Switched at Birth

One Family’s Spiritual Battle

By Michelle Ofori-Ansah

In the summer of 2015, CFNI alumni, Richard (Rich) Cushworth and Mercy Casanellas, made headlines when they discovered that their newborn baby was switched at birth at the hospital where she delivered him in El Salvador. The story was carried on most major media outlets, and the couple was interviewed on BBC. After three months of separation, Baby Moses was happily reunited with his family. But there is a supernatural dimension to the story that has never been told to the general public until now.cushworths1

The battle for Moses began in the womb. Mercy recounts having a very complicated pregnancy. She had three falls, and her blood pressure would not cooperate.­ It­ spiked­ and ­fell­ at ­diff­erent points, exposing the baby to enormous risks. At 21 weeks (19 weeks early!), and then again at 24 weeks, she went into labor. Each time her pastors and church stood in the gap with fasting and prayer and turned things around. Mercy made it ­to ­35 ­weeks ­before ­delivery,­ still ­fi­ve weeks early, but a victory nonetheless. However, the worst was not over.

Both the pregnancy and birth were rather­ diffi­­cult­ for ­Mercy.­ One­ of­ the reasons was her husband’s absence from El Salvador due to immigration issues, and with the baby born prematurely, Rich could not make it in time for the delivery. “I felt so alone during the pregnancy and after the birth,” Mercy describes. “I had a C-Section, and­ my­ baby­ was­ having­ diffi­­culty breathing. I only saw my baby for a few moments, kissed him, and thought how wonderful it was that he looked so much like Rich.” Immediately after, she was given a sedative to put her to sleep while the doctor and nurses took him to the nursery for cleaning and tests. Mercy didn’t have her baby returned to her until around noon the next day.

cushworths2That night, while Mercy was waiting for them to bring back her baby, she felt overwhelmed with hurt, sadness, anger and even bitterness. Her much anticipated baby’s birth hadn’t gone as planned . . . she was alone, without her husband and even without the baby! She started to pray, and suddenly, in a vision, she saw an angel standing beside her, speaking in tongues. He put his hand on her head, and immediately she­ felt­ those ­negative ­feelings­ leave — she was delivered. “I believe this was God’s way of preparing me for what was to come. I think that might even be when the switch actually happened,” Mercy shared.

The next morning, she heard the babies being returned to their mothers, but her baby didn’t return. She began to worry about her new son, whom they had named Jacob, fearing that there might be some physical issues they hadn’t told her about. When they ­fi­nally ­brought ­Jacob ­to her, ­she was relieved for a moment, but then something didn’t seem quite right. “I told the nurse, ‘This baby doesn’t look like the one I had last night.’” The nurse insisted he was her baby, but Mercy was not convinced. “I told everybody for the next four days in the hospital, doctors, nurses, friends, everyone who came to the hospital, ‘This doesn’t look like my baby!’” But no one believed her.

Finally, Mercy brought Jacob home and accepted their opinions . . . until he started to grow. “He didn’t look like me; he didn’t look like my husband. I­ was­ always ­trying­ to­ fi­nd ­someone he looked like, but I couldn’t.”

Mercy hid her concerns, even from her husband. As the baby turned two months old, she needed to return to the U.S. to continue her studies at CFNI. “I knew that I couldn’t go to school with this doubt. But getting a DNA test felt as though I was betraying my own baby.”­­She ­fi­nally­ mustered ­the­ courage and went to a private hospital in El Salvador for the DNA test. The results from the DNA test didn’t come through until Mercy and Rich were back in Dallas, Texas three weeks later. A friend picked up the results, and texted them to ­her­ — there ­was­ 0.0 percent­ chance that Jacob was her son! “When I saw the results, ­I ­just ­fell­ on ­the­ fl­oor.­ My ­body couldn’t contain the pain.”

Her immediate thought was, “What am I going to do with this baby? I love him so much. Am I going to lose him?” Then she thought about her own son. “Where’s my baby? Who has him? Is he even alive?” For hours Mercy lay on­ the­ fl­oor­ and­ prayed,­ crying­ outto God. “I need You to speak to me; otherwise, I can’t get through this trial.” Once again she had a vision. “I saw a multitude of people, and there was a fi­nger ­going­ through­ the ­crowd, ­looking for somebody. The multitude started to become smaller and smaller, and by­ the­ end,­ it­ was ­only ­me. ­The ­finger pointed at me, and God said, ‘I chose you for this because you are strong and courageous.’ I felt honored that He had chosen me, but I didn’t understand. I asked Him, ‘How can you call me strong and­ courageous?­ I’m ­on ­this ­fl­oor,­ and­ I can’t even stand up!’ And God said it again, and as He did, I thought of the verse in Joshua 1 that says, ‘Be strong and courageous.’ So I said, ‘OK, please help me; give me the strength.’”

cushworths3Rich walked into the room and Mercy was still crying. She didn’t know how to explain what had happened. Because Rich hadn’t been in El Salvador when their baby was born, he never heard Mercy’s concerns that Jacob might not be theirs. Rich shares, “It­ was ­very ­sad, ­very­ difficult,­ but everything was happening so fast that I didn’t really have time to process ­ anything.­ We­ took­ the­ fi­rst fl­ight ­out,­ midnight ­that ­night,­ to get back to El Salvador.” Once in El Salvador, the police immediately opened an investigation into what had happened.

Rich and Mercy had no idea if their son was even alive, but God gave their pastor a word of hope. Mercy describes the supernatural encounter her pastor had. “God told her that my son was alive, and ­I ­would­ fi­nd ­him.­ And­ then the ­Lord­ showed ­her ­his ­face — he had blue eyes. I remember many times over the next two weeks, in the middle of the night, I would call her and say, ‘I have no strength; I think my baby is dead.’ She would always say, ‘No, he isn’t dead,’ and then describe my missing baby to me.” The encouragement that God knew exactly where her son was and that he was OK, coupled with the spiritual warfare and prayers of the Body of Christ kept the Cushworths strengthened and in faith. Their pastors and church were key to this spiritual battle, supporting and sustaining them as they waited for the authorities to fi­nd­ their­ missing­ son.


The police tracked down and administered DNA tests to all the baby boys born on the same day as Mercy’s. After only 12 days, they found Baby Cushworth. “He was given back to us on Sept. 7, 2015— one of the happiest moments in our lives,” recalled Mercy. “We all rejoiced. Everybody knew it was a miracle of God.” They named their recovered son Moses. Mercy shared, “Moses in the Bible was hidden­ for ­the­ fi­rst ­three ­months of his life and so was our Moses.” Mercy­ describes­ that­ fi­rst­ night together. “We were celebrating! Moses was such a happy baby. From ­the ­fi­rst ­day ­he ­was ­laughing, talking and I got to nurse him, too.”

cushworths4On their way to pick up Moses, their attorney told them they had to give Jacob back to his family. “That was shocking,” Mercy said, with tears in her eyes. “We had only two or three hours to say goodbye.” While they were thrilled at getting Moses back, their hearts still ached for the beloved Jacob they nursed and cherished. Rich confesses, “It was a tragedy to have to give Jacob away.” Even though they went through such ­a ­dark­ and­ diffi­­cult ­time, God strengthened Rich and Mercy’s faith by His faithfulness through their entire ordeal. They want to encourage all with the message that  we can always trust God. He answers prayer, there is NOTHING impossible for our God, and He will always cause all things to work together for the good of His children.

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The Voice Staff

Author: The Voice Staff

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