About us

The journey actually started years ago, long before Ryan and Veronica had even met …

In April 2001, at 20 years old and a single working student, Veronica felt God drop a few words in her heart.  She wrote them down on a piece of paper and chucked it in a drawer.  Every time she came across the piece of paper she would be tempted to throw it away as the words seemed utterly ridiculous, but for some strange reason she always tossed it back to keep.  

Fast forward to October 2013.  At 20 weeks into their pregnancy with their first child, Ryan and Veronica received devastating news – that their child had holoprosencephaly with severe microcephaly, cleft and considered “incompatible with life”. They were told they could terminate the pregnancy after some tests.

That day, Ryan and Veronica made a choice that would change their lives forever.  They refused the tests and chose to give their child the chance to live.  They also chose their son’s name – Matthew, meaning “gift from God” – having just confirmed the gender of their first child on that same day too.  

And it was while traveling home that God reminded Veronica of that small piece of paper with an “utterly ridiculous” promise He had given her years ago:

The promise Veronica received when she was 20 years old ...
The promise Veronica received when she was 20 years old …

God had told Veronica years before that her firstborn would be a boy, and having just confirmed it that day, knowing the first part of the promise to be true already, they clung to the hope that the second part would be true too: HE WILL BE A MIRACLE!

For the next 18 weeks, together with family and friends, they prayed, hoped and believed for that miracle …

Matthew Manuel Nel was born to Ryan and Veronica on 3 February 2014 via emergency c-section at 38 weeks with holoprosencephaly and severe microcephaly, cleft lip, flat nose with single nostril and closely set eyes.  

Only about 3% of fetuses with holoprosencephaly survive to be born alive and of these, only about 1% live past six months with an even smaller percentage living past one year of age.
Matthew turns 6 years old in February 2020!

Miracles do happen.  Not always the miracles we pray for but the miracles we need. 

Matthew is a miracle!

This blog is to share their journey, prayer requests and celebrate the miracles for Matthew.

Sonia Moments photo shoot Dec 2015
Sonia Moments photo shoot Dec 2015





One thought on “About us

  1. Hallo Veronica…Ek het vandag by my ma (Annetjie Schoonwinkel) gehoor van julle ou seuntjie. Ek het na sy foto’s gaan kyk op die blog – hy is pragtig! Ek hou al 22 jaar by ‘n skool in Welkom in die Vrystaat skool, spesifiek met leerders soos Matthew. Ons het ook leerders by ons met dieselfde probleme as Matthew. Ek ken egter nie die “holoprosencephaly”. Ek sal graag die blog oor Matthew wil volg en ook weer uit dit leer. Ek sal ook die “miracle waiting list” wys vir my kollegas en vriende by die skool. Glo my – ons klomp by Amari skool (‘n plek in die son) kan ‘n storm losbid! Ek is nie ‘n mediese kenner of terapeut – net ‘n juffrou by die skool, maar asseblief as daar enige enige iets is waarmee ek van hulp kan wees, laat weet asseblief. Baie sterkte vir julle.
    Groete Wilmaru van der Merwe

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