Medic in Mosul: A Medic From Burma Comes to Help
February 7, 2017
Eliya the Chief Medic
Eliya is the Chief Medic for the Free Burma Rangers. He is fast, highly skilled and brave. He is a Karen Christian, is 46 years old and is married to “Cat”, a beautiful and dynamic nurse. They have four children. Eliya is a gifted medic, trainer, champion kick boxer, artist, singer, cook, hunter and all around athlete. He served as a medic in the Karen Army (KNLA) and is admired for his bravery under fire, mature decision making, ability to handle complex situations, get along with everyone and for his lifesaving ability. He is almost always smiling and his distinctive, booming laugh can be heard where ever he is present. He is unflappable under pressure, never gives up, prays with faith, shares all he has and is supremely talented. The following are a few short stores that give some insight into his character.
The First Ranger:
Over 10,000 people were fleeing into Thailand during the 1997 Burma Army offensive. The border road we were on was clogged with families carrying all they had.
I pulled my truck over to the side of the road and as I stepped out, a man emerged from the jungle. He was in full camouflage fatigues, with a hand grenade on his harness and a M16 in his hand. He had a warm and open smile and a bright red earring in one ear. He looked like a Pirate.
“Hello”, he said in English, “My name is Eliya and I am a medic, can I help you?”
I thought, “Man you are an angel- a pirate angel!’ “Yes” I said, “I want to help the people who are sick and are behind”.
Eliya looked at the four backpacks of medical supplies I had in my truck and stopping some of the fleeing people, said to three men in one group, “You can run away tomorrow, but now is the time to help your people. Come and help us please.” He gave three medical loads to these men, I picked up the fourth load and we went through the fleeing refugees and back to the border to help those we could.
After one week we were out of medicine and when we arrived back at the truck were presented with a man who had stepped on a landmine. His shattered stump was already gangrenous and he needed to get immediate care at a hospital. We loaded him into my truck and Eliya tied his IV bags to the roof of the truck so that the infusion could continue as we transported him out.
The sun was just setting as we secured the landmine victim in the truck. Eliya turned to me and said, “My wife and son are somewhere back there in Burma”. Now I have to go find them. Maybe next week I will be dead, ha ha,”. His teeth flashed as he laughed, smiled and shook my hand. I prayed with him and then he was gone into the night.
Note: Eliya did find his family and now he and his wife Cat have four children. Eliya was the first Free Burma Ranger and helps us to train and lead the 100 part time and 43 fulltime teams that with the help of Partners and others, brings relief to people in Burma.
Who do you serve?
When the first threat to our work came and when it looked like we might not be able to continue here, Eliya asked me, “Would you be sad if you could no longer work with the Karen?” “Of course I would be sad”, I answered. Eliya replied, “Don’t be sad. You are not working for the Karen. You are working for God. God can use you anywhere, and He will. You have helped us very much already and we will keep going. Don’t worry for us, just follow God.”
What is your duty?
When I met Eliya the second time, after he had found his family during the 1997 offensive, I asked him,” Why did you stay and help me and the refugees when your own family was at risk?” He answered, “In life we do not have control over everything. We have to do the duty God sets before us. I love my family and wanted to help them. But I did not even know where they were.
However, I did know where the thousands of families who need help were. They were right in front of me. I had to trust God and my friends to take care of my family until I had done all I could for the people in front of me.. God would take care of the things I could not. Then as soon as I was done I went to find my family and was so happy when I found them safe. I want to follow God and I thank Him for all his gifts. You know I am not a very good man, and sometimes I do bad things, but I will keep trying and I put my trust in God.”
God Bless you all,
David, Family, and FBRangers