It’s difficult to believe it has been 15 years since the vision for the Agape House was formed, with the focus on providing affordable lodging to children and their caretakers of families of offenders residing at state correctional centers in both Vandalia and Bowling Green.
This past Sunday, board members, managers, and supporters celebrated 10 years of the home being in operation with an Open House at 2:30 p.m.
Board President Sterling Holbrook led the ceremony by noting that 6,000 people have been served at the home since 2004.
The Agape House costs just $5 for adults and $2 for children to those visiting families at either facility. It features 12 bedrooms, six bathrooms, a fellowship area, and more.
Several guest survey answers were read during the event.
Many guests said the Agape House was a “home away from home.”
Many were thankful for the low cost and noted how the house was a blessing to them during challenging times.
One guest called it an “oasis in the desert.”
Holbrook also read off a number of churches, groups, and individuals who have generously committed donations to the home through the past 10 years.
He presented certificates to representatives who were in attendance.
“We feel like God has really blessed us and in turn we’ve been able to bless others,” Holbrook noted.
Sterling and his wife Karen were then surprised near the end of the event when the board of directors recognized the Holbrooks for their years of services to the Agape House.
“God has not only blessed this house, he has blessed us with wonderful board members, and a good manager and guests but he’s also blessed both of us personally in the last 12 months,” he added. “Four months ago I didn’t know Karen would be standing beside me and every day she’s been improving.”
Tours were given 12:30-3:30 p.m. for those in attendance. Refreshments were also served.
The cost of running the home is $2,500 per month. Nearly two dozen churches and a few individuals are noted as regular financial supporters along with organizations like the United Way of Audrain County.
The Agape House has served people from all over the country, including someone from the Netherlands.
The Agape House is on the former site of the Nazarene Church that was purchased with an empty lot for $19,500.
Hours are 5 p.m. Thursdays through 9:30 a.m. on Sundays.
For more information, call the Agape House at 594-6755.