SOS Josh Husmann

Josh & Lisa Husmann started Mercy Road Church just north of Indianapolis in 2011 with a vision for reaching people far from God & seeing them apprenticed. See related video HERE.


On February 10, 2010, I was on my knees praying in a hotel room outside of Atlanta, Georgia, when God clearly called our family to move from southern California to start a new church in Indiana.  I’ve rarely experienced such clarity from God.  I called my wife, Lisa, from the conference in Georgia and told her the exciting news, half expecting my warm weather, California bride to hang up on me.  To my surprise, she instantly agreed and our rollercoaster ride with God began.

After six months of reading, researching, phone calls, and a number of confirmations, we moved our family to north Indianapolis to plant Mercy Road in August of 2010.  We quickly acclimated and began loving this new adventure with God.  It’s always exciting in the beginning.  But one month into it, we discovered news that would change everything.

Before moving we learned Lisa was pregnant with our second child and in September of 2010 we went for an early 4D ultrasound to learn the gender of the baby.  It was a boy!  His name would be Jaxton; a name we’d selected over two years earlier.  But the ultrasound showed more than just his gender.  We saw a large growth on his stomach.  The technician said we should have it, “checked by a doctor” immediately.

Checked by a doctor?  We didn’t have a doctor!  We had just moved across the country.  What was wrong with our son? We made a call and got a next day appointment.  The following morning a man we had never met informed us Jaxton had MAJOR medical problems.  The growth on his stomach was actually his intestines in a sack on the outside of his abdominal wall called an omphalecele. He had a single umbilical artery (getting half the blood of a normal fetus) and his brain did not have two halves (a condition known as holoprosencephaly).  In addition, he probably had heart defects.

The doctor said this was most likely due to a genetic disorder known as Trisomy in which every strand of Jaxton’s DNA had 3 of one particular chromosome instead of two.  Most people are familiar with Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome), one of the few survivable forms.  Jaxton likely had Trisomy 13 or 18, which he told us was “incompatible with life”.

Those words will always resonate with us.  “Incompatible with life.”  The doctor said he almost certainly would die in the womb and if he made it to birth, he’d die within minutes of being born.  We were devastated! Think of your lowest moment in life and then go infinitely lower!!

Suddenly church planting was the last thing on our minds.

What was God doing?  Why had he brought us here, just to experience this?  A weekend away, a lot of prayers, and a couple of months of wrestling with God led to one decision.  Not only were we going to give Jaxton a chance at life, we were going to pray for a miracle!  God parted the Red Sea, made the sun stand still, and raised people from the grave: He not only could heal Jaxton, we trusted He would!

Lisa began keeping a blog and posting weekly about Jaxton’s life.  Friends and family began praying for a miracle.  Word spread of Jaxton’s condition and our relentless hope of his healing.  Thousands of people began viewing Lisa’s blog.  People from all over the country were praying and even fasting for Jaxton.  Eventually, tens of thousands of people began viewing and praying.  We expected God to show up and show His miraculous power.  What an opportunity to show thousands of people that God’s not only real, but cares for His people!  But, each time we’d go back to the doctor and the news would be same.  He’s still alive, but there’s no improvement.

On February 23 of 2011, Jaxton was born at 7:35 PM.  I’ll always remember the time because the doctor announced the time of birth and I didn’t hear a cry.  I asked the doctor if Jaxton was alive.  He said they were working on him at the table.  I walked over to see my son, a sight I was not prepared for.

Jaxton weighed 3 lbs. 12 ounces when he was born at almost 40 weeks.  As I approached the table, the neonaetologist was attempting to revive Jaxton.  There laid my little 3 lb. son, who was purple and gray in color, not breathing!  The nurses said he was barely a 1 on the Apgar scale.

We made decisions that night no parent should have to make.  The doctors were able to intubate Jaxton and keep him alive.  After a cardiogram, they said Jaxton would likely die within two hours, if they didn’t do a small surgery to put a central line IV in his chest.  With the surgery they thought he’d only live a day or two tops!  Their recommendation was to let him pass away.

We prayed and talked before deciding to go ahead with the procedure.  God wasn’t done with our son.  We knew he would be healed.  The procedure went well and we made it through the night.  Then something incredible began to happen.  Thousands of people were praying for a miracle and one started to happen.  Jaxton lived a day.  Then two days. A week later he was still alive and improving!

He began to eat on his own and we were told if he could breath without a machine, we could take him home.  Did you hear that?  We could take him HOME!!  Everything we’d been praying for was happening!

Jaxton had to pass a carbon dioxide test to be taken off the breathing machine.  After over a week of life, Jaxton initiated his own breaths for an entire hour!  We waited for the results and knew we’d be taking him home shortly.  We’ll always remember when the doctor shared the news.  Jaxton had failed the test.  While he was breathing on his own, his brain was not telling his lungs to exhale carbon dioxide.  He had likely just poisoned his system.

Over the course of the next few days Jaxton’s vital signs began to plummet.  After a second try at the carbon dioxide test, Jaxton was to the point of no return.  His vital signs were crashing and he could die at any moment.  We were crying out to God, why had He let us come this far and was still taking our son from us??   So we prayed one last HUGE prayer: “God, we’ve done everything medically we possibly can and Jaxton’s still dying.  Only You can heal him.  We’re going to take him off the breathing machine.  Heal him.”

On March 9, 2011 at 7:35 PM (two weeks to the minute of his birth) we removed Jaxton’s breathing tube.  Over the course of the next thirty minutes our son died in his mother’s arms.

Jaxton’s story wasn’t full of happiness, but it was full of life.  Sifting through the difficult times of life can sometimes be the most incredible and memorable moments.  The few moments after Jaxton died were the most confusing and disappointing moments of my life.  I couldn’t believe what had happened.  I really believed Jaxton would be healed and with us.  I had never prayed so hard or cared so much.  I was devastated beyond belief.  I sat there motionless, crying, not wanting to talk to a single person.  I had never experience SO MUCH PAIN.

That night, I cried out to God, “Why did He take us through all this, just to take our son??”  Sometimes God is working and we can’t see it.  A supernatural event began to happen for me and God placed a story in the Bible on my heart.  It was the story of John the Baptist.

John paved the way for the ministry of Jesus.  He was prophesied about in the Old Testament and filled the role of Elijah in the coming of the Messiah.  He even lived in the wilderness, wore camel skin, and lived off of locusts and honey….and how was he rewarded for all of this faithfulness?  He was imprisoned and had his head chopped off for a rich, pretentious woman at a party.  What a reward!

I realized I had never looked at the story of John the Baptist that way.  Here was a guy who gave everything for Christ’s cause and received nothing but pain for it in this lifetime.  You see, it wasn’t that God couldn’t save John or didn’t want to relieve him of pain, but that He knew John’s life would make the largest impact with the story he was dealt.

Just read Hebrews 11 when you have a chance.  We found this chapter of Scripture helpful when we were praying for a miracle.  You read of the stories of God-sized miracles happening when people live by bold faith.  But be sure to read the end of the chapter when it mentions the martyrs and persecuted who were “put to death by stoning,” “sawed in two,” and “killed by the sword.”   The reality is these stories are just as much a part of bold faith as the former.

Jaxton’s story was one of martyrdom.  As much as I wanted a story of miraculous physical healing, God was bring spiritual healing through Jaxton’s life.  He only lived two weeks, but through Lisa’s blog Jaxton’s life impacted thousands!  We received comments, messages, and e-mails of people returning and reconsidering their faith in Jesus because of Jaxton’s life.  A friend in Afghanistan recommitted their life to Christ and sent Jaxton an American flag that had been flown there in honor of his life.  A woman in the US chose not to abort her son because reading Jaxton’s story.   That son was born in the fall of 2011.  She named her son Jaxton.

More life was brought through Jaxton’s two weeks on this planet then most of our lackadaisical American lives combined.  Like John the Baptist, his life paved the way for the good news of Jesus Christ in others’ lives.  God laid this on my heart the night Jaxton died, but I didn’t tell anyone.  I didn’t want to hear it.  I was mad.

The next morning we began to plan a funeral.  We picked out the gravesite and the mini coffin.  We experienced things you’re not supposed to at 30.  We agreed on a cemetery and site and finished the funeral plans when I noticed something.  The cemetery Lisa preferred, buried the infants in the “John the Baptist” section of the cemetery.

Soon after, I looked up what my son’s name meant.  It turns out Jaxton means “son of John”.  A name I picked out of a magazine over two years earlier because I thought it sounded cool, God had chosen for him since the beginning of time.

I’m critical by nature and don’t think there’s always a mystical connection to everything just around the corner.  But it was in the moment of realizing God had known my son’s name, had known his purpose in life, and had even picked a symbolic resting place for his physical body that I not only freaked out, but began to find a supernatural peace that surpassed my understanding.

I finally shared this with my wife.  To this day we’re still in awe of God’s provision and purpose for Jaxton’s life and for our family.  We found healing in Christ that could be found nowhere else.  We still wish his story would be one of physical healing, but we don’t determine what hand we’re dealt in life…we trust the one Who deals because we’ve witnessed his provision and purpose.

I’ve been so thankful for my son’s life ever since.  I even got up at Jaxton’s funeral and shared his evangelistic message through tears.  It’s a message our family lives by now.

Romans 8:18 became the verse that gave us hope: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  People often recite Romans 8:28 at a funeral.  Honestly we found this a bit trite and not that helpful.  But knowing that are present sufferings have purpose and that they will not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us and through Jaxton gave us that supernatural peace.  He is much better with Jesus, than we are here, and that brings us hope.

On Father’s Day (months after Jaxton’s death) I preached Jaxton’s message to thousands of people and witnessed my son’s life and death continue to bring life to others as they accept God grace and mercy.  Lisa even started, Jaxton’s Fund, a ministry to families with babies in the local NICU’s.  Over 40 women donated wedding dresses to be made into multiple angel gowns for babies who pass away in the NICU’s.

As we’ve sifted through Jaxton’s life, death, and eternal glory we’ve become invigorated to use our lives for God’s purposes.  We’ve seen how God can use a two-week-old child, who can’t say a word or even exhale CO2, to influence the world.  Why waste our lives arguing with a perfect, all-knowing God over the incredible story he’s given our son and family.  Instead, we’re thankful for how God’s loves got us through this time and used our son’s life to influence others.  We choose to continue that legacy in life by helping those in need and proclaiming the name of Jesus until He returns!