What made Aakifa’s case so unusual was not her large and aggressive tumor, but that she was brought to our hospital by a neighbor rather than a family member.
This situation is so rare in Togo that Dr. Tom Kendall noted it early and began asking others to pray for her situation. It is so common for family members to bring patients to the hospital that we have guest housing (Rapha House) available on campus for them to stay in while their relative is being treated. Since Aakifa’s family was not directly caring for her, this was an indication of not just physical affliction, but spiritual and emotional affliction as well.
Aakifa comes from a Muslim family living in a town about 45 minutes away from Hôpital Baptist Biblique (HBB) in southern Togo. From our human perspective, her case seems hopeless. Her condition had progressed to the point that our staff is unable to heal her, only to give palliative care to relieve some of her physical suffering before she passes. But from an eternal perspective, there is still hope through a Savior who is faithful to resurrect all who believe in him. It is because of this hope that the hospital staff cares for her and others like her—showing compassion and relieving suffering in order to minister to her soul.
Aakifa’s story reminds me of the man who was brought by four friends to be healed by Jesus. When they were unable to make their way through the crowd, they broke through the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching. “Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ (Mark 2:5). Our prayer for Aakifa is that, like the paralytic man, she would seek after Jesus and that through faith in him she would receive forgiveness for her sins.
Jean, a chaplain at the hospital and graduate of our Bible Institute, was able to share the gospel with her in her own language at the time of her surgery. Since then, other staff members have been able to give the good news during her follow-up visits. Please join us in praying that the medical and chaplain team at the hospital would be able to clearly communicate the gospel to Aakifa, and that through God’s Word she and others like her seeking treatment at HBB would put their faith in Jesus alone for salvation.
Editor’s Note: Aakifa’s name has been changed for privacy.