Pastor John Yaw Agyabinti Donkor, affectionately known by many as Nana Papa has left behind a legacy of Christian integrity, hard work, commitment, and dedication. He was born in June 1929 at Wamahinso in the Brong Ahafo Region.
His parents, both of blessed memory, were Opanin Kwadwo Anin of Wamahinso and Obaapanin Abena Nsiah (a.k.a Abena Boatemaa ) of Berekum. He was the only child of his mother. However, his father had many children. The early death of his mother paved way for him to live with his father as well as his grandmother and stepmother.
He started school at Wamahinso Roman Catholic Elementary School at the age of 16 years in 1945. He completed in 1952 at Nkawie English Church Mission School. From 1953 to 1956, he upgraded himself with numerous short courses in Building Construction and obtained a license as a Building Surveyor. He was employed as a Site Supervisor from 1956 to 1958. From 1960 to 1962, he was involved in a timber business and was later employed by the Kumasi City Council as an Assistant Building Inspector. He rose to the rank of an estate officer in 1984 – a position he occupied until 1987 when he retired from active service.
Pastor Donkor set up an office to teach building construction, draughtsmanship and structures till his demise. In 1989, while on pension, he took a course in Building Construction at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology.
He was converted and introduced into Christ Apostolic Church by one Mr Joseph Asamoah of blessed memory in 1953. He joined the youth movement and the prayer group. Prayer became part of his life. He committed himself to church activities more than his private work. He worked under the leadership of many forefathers and held many positions in the church as the Youth Movement Leader, Deacon, Local Secretary, Elder, Regional Deacon, Schools and Project Committee Member, among others.
He was privileged to work under the leadership of these great Apostles of our beloved Church – Apostle Anim, Apostle Quashie, Apostle Gama, Apostle L.B. Asamoah, Apostle Sarkwah, Apostle Aidoo, Apostle Addo, Apostle D.L. Amoani, Apostle Asare, etc.
Pastor Donkor contributed immensely to the initiation and construction of the following projects in our church: Bethel Preparatory School building, the Bantama Mission House, the following church buildings (Bantama, New Tafo, Old Tafo, Ayigya, Atonsu Effiduase , Asante Mampong, Akrokeri, TUC, Kaaso, Wamahinso and Sunyani) and the first office complex at Osu, Accra.
He played a part in the formation of the first choir in the church at Bantama. Besides, he helped in introducing musical instruments (Lead and Bass Guitar) into the church. Even records have it that, he single-handedly paid the instrumentalists for a period of six months before these groups were accepted .
Pastor Donkor married his first Lady, Mrs Comfort Donkor in 1959 - a calm , respectful, obedient and hardworking maiden known as Akosua Twewaa. He was blessed with seven children. He had many adopted children among them are teachers, dress designers, nurses, building contractors, ministers of God, and the likes. By the grace of God, he left behind 24 grandchildren.
He helped in the construction of the first slate church building at Bantama before the death of Papa Forson who had confided in him about the construction of a much bigger church for God.
Eulogy by Christ Apostolic Church ...(Heavenly Gate Temple), Kumasi
Nana Paapa committed his life to God and the work of God, and he was energised by a power greater than what this natural world understands. Even in his latter years, he was always brimming with life and vigour, especially when it came to prayer.
We all knew Pastor Donkor as a great man and a wonderful man of God, but one of the things that caused us to so highly respect Nana Paapa was his great love for prayer. In this sense, Ps Donkor was a real hero and warrior to us – He did have, and continues to have my highest respect, as far as prayer life is concerned. And his love for soul winning was manifested in his total commitment of his whole livelihood in support of winning souls. He therefore pushed the church in the area of soul winning, even when you think the time is not ‘ripe’.
Indeed, Pastor Donkor’s life reminds us of a preacher that was on the Titanic. There were a lot of notable, wealthy people on the Titanic in 1912. But the most notable passenger on the Titanic was someone that most of the world had never heard of.
He was a man, incidentally by the name of John Harper. He was a plain, ordinary Pastor from the city of Glasgow, Scotland. He had faithfully shepherded his congregation for 15 years. He was a fairly young minister, only 40 years old.
When we think of Pastor John Donkor today, we can only think of the verse in Revelation that says:
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’" "Yes," says the Spirit," that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." (Revelation 14:13)
We have no doubt that Pastor Donkor has already met people in heaven who have thanked him for leading them to the Lord. We are in no doubt that others in the future will come up to him in heaven and express their gratitude for having led them to the Lord.
His work on this earth was of eternal value, and because of that, he will have eternal reward.
This Memorial Service is not really for Nana Paapa because he is already in Heaven. This is a time for us who are still on this earth. He has reached the ultimate destination of the universe. We say that he has “departed,” but God says that he has “arrived.” God sees things from such a different perspective than we do. God never sees His children die. He simply sees them coming home. The real questions we face today don’t really pertain to Ps Donkor. He has arrived.
The real questions today have to do with us.
What are we going to do?
What are we going to focus on?