Serving at the Baptist Mission Hospital in Ferkessedougou, Cote d’Ivoire. The dispensary ministers to a mainly poor, illiterate, agricultural population. Believing strongly in the power of the spirit world, they are also deeply committed to family and show special respect for older family members. Because of their belief in spirits and curses, the people often feel that illness is caused by a curse. Rather than seeking medical help, they try to find someone with stronger powers to counteract the curse. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open people’s eyes to see that Jesus has the ultimate power and that he is the only real answer!
Ouattara looked shyly at Linda Sharp as he handed her a black plastic sack containing a hand-woven tablecloth. As he did, his father said, “Ouattara told me that he had to have a gift to give you.”
“Ouattara was about six when I first saw him,” says Linda. “He was almost as round as he was tall, swollen because of chronic kidney disease. His father faithfully brought him to each appointment, even when Ouattara had unpleasant reactions to the treatment. Ouattara, now back for a yearly checkup, had been free of symptoms for over a year and was starting to grow.
“I will use that tablecloth with joy,” says Linda. “It will remind me of Ouattara and other patients who have another chance for health because Torogo Baptist Dispensary is working in Northern Côte d’Ivoire.”
Five days a week 200 to 250 patients visit the dispensary that Linda directs. While patients receive care for their physical needs, a full-time chaplain and staff talk to them about the Lord.
For 10 years Linda has worked at the dispensary. She directs a staff of 25 full-time and 10 part-time staff. Linda’s 22 years of experience at the Baptist Mission Hospital at Ferkessédougou prepared her for her many responsibilities at the dispensary.
Six staff members work as physician’s assistants, seeing most of the patients. Linda attends to the more complicated cases and when necessary refers cases to the doctor or to a hospital. Linda has had many opportunities to share Christ and some patients have accepted him as Savior. Linda is serving on the National Committee for Evangelism, and is a member of the school board for the missionary children’s school. She has also served as president of the board of directors for the hospital at Ferkessédougou.
Linda has helped in a project to tape record the New Testament in Cebaara, one of the languages of the Senoufo people. Scripture on tape will benefit both Christian and non-Christian Senoufos, many of whom are illiterate.