Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa and fast in my behalf. Don’t eat and don’t drink for three days, night or day. My female attendants and I will also fast in the same way. Afterward I will go to the king, even though it violates the law. If I perish, I perish!”
Esther had a very important mission so she asked for God’s people to fast on her behalf. Every Christian has has a very important mission, the great commission! The importance of our commission demands serious fasting and prayer.
To find out more click the play button below.
If you haven’t heard the first three podcasts in this series here are the links!
The Word of God changes lives! How important is it to pray for your missionaries as they share God’s word? VERY IMPORTANT! Today’s ministry story is about your effective prayers in our ministry. We can’t do this without you and your prayers are very important in the success of our ministry.
Have you ever thought about the powerful impact your prayers have? Prayer is the life line of the missionary. When you partner with us in prayer you are truly walking along side of us through thick and thin.
One of the privileges of being a missionary is that we get to work alongside of so many dedicated people. The Jones family serves Christ in nearby Bolivia. We remember them speaking at the Capital Hill church of God in Oklahoma City when we were students at Mid-America Christian University. They have always inspired us as they serve Christ with passion.
Paul and Kattia serve alongside the national church through biblical and ministerial training of lay church leaders.
Today’s Together Tuesday is a continuation from yesterday’s cultural insight podcast. If you have not heard the podcast, no worries just click on the play button below to hear it.
To put the events in Ibarra into context here is a segment from a local news source:
In Ibarra, an ugly night. Immigrant women and children had to receive police protection when leaving the houses where they lived, after a mob surrounded them on Sunday night. A group of people, who had participated in a march against gender violence, entered a house inhabited by foreign citizens in the center of Ibarra. They took their belongings and burned them in the street. Afterwards, the group went to a municipal shelter, where poor immigrants spend the night, and tried to enter. But the police guarded the place. The protesters roamed the streets. The climate of tension forced several immigrants to leave the city, following the femicide of Diana Carolina Ramirez by a former partner who is a foreigner.
The violent reaction against immigrants came hours after President Moreno announced in a statement that he had arranged the formation of “brigades” to control the legal status of citizens of Venezuela on the streets, in the workplace and at the border. He said the government is analyzing the possibility of creating a special permit to enter the country. Critics say Moreno’s announcement opened the door for xenophobia. Ramiro García, president of the Pichincha Bar Association, called Moreno’s announcement “inadequate.” He added: “The problem is not the victimizer’s nationality, but the machismo that made him act like that. This legitimizes xenophobia.” One of the protesters who wanted Venezuelans out of the city said “It is not xenophobia, this we do to safeguard the safety of our families.”
We spent some time on Monday in Ibarra and spoke with a fellow missionary who works with Venezuelans in that Northern city. He told of the impact the recent riots and anti-Venezuelan violence has had on the people in his ministry. Currently the streets are empty of Venezuelan faces. Most have fled Ibarra due to the violence. Last week there were roaming gangs of people “hunting” Venezuelans. Some have hidden and are afraid even to flee. Our friend has spent much of his time helping the Venezuelans he knows to escape to Peru or Colombia. He is devastated by the violence.
In response to the violence more than 3,000 students, parents and teachers marched through the streets Thursday morning to ask for more security and say “no more xenophobia.” Sebastián Maya, president of the student government, said that after the death of Diana Carolina, students took the initiative to organize. The students traveled 13 blocks through the downtown streets until they reached the city’s train station. There, they gave the new governor of Imbabura, Galo Zamora, a document requesting the government ensure the safety of all residents. The governor made a commitment to show Ibarra is a city of peace.
We saw only three people the we could identify as Venezuelan in our travels. We saw two begging for food and one we met through our friend. We did see police in riot gear and several protests.
We ask that you pray for our missionary friend. (We have chosen not to identify him for the safety of his family.) We ask that you would pray for the Venezuelans who have been caught up in this terrible situation. Finally we ask you to pray that God will lead our church leaders into practical ways that we can help.
We tried something different and…. it was a success!
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.
Sister Delia Praying before her Focuse on Tonsupa class.
Veronica sharing during worship.
Pastor Patricio Teaching Evangelism.
Pastor Paula teaching Herminutics.
Pastor Jorge teaching Life Stewardship.
Pastor Luis teaching Homiletics.
Pastor Rodrigo teaching Christian Ethics.
Pastor Pol teaching the Book of John
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
People have been struggling to put pen to paper and define beauty for millennia. Consequently there are a plethora of eloquent and pithy quotations about the essence of beauty. Though our words might not be quotable or poetic what we have to share in this post is beauty personified.
This week we worshiped with our brothers and sisters in the Pisambilla Church.
Cayambe is on the equator! After Church we descended down the mountain and enjoyed some time on the equator. Elias even spent some time running around the world.
Blessings, The Downings
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Last week we were scheduled to leave our studies in Costa Rica for a four day Visa run, something we must do every 90 days in order to stay legal as we study Spanish. Due to the timing of this necessary trip we were very low on funds. We had enough for our hotel and transportation but we did not have enough money to eat. It may seem crazy to leave for another country with four kids and no way to feed them but we were scheduled to receive a small reimbursement one day into our trip so we preceded with confidence that everything would work out….and it did but not like we expected.
We checked our bank account at the Costa Rica-Panama border and found that due to an issue on our part the reimbursement was not deposited in our account. We were now out of the country with no money to feed our kids and a growing sense of panic. It is one thing for Angelita and I to go without food for the sake of the Gospel but we do try to shelter our kids from hardship the best we can, the situation was concerning at the least.
In our frailty we began thinking of the various fruit that naturally grows in Panama, and about fishing, and even about dumpster diving. We thought about sending out an emergency email, (our phone did not work in Panama so we could not make any calls), but decided it would sound like a scam and may potentially do more damage in the long run than it was worth. In the end Angelita and I set an eating priority where the youngest would be given the first fruits that we could scrounge up, the the older kids would get whatever was left over and most likely we would fast for three days. Again, in our frailty of thought we were preparing for the worst, but God was busy calling people into prayer on our behalf. He was preparing a blessing for us, and we hope by way of this testimony a blessing for you as well!
When we arrived at our hotel we checked our bank account again and found that the shuttle company that we had hired for our return trip inexplicably refunded our payment. We were overjoyed that we could eat during the trip but we where concerned that our return trip was now in jeopardy. We shot off an email to the shuttle company and questioned why they returned our payment and whether or not we still had seats in the shuttle. The response was that we were still scheduled for our return trip! The reason they refunded our money? They had overbooked the shuttle and our two youngest kids would have to sit on our laps, something they would probably do anyway.
“Trust in the Lord” “lean not on your own understanding” “He will make your paths straight” these words hold even deeper meaning to us now. If the Lord put us on your heart recently and you prayed for us, thank you! It is a beautiful portrait of the body of Christ, when our first thought was to worry your first action was to pray! You are such a blessing to us!
Timothy, Angelita, Timothy II., Esperanza, Ezequiel, and Elias
(To partner with us please click here we are actively looking for more ministry partners!)
We are at the heart village in Lake Wales, Florida training to be missionaries. Although we can not update you on our progress we would like to offer you the third session in The Commands of Christ series.
What did Jesus say about prayer and fasting? What are his commands concerning wealth and judgment of others? More importantly, are we living up to his commands?
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In His Grip,
(If you would like to join financially with us as we begin our ministry in Ecuador please click on the photo above.)