I am ready to burn out for God. I am ready to endure any hardship, if by any means I might save some. The longing of my heart is to make known my glorious Redeemer to those who have never heard.
There is a longing in the Christian’s heart that simply can not be fulfilled on this side of Heaven. It is born not of appetites, philosophies or theologies but of brokenness. The terrible sin-induced rift between God and Man has wounded us beyond comprehension. When we come to the Healer and begin our new lives as followers of Christ our wound begins to heal but a portion of it is transformed. Now instead of the sting of our own separation we become aware of the plight of those who have not yet found salvation. The ache of our hearts transforms from a selfish pain to a motivated desire to see as many as will respond to the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The longing of our hearts are to make known our glorious Redeemer to those who do not yet know.
May we never feel relieved of our holy longing to reach those who are lost and dying in their sin with the redemption and healing that can only be found in Christ Jesus!
We are happy to post Christmas Devotions this year! Starting on November 25th and every day until Christmas we will post a podcast devotoin. These daily podcasts can be found on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. In addition to our podcasts a written version of each devotion plus bonus material will be posted here each day. Let’s prepare our hearts for Christmas together this year!
Blessings, Timothy, Angelita, Tim, Esperanza, Ezequiel, Elias, and Adelena
Jesus said: “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.”
Right after our Seminary intensive week, we were privileged to participate in a baptism service of a new work. This new work baptized its first six believers. We are honored to be working with believers who are continually taking steps to fulfill the Great Comission.
The Baptism service began in the Tonsupa Church building with worship and a wonderful sermon by Rev. Dr. Eric Newell, interpreted by Missionary Abby Torgeson.
After Worshipping God through song and sermon we traveled a short way to a hotel owned by someone connected to the Church.
Each Baptism participant gave their favorite Scripture, testified and were baptized as the Congregation sang their favorite hymn.
Brother Segundo Ricardo Sislema Ortega testified: “before meeting Jesus I was very unhappy due to alcoholism. I slept in the streets, I had quarrels with my children and mistreated my wife. Today I have decided because of Jesus I will be another person. I am already happy because Jesus in in my life. Amen!”
Sister Marcia Paulina Lluglluna Farinango testified: “Before, I was a person who did not want to love God or do his will. I had very little patience with my son. I had a lot of bitterness in my heart. I was an idolatrous person. I had a bad character. I did not forgive anything and I was spiteful. Since I met God I changed my life. I am a new person. A loving person above all with my son. Now I am a patient person. I can forgive. I want to know God more and do his will every day. But above all, now I know that there is only one God and this is my Lord Jesus Christ!”
Sister Erika Maribel Salgado Rodriguez testified: “I have always had the happiness of having people of great faith who love me and are always praying for me and my family. That always kept me full of blessings and I felt like it also covered my faults before God in some way. I was not missing anything. I thought my life was eternal and that nothing would happen to me. I presumed to have what everyone longs for; health, money and love. I was the black sheep of the family, the ungrateful daughter who only remembered God when I needed him. I had many problems that only the power of God could give strength to my heart. Then I got sick and had to go to the hospital, this taught me that life is short and that time passes so fast. It was time to obey God! Today with all my faith I am baptized knowing that my Christ gave His life for me and that He gives me the opportunity to obey his mandate. And to live under His wings because He has the best for me. Amen!”
Sister Eliana Daniela Chilama Churta testified: “I thank God for allowing me to share my experience. My family and I were Catholics and I had a bad temper that I could not change. At the death of my grandmother there were problems in my family and I thought there was no solution. Then it happened that my mother was invited to a small group in the house of Katia Salgado that was held on Wednesdays. And I went too. It was there I first heard the Word of the Lord. My faith began and I grew until the Lord opened my eyes completely. It was a fact that strengthened my faith. One day I left early in the morning to go to the the bus stop. Two men came out of the shadows to attack me but God protected me. I realized that Christ dwells in me. He is my defender and He is my guarantor of all peace and joy. I am baptized for the love of Christ. Amen!”
Sister Carmen Amanda Zhunio testified: “I want to thank You my God for freeing me. Before I knew You I lived on the path of perdition. I understand that You called me through Your Word. I want to be in Your presence, my God, and leave everything behind and start a new life with You Father of Heaven. You taught me to forgive and feed on Your Word more and more. Amen!”
After being blessed by the baptisms and testimonies we were further blessed with Lunch at Pastor Delia’s home.
We are happy to be part of Christ’s work in Ecuador. We love that you, dear reader, are supporting the ministry here through your prayers and encouragement! Please take some time today and pray for these new believers.
With much love,The Downings
(We are in need of a few more financial supporters to read more about our ministry please click here. Thanks!)
The naturalist and poet Alexander Von Humboldt wrote: “Ecuadorians are strange and unique beings: they sleep peacefully surrounded by roaring volcanoes, they live poor among incomparable riches and they become happy listening to sad music.”
Our Calling is drawing us to Quito, Ecuador where we will work with disadvantaged children through the Children of Promise ministry. We will also work with the Church of God Seminary, training leaders and church workers. Quito is a significant city with a population of three million people in the city proper. It is surrounded by five active volcanoes and has crime and poverty rates that are at a critical level. It is a city that looks like a quintessential mission field, filled with people living in peril and looking for answers.
One question that we find ourselves answering on a regular basis is: “Is it safe to move your family to Ecuador?” We always appreciate that question. It is good to know people care. Our answer may not satisfy the questioner but it is both historically and theologically sound. When asked about the safety of being a follower of Christ we can’t help but question the question. It seems that recently in American Christianity the idea that God cares primarily about our safety has replaced the idea that God is willing to risk it all on behalf of a lost and dying world (see Luke Chapter 15).
The prosperity gospel of God wanting nothing but the comfort and safety of His disciples opens itself up for failure as soon as the adherent to such a gospel finds themselves in a difficult situation. A cosmic score card develops in the minds of people who are convinced that God would never call His people into suffering. “God gave me a good parking spot, I must be doing good.” “God let my house be robed, I must have displeased Him.”
Far from the hollow promises of the false gospel of safety we see a true comfort in the face of adversity in the words of Christ. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Following Christ is not a recipe to avoid hardship but it is a way of facing the difficulties of life with the assurance that we are not alone. Furthermore, by God’s grace, when we walk with Christ in his mission on this side of heaven we will continue to walk with him throughout eternity.
For us the question is not “is it safe” but “is this where Christ is leading us?” Our view is eternal, we are not alone, we are not afraid, we are safe and secure in Christ’s everlasting arms, even if there is an angry giant near by.
A missionary who traveled to Ecuador before us once said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
So, as Mt. Cotopaxi threatens the over 325,000 Ecuadorians who live in its shadow we desire to be among them offering eternal hope!
Experience is central to our faith. As missionaries we never ask people to simply embrace the intellectual tenets of our faith, we invite them to experience the grace, love and forgiveness that we enjoy. In John 13 Jesus expresses our faith in two meaningful experiences. Our Lord established Foot Washing and Communion as experiential expressions of our love, humility and unity. Here is one of Timothy’s sermons that explores these themes. This sermon was lovingly given to the Hillside Ave. Church of God congregation.
On this Maundy Thursday we hope you enjoy an experiential worship service at your church. Our prayer for you is that your love will be magnetic, your service unifying, and your fellowship sticky.