Whitcomb: April 2015

 

Since we came to Africa in 1983, one of our main ministries has been to empower and equip African church leaders. Over the past 32 years, we’ve been privileged to help train thousands of pastors who are now serving in ministry all around the world.

One of the greatest blessings we’ve experienced has been to take men that we’ve led to Christ and train them as pastors. One such example is Darlington Yeboah. Darlington found Christ through our television broadcast eleven years ago – and he’s currently preparing for ministry in our pastoral training program here in Accra. Here’s his testimony:

TESTIMONY

Darlington Yeboah
“My name is Darlington Yeboah. I am currently training for pastoral ministry in the Apprentice program with Pastor Whitcomb.I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. I did not have a great family life as a child. We were poor, and my parents did not get along. Eventually my parents broke up, and life was confusing for me.In 2004, I enjoyed watching Pastor Whitcomb’s TV program called “The Television School of the Bible”. I loved the preaching and always watched it every week. One day as he taught God’s Word, my eyes were opened to the truth. Right there in my living room I knelt down and gave my life to Christ. I had a special encounter with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my life was totally transformed.That was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I have found my destiny and I have dedicated my entire life to the service of God and the work of the Lord. I love Him so much and I will serve him till I die!

The Apprentice program is a mentoring school that is training and equipping me for effective service. This is not just a theoretical school – it’s very practical, where I receive hands-on training in the day-to-day activity of the ministry and the church operations of Agape House New Testament Church. The curriculum is great, and the experience of Pastor Whitcomb and his staff are enlightening. I have really benefited from this program, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.Thank God for the life of Pastor Whitcomb! He is a true man of God and preacher of the true Gospel.”

THANK YOU!
Thank you for your partnership with us as we evangelize the lost and empower a new generation of church leaders! Your prayers and financial support are vital in keeping us effective and fruitful on the front lines.

Yours for the Cause that Counts,
Rick and Donna Whitcomb

Whitcomb: December 2011

What a difference a year makes.
Just one year ago, ten-year old Emmanuel Odei was desperate. He often spent days and nights in the jungle looking for food before returning to the bare cement hut that he called home. Painfully withdrawn, this orphan boy and his brother and sisters had no hope for the future.

But on Christmas Eve 2010, Emmanuel and his siblings Solomon, Rosamond, and Rose were rescued by Agape Children’s Home. Now, one year since being brought to ACH, the change in these four children is miraculous. Physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually, Emmanuel and his siblings continue to grow and improve. Love has changed their lives! For these four children, a year has made all the difference in the world. No one would know from looking at her today that just a year ago little Rosamond was isolated and withdrawn.

On Sunday mornings, three-year old Rosamond is one of the loudest singers in the children’s church. During the week she can often be found in the preschool classroom, eager to try to learn just like her older friends. Five-year-old Solomon came to ACH with a stomach swollen from hunger and a heart starving for love. Now his mischievous smile can be seen every day as he plays and laughs with the other children. He has a new found love for learning, especially in math class, and often asks his preschool teacher for extra assignments. Seven-year old Rose has a mother’s heart. She is gentle and considerate and likes to help the younger children in their work. Rose’s teacher says she works very diligently in her school and hopes one day to become a nurse, an opportunity she never had a year ago. Emmanuel arrived at ACH traumatized by the harsh life he had experienced. Although still shy, he now plays with the other children and loves to share anything he has with a friend. Emmanuel has learned to engage in simple daily routines, such as dressing himself. He has memorized several Bible verses and has started reading – quite an accomplishment for a boy who knew no English just one year ago.

Just as love has given hope to Emmanuel and his siblings, love continues to touch the city of Accra through Agape House New Testament Church. This year hundreds have been saved and baptized at Agape House. The saving power of Jesus Christ continues to transform lives and break the bondages of sin. People from many nations now worship with us, and the exponential growth we’ve experienced this year is truly a testimony to God at work. In addition to the numerical and spiritual growth at Agape House, God has also blessed us this year with our own building at AgapeLand! After four years in rented hotel banquet halls, it’s fantastic to have complete freedom of worship in our own building. Best of all, we now have adequate room to keep growing. As Agape House reaches the lost for Christ, we have a vision of a city and a nation transformed by God’s love.

Your support this year has made an eternal impact for the Kingdom of God! It is through your prayers and giving that we bring God’s love to children like Emmanuel. And your support for our ministry has also impacted thousands of lives at Agape House New Testament Church.

Whitcomb: 2010 Update

Dear Friends,
My name is Sarah Whitcomb. I want to share with you a brief update on what is happening in our family. This year marked twenty-seven years in Africa for my parents—and the ministry is still growing! The past few months have been absolutely amazing. God is moving in an awesome way, and we count it a great privilege to serve Him here as a family. Let me tell you more about how God is working in each of our lives:
Rick ~ My Dad is busy pastoring Agape House New Testament Church and preaching powerful sermons, as well as overseeing the rest of the mission. He is constantly thinking of creative ways to extend the kingdom of God. We began the year with a series called Glory 2010, where he laid out God’s vision for our church this year
based on Isaiah 60:1. Right now we are celebrating the third anniversary of Agape House! It is a special blessing to be able to work with my Dad and see His passion for God and his obedience to God’s Word. Please continue to pray for greater strength and wisdom as he speaks the truth of God in Ghana.

Donna ~ My Mom continues to be very active in the office and the church, assisting Dad with many of his administrative duties. She helps manage the day to day running of the work, as well as ministering and serving at church. From overseeing Sunday school, to counseling individuals, my Mom does so much. In addition to this, she still oversees the Agape Children’s Home, making sure that all the children are provided for spiritually, physically, and academically. It is her passion to see each child grow in character and love for the Lord. She is truly a mother to many people, and we love her!

LaDonna and Richard ~ La Donna (25) spent a year and a half in Ghana teaching at the Agape Academy. She returned to Virginia earlier this year to complete her degree at a Christian university. In the near future she hopes to return to continue teaching and helping the children at ACH. Richard (23) has been living and working back in Virginia. He is now completing his Bachelor’s degree at Nyack College in Organizational Leadership. Next year, Richy hopes to return for a visit and spend several months here helping with the church media and productions.

Sheila and Sarah ~ Sheila (19) has completed her first year of college at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She spent her summer vacation with us in Ghana and was such a blessing and a help! During her stay she sang in the choir, helped organize a church drama club, and led a Bible study for girls. She has now returned for her sophomore year at Liberty. Although it has not been easy adjusting to life in a different culture and far away from family, God is taking care of her, and we know that she is serving Him there as we are here.

Annabelle and John Paul ~ John Paul (12) is beginning seventh grade this fall. He also does his school with his friends at the Children’s Home. John still enjoys playing soccer, and has recently begun taking guitar lessons. He loves to help anyone. Whether he is running errands for Dad or Mom, or helping with the church bulletins, John is a willing and cheerful worker.

Annabelle (15) is now starting tenth grade. She participates in several classes at the Agape Academy and enjoys being with her many friends there. In her free time, she loves to play the piano and read. Annabelle is also active in the church youth group, Heart’s Aflame. On Sundays, she runs the projector during the praise and worship.

Whitcomb: November 2009

“Now We Know Love” – Stories from Agape Children’s Home
“My friends are Gifty, Abigail, Bernice, Erica, Christina, Ruth, Judy, Sharon, Lydia, Serwah, Aunty Gloria….” Seven year- old Priscilla Dornu is enthusiastically reeling off her list of friends. Sitting in an office at the Home, she’s bursting at the seams, eager to talk about life. Her petite frame can barely contain her excitement as she springs to her
Priscilla and her eleven year-old brother Prince came to the Home back in May of 2009.

Rescued from a life of begging on the streets for crumbs and coins, the children are now thriving. Having lost their biological parents at a very young age, Prince and Priscilla were taken in by their aunts. But without even enough to care for their own children, the aunts soon sent Prince and Priscilla onto the streets to fend for themselves.

The children, who have two other siblings that are also both in care, did not once attend school. Their future seemed bleak until officers from the Department of Social Welfare intervened and placed them at Agape Children’s Home. The future to them is simply too exciting to reflect on the horrors of the past.

“I want to be a school prefect when I’m older,” Priscilla announces. Meanwhile, her brother sits quietly in the corner observing her show. In comparison to his sister, Prince is very shy. He doesn’t give away much, a common result of past insecurity. He whispers to one member of staff that he had never heard the word love until he came to Agape Children’s Home. The shocking discovery goes a long way in explaining his suspicion of people. But it doesn’t take long for Prince to open up, sharing with you his dream of one day being a soccer player. It seems this little boy wants to let his feet do the talking in the future. And with the continued guidance and love of the Agape family, his true potential – whether on the soccer field or not – will surely be realised.

Dramatic Rescue Brings Hope
Hour after hour Kelvin Amuzu would stand statue-like in a corner of his room. The three year-old toddler would occasionally sit in solitude at length before rising again. He didn’t play, he didn’t speak. His skinny body bore bruises from head to toe. Before his rescue both of his legs were broken following an accident, yet no one took him to the doctor for treatment.

The daily abuse and neglect was set to continue, but thankfully God stepped in and brought the three year-old to the attention of an Agape staff member. Cornelius Yeboah, a driver for the ministry, lived in the same neighborhood as Kelvin. The little boy’s constant state of deprivation worried Cornelius who set about finding the mother responsible for him.

“Any time I saw Kelvin, he was always standing in one place or sitting down in one place for hours at a time” said Cornelius. “He looked very skinny and I rarely saw him eat. There was Kelvin playing on the new swingset. He is a joyful boy!
Concern for the little boy’s welfare meant that Cornelius often visited him.
“One day,” said Cornelius, “I went to the house to find Kelvin’s legs were swollen. Allegedly a huge loud speaker fell on his legs and nobody cared about
it. Immediately I went to speak to Reverend Whitcomb and asked if the Children’s Home could accept him in.”a woman with him in the house and I asked who the child’s mother was. She said the child did not have a mother.”

Remarkably when Cornelius was tracking down Kelvin’s mother, another woman who lived in their neighborhood identified the woman in Kelvin’s house as the mother. “Can you believe that the woman who told me that Kelvin’s mother was dead, was in fact his own mother?” asks Cornelius incredulously. To his mother, Kelvin was a pain, and pain was his living experience. Not surprisingly Kelvin’s mother agreed to give up her rights as his caregiver to Agape Children’s Home.

Kelvin is now three years of age. He is a robust, happy, and determined little boy. Unfortunately the broken leg has not set properly and now more orthopedic work will be required. Please pray that the right doctors can be found to help Kelvin and that God will give wisdom to them. Kelvin brings an instant smile to all faces. Not only is he himself filled with joy, but he gives it to everyone he meets. God has his hand upon this child. Both his survival and his arrival at the Agape Children’s Home are nothing short of a miracle. Thank you for your support and prayers for Kelvin. It indeed is a blessing to him.

Playground Set Brings Joy to the Children
When the drums beat signalling the start of break time, children can be seen racing to one end of the Agape Children’s Home grounds. The reason? To see who can be first to clamber onto the brand new, state-of-the-art playground set. The new playground, which could not have been made possible without your generosity, has proved to be popular. Brightly colored, the playground set is comprised of slides, ladders and monkey bars. It’s a welcome addition to the volleyball area and soccer field the children currently enjoy.
A big thank you to all who made this possible!

Whitcomb: March 2008

Richard A. “Skip” Whitcomb, 77, a retired Naval Officer and Pastor, was promoted to heaven on March 20th after a brief illness at Lewis-Gale Hospital in Roanoke , VA. He died peacefully in the presence of family.

Rev. Whitcomb was born July 11, 1930 at Melrose , Massachusetts . He graduated from Mt. Hermon School and Sully’s Preparatory School before earning his BSc in Engineering from the Naval Academy in 1953. He served for 20 years as a Naval Officer, rising to the rank of Lt. Commander and completing assignments on submarines, in Viet Nam , Taiwan , and Washington , DC .

After retiring from the Navy in 1973, Rev. Whitcomb entered the Christian ministry and served as Dean of Family Affairs at Christ for the Nations Institute, Dallas , TX for three years. He accepted the call to pastor at Risen Savior Fellowship in Milwaukee , WI , and served there14 years. While in Milwaukee , he was prominent in promoting racial reconciliation and fellowship among pastors from all denominations. He also led March for Jesus.

During his time in Milwaukee , Rev. Whitcomb assisted his son, Rick, in founding the Agape Gospel Mission, a worldwide missionary organization. He made several trips to Africa with AGM, during which he taught and preached God’s Word. He was a founding Board member of AGM, and was Board Member Emeritus at the time of his passing.

He moved to Roanoke , VA in 1994 and continued ministerial service by spearheading March for Jesus in the Roanoke Valley . Rev. Whitcomb was awarded a Doctorate in Theology from Jacksonville Theological Seminary, and taught at the River of Life Bible College in Roanoke . He also continued his work promoting racial reconciliation and ministerial unity, and volunteered at the Food Bank and at nursing homes.

Rev. Whitcomb is survived by his wife, Sheila, of Roanoke; by his three children, Karen Probus of Manassas, VA; Heidi Holland of Stanley, VA; and Rick Whitcomb of Accra, Ghana; and by 23 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday March 25th at 11:00 a.m. at the Maranatha Fellowship, 2715 Greenridge Rd. , Roanoke VA 24019-3430 . Burial will be held Wednesday March 26th at 2:00 p.m. at Culpeper National Cemetery , 305 U.S. Avenue
Culpeper , VA 22701 .

His family is requesting that memorial gifts be made to the Agape Gospel Mission, R.A. Whitcomb Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1458 , Manassas , VA 20108 .