Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
We are sent with a purpose and mission far greater than we ever plan or imagine. Jesus sends us on a mission which echoes his own. But missionary work is not reserved for a few pioneering Christians, Jesus sends all of His followers on His mission. It is true that not all of us move to distant lands, learn new languages and inter into new cultures but all of us are sent. We are sent into the mission of Christ and with Peace we reach the world around us.
Some question why many missionaries go to places from which they are unlikely to return. We go because we have peace. Peace in life, peace in death, peace in eternity, peace in calling. We go because we are clearly called into a specific mission. This calling paired with the Peace that Jesus gives overshadows danger, problems, roadblocks and everything else that might keep the missionary from the mission. Like a moth drawn to a flame a firmly called missionary must work within their Divine calling. Calling matters more than finances, perpetration, missionary organizations, safety, health and the like. It is a grace of God that along with mission, He also give peace so that we may focus on our calling, not on anything else that demands our attention.
May we go forward in the certitude of a clear calling and a profound sense of Divine peace.
It should be clear that all these theologians believe in the same gospel; that the first priority of the church is to take the gospel to all men everywhere; that man’s eternal destiny is involved; and that the task of the church is an urgent one.
Urgency for the central truth and mission of the Church is the mark of a Christian who has adopted the same passions as our Lord.
This week we had the privilege of visiting with our Brothers and Sisters in Tonsupa. There are two works of the Church of God near Tonsupa. One is the Church whose building was destroyed during a very large earthquake in 2016. We had the honor of joining them for a baptism service. The following video gives a good look at the temporary Church building and the Church in a bus waiting to go to the Esmeraldas river for a baptism service.
The other work is a Children’s outreach in nearby Piedra Fina (fine rocks). We taught the youth group on their Saturday meeting at Piedra Fina. We spoke about the Baptism of Jesus. We muddled our way through our Spanish language lesson but we were blessed for having the opportunity. (Are you looking for a way to pray for us specifically? You can pray for our language learning. We need to speak better Spanish).
After our class time with the young people at Piedra Fina we had the opportunity to spend some good quality time with Pastor Deila and Sister Susana. Pastor Deila is a dear Sister in Christ whom we have admired over the years from afar. We are now very excited to admire her from up close! Later on Saturday we drove to the beachfront in nearby Atacames to find a place to eat dinner. Many people have asked us about driving in Ecuador so here is a video of a short typical city drive. The highways are better but have different obstacles. We will post some more diving videos in future updates for those who are interested. The next day we met the Church at their temporary building and traveled to the Esmeraldas river for a Baptism service. Timothy was asked to officiate the Baptisms because the Brothers being Baptized were too big for Pastor Deila to handle. The Baptism day lasted around four hours and included a worship service, much prayer, Baptisms, fun, food, and friends.
The worship service was beautiful in every way. One of Timothy’s Seminary students preached and she gave a fantastic sermon!
The Church gave us tunics and invited us to the river.
The Baptism of Marco Sr.
The Baptism of Marco Jr. This year Marco Jr. will attend his first year of Seminary.
The Baptism of Abraham. You might recognize him from earlier pictures at Piedra Fina.
After the Baptisms the Church began to play together!
This week we had the honor of visiting with our brothers and sisters in the Sucumbios Province. The Sucumbios Province is located in the Oriente and borders both Colombia and Peru. It is a jungle Province. We were delighted to be able to visit both the Lumbaqui and the Amazones Churches.
The Lumbaqui Church.
The Amazones Church.
We loved meeting the Children of Promise in Lumbaqui. (If you would like to support a child here in Ecuador please call the Children of Promise office at 1.765.648.2190 and ask for information about kids in Ecuador).
The purpose of our recent trips is multifaceted. We need to spend quality time with our Pastors and church leaders to get to know them and their families. We also want to meet as many of our Children of Promise kids as possible we want to know them and pray for them. It is important for us to enter into the lives of our new friends on their terms and in their context. During this trip we had a wonderful opportunity to spend much time with the pastor and many of the leaders in the two churches. We were even taken to into the Jungle to experience some fun with our brothers and sisters.
One aspect of our journeys that we should share is the road there. Driving can get mundane but in Ecuador driving requires hyper awareness. You never know when you might encounter a bus passing another bus on a blind mountain curve or a damaged road or a pedestrian. This trip went well we only had to stop at one police check point!
We were blessed beyond measure during our visit to the jungle the hospitality and love we experienced provides for a firm foundation for lasting relationships.
Once again we are proud to be Christ’s hands and feet here in Ecuador. If you would like to learn more about us or join our support team please click here.
We are wrapping up our missionary training this week at the h.e.a.r.t. village in Lake Wales, Florida. We will update you as soon as we can but in the meantime please enjoy the seventh session in the series The Commands of Christ.
What does Jesus teach about divorce? What about church leadership? How did he teach us to treat the poor?
In His Grip,
(Friends, our fundraising window is closing fast. If you have thought about supporting us please do so today by clicking our our family photo. Thank you in advance.)
I am willing to go anywhere, at anytime, to do anything for Jesus. -Luther Wishard
These words flowed from the lips of Luther Wishard in 1878 as he gave himself over to the mission of Christ. As he leaned up against the Haystack Prayer Meeting monument in Williamstown, Massachusetts he prayed, “Lord, do it again. Where water once flowed, let it flow again.” History informed his prayer. Years earlier in 1806 five students from near by Williams College met in that very spot to pray and discuss the spiritual needs of the people of Asia. The students had met in Sloan’s meadow and were in mid-discussion when a thunderstorm interrupted their meeting and caused them to seek shelter inside of one the haystacks that doted the meadow. While the students enjoyed their shelter, their discussion faded and they began to pray intensely for the people of Asia. The rain eventually dissipated but a river began to flow that day. A great missionary river of prayer, people and resources began to flow into foreign lands. Today, many scholars call the Haystack Prayer Meeting a seminal moment for American missions.
When Luther prayed God did indeed answer. Luther became the first full time staff member of a new ministry called the Young Christian Men’s Association. His mission field was not on foreign soil but the streets of large urban areas in his own country.
God is calling. Will you be willing to go anywhere, at anytime, and do anything for Jesus? Our family prayer is that we would see Christ clearly and follow him closely. We are willing to give up here, right now and follow Christ to Ecuador. Will you seek him today? He may be calling you to follow him into foreign lands, or he may be calling to you to follow him into the familiar surroundings of your homeland. It is not a matter of if he is calling, it is a matter of if you will follow him.
May you see Christ clearly and may you follow him closely!
In His Grip,
(If you would like to partner with us in our calling simply click on the family photo above and you will be taken to our donation page.)
It is good to have an advocate! A friendly face in the room, a supporter can make a huge difference in the way a message is received by a crowd. In eternal terms you and I can stand before God in his throne room of grace solely because Jesus is our advocate. In spiritual terms we are called to be an advocate, to stand in the gap, for a lost and dying world. In physical terms we are to advocate for the chained and downtrodden, for it is among the “least of these” that we glimpse the glorious face of our Savior. We live and move secure in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our advocate.
Recently Timothy was speaking with a pastor about partnering with our ministry. During the conversation an advocate for our ministry interjected the importance of churches providing financial support. That one interjection turned the conversation and we now are proud partners with the pastor and his church.
This is a call to all of our supporters, those of you who believe in our ministry and want to help us in our search for living link partners (living link partners are monthly financial supporters). We want to engage you as our advocates. Here are five ways you can advocate for us.
One. Pray! Please advocate for us before our loving God. He knows who He has prepared to partner with us as we follow His calling in our lives. Please continue to pray for His guidance.
Two. Share! It comes quite natural to us to share what we like with others. Our social networks are full of recommendations for favorite restaurants, recipes, movies, music, and sports teams. We ask that you share our posts, pictures, information and news with your social network. Your voice is powerful; please introduce us to your listeners. If you are wondering what to start sharing here are a couple good links: ourmissionpath.com/about/Our video
Three. Write! Would you consider drafting a letter of introduction and sending it to some of your friends? A letter from a friend is always read. We ask that you include why you support us and our contact information. Again your voice is powerful!
Four. Host! Please consider hosting a get together for us. Invite your friends and have us share with them the mission God has laid on our hearts. If you will provide the venue and your friends we will provide refreshments and good conversation.
Five. Partner! We ask that you become a living link partner with us. We are asking you who believe in us and in the mission we are on to advocate for us financially. No amount is too big or small. We simply ask that you let God lead you, then go to this link: Support the Downings and partner with us in God’s glorious work!
We thank you for your advocacy in advance and we can’t wait to see what happens through your voice!
One of the greatest pleasures of parenthood is to see your children launch. As time passes they launch in increasingly significant ways. A few years ago our eldest son Timothy was privileged to tag along with his dad on a teaching trip to Ecuador. This year he is going on his first work camp. This short term mission trip will be with his grandparents and members of the Breiel Boulevard Church of God at the Roma Lee Courvisier School run by Ken Byron and the Latin American Children’s Fund. (You can check it out here: http://latinamericanchildrensfund.org). We are very proud of Timothy as he goes off on his own mission path!
A place of love is hard to find in this world but when we do find such a place we always have a deep desire to return there. This week as we travel our mission path we have the privilege of speaking in such a place. We will be speaking at the Newton Falls First Church of God on Saturday, May 17th and on Sunday May 18th. On the 17th we will be speaking to the children’s and youth ministry then we will have dinner together. Our goal is to help engage the young people in Christ’s mission. We are so happy to be speaking with the church of now. On Sunday we will be speaking in adult and children’s Sunday School classes then Timothy will speak in the worship service, following the service we will have dinner together. The Sunday morning festivities begin with a meet and greet at 9:00 (with coffee and doughnuts), Sunday School at 9:30 and the worship service at 10:50. If you are in the area of Newton Falls, be sure to meet us at 426 W. Broad St. We look forward to seeing you there!