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The Boy With a Balloon

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, July 22.

By Andrew McChesney


oya is a very special boy. Doctors didn’t think that he would live. You see, the little boy was born with a big balloon on his back in Montenegro.

Voya had a birth defect called spina bifida. When he was a tiny baby, growing inside his mother, his spine didn’t grow properly in the lower part of his back. There was a hole in his back and, through the hole, a balloon grew on his back.

Before Voya was born, the doctor told Mother that the baby might not make it. But Mother was sure that God had a plan for the boy. She prayed all the time, day and night, for him. Right before he was born, Mother prayed, “Dear God, In a few minutes, I will find out whether You have decided to give Voya life or death. Once more I ask You for his life. But not my will but Your will be done. I thank You in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Moments later, the loud cry of little Voya filled the hospital room. His cry was like music to Mother’s ears. It filled her with joy. Her boy was alive!

But then she saw the balloon on his back. The balloon was so big that she could not see his legs. Then the balloon popped. Mother could see Voya’s legs. But something was wrong. He couldn’t move them.

The doctor immediately put Voya and Mother on an airplane and sent them to a special children’s hospital in Serbia.

At the new hospital, the new doctor was shocked to see Voya. The doctor had helped babies with spina bifida for 22 years, but she had never seen anything like this. “This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen,” she said. She said Voya needed an emergency operation.

Mother prayed as the doctor operated on the baby for four hours. God heard her prayers. The operation was a success. Voya could move his legs!

Voya had to see many doctors for the next few years. As Mother kept praying, Voya surprised them all. Doctors warned that he would have head problems in three months. But he didn’t. Doctors said he would not be able to walk. But he did.

At first, Voya was weak. His legs didn’t hold him up well, and he fell a lot when he ran. But he didn’t give up. He kept running.

Mother prayed for God to help her boy. Many times, she and Father prayed all night. Father worked hard as a high school math teacher to pay Voya’s hospital bills. Mother took Voya to many doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions. And Voya kept growing stronger and stronger.

All the doctors who saw Voya were amazed. They couldn’t believe their eyes. The doctor who performed the operation on his legs was especially surprised. She was an atheist. She didn’t believe in God. But when she saw Voya running and jumping, and when she saw Mother praying, she changed her mind. “God really does exist,” she said.

Mother has no doubt that God is alive. God answered her prayers to keep Voya alive, so she tells him, “Wherever you go, share your story with other people.”

Today, Voya is a tall, strong teen. He likes to tell others about what God and his parents have done for him. “When I tell my story, I remember my parents and what they did for me,” he says. “They sacrificed so much because they love me.”

Today Voya is a student at the Seventh-day Adventist secondary school in Novi Sad, Serbia, which opened with the help of a Thirteenth Sabbath Offering collected in third quarter 1997. A Thirteenth Sabbath Offering that children helped give more than 25 years ago is helping Voya get an Adventist education today.