Tag: Esperanza

Throwback To A Cultural Experience In Cost Rica

Our kids enjoyed learning about Costa Rican history when we studied Spanish for a year in preparation for our Ecuadorian ministry. This photo was taken during the celebration of Costa Rica’s only historic military victory. 

According to Wikipedia:

“Juan Santamaría (August 29, 1831 – April 12, 1856) was a drummer in the Costa Rican army, officially recognized as the national hero of his country. A national holiday in Costa Rica, Juan Santamaría Day, is held every April 11 to commemorate his death.

Santamaría was born in the city of Alajuela When U.S. filibuster William Walker overthrew the government of Nicaragua in 1856 and attempted to conquer the other nations in Central America, including Costa Rica, in order to form a private slave-holding empire, Costa Rican president Juan Rafael Mora Porras called upon the general population to take up arms and march north to Nicaragua to fight against the foreign invader. This started the Filibuster War. Santamaría, a poor laborer and the illegitimate son of a single mother joined the army as a drummer boy. The troops nicknamed him “el erizo” (“the sea urchin”) on account of his spiked hair.

After routing a small contingent of Walker’s soldiers at Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, the Costa Rican troops continued marching north and reached the city of Rivas, Nicaragua, on April 8, 1856. The battle that ensued is known as the Second Battle of Rivas. Combat was fierce and the Costa Ricans were not able to drive Walker’s men out of a hostel near the town center from which they commanded an advantageous firing position.

According to the traditional account, on April 11, Salvadoran General José María Cañas suggested that one of the soldiers advance towards the hostel with a torch and set it on fire. Some soldiers tried and failed, but finally Santamaría volunteered on the condition that, in the event of his death, someone would look after his mother. He then advanced and was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Before expiring he succeeded, however, in setting fire to the hostel, thus contributing decisively to the Costa Rican victory at Rivas.”

Santamaría was 15 years old at the time. His day is celebrated with groups of people marching through the streets with torches.

With love, 63FD3F5F-59F5-47F8-99DC-764B4713BBF4The Downings

Esperanza’s Artsy Smartsy Photo


We are proud of Esperanza she is becoming a fantastic photographer. She was standing on a church balcony when she decided to pour a litttle water on the railing and take this reflection photo. She has an excellent artistic eye! Now if only we could afford a good camera for her, the sky would be her limit.

With much love,

The Downings

Throwback To a View Over Quito

Quito is a significant city. Here is a young Esperanza taking a break about 13,000 ft. The city below is about 12 miles long and nestled on an outcropping of Mt. Pichincha. The valley below the city is where we live.

Have you heard our podcast yet? If not click here to hear one Esperanza voiced. 

With much love,

The Downings

Throwback Thursday

Time seems to fly by, especially since we are having so much fun on our mission path! We can’t believe it but we have been traveling our mission path for over five years now! As you can imagine we have thousands of photos….and we are dying to share some of them with you! Our goal is to post a photo from somewhere along our mission path each Thursday of 2019. We will provide a short description for each and you can help us relive our amazing journey so far!

Here is our first throwback.

We lived behind bars for a year in Costa Rica as we studied Spanish. This was a difficult time along our mission path. But as you can see Elias and Esperanza found ways to enjoy our short-term imprisonment! The bars and razor wire kept us safe at night because the school was in a dangerous neighborhood. How dangerous? One of our fellow students had to go back home after he was stabbed in front of his family at our local park. A man was also shot on the street right outside our house. Needless to say we are very happy to be in Ecuador where the only thing we truly worry about is the traffic and the occasional volcano!


We are glad you are walking with us along our mission path! 


With much love,

The Downings

A Word From Esperanza

One of the unexpected joys we have encountered as we travel along our mission path is the increased family time we have been blessed with.  We have traveled together, met new friends as a family, studied together and dreamed together.  Hardly any computer work is done or phone calls are made without the “help” of a two or three year old (both are sitting across the table from me right now).  As parents we are interested in what our kids think about the major change occurring in our lives.  Here is Esperanza’s thoughts on our journey so far.

If you are interested in partnering with Esperanza and the whole family by joining our living link network please click here.

We are loving life!  How about you?

With love,


The Downings


Bonus missionary exercise:  What about the dog?  We have a beloved family pet named Dioghi.  He has been with us almost as long as Esperanza has.  But what do we do with him when we become missionaries?  Do we take him or do we leave him?  Perhaps you have a beloved pet as well.  What would you do?  Here is your missionary exercise: think through your feelings and ideas about a family pet and the mission field.  Do you say a very tearful goodbye or do you take the pet along for the journey?


Of Whirlwinds And Silence

The beautiful notes of life often crescendo ever so slightly over time to become a cacophony.  This happens before you know it.  Recently our mission path has been filled with many melodious tunes.  We were honored to speak at Alliance First Church in Northeast Ohio, then back home for a few days filled with phone calls, emails and book editing, then back to Northeast Ohio, then back to preach at the Kettering First Church of God, then back home for a few days of phone calls, emails and meetings, then to the Ohio general assembly, then to Middletown, then to Cincinnati, then to speak at the Dupont First church of God in Northwest Ohio, then back home for a few days of phone calls and emails.  And if that run on sentence seemed long, so did living it!  In addition to the many high notes on our mission path there was the normal melody of a family of six.  Ballet practice, homeschooling, weddings, dinner with friends, an hour at the park just to name a few. The path sometimes gets long and noisy along the way but there is a reprieve, a quiet time, a time to be still and listen to the “melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above.”

One early morning as I watched the sun rise through the window of my car I had one of those quiet times.  I was reminded of a familiar scripture.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Look, the Lord is ready to pass by.”

A very powerful wind went before the Lord, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. All of a sudden a voice asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah?”

-1 Kings 19:11-13 New English Translation (NET Bible)

The rush and roar of a whirlwind is powerful and can move many obstacles it its way.  The raw power of an Earthquake fundamentally reshapes the face of the ground.  The crackling  of a fire purifies and destroys.  But somehow in the cacophony of life the still small voice restores.  I am honored to experience the whirlwind, earthquake and fire but I am privileged to know the answer to the question that is asked of me in God’s soft whisper.  Why are you here?

I am here because I have heard the sound that recognized the pain in me, “I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now.”  I heard a voice that know me better than I know myself.  I heard a anthem that addressed the the question of origin, morality, meaning and destiny.  I have heard the only song that makes sense.  Now I am compelled to share it.

Please continue to pray for our family as we enjoy the mission path before us and as we build our living link network of supporting partners. We will continue to pray for you.  Let’s together seek to hear the soft whisper of God in contrast to the clamor of our lives.

In His Grip, Timothy

Check out a recent video of Esperanza getting a little board along the way.

*note that no songs were harmed in the writing of this post but both, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing and Bittersweet Symphony were quoted.