Tag: Great Commission

Episode 12: The Chief End

Missions are the chief end of the Church… the chief end of the ministry ought to be to equip the Church for this. Each congregation is meant to be a training class.

-Andrew Murray

Our missionary effort is simply a reflection of Christ’s incarceration. His incarnation is a reflection of the Father’s love for our sin-sick world. Just as Christ was sent as a wounded healer so are we. Not only is each ministry to equip the Church for this heavenly commission but each of us have the privilege of becoming the incarnation of our Father’s love right where we live or wherever we travel! 

The most natural thing for a Christian to do is to be on mission for Christ. The most natural think for a Congregation to do is the equip each believer to be on this mission. 

The Scripture instructs us to “Go” and that powerful command is not modified in any way. We are not to ‘go’ if… if we are happy, if we are sad, if we are passionate, if we are rich, or poor, or “called or equipped, we are to Go, and as we are going we are to give the good news of Jesus Christ!

May we go without self-imposed limits and, may we go fully equipped by our local Churches! 

With much love,AE4CC7DA-43B8-4EB7-BAB4-3FE9CA162129 The Downings

Have you read our story yet? If not we invite you to click here!

Episode 4: Grown Out Of Love

Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love.
-Roland Allen
The Apostle John was known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” His Gospel account has been called the Gospel of love. In his first epistle John even writes the bold theological statement “God is love.” There is perhaps no better witness for the Christian faith than a life lived in the grip of Divine love. Nothing can motivate our commitment to the Great Commandment better than love. Wherever our steps lead us, to our neighbor’s yard or to jungles far away when our steps are measured and motivated by love they have the best effect.

May we be a people known for our love. May we love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength resulting in holiness. May we love our neighbors as ourselves resulting in their eternal benefit. Love God, love others and live accordingly!

With much love,

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

Please click here to read more about our ministry!

Episode 3: Sending Capacity

The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity. -Mike Stachura
Along our mission path we have encountered an attitude in many churches that can best be described as low self-esteem. Many churches have given up hope that they can be world changers. They tend to look at attendance or financial numbers as their only indicators of spiritual health and they tend to forget what Jesus did with a handful of followers. We ought to remember that the people to whom Jesus give the Great Commission stood empty handed on that hill outside of Galilee. They were the only religious people without a temple to meet in or a treasury to draw from. They had not hymn book to sing from nor did they have an ecclesiastical manual to tell them what to do or how to do it. They had no New Testament to read or written doctrine to study. They were simply a movement of people who had experienced the resurrection of Christ and who were motivated by their love for God and their love for their neighbors. As they lived that love out they became the people who turned the world upside down! It is amazing what can happen when we cease to measure our reach by seating capacity and more to the point how many of our seats are occupied but instead focus on our sending capacity.
May we live and die for greater things than seating capacity. May we live in the knowledge that we are world changers because we follow Jesus. May we die in the knowledge that we have done everything we can to send some so that many will know the saving grace of our Lord!

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

To read more about our ministry please click here!

Ten Surprises We Have Found In Costa Rica

Missionaries Have Big Families

When the Downing family went anywhere in the United States we stuck out by our sheer numbers.  Here at the Instituto De Lengua Española we are simply an average sized family.  We will have to have more babies to stand out here, (a proposition neither of us are willing to consider).

Our Kids Trying Spanish 

It is hard to describe the joy we feel when our kids try to use Spanish.  Our kids from youngest to oldest are unafraid to try to speak to other kids at the park, at school and at church.  What a pleasant surprise!

We Know Enough To Know We Don’t Know Enough

One surprise is that we know a lot of Spanish already (and we aren’t even counting the Spanish we’ve picked up at Taco Bell and Chipotle)!  On the other hand we are also surprised at the magnitude of Spanish that we aren’t yet acquainted with.  We have a lot to learn!

Unlearning Is More Difficult Than Learning

Language makes paths through our brains.  Abandoning a well used path and paving a new one is a tedious task.  Phonetics, letters, grammar, and spelling are all different in Spanish.  Of course, that is to be expected but what we did not expect was how easy it is to fall back on the English pathways and on our previous and poorly learned Spanglish.  Unlearning is hard to do!

Natural Strengths Are Tempered By Natural Weaknesses

We were surprised to learn that (at our level) there is no such thing as being good at Spanish, only being good at parts of Spanish.  We each have our strengths and weaknesses and were one of us is week the other seems to be strong.  We praise God he has knitted us together on this great adventure!

Immersion Learning Is The Best

Because the learning never stops!  We might learn the proper grammatical structure in class but we will learn how to communicate with our newly learned grammar on the bus later that day.  In fact every interaction we have conforms, stretches, and teaches us as we are immersed in our new language.

Tranquilo Is Our New State Of Mind

When learning a second language mistakes are inevitable, looking out of place is common, and misunderstandings are a daily occurrence.  We have learned not to worry about any of that.  We have embraced being tranquilo.

The Vast And Beautiful Body Of Christ

Doctrinal differences and worship practices mean far less to people who are broken for a lost and dying world.  We were pleasantly surprised to find the issues that normally divide the North American church are dealt with maturely among the missionaries we have met.  We all seem much more interested in sharing the Gospel of Jesus than arguing about our faith.

Worship Transcends Language

Our favorite time during the week is Sunday morning when we have the privilege of worshiping with our brothers and sisters at Iglesia de Dios Esperanza Viva.  We understand little but worshiping God is much bigger than the language of the song or the sermon. Experiencing the move of the Spirit and enjoying the body of Christ is great in any language!

We Are So Grateful

We have always  felt deep gratitude for our support network but today we have a new depth in our gratitude for your prayers, encouragement, and funding.  It is by your support that we are here, your encouragement helps us to keep going, and by your prayers God is giving us “ears to hear” and the ability to learn the marvelous language of Spanish.  Thank you for all you do for us!

In His grip,

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The Downings

(If you would like to speak with someone about partnering with our mission please call 1-800-848-2464 and ask for Debbie Taylor and she will walk you through the process).

The Commands of Christ One

The Great Commission of Christ reads like this in the New English Version of the Bible.

So the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated.  When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted.  Then Jesus came up and said to them, “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.”

Much about these words has intrigued us over the years.  We draw hope, power and urgency for our mission from these words.  We also receive direction from these words.  Our mission is the same as the mission was for the first disciples.  We are all called to Go, Make Disciples, Baptize, and Teach. That last part, teaching all he has commanded us, is what we will focus on over the next several posts.

If you find these recorded discussions helpful to you would you please share them with someone else?  Your voice added to ours would be much appreciated.

Here is the first lesson in the series The Commands of Christ

Thanks for listening and as always if you would like to donate to this ministry please click on the photo below to be directed to our donation page.

Blessings,

The Downings

Five Ways You Can Make An Eternal Impact

We have been blessed to raise half of our budget right on time.  We were given fundraising benchmarks when we began our missionary service.  We needed to raise 50% of our budget by February of this year and thanks to the generosity of churches and individuals who have seen the great open door of opportunity that Ecuador offers we made our deadline.  Our next benchmark is coming up quickly, we need to raise our next 50% before we depart for language school in August.  This seems to us to be a daunting task.  Yet, when we consider what it will take to make our next benchmark we can see a way to meet our partnership goals….And We Need Your Help.

First we should say that we are not asking you who have already given to give more (unless the Holy Spirit prompts you), we are simply asking you to share our need with your friends, family and social networks.  You see an interesting event has just occurred about the same time we reached 50% of our funding, we also have reached about 100% saturation in our natural networks.  Just about everyone we know has been asked to partner with us in various ways.  Many of our family, friends and members of our social networks have given generously and many more have indicated that they will give soon.

Five simple ways you can help!

Please pray for us regularly.  We know of no missionary who can fulfill the call of God on their lives without people at home continually taking them before the throne room of grace on a daily basis.

Please speak about us to your family.  Take a moment and think about which of your family members would like to extend their ministry far beyond their current reach.  We have found that many people what to be apart of something with an eternal impact.  (Here is a downloadable bio to help facilitate your discussion)

Please speak about us to your friends.  Some of your friends would love the opportunity to invest in a good cause.  For motivation, consider the words of J. Stuart Holden, “‘Go ye’ is as much a part of Christ’s Gospel as ‘Come unto Me.’ You are not even a Christian until you have honestly faced your responsibility in regard to the carrying of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”  Help your friends honestly face their Christian responsibility.

Please speak about us (or invites us to speak) to your small group, Sunday School, Church or Bible Study.  Once again for motivation, consider the words of Nate Saint, missionary who was martyred in Ecuador, “People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.”  The bottom line is that the Christians you know need to be part of the Great Commission.

Please share us on your social networks.  You would be amazed how much a simple endorsement from you expands our reach.  When we post an update on our site just take the time to share it.

Can we count on you?  We absolutely need you help to keep our momentum going and to reach beyond our natural networks.  Thank you in advance!

Some Good News!

Here is some good news, when we reach 75% of our budget (only $21,000 more to go!) we have a generous donor who will partner with us for another $20,000.  So, in effect every dollar that is pledged to us between now and when we reach 75% has the effect of two dollars!  We are closer than it seems, with your help we can get there!

In His Grip,

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The Downings