On February 14, 1983, Richard and Donna Whitcomb — just newlywed — arrived in Nigeria, leaving the familiarity of their homeland of the United States to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Africa in the 1980s was plagued by unstable political regimes, civil conflicts, civil rights abuse, non-existent physical and social infrastructure, and unimaginable poverty.
But the Whitcombs were unfazed by these issues. They accepted the challenge, welcomed the change, embraced new cultures, and hit the ground running with their purpose still flaming in their hearts.
The beginning and the call to train pastors
They founded the Agape Gospel Mission with a simple mission — to reach people with God’s love, train pastors to serve the cause of Christ, and help people out of poverty. They started their missionary service by conducting open-air outreaches and grassroot witnessing throughout southern Nigeria.
After persevering with their skills and resources to make a difference in the lives of the locals in southern Nigeria for a year after their arrival, they launched an Agape Gospel Mission church in 1984, and a seminary to provide free training to men and women called to be pastors.
In Nigeria, and throughout the continent, hundreds of thriving churches were planted by graduates from this seminary.
Eventually, God would lead them to Ghana to continue their labor of love after 11 years of their pioneering work with Agape Gospel Mission in Delta State, Nigeria. They established another seminary in Ghana to provide free, fully funded theological training and mentoring for people from all over Africa.
The Agape Bible College, over the past decades, has trained thousands of pastors from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, who are sent forth throughout the cities and villages of the world to plant and lead thriving churches.
Preaching the gospel
After moving to Ghana, they leveraged broadcast technology to reach more people. Pastor Whitcomb launched the Television and Radio School of the Bible through which the Gospel of Jesus Christ was brought to thousands of homes in Ghana. Through these media, hundreds of thousands of people got blessed by the inspiring and liberating message of Christ all around Ghana.
Pastor Whitcomb continues with the television and radio broadcast today on GHOne Television, Praise TV, and Starr FM, respectively.
His online and social media broadcasts reach millions of people around the world every week. There are thousands of testimonies that have been experienced by people because of these broadcast efforts.
Helping the poor
To help poor people, Agape Gospel Mission, since the 1980s, ministers directly to destitute persons, sick people in hospitals, prostitutes, and drug addicts. In July 2000, the Whitcombs also founded the Agape Center of Excellence in Ghana and began a residential care program for orphans and vulnerable children.
Through this effort, over 200 children at risk have been rescued through the care program and educated through to the University. Agape Gospel Mission also provides necessities like clean drinking water to many communities in Northern Ghana and some parts of southern Ghana. They support disaster-afflicted areas around Ghana with humanitarian relief and continue to serve their community to this day.
Getting back to the call to pastor
In 2007, the Whitcombs felt the call to get back to full-time pastoral ministry in Ghana. So, responding to the vision God gave them, they planted the Agape House New Testament Church in East Legon, Accra—Ghana. The church has grown abundantly and registers over 3,000 worshippers every weekend.
This Valentine’s Day, 2023, marks the 40th anniversary of their arrival on African soil for missionary service. There are a lot more Richard and Donna have done in Africa.
Underpinning these have been their devotion to sharing God's love and raising devoted leaders, as well as helping the poor. Their footprints have been nothing short of awe-inspiring.
For 40 years, Pastors Richard and Donna Whitcomb have been a beacon of hope and love, changing the lives of countless individuals and leaving a lasting impact on the world.
As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of their pioneering work and commemorate their incredible legacy, let us rally together to support the Agape Gospel Mission to lift and empower people to fulfill their God-given purpose.
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