What We Have Learned, Year One

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.                                                                                                        – 2 Peter 2:9 
This Sunday will mark one year that we have been traveling full time along our mission path.  One year ago this upcoming Sunday Timothy spoke for the last time as pastor of the Hillside Church of God in Springfield, Ohio.  From that time on we have been speaking at various churches and to various individuals seeking partners in ministry as we move our family to Ecuador to join in on the mission to which God has called us.  The course of our mission path has taken us to a deeper faith and appreciation of God’s provision and His timing.  We know He called us and history proves that He will provide for us.  We have seen His provision as we have lived a full year without an income.  As we have enjoyed His provision for us we are reminded of a passage in Revolution in World Missions that convicts us to this day.        
God does promise to meet our physical needs. And He does, indeed, bless His children materially. But he blesses us for a purpose – not so we can squander those resources on ourselves but so we can be good stewards, using our resources wisely to win the lost to God’s saving grace.                                                                                                                                                                                            – K.P. Yohannan

Over the past year we have taken stock of not only our blessings but our giving as well. Are we giving enough to advance the cause of Christ?  God has blessed us on purpose, certainly we can do more!

This year spent “leaning not on our own understanding” but “trusting the Lord with all of our heart” has helped us put our wealth in perspective and it has given us a greater perspective of life lived in the Body of Christ.  
This year, the importance of being connected to the Body of Christ has come into focus. We have realized that no one’s individual calling stands alone, each calling is given within the context of the Christian Community.  We need each other to complete our individual callings.  Some are called to go others are called to send but neither can fulfill their calling apart from the other.    
Along those lines, we have gained a greater perspective on fundraising.  When we began fundraising we were intimidated, we felt like asking for support was an imposition that we did not want to put upon our friends.  We now realize when we ask for support we are giving an opportunity to partner with us as we join with Jesus in His Great Commission. This is an opportunity that many people are looking for.  Many of our individual partners have expressed gratitude for a good cause that reaches past their local church and into the “ends of the earth.”  William Borden, a missionary to China reflected on the numbers of Christian workers in the U.S. as compared to those among un-reached people and came up with this analogy.         
If ten men are carrying a log – nine of them on the little end and one at the heavy end – and you want to help, which end will you lift on?
We have found that people are looking for opportunities to help lift the heavy end!  
Another observation we have made this year about missionary support has to do with the shear number of people we have been privileged to speak with.  Many people seem to think that if they can’t give a lot of money they might as well not give at all.  Yet, if every Christian who heard about our mission would have simply partnered with us with a pledge of $10 per month (less than a typical American spends on ice cream a month) we would be on the field by now.  It doesn’t take much to make a big difference! 
This past year we we have enjoyed our mission path and we look forward to what God has in store for us this next year!  We are blessed to have had this year to visit family and friends and to say a long goodbye to each.
If you would like to partner with us just click on the family photo below and you will be directed to our donation page.  Thanks in advance!  
In His Grip,
The Downings 

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