as they would celebrate a birthday, calling it “Happy Hallelujah Day.” “Since Landon spoke his first word a couple years ago, I’ve been writing his story,” Chelsea says. “It’s not finished, but I keep working on it. I just don’t want to forget a single thing God has done.” 

Brandon, Chelsea, and their three kids, Levi, Landon, and Eliana, attend the NRH Campus.

If you need prayer for healing, visit healing.gatewaypeople.com.