Tag: Living Link

A Church Split

Few church failures are more harmful and painful than a church split.  When good Christians become so upset with each other that they forsake the basic rule of love and unity and opt insted for schisms and separation.  The history of the church is littered with such sad tales, but our future does not need to be.

Today’s post is about a different kind of church split.  A split not precipitated by pride or dissension but by location.  The Tonsupa church was built on a fault line.

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The Tonsupa church on a Wednesday night.  We had the privilege of sharing with them about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Disputes the long winded approach that Timothy took that evening, the children in attendance sat as quietly as the adults.
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This blurry photo shows the beginning of the church split.  It enters the church building at a back wall of a Sunday school classroom.
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The split travels through a wall, into the sanctuary.
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Then the split exits the church building near the pulpit.
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Here is a poorly lit panoramic shot of the split.
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What you can’t see in this picture is the split at Angelita’s feet.

Here are some pictures of the split right after the recent earthquake.  (Thanks to our friend Katia Salgado for the following  photos)

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The church building reborn.

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The church gathers to address the split.
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After a motivating sermon, the church got to work.
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Reduce, reuse, recycle.  The walls that are reusable are stacked up behind the old church site.  The floor bricks are taken up to use in the new church building.
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Everyone has a job, from young to old everyone lends a hand.
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Despite the church split, the church stands united.  The church building will be rebuilt, avoiding the active fault line, this time!

Our hearts are joined with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador!  We can’t  wait to worship with the Tonsupa church in their post-split building.

Blessings,

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The Downings

(If you would like to partner with our ministry please click here.  We are in need f a few more living link partners!)

Praying Over Quito

Quito is everything.  It is exceedingly polite and crass, eerily quiet and loud.  It boasts an astonishing beauty tempered by a kind of raw ugliness.  Quito has a magnificent and maleficent history.  Some Quito residents possess breathtaking wealth (yet they can’t flush their toilet paper), 83% of residents report that all they possess are unsatisfied basic needs (which means they wish they had toilet paper not to flush).  The people sleep peacefully at the feet of five active volcanoes.

Our first Saturaday in Ecuador Tim, Esperanza, Elias and Timothy climbed Mt. Pichincha.  From the top we could see a breath taking view of Quito.

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The kids where so happy for the fast smooth ride on the Teleférico.  The Teleférico took us to an elevation of 13,300 ft. And Mt. Pichincha’s trailhead.
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One of the most precious times during this trip was seeing our kids pray over the city.  They range in age and maturity but they each had the ear of our Heavenly Father as they prayed over the city below.

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Quito extends beyond our eyesight even at 13,300 ft.
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We took a break from walking for about 20 minutes.  Notice the happiness on Esperanza’s face!  She finally had opportunity to live her life long dream of horseback riding.
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Quito extends beyond the reach of our eyes even at 13,600 feet!
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Elias is the only three year old we know who has happily walked at 14,000 feet.  He is a tough little minion!
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Esperanza would prefer to be on a horse, Tim would prefer to move quicker, and Elias is just happy to be included on this adventure.
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Quito at night.  Please join us in prayer for the city which will become our home!

A quick confession: we had every intention to post about our Ecuador trip as the adventure unfolded, however we blinked and it was over.  We have wonderful ministry experiences to share.  We also have some amazing stories and some family adventures to share.  All coming over the next few weeks.

In His grip,

The Downings

(To join our partnership team please click here.  We appreciate your ongoing support!)

Two Rivers: Gloria’s Story

In the seventh chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus invites all who are thirsty to come to him and drink and he promises that everyone who accepts his invitation will see rivers of life flowing from them. Today we invite you to listen to a story of two rivers recently recorded in Wisconsin.

Gloria’s story is certainly encouraging.  Even more encouraging; there are many more people who could have stories like Gloria’s, if the waters from the river of life reach them in time.

Friends, the fresh life-giving water of the Gospel is free for all to take.  Will you make a commitment to help us reach people with this living water?  We have now raised 94% of our living link budget and we desperately need your help to raise the rest.  Currently we need $4762.00 in new living link pledges to reach 100% of our budget, (a pledge is a commitment to give a set amount of money to this ministry monthly or yearly).  We are so close, would you consider giving by clicking here?  Until we are funded to go we will be faithfully carrying living water to everyone we meet here.  We invite you to do the same.

In His Grip,

The Downings

Friday Update

We have good news!  We now have 61% of our Living Link budget raised!  In case you have not heard, when we reach 75% of our budget a generous donor who will partner with us for another $20,000. So, in effect every dollar that is pledged to our ministry between now and when we reach 75% has the power of two dollars! With your help we can get there!  As of now we need only need $11,500 in new pledges to reach 75%.  Please take some time and consider if you will join us as we move forward to Ecuador.  If you are interested in partnering with us or giving us an one time donation click on our family photo below and you will be taken to our donation page.

In His grip,

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The Downings

Something Old, Something New

We are excited to be speaking at Timothy’s home church the Breiel Blvd Church of God this weekend.  We will be continuing in a series called Encounters With Jesus.  It is our honor to speak about Saul of Tarshish and his Jesus encounter.  As Timothy was going through his previous work on the subject he found this sermon titled Paul Unvarnished which was delivered to the Hillside Ave. Church of God.  To understand why we enjoyed our ministry to this fine group of Christians listen to the testimonies at the end of the sermon.

The direction of this weekend’s sermon is much different than the one delivered to Hillside.  We will be examining how we receive the mission of Christ when we encounter Him.  Services start at 10:45 and the Breiel Church is located at 2000 N. Breiel Blvd in Middletown, Ohio.  If you are in the area we would love to see you there!

In His Grip,

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The Downings

(If you would like to become a Living Link Partner with us just click on the family photo above!)

(Click here to check out a Bible Study Timothy wrote about the writings of Paul)

The Big Secret That All World Changers Share

We recently read a very good interview with Debbie Taylor from the Church of God Global Missions office.  We think one particular question and answer needs to be amplified.  Here is a quick explanation of the Living Link Partnership Network we are currently building.

Not everyone is familiar with how Church of God Ministries functions. What is Living Link and how do you keep it going?

Debbie: Living Link is the financial support ministry of Global Missions that gives both churches and individuals the opportunity to be involved in the Great Commission through partnerships with our missionaries. Relationships are key, and partnerships are essential, to accomplishing kingdom work beyond the borders. My role, as the liaison between the missionary and local churches and individuals, is in facilitating the connection with the missionary, and keeping our partners updated on their investment through missionary newsletters and videos. I assist the missionaries as they raise funds and keep them updated on their progress. We trust God to supply the need, and he is faithful to do this through our wonderful partners in ministry. It takes a team!  (you can read the complete interview here.)

We agree, relationships are key to what we are called to do!  In fact relationships are the secret power that all effective world changers draw upon.  If you would like to partner with us to bring the life changing Gospel to Ecuador you can do so by clicking here or calling Debbie Taylor at 1-800-848-2464, ext. 2129.

We look forward to partnering with you!

In His Grip,

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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

50%, Celebrate With Us!

The best kind of pie chart, a blackberry pie chart!
The best kind of pie chart, a blackberry pie chart!

We have exciting news, we now have over 50% of our budget raised!  We are halfway to our mission field and we want to thank everyone who have partnered with us and extended your love to us and to Ecuador.  If you have been waiting to partner with us we invited you to help keep our momentum going (by clicking here).  Our next goal is to be at 75% before May 17th (Angelita’s birthday).

More about our next goal latter but for now celebrate with us, pray for us and when we post next we will share with you a simple way you can help us.

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Can’t we just drive to Ecuador?

In His grip,

The Downings

 

Listening And Hearing

 “It will not do to say that you have no special call to go.  With the command of Christ to go and preach the gospel, you need rather to ascertain if you have a special call to stay at home.”

-Hudson Taylor

One of the many questions that we are commonly asked along our mission path is: “How do you know you are called to go to Ecuador?”  People tend to ask the question in different ways such as: “Aren’t there enough people in the U.S. that need help?  Why are you going there?” or “How do you separate desire from calling?”  We get the sense the most people are genuinely trying to understand how we are so certain of God’s calling and perhaps how they too can be certain as well.  In the short video below Timothy addresses the issue of God’s calling in our lives.

One more truth about the specific calling of God that Timothy did not cover in the video has to do with the context of an individual call.  The community of Christ is always the context of our individual callings.  That is not to say that all of our callings are directed toward other believers but that the community of Christ comes alongside of our individual calling and together we accomplish God’s will.

If you would like to join with us to accomplish God’s will in our lives you can join our living link network by clicking here.  We need our church community to rally around us as we seek after the great calling of our God!

 

God bless, may you hear Him clearly and follow Him closely,

The Downings

Another Exciting Announcement!

32% Keep the momentum going!

Last week our family celebrated what seemed to us to be an impossible achievement.  We had reached 25% of our Living Link partnership budget.  To put this into perspective we had spoken at various churches since Last Easter every Sunday, (with the exception of four), in order to reach 25% of our budget.  Today we are ecstatic to announce another major milestone in our effort to serve Christ in Ecuador.  But first some significant statistics with a common number, a clue to our big announcement.

32% of the world’s population are Christians.

32% of Americans think that the rise of Isis signals the end times.

32% of Muslims living in the UK believe it is righteous to kill in the name of Islam.

32% of American households hold to a budget.

32% of Americans are nonreligious.

32% of Ecuadorian women living in the USA are single mothers.

32% of Ecuadorians make their living farming.

And we are now at 32% of our Living Link partnership budget!

Why is this such big news for us?  For several reasons.  When we reached 25% of our budget the long held dream of serving Christ in Ecuador began to materialize.  Now that we are at 32% we are beginning to make lists of possessions we need to liquidate before we leave.   (Anyone want to buy an old house or old pickup truck?)  Another reason for our exuberance has to do with benchmarks.  As a Church of God missionary, we are given benchmarks to meet as we raise our funds.  Our first benchmark is coming up early next year.  We are within striking distance of meeting our looming February benchmark of raising 50% of our budget.  We are excited about where we are but we desperately need your help to get to where we need to be.  Have you considered partnering with us?  How about an end of the year gift?  Together we can serve Christ both here and to the “ends of the earth!”

A quick and easy way to partner with us is to visit the Church of God missions website by clicking here.  Another way to partner with us is by calling Debbie Taylor at 1-800-848-2464 ext. 2185, she will be happy to answer any questions that you might have.

Thank you and God bless,

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The Downings