Lebiyo Tripura arrived at Memorial Christian Hospital in critical condition. Friends had carried him in from the Chittagong Hill Tracts. He certainly couldn’t walk. He was emaciated, immobile, and hardly breathing. He was still alive, which was in itself a true work of God. Young Lebiyo had had typhoid for weeks.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease transmitted by drinking contaminated water. It’s a common disease in Bangladesh, where many people don’t have access to clean water or haven’t been taught to boil water or carefully wash hands. Typhoid is not fatal when treated properly. Antibiotics could have helped, but Lebiyo’s family hadn’t known. After weeks of fever and delirium, Lebiyo’s intestinal system ruptured. He was in extreme pain when his friends determined to carry him, no matter how hard, to the distant hospital. On arrival, our MCH doctors rushed him to OR…
From a strong Christian community, Lebiyo had no shortage of young men, relatives and neighbors from his village, who took turns around the clock to “breathe” for him via the ambu-bag. His chart contained two pages of lab slips of young men and women who lined up, willing to give blood if needed. Several volunteers did not match his blood-type. So, when a medical-staff-member’s child needed blood, one of our nurses asked if those volunteers would be willing to give blood for the child, since they could not give to Lebiyo. She immediately had 4 volunteers. That in itself was a great testimony to God’s love.
Our Bible college students came to visit Lebiyo too. When the situation grew especially grim, a dozen or more BBCB students gathered around his bed and prayed. The next morning, a group of 6-7 friends spent time again beside his bed in prayer. One of the surgical technicians remarked, “Your relative is only alive because of God. If he lives, it will be God.”
We did not know God’s plan for Lebiyo or his family. Everyone prayed for healing. The MCH staff, national and expatriate, tried their best. It was a stressful and wearying experience – but of course not as wearying as for the family.
Certainly, when God took Lebiyo home to heaven, the event deeply impacted us all. What is life? When does life end? How is death a doorway? For Lebiyo, his life is fuller, more abundant than any of us can imagine. And for us who remain, life is more purposeful than ever. We look up.