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Tragedy in Togo

Todd Dekryger, who was the chief of staff at the Hospital of Hope in Togo where Miriam Tillman works, died on Sunday from complications from malaria and typhoid. He was a key figure at the hospital and indeed in the initial setting up of the hospital. He, his wife Jennifer and their four boys had been in Togo since 2005, initially at another hospital near Lome and since 2013 have been involved in setting up the hospital in Mango.

Todd was initially treated for malaria and typhoid. When his condition didn't improve, he was moved to a hospital in Cologne, Germany where he died Friday, February 26, with his wife, Jennifer by his side. It is still unclear what precisely caused his deadly infection.

Todd, a surgical physician assistant from Michigan in the United States, was the chief of staff at Hospital of Hope in the Togo's northern city of Mango. The hospital's opening in early 2015 was such a big deal that the nation's president came to the grand opening and met with Todd. Since it's opening, the hospital has treated more than 10 000 patients, many coming from the surrounding countries of Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso.

The opening of the hospital had been a goal of Todd for years, after he moved his family to the West African country in 2005 to do mission work. He and his wife, Jennifer, who had done mission work in Hong Kong, wanted to share their faith while providing healthcare to those in need. "They served the physical needs of the Togolese people," said Jeffrey Burr, pastor of Forest Hills Baptist Church. "But their goal was to compassionately communicate the good news of God's salvation through Jesus Christ." The family was overdue to take a furlough back to Michigan because they were so committed to serving the Togolese people, he added.

In a message to the church, Jennifer wrote about her grief and her husband's sacrifice:
My heart is overwhelmed with unspeakable grief – for myself, our boys, our extended family, our spiritual family and the Hospital of Hope team. I cling only to the gospel and the certain hope of our salvation through Jesus Christ. I long for the men, women and children of Togo to know the Savior that Todd served so faithfully. Even in my pain, I am confident that our sacrifice – that Todd's sacrifice – was worth it. I believe that the great commission is a cause worth dying for. And in the midst of my grief, I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
Please pray for Jennifer and the boys as well as Miriam and the rest of the team as they come to terms with this huge loss. Todd was a vital part of the community at Hospital of Hope. May they know God's love and comfort in these days of deep grief.

Further details including a video of Todd from 2014 can be found by clicking here.