A Father’s Perspective

Have you ever wondered what the parents of missionaries think?  Have you ever thought about how they feel as their loved ones travel to distant lands and to far away people?  The following was written by Timothy’s father Cordell.  It was written a few weeks after we moved to Costa Rica for language training.

In the spring of 2015, my son, Timothy and his wife, Angelita, turned the water, gas, and electricity off at their home in New Carlisle, Ohio and went on a long road trip to raise support for a mission to Ecuador. In the back seats of their 1992 Buick Roadmaster, was Tim, age 13, Esperanza, age 9, Ezekiel, age 48 months and Elias, age 30 months.
The adventure had begun.
By mid August the support was raised but not verified so Anderson’s missions team delayed their departure date to December 29, 2015. Because it was not practical to re-start and rehab the New Carlisle house for 5 months, Darlene and I were blessed with a long good-bye with our son’s family.
Our house is large. There is a two car garage and a walk-in basement workshop/gym at the ground level on the front side. The main level has the dinning room, family room and two bed rooms. Upstairs has the master bed room and two smaller bed rooms.
I had already moved to one of the downstairs bed rooms, because of a 5 month stretch in a wheelchair. Tim (the younger) spent time in his new upstairs man cave and the basement workshop/gym. There was a lot of grinding, filing and occasionally, the ring of the anvil. Esperanza took the room near Tim’s. Timothy, Angelita, Elias and Ezekiel took the remaining room.
Esperanza and Ezekiel made good use of the blue ring swimming pool and there were many long walks with me, Papa. I became the morning short order cook for the early risers. Ezekiel likes flavored instant oatmeal, cooled with frozen berries while Eli likes scrambled eggs with a table spoon of strawberry jam. My lap became the preferred napping place if daddy wasn’t available. My bed room became a quiet room or a place to be wild for the little ones. Eli discovered that the window, above my bed was like a mountain waiting to be climbed and then to be leaped off. He developed some amazing landings skills on the bed. I was having the best grandpa experience of my life.
But January was coming. The adults knew it. I think that young Tim felt it more than Esperanza. The little ones had no clue. Darlene and I would whisper “will you be OK?
Timothy, when he was14, announced that he was called to missions. We always wanted our son to follow God’s leading. I knew and still know that God’s plan is best.
God had been preparing Darlene and me for more than 24 years as well. I had a heart for missions from an early age. It started with a news broadcast about 5 missionaries murdered in a place called Ecuador. I was about 12. Darlene and I have each been on at
least 24 mission trips in the last 24 years. God had prepared me as a father but now I’m a grandfather!
It is better that my grand kids are where He (God) wants them to be, than for me to keep them at my side. Do I and will I miss them? Yes! They’ve added a lot to my life. While I do regret that I can no longer be as active in their lives as I once was, the reality is that age and health wouldn’t let me anyway. I could go on forever, but let me try to close with a word picture.
It was 2 A.M., almost time to leave for the 45 mile drive to Dayton airport. The luggage was already in the Buick and the car seats for the little ones were in the GMC. Despite the pre planning, things were chaotic, people were multi-tasking. Trying to make the best use of the remaining minutes. Someone had started dressing Eli. His PJs and other things are off and then a more urgent project must have called. I walked into the room and saw in Eli, a picture of my emotions. Tired, confused, unsure, unknowing, but trusting in a good ending because I know who is in control.
Please keep my kids in your prayers. Also, pray for the Church in Ecuador.
Early in 2016, my son, Timothy, daughter-in-law Angelita, and their four kids, left our home to go to Costa Rica and language school. This was one of many steps to become missionaries to Ecuador.
They are definitely “on mission”! And so are you and I!!! Probably not to a far off land, forsaking all but, to a mission just as real as any other. May I retell a story that I heard more than 60 years ago?

Shell Oil in early 1950’s had discovered oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon. They didn’t know if there was enough to make oilfields profitable so they sent geologist to explore.
400 years earlier, Spanish Conquistadors had invaded looking for gold. They, the Spanish came into a stone age area with guns, metal swords and knives and many other unknown wonders. Everything had to be carried on the backs of men.
They tried to bring horses and other pack animals, but they were useless in the rough, steep and trackless jungle. Many of the pack animals were slaughtered and fed to the “war dogs” that they kept for protection and fighting. After they were far from the supply lines, the Spanish, needing dog food, began feeding the dead or dying Indian porters to their war dogs. Soon the Indian porters would disappear into the jungle at the first sign of illness.
The easiest source of ‘dog food’ was the people living on the banks of the rivers. This turned a relatively peaceful people into a fierce and dangerous enemy. For the next 400 years, the rules of engagement, on both sides was, see an enemy, kill the enemy and hide the body. This led to the natural conclusion, on both side that disappeared bodies meant that cannibalism was being practiced by their opponents.
The Ecuadorian Government, far removed from the area, decided that the ½ human vermin in the jungle should be once and for all eliminated. Who needs or wants ½ human cannibals in a civilized society? Interfering with oil exploration.
Five Korean War veterans, attending Wheaton College on the GI bill, heard of this and decided to answer a call from God to a mission save the Waodani people and turn their hearts to Christ. They all died on this mission, but some their widows went to the people who killed their husbands, taking their children, and taught the people to follow Christ and to love one another.
Above my desk, I have 5 jungle necklaces and 2 fishing spears, miniatures of the spears used to kill the 5 martyrs. These are gifts from some very sincere Christians who live a hard life but a joyful life as the grandchildren of the people who first heard the Message in the 50’s.
Do you and I have a mission like those 5 men? We do live in a land where unborn babies are routinely killed in a procedure protected by our elected government. The death toll is in the multi-millions. Our country, founded on the Christian Way is rapidly being changed to an atheistic culture. Schools are often the agent of change. Many, including church members, cry out against including God, in any form, in the public discussion.
In a ¼ mile radius of my home there are at least 25 other homes. A few have indicated that they prefer to have no interrupting visitors. I would count three as casual friends. That would leave about 15 to 20 as unreached, much like the afore mentioned Waodani.
I’ve been to the safe areas of Ecuador. It’s obvious that the people of Ecuador are ready to hear and act on the Gospel Jesus Christ. Timothy and his family have a mission, but so do we!

We are very blessed to be on the mission God has given us!  We hope you are enjoying your mission as well.  No matter where your mission is our to whom you are sent we are honored to serve Christ alongside you!


In His grip,

Darlene (Granny) and Cordell (Papa) Downing

The Downings

2 thoughts on “A Father’s Perspective

  1. Thanks for sharing your father’s article. I do hope you are sharing with all the pastors in Wisconsin as they represent the support from the Wisconsin Assembly. (A one year renewable support). We pray daily for you and your family and will include your parents as well. Blessings, Jan and Dale Terrill

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Thank you so much for sharing Tim and thank you Darlene and Cordell for sharing your love and children with the work of God in Ecuador. We are praying for all of you.

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