Cultural Insight: Idioms

One way to gain insight into a culture is by understanding the idioms they use. In this cultural insight we explore Ecuadorian idioms.

With much love, C7277E17-6D98-457E-AFCC-1E3289BD0CA8the Downings

Seeds of Revival

God has huge plans for the world today! He is not content to merely establish a handful of struggling churches among each tongue, tribe and nation. Even now He is preparing and empowering His Church to carry the seeds of revival to the uttermost ends of the earth.

David Smithers

Friend, if you are a follower of Christ He is preparing you, He is empowering you to carry the seeds revival to the uttermost parts of the earth. We often think of the great desire of our Lord, His great commission, as the domain of a few energetic Christians called missionaries. But in reality every Christian is given the great commission. We all bear responsibility to carry the seeds of revival to everyone we meet. We all have the responsibility to go, send, and pray for God’s great desire to be accomplished.

Friend, you are called to go. You are called to send missionaries. You are called to pray. If follow Christ you are called into His mission!

May our Father prepare, empower and guide us to carry to the seeds of revival into all the world. 

With much love, E485775C-AFF2-40F9-B51B-573DD3A6D020The Downings


The Christian is not obedient unless he is doing all in his power to send the gospel to the heathen world.

A. B. Simpson

Are you an obedient Christian? We don’t often hear this question asked in our time. Questions of happiness or fulfillment are more common. Obedience is somehow not in vogue. Yet obedience is what Christ called for. In John 15:14 He even calls us friends if we obey his commands. He proclaims that love for him is proven in our obedience to his commands in John 14:15. 

Latter on in his life the Apostle John reflects on these truths and writes these words in Second John 1:6. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 

The common theme of each of the recorded commands of Christ found in the Scripture is love. Love for God and love for our neighbors. A love not held only in our hearts and minds but a love lived out in tangible ways. It is love that motivates us to live the commands of Christ. 

So, when you obey the command of Christ and preach the Gospel so that your neighbor can hear and believe then call upon the name of the Lord so that they are saved, you do so motivated by love. When you obey the command of Christ to reach the world by sending a missionary to a foreign land you do so out of love.

Allow me to ask the question again. Are you an obedient Christian? Do you love Christ? Do you love your neighbors? Do you live accordingly? 

May we do all we can to send the Gospel in the world. May we do so in Love. 

With much love,E485775C-AFF2-40F9-B51B-573DD3A6D020 The Downings

Have you listened to our Ministry Story “Cobblestone Less Traveled?” If not, click here!

I Cannot Be Idle

William J. Henry was an early leader in the Holiness Movement. In 1889 he, answered a call to hold revival meetings in eastern Pennsylvania and eventually held meetings in each state and Great Britain. This is one of many hymns written by W. J. Henry. We like it because of it’s missionary emphasis.

I cannot be idle, for Jesus says, “Go
And work in My harvest today;
And then at the evening, when labor is done,
Whatever is right I will pay.”

Then away to the work I will go,
And join in the reaping of grain,
And back from the harvest with beautiful sheaves,
I’ll come with rejoicing again.

I cannot be idle, the fields are so white,
And numberless sheaves will be lost;
They perish for want of more reapers to save,
How awful to think of the cost! [Refrain]

I cannot be idle, soon time will be o’er,
And reaping be ended for aye;
I’ll gather the lost from the byways of sin
To walk in the beautiful way. [Refrain]

I cannot be idle, no time for repose,
My resting shall be over there,
Where all of the faithful in heaven above
A crown of bright glory shall wear. [Refrain]

-W. J. Henry

Love,D4ECCD47-B129-414B-BF02-BA067946B94B The Downing Family

Empanadas De Viento

Empanadas de viento (fried cheese empanada)

Empanadas de viento are a special Ecuadorian treat.  Six out of seven Downings consider this the best kind of empanada.  We highly recommend this delicious treat.


25 small empanada discs (you can use homemade empanada dough, see recipe below, or store bought dough)

2 ¾ cups grated cheese (quesillo, mozzarella, monterey jack, or other white melting cheese)

½ white onion chopped

½ cup sugar for sprinkling

Frying oil


First.  Mix the grated cheese and chopped onions together.

Then.  Spoon the cheese filling on the center of the each empanada disc.

Then.  Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges, first pressing gently with your fingers, next use a fork to press down and seal, twist and fold the edges of the empanadas and then use the fork again to make sure they are sealed.

Then.  Chill the empanadas for one hour.

Then.  Fry the empanadas in a frying pan, use enough oil to cover at least half of the empanada, let the oil get very hot and fry each empanada until they are golden on each side.

Then. Place the empanadas on paper towels to drain any excess oil, sprinkle with sugar.

Enjoy.  Serve warm.

Empanada Dough


1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 stick of butter, cut in 8 pieces

½ orange juiced

1/2 – 2/3 cup chilled sparkling water

3 cups all purpose flour


First.  Mix the flour, salt and baking powder.

Then.  Add the pieces of butter,  juice the ½ orange and sparkling water – add ½ cup of the water to begin and then add more as needed or until clumps of dough start to form.

Then.  Form a ball with the dough and knead.

Then.  Place the dough in bowl, cover and let rest at room temperature for one hour.

Then.  Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas. Discs should be really thin so that they will fully cook when you fry them.  The discs do not need to be completely round but they need to be about three inches in diameter.

Then.  Use immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer to use later.

With love, 9A5BC3BC-7686-46D4-856A-4B7C6AB368BFThe Downings


God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.

Jim Elliot

Would you prefer to live a long safe life or would you prefer to live on the vanguard of God’s consuming fire? For most of us this is not a true binary choice. It is not an either or proposition, we may indeed burn brightly for Him for many long years. But what if… what if we are among those whom God calls to burn quickly for Him? 

For followers of Christ who live with Eternity in mind our lives are not confined to this world. We are confident that we will follow Christ in this life, through death and into eternal life. From this perspective living life in God’s consuming fire is more important that living a lengthy life. 

May our lives be marked by God’s consuming fire. May we live with Eternity in mind. 

With much love, E485775C-AFF2-40F9-B51B-573DD3A6D020The Downings

Authority and Presence

His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice.

John R. Stott

We follow the One with authority and presence. For those of us who follow the One who has overcome death there are no un-crossable borders. There are no authorities above Christ! 

The fact that He has authority in heaven not only gives us hope, it ensures our success. Because of His athority no weapon formed against us will prosper, all who raise up against us will fall. By His authority He vindicates us. 

The fact that He is with us, His very presence compels us to join His mission. When we pick up our cross daily and follow Him, we follow Him in life, through death and into eternal life. All of which happens along the path of His mission. 

May we trust completely in His authority. May we follow closely in His presence. 

With much love,ff7ede2e-fa12-4cbb-9c20-5456d1070373 The Downings


Many do not recognize the fact as they ought, that Satan has got men fast asleep in sin and that it is his great device to keep them so. He does not care what we do if he can do that. We may sing songs about the sweet by and by, preach sermons and say prayers until doomsday, and he will never concern himself about us, if we don’t wake anybody up. But if we awake the sleeping sinner he will gnash on us with his teeth. This is our work – to wake people up.

Catherine Booth

To wake people up…but how? How is our work best done? How do we wake people up? Do we need to update our songs, add lights and a fog machine to our church buildings? Should we change our theology and soften our message? Shall we focus on social programs and building projects? Perhaps the church should concede the cultural war and stop offending sinners. Would it wake people up if we abandon our moral stances? Maybe if we break from our history our tradition then people will wake up. Surly if we build a separate building for the youth, offer separate services based on preferences people will wake up.

Of course all of that is misguided at best when done to wake people up. Isn’t it interesting that we often call upon the church to change instead of calling the sinner to change? The only way to awaken the sinner is to proclaim the Gospel. Everyone has sinned. The wages of sin are death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. Whomsoever will believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved. 

One of the best summaries of the Gospel is found in 1 John 3:23 “This is [God’s] command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another.” Believe in Christ, his death and resurrection and you will be saved. Then you will live a life marked by love, that is the effect of salvation.

May we be torchbearers of this truth. May we seek to wake people up! 

With love,C7277E17-6D98-457E-AFCC-1E3289BD0CA8 The Downings


No one, I am convinced, will follow Jesus very long without tribulation. It is His way of demonstrating His presence.

K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions

We hear the words of Christ echo throughout the corridors of history:  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

We follow the one who has all authority in heaven and Earth and who has promised that he is with us always! 

As we walk with Christ through the good and bad in life we walk with confidence that he is with us. In the good times we delight in his blessings, when tribulation defines our path we rest assured that his presence makes all things bearable. 

Although we constantly give thanks to him in the good times, we draw close to him during hardships of life. 

When we look forward in life we often see only confusion, a path not clear, full of terrifying obstacles. When we pause and look back we see exactly how Christ lead us through difficult situations in the past. Likewise, when we face tribulation, we can take courage that he has always made his presence known in the past and will certainly walk with us in every situation, even to the end of the age. 

May we be filled with a clear sense of His companionship today! May our tribulation be defined not by our suffering but by His presence. 

Have you heard our cultural insight about food? If not, click here!

with love,AE4CC7DA-43B8-4EB7-BAB4-3FE9CA162129 The Downings


Have Asians rejected Christ? Not really. In most cases they have rejected only the trappings of Western culture that have fastened themselves onto the Gospel.

K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions

The work of missionaries is particularly essential to the Church. Not simply becuase every Christian is commanded into missions through the great commission in some way but becuase of the inheritant smelting of the Gospel message as it travels into new cultures. We who are missionaries can not afford to give a Gospel wrapped up in our home culture no matter how wonderful our home culture might be. We dare not give even aspects of our home culture in place of the Gospel or perhaps more commonly in addition to the Gospel. It is impartive that we separate the trappings of our culture and deliver only the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only His message contain the Words of Life!

The words of Christ reach people in every culture, they even fundamentally change cultures but only when we give the words of Christ unwrapped from the message of our culture.

Friend, if you are a believer in Christ you are a believer because you heard the words of Christ. Let us carefully read the Bible and consistently breathe the Words of life into our lost and dying world!

May we do the hard work of objectivity looking at the Gospel and then at our culture and follow the Gospel when the two diverge. May we give Jesus only!

With much love, AE4CC7DA-43B8-4EB7-BAB4-3FE9CA162129The Downings

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