This is the day that … Tommie Titcombe was born in Wiltshire, England, in 1881.
It was at the age of 21 that he and some friends took shelter from a rainstorm by entering a Salvation Army hall. A meeting was in progress. Conviction of sin entered … and a few days later Tommie “was saved for time and eternity,” to use his own words.
Four years later – and now living in Canada – Tommie heard an S.I.M. missionary recently returned from Nigeria. Again the sword of the Spirit did its work, and by 1908 he was in the ‘dark continent’, ‘the white man’s grave’ as it was then known, ready to preach the gospel. In those days most SIM missionaries either died early or returned as invalids from the field.
He became a pioneer missionary to the Yogba people … and the obstacles and blessings that came his way are recounted in Tread Upon the Lion, by S. de la Haye.
Another volume, A Flame of Fire, by J. Hunter, tells of the birth of S.I.M. and the early men and women of God who ventured forth …
The story of Tommie Titcombe surrounded by “witch doctors gesticulating, posturing and gyrating, and the mob shrieking and roaring” (page 149) develops into an incredible saga.
“I pushed my way to the centre of the ring,” wrote Tommie, “and saw to my utter astonishment a woman rigid in the air. Her feet were some two feet off the earth and as she came toward me gravitation had no power over her … All I said was: ‘Lord, Thou hast said in Thy Name we shall cast out demons. Lord, deliver this girl’. Immediately she dropped to the ground. I picked her up and carried her into the first hut …” (pages 150-151).
The witch doctors and sorcerers of the Yagba people threatened physical harm and death to Tommie Titcombe if he entered their villages. The villagers of Ponyan strung a rope of fresh human heads across the path to scare him away from their area. Tommie fasted and prayed and entered that village and many others.
One of his earliest converts and the first man to be baptised (in 1914), Malachi, son of a witchdoctor, lived to over 100 years and did much to build on the foundation which Tommy established.
Before his death he had the joy of seeing thousands of Yagba people in Nigeria turn to Christ.
Raymond J. Davis, S.I.M. General Director, tells of visiting Tommie just prior to his death. “He grasped my hand. ‘Ray,’ he said, ‘I’ve told you many times that long ago God gave me Psalm 91 as my special portion of Scripture. There are 33 promises in that Psalm and God has fulfilled every one of them for me, most of them many times’. He lay back on his pillow … opened his eyes a bit and said, ‘I’ll see you up there …’.”
Tommie Titcombe died in Toronto, Canada, on 29 May, 1968.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.