Tag: family

Throwback To a Last Time

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We fondly remember the last time that we saw Uncle Logan and Aunt Hazel. During our time of transition from language training in Coastal Rica to arriving in Ecuador we spent a month in the U.S. We ran around fundraising, gathering fresh documents that we would need for our residency in Ecuador, and purchasing a few items that are not available in Ecuador. We also had the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. We are grateful that Uncle Logan and Aunt Hazel made time to spend an afternoon with us. We did not know it at the time but this would be the last time we would see them on this side of Heaven. Both have passed away over the past three months. We regret that we could not physically attend the remembrance service for either, but we certainly mourned from afar. It has been said that a missionary leaves their family for a short time so that other people can be with their families for an Eternity. Eternity is the key. We know that we are all passing through this life. We should enjoy, help, love, and live life to the fullest but our hope goes beyond this life into Eternity. 

With much love,

The Downings

 

Success!

We tried something different and…. it was a success!35F815A9-755D-42C2-A278-F22816FA7E29

Each year the Church of God Seminary in Ecuador offers a week long intensive to help train leaders in the Ecuadorian Church. This year we expanded the reach of the Seminary by offering more class options, moving to a more spacious location, and including more Ecuadorian leadership.

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Pastor Rodrigo teaching Christian Ethics.
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Pastor Luis teaching Homiletics.
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Pastor Jorge teaching Life Stewardship.
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Pastor Paula teaching Hermeneutics.
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Pastor Patricio Teaching Evangelism.
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Pastor Pol teaching the Book of John
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Pastor Katita Preaching.
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Sister (future Pastor?) Veronica sharing during worship.
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Pastor Delia Praying before her Focus on Tonsupa class.

Last year we had a total of twenty-five participants with one international student. This year we had seventy-six participants with several international students!

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Our students this year!

Last year we offered five classes for the edification of the students. This year we were able to offer ten classes and a writing seminar!

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Pastor Jorge Palacio from Pennsylvania helped expand our class options by teaching Leadership Development.

Last year two Pastors from outside the Church of God and the Missionary taught classes. This year Seven classes were taught by our Ecuadorian Pastors, three were taught by Visiting Professors and the writing seminar was taught by the Missionary!

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This year we were blessed to host visiting Missionary Abby Torgeson teaching Biblical Sexuality.

Last year we held classes at the Seminary building in Quito. (We are blessed to have such a wonderful building but it could not have housed all of our students this year). We were able to hold classes at a campground that could have facilitated double the number of students!

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Doctor Eric and Doctor Bonnie Newell helping attract new students by co-teaching Christian Education.

Last year the student surveys evaluated the classes as valuable but somewhat lacking. This year the surveys and comments were overwhelmingly positive.

Perhaps the best indicator that this year was a success is the feedback we have already received about the students from their Pastors. This year the students returned to their Churches excited and willing to employ their newly acquired knowledge in their Churches.

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The students are eager to employ their new knowledge in their Churches!

Of course all of the many successes of this year were build on the firm foundation of years past. For many years Missionaries like Jon and Karen Lambert, Gregory and Linda Robertson, Jonny and Paula Snyder, Karvin and Sandy Adams, and Narciso and Udelia Zamora developed the Seminary program. In addition to so many dedicated Missionaries countless visiting Professors have poured their time talent and treasure into developing our Seminary program. It is on the shoulders of so many great leaders that we were able to achieve such a wonderful success this year!

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Pastor Paula and Pastor Delia both taught and studied in this year at the Seminary intensive!

If you donated this year to the Seminary project you where a major part of our success! By faith we planned something bigger than we have ever attempted before, trusting that God would provide the funds through His faithful Church. Your gifts added to the sacrificial giving of the Ecuadorian Church is what funded this vital Ministry! We already have a team working on the next two year’s Seminary intensive weeks and we have already received some much needed prayer and financial support. Will you join us? We need your prayers and your donations to ensure the future success of the Seminary program! We have big plans for the future but we can only reach them with your help. To donate to our Seminary fund please click here!

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Young Church leaders preparing for Christian service!

Since we are already asking for your support could we ask for your help in one more important way? We need you to lend us your voice! Will you please take some time and share this success story with your Pastor and Missions committee? Will you please advocate for your church to get involved in this Great Commission ministry? We need you, your prayers, your donations and your voice. Together we can make a significant difference in the lives of our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters!

With much love,4DDAB047-130A-45DD-8E15-8CA9B1EE26D6    The Downings,

(also pictured, Bonnie and Eric Newell, and Abby Torgeson)

Baptisms In Jerusalem

This week we had the honor of going to one of Ecuador’s beautiful national parks. We went to Jerusalem Bosque Protector near the Capital city of Quito. We loved the beauty and tranquility but we enjoyed the reason for our visit even more. The Mount of Olives Congregation located in Cangahua high up the Cayambe volcano invited us to thier Baptism service. The rivers of Cayambe are very cold but the national park had a public swimming pool that was perfect for the occasion.

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The Cayambe Volcano

The Church arrived in two busses and a few other vehicles. Our family arrived with the president of our National Committee and his wife.

We had a wonderful poolside worship service which seemed to draw the attention of the other guests. Baptisms are about witnessing!

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Pastor Luis Gave an Excellent Sermon Explaining Baptism!
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After a wonderful time of praise and prayer it was time for the baptisms.

Fourteen people were baptized!

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After the service we had wonderful fellowship with our brothers and sisters! They fed us well!

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Delicious food!
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Cuy is always a favorite!

Our family is beyond blessed to be working with so many lovely people in Eacudor!

With much love,DOWNING_235002Timothy, Angelita, Tim, Esperanza, Ezequiel, Elias, and Adalena

Bautismos en Jerusalén

Esta semana tuvimos el honor de ir a uno de los hermosos parques nacionales de Ecuador. Fuimos a Jerusalén Bosque Protector cerca de la ciudad capital de Quito. Nos encantó la belleza y la tranquilidad, pero disfrutamos aún más el motivo de nuestra visita. La Congregación del Monte de los Olivos ubicada en Cangahua en lo alto del volcán Cayambe nos invitó a su servicio de Bautismo. Los ríos de Cayambe son muy fríos, pero el parque nacional tenía una piscina pública que era perfecta para la ocasión.

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El Volcán Cayambe

La Iglesia llegó en dos autobuses y algunos otros vehículos. Nuestra familia llegó con el presidente de nuestro Comité Nacional y su esposa.

Tuvimos un maravilloso servicio de adoración junto a la piscina que parecía llamar la atención de los otros huéspedes. ¡Los bautismos son sobre testificar!

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¡El pastor Luis dio un excelente sermón explicando el bautismo!
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Después de un tiempo maravilloso de alabanza y oración, llegó el momento de los bautismos.

¡Catorce personas fueron bautizadas!

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¡Después del servicio tuvimos una maravillosa comunión con nuestros hermanos y hermanas! ¡Nos alimentaron bien!

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¡Comida deliciosa!
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Cuy es siempre un favorito!

¡Nuestra familia está más que bendecida de estar trabajando con tanta gente encantadora en Ecuador!

Con mucho Amor, DOWNING_235002Timothy, Angelita, Tim, Esperanza, Ezequiel, Elias, y Adalena

…And God Smiled

This is part confession part praise.

I (Timothy) just spent five days in Tonsupa to nail down some details for our upcoming Seminary intensive week. As I arrived in Tonsupa I had in mind many problems that needed solutions before I returned to my family in Quito. How will we feed our students? Where will they sleep? What about transportation? Can I really expect my students to focus on classes in such a tropical environment? Where is the nearest hospital? What items will we need from the Seminary building? How will we transport them to the Tonsupa church? What about security? These were just a few of the questions that were swimming around my mind.

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The Tonsupa Church Building 

I arrived with a plan, a good plan, a plan that had our budget and other constraints in mind. A visionary plan. And God smiled.

As I began explaining my plan to the pastor of the Tonsupa Church she listened and finally asked one simple question. “Have you considered our local Christian campgrounds?” I had not even known about thier local Christian campgrounds. After a few moments of discussion we found ourselves in my car to visit the campgrounds. What we found was a fully equipped and perfect place to house our students and hold our classes. The long list of problems melted away in the tropical heat!

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The Local Christian Campgrounds

I am very greatful to Brother Patricio, Sister Irma, Sister Deila, and Sister Susana for their help and guidance. Without their input I would have never seen God’s plan becuase my view would have been blocked by the details of my own plan!

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Brother Patricio Preached Sunday Morning 

I can’t help but smirk at myself and my plans sometimes. Christ is the head of the Church, he makes the plans my job is to listen and then engage His perfect plan.

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The Downings

To participate in training Pastors and Leadrs by donating to our Seminary fund click here!

Y Dios sonrió.

Esto es en parte parte de la confesión de alabanza.

Yo (Timoteo) acabo de pasar cinco días en Tonsupa para precisar algunos detalles para nuestra próxima semana intensiva de seminario. Cuando llegué a Tonsupa, tenía en mente muchos problemas que necesitaban soluciones antes de regresar a mi familia en Quito. ¿Cómo alimentaremos a nuestros estudiantes? ¿Dónde van a dormir? ¿Qué pasa con el transporte? ¿Realmente puedo esperar que mis alumnos se centren en clases en un ambiente tropical? ¿Dónde está el hospital más cercano? ¿Qué elementos necesitaremos del edificio del Seminario? ¿Cómo los transportaremos a la iglesia Tonsupa? ¿Qué hay de la seguridad? Estas fueron solo algunas de las preguntas que nadaban en mi mente.

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El edificio de la iglesia Tonsupa

Llegué con un plan, un buen plan, un plan que tenía en mente nuestro presupuesto y otras limitaciones. Un plan visionario. Y Dios sonrió.

Cuando comencé a explicar mi plan al pastor de la Iglesia de Tonsupa, ella escuchó y finalmente hizo una pregunta simple. “¿Has considerado nuestros campamentos Cristianos locales?” Ni siquiera había sabido sobre sus campamentos Cristianos locales. Después de unos momentos de discusión, nos encontramos en mi automóvil para visitar los campamentos. Lo que encontramos fue un lugar totalmente equipado y perfecto para alojar a nuestros estudiantes y realizar nuestras clases. ¡La larga lista de problemas se derritió en el calor tropical!

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Los campamentos cristianos locales

Le agradezco mucho al Hermano Patricio, a la Hermana Irma, a la Hermana Deila y a la Hermana Susana por su ayuda y guía. Sin su aporte, nunca hubiera visto el plan de Dios, porque mi punto de vista habría sido bloqueado por los detalles de mi propio plan.

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El hermano Patricio predicó el domingo

No puedo evitar sonreírme a mí misma y a mis planes a veces. Cristo es el jefe de la Iglesia, él hace los planes de mi trabajo es escuchar y luego comprometerse con su plan perfecto.

Que veas a Cristo claramente para que puedas seguirlo de cerca,img_2079.jpg
Los Downing

Para apoyar a nuestros Pastores y Líderes de la Iglesia mediante la donación a nuestro fondo del Seminario, ¡haga clic aquí!

Our Year-In-Review

A quick word to our supporters: Thank you so much for your partnership this year! We wish we could share with you in person our gratitude that you have joined us on this journey. We have always considered our effort in ministry a team effort and we are proud to be part of your team. Thank you for extending your reach into Ecuador. Thank you for allowing us to be your hands and feet here.

We have had a wonderful and productive year! Here are some highlights.

We spent the month of January in Ohio and Wisconsin as we spent time saying a long goodbye to family and friends, knowing that some of our goodbyes would be permanent  at least until we reunite in heaven, other goodbyes were less permanent.  Regardless of what type of goodbye we were saying, we were glad to have the opportunity to say it. As Christians we have the privilege of taking the long view, among Christians we can’t say goodbye we can say see you in heaven.

Our beginning of the year picture.

We arrived in Ecuador in February. At first we stayed in the Seminary as we searched for suitable rental for our family.

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Our First Night In Quito.

We also spent as much time with our predecessors and friends the Lamberts as possible (click here to check out their new ministry). We knew that our time was very short with them and we needed to have as many crucial conversations as possible. They walked us through our first National committee meeting.

During March we set up our residence, began work on registering our vehicle, and spent as much time being trained by the Lamberts as possible. It was like drinking out of a fire hose, refreshing but difficult to process.

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Our New House Has A Climbing Tree!

In April we said goodbye to our friends the Lamberts. We began our first month alone. But God is faithful and we met two other missionary families who always make us feel renewed.

Our family also grew in April with the arrival of Adelena Ruth Downing. Two days after her birth we began our immigration process. DSC04621 (2)

We hosted a leadership team from the Breiel Boulevard Church of God in May. We were honored to visit six churches and the Seminary as they explored ways that they could become involved in our ministry in a more hands on manner.

A Good Meal On The Mountain.

We continued to build relationships with our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters and to learn our ever-expanding missionary roles during the month of June. We also began an aggressive visitation schedule so that we could know and understand our pastors and their needs in the context of their ministries. We are very impressed with each Pastor, we could not ask for a better group of leaders to work with!

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We are happy to with our wonderful brothers and sisters!

This year brought many firsts. One significant first happened in July. We had the wonderful opportunity to be involved with several baptisms from the church in Tonsupa. We spent that whole day celebrating with the church. We spent the remainder of the month preparing for another first, the annual Seminary intensive week. DSC07988 - Copy

The first full week of August was our annual Seminary intensive week. Timothy had taught at the Seminary for several years but this was the first year that he carried the title of Director. We are eternally grateful to the pastors and other leaders who made this year’s experience a great success!

This Year’s S.E.T.E. Students

In August we also experienced a wonderful time of unity and sportsmanship at the first annual Quito invitational Soccer tournament between our city churches. Our older kids even played! img_1856

September brought with it a new beginning for Ezequiel and Elias as they began classes. Their school is entirely taught in Spanish except for one English class (they seem to be excelling in their English class). Our other kids are homeschooled over the Internet.

First Day Of School!

During October we had the privilege of traveling to the Cuenca area and meeting the leadership of several churches who want to join our organization. They are wonderful people and we look forward to a bright future together.

In November we finally received our legal citizenship! We also began building some significant friendships with a group of missionaries over Thanksgiving dinner.

Our first Christmas outside of the U.S. went very well. We always thought that Christmas time as a Pastor was busy but our first year of service as Directors of the Children of Promise program in Ecuador was intense. We are satisfactorily exhausted. DSC02934

We had wonderful and action packed year. We know this is just the beginning of many years of intense service.  We are very happy to be where we are. We are very firm in our calling. Most of all we are very grateful for all of you who have believed in our mission and have partnered with us.

If you have not yet partnered with us and would like to join our support team we absolutely need your help! Costs and budgets keep rising. The fields are ripe for harvest but the workers are few. It is very important that we are able to continue on in His glorious mission. To join our support team please click here.  DSC03138

If you are already a supporter could you do us a special favor? Could you share our information with someone you know who might be willing to join our support team? We need your help in expanding our network. We have a unique problem, we need to find more supporters but living overseas provides some special challenges connecting with people back home. If you would be so kind to discuss us with a friend and give them an opportunity to join our team we would be supremely grateful.

Happy New Year!DOWNING_235002

Timothy, Angelita, Timothy 2, Esperanza, Ezequiel, Elias, Adelena

Friday Photos And An Immigration Update

We live in a very photogenic country!  In the busyness of missionary life we sometimes forget to share the photos that we have taken. Today we would like to share a fun time Elias, Ezequiel, Esperanza, Tim, and Timothy enjoyed on Mt. Pichincha.

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Ezequiel taking in the view of Quito.
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Tim and Esperanza taking a moment to pray over the city we love.
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Enjoying some horseback riding on top of the volcano. 

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Above the tree line 

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A good rest and a great view.
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overlooking the Quito valley 
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little legs and long walks equal good naps 
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Happy to explore so close to heaven
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Are selfies allowed?
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The view is as breathtaking as is the altitude

We love living here for many reasons. We of course love the views and the experiences but more than anything we love the people!

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Ezequiel and Timothy recently had the opportunity to take a road trip with eight members of Pastor Carlos’ family!
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We even stopped to play in the rare snow along the way!

We love ministering along side of our Ecuadorian Brothers and Sisters. It is not simply a job, or a calling, it is a pure joy! Many of you know that this joy does not preclude some amount of frustration. Our most recent frustration has to do with some paperwork which is required for our residency. We have asked our social media friends to pray about the situation. We were hoping to give a positive update on our prayer request in this post…but we can’t. The good news is that we also can’t give a negative update. What we can do is ask that you pray that we will have the strength and resources to overcome this mountainous paperwork issue.

It is truly by your prayers that we are able to continue along our mission path.

Love,

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The Downings

(If you would like to join our support team please click here)

A Post In Three Parts

Living as missionaries in Ecuador, we often forget that what may be a common experience for us now might be somewhat of an adventure for you. With that in mind we want to share with you our weekend experiences. This weekend we began our concerted effort to visit all of our churches located outside of the city of Quito. To visit each church will require a little bit of travel, and we hope to be able to share quite a few interesting photos.

The first non-Quito church we choose to visit as a family was the one that Timothy knew the way to. Most churches on our visit list are in places unknown to us.

Part one: Where we stayed

In the future we hope to be able to visit the Cangahua congregation without first staying overnight in a hotel. With a two month old baby and the lack of sleep that she brings we decided it was safer to stay near the church than to try to travel early in the morning in order to make the morning service.

We stayed in one of the oldest buildings in Ecuador, a place called Guachala.

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The Hacienda has a Catholic Chapel that was built on the remains of a ancient temple.  The Chapel was built around 1580.  It was the first building on the property and was the only place of Catholic worship in the region.  In 1736, the Chapel was presided over by a Priest of 80 years, along with an acolyte who was one of his children.  The other participants in the service were the children of the Priest and his five concubines.

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In 1922 socialist revolutionaries looted the Chapel of all its religious icons and wealth.  This is the alter today.  We think it is interesting that after the looting the Catholic church considered the place profaned and no longer allowed services to be held.  Strange that the church did not consider the Chapel profane in 1736.

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Part two: Where we worshiped

The Cangahua Church of God is located high above the pueblo of Cangahua on Mt. Cayambe. Part of our family had visited before but this was the first time that both Angelita and Adelena were able to attend with the family. Face time with each church is very important because although we meet with each pastor at the monthly pastors’ meeting we have yet to meet over half of our Children of Promise  participants (please click on the link to learn more about this part of our ministry).

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The drive to our Cangahua Congregation is quite the adventure!  Google maps does not recognize this road.

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Part three: A treat for the kids

On our way home we stopped at a public park in the city of Cayambe. We try to involve our children in as much of what we do as possible. We also try to avail ourselves of any opportunity to pour into the lives of our kids.

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Thank you for taking this adventure with us! Regardless if you pray for us regularly, read and share our updates, or support us financially we are proud to be part of your life.  And we are honored that you are part of our lives. We love serving Christ in Ecuador and we love that you are on the journey with us!

With love,

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The Downings

 

Looking Forward To Advent

We are blessed to be able to enjoy one more Christmas celebration before we move away from family and friends.  Looking at our calendar (which is a breathtaking event for us at this time) we have noticed how few days we have between now and Christmas that are not already claimed by a mixture of family, friends, and meetings.  The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving and Christmas are already consuming our thoughts.  This year, more than any other year for our family, it will be difficult to be still and focus on the incarnation of Christ.  Despite the difficulty we are committed to carve out a healthy Holy moment each day to consider the meaning and the events of Advent.  We will be using a devotion written by Timothy in 2013 called Christmas Devotions (Click Here to order from Amazon) and we invite you to do the same with your family.  We will be starting our Christmas Devotions on November 24th this year which will allow us to read our last devotion on Christmas day.

Regardless if you join us in Christmas Devotions or you find another devotion it is our prayer that you find a way to incorporate Christ in your daily life this Advent season.

In His Grip,

The Downings

Fun Along Our Mission Path

One of the pleasant surprises that we have encountered along our mission path has been an increased amount of quality family time.  We seem less stressed, healthier and closer as a family.  Not everything is fun of course but it seems that the fun times we are having together are great times of relationship building and memory making.  As a family we are enjoying our missions adventure.

This past weekend we had the privilege of speaking at the Edinburg Church of God in North East Ohio.  We also had the honor of spending time with some good friends.  We had lunch with the Davis family and enjoyed getting to know the heart and passion of their family.  We then enjoyed some fun in the snow with the Jones family.  Check out the video below.

We are privileged to have the friends that we do in North East Ohio (and all over).  It is sad to be leaving them for new adventures and ministry in Ecuador but our hearts will never really leave them.  In a sense, our relationships with our friends will keep us grounded as we serve in a foreign land.  No matter what might happen to us abroad we know there is a place where we are loved.  This gives us the strength and courage to continue on our mission path.

So thank you to the Jones, Davis, Klinesmith, Lance, Edmonson, Shook, Baker and many many more families in North East Ohio for your friendship.  You inspire us to attempt great things for God!

In His Grip,

The Downings

To donate to our mission click here.  To Partner with our mission click here.  To mail in a donation click here.

Anna, Hurting And Our Loving God

Today we are preparing our hearts to mourn with one who mourns.  Later today we will offer our condolences and love to a good friend at the passing of her husband.  Once again, in our humanity with tear stained eyes we look to heaven and wonder why there is so much suffering.  Why must the rose have a thorn?  Why must the rainbow be born out of the storm?  Are there any answers?  There are, but our tear stained eyes usually can’t see them in the midst of our pain.  Perhaps the words below will help to apply the Christmas message to our suffering.

There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment, she came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

~Doctor Luke, Luke 2:36-38

God invites those who are hurting into His family. Anna had only been married for seven years when the unthinkable happened, she lost her husband. In Anna’s time that meant she lost her income, her home and her protection. She was devastated. But God has a heart for the devastated. For eighty-four years Anna came under the protection of God as she worshiped him day and night in the temple.

Anna’s devastation drove her into a life of piety. Sometimes the beauty and the aroma of the rose leads us to a loving God, other times it is the prick of the thorn which drives us into the caring arms of our Savior.

Anna’s piety was rewarded with a glimpse of the redemption that God had promised the world. Her natural response to seeing Christ was to tell others of his life and mission.

My hope for you today is that you will find love and shelter in God’s family just like Anna did.

-Taken from Christmas Devotions

With love,

The Downings

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