With much love, The Downings
With much love, The Downings
We had two wonderful experiences recently.
We had the joy of worshiping with a new church plant in La Pradera. The church is a work born of the heart of the Rodriguez sisters, some of our pioneering church planters in the Ecuadorian Church of God. This dedicated family definitely has a missionary vision for their country. They have tirelessly worked to establish the gospel in several places.
La Pradera is a new neighborhood north of the El Caldron section of Quito. The church is located on the street named Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus of Grand Power), an apt name for a church address. Please pray with us as this new work shines the Gospel light in this neighborhood. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
We were impressed that this work included the children in every aspect of the service. The church was very warm and welcoming.
Timothy had the honor of preaching over a section in 1John. By an act of the Holy Spirit one of the church leaders read a section of Proverbs during the opening of the worship service that prepared everyone’s heart for the sermon God had given to Timothy.
After church we had the opportunity to travel across town and eat with brother Alejandro Choez and his family. Brother Choez used to serve as the pastor at the Santa Clara Church. Pastor Choez and the Santa Clara Church played a significant role in forming our thoughts and feelings about Ecuador. One of Timothy’s first mission trips to Ecuador was to the Santa Clara church. He joined with a church group from Greenville Tennessee lead by Sister Roma Lee and helped with a construction project on the lower level of the church building. It was a great encouragement to relive some of our shared memories.
One of the great joys of ministry in Ecuador is the encouragement we both give and receive as we walk alongside our brothers and sisters here on the Equator
with much love, The Downings
During our recent Caring Partners International medical mission trip we had an unexpected connection with one of our visitors. Donna Cox and Timothy graduated from the same rural high school. They had both been educated at Preble Shawnee where the largest social club was the Future Farmers of America followed by 4H. Rural values and rural focus were the norms. It was in that rural crucible that God prepared both of them to help address big city problems. Timothy now lives in the greater Quito, Ecuador metropolis where he helps prepare pastors and church leaders to serve in that significant city and beyond. Donna, a licensed professional counselor with a private counseling practice in Dayton, Ohio spends much of her time in adult entertainment clubs ministering to the entertainers who work there. Far away from 4H presentations at the Preble County fair and the farm smells of the Preble Counthy Pork Festival both Donna and Timothy find themselves drawn to different big cities.
As we ate lunch one day during the CPI trip Donna approached us with an idea. She said: “I have an odd request. Can we tour Quito’s red light district today?” The request was a bit odd. But we soon found out that in addition to her own ministry interest in such places, a Sister from the Comite del Pueblo church has a passion for the same kind of ministry!
It was a pure joy to hear Donna and her Ecuadorian counterpart discuss the particular kind of ministry passion that they share. What an encouragement for our Sister to meet someone involved in the very ministry that God had laid on her heart!
We have a quick question for you in light of the common churchcentric view of ministry that is so prevalent today. Where are you going? Where is your church going? Biblically we really are called to go to all people everywhere not simply to invite some into our churches. Are you going? Your witness is very important in the place you live, in the places you feel comfortable, in the uncomfortable places and even to the ends of the Earth! Where are you going? To whom are you going?
Our encouragement for you today is to follow the incarnational ministry pattern of Jesus. Don’t play it safe, He didn’t. He surrounded himself with some of the most religious people but he also intentionally called people to himself in whom no one would expect the Holy One of God to have interest. Even among His closest followers, His Disciples He welcomed people who were natural enemies, a tax collector and a zealot alike. One thing that every follower of Christ has in common is our Savior the one thing that all people everywhere have in common is a need for our Savior.
If you are a follower of Christ you are privileged to have a godly treasure inside you. You also have a responsibility to give that treasure of God’s grace to those around you who have not yet experienced the love of God as you have. So, no matter if you find yourself in the animal barns of the Preble county fairgrounds in Eaton, Ohio, the dressing room of an adult entertainment club or anywhere in between, go unto all the world and share the Good news of Jesus Christ our Savior with everyone you meet!
To learn more about Donna’s ministry, One Heart, click here.
We live in a very photogenic country! In the busyness of missionary life we sometimes forget to share the photos that we have taken. Today we would like to share a fun time Elias, Ezequiel, Esperanza, Tim, and Timothy enjoyed on Mt. Pichincha.
We love living here for many reasons. We of course love the views and the experiences but more than anything we love the people!
We love ministering along side of our Ecuadorian Brothers and Sisters. It is not simply a job, or a calling, it is a pure joy! Many of you know that this joy does not preclude some amount of frustration. Our most recent frustration has to do with some paperwork which is required for our residency. We have asked our social media friends to pray about the situation. We were hoping to give a positive update on our prayer request in this post…but we can’t. The good news is that we also can’t give a negative update. What we can do is ask that you pray that we will have the strength and resources to overcome this mountainous paperwork issue.
It is truly by your prayers that we are able to continue along our mission path.
It seems like a lifetime since we last posted. We have had one intense month!
Before we tell you about Seminary week we want to share two experiences at two churches with which we are honored to partner.
Since we last wrote we had the opportunity to attend several churches, all of them are wonderful and loving. One of them, the Carapungo church, has made a significant inroad into their local school. The pastor’s wife, Lidia, has taken something that she had learned from a North American sister in Christ who has invested some time visiting and teaching the Ecuador church and given that teaching in an unlikely place.
On day Lidia listened to some of the kids in her church talk about a problem in their school. There were many students being abused by other students. Lidia’s heart broke for the students and she was moved to action. She approached a teacher she knew at the school and asked if she could share a powerful truth that had made a significant difference in her life with her class. She was invited and she shared some basic Christian teaching about the Christian ethic of individual value, fairness, and love. The students listened and the Gospel worked! Over the following weeks the teacher and school administration were so impressed with the change in lives of the students that they invited her to share with the entire school.
We are so proud of our sister who took what she learned from another and shared it with those in need. Her actions are a testimony of the effectiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We also had a wonderful experience with the Comite del Pueblo church. We arrived early to the church one Sunday with the intent of attending Sunday School. We were surprised to find that the church cancelled Sunday School once a month so that the people can walk the neighborhood around the church, meet people and pass out literature. Our family was privileged to walk alongside of our brothers and sisters through their neighborhood meeting people and sharing Christ.
The story continues in a wonderful way. A few weeks after we experienced this act of evangelism we had the opportunity to visit a hardware store near the church. Guess what we saw on the counter? The literature that was passed out a few weeks before! Written words have a way to staying around.
Every year the S.E.T.E. (the Church of God Seminary in Quito) offers a week long schedule of intensive classes. The preparation for this week is time consuming. This year we were able to offer five classes. A missionary working with the Bible League of Quito taught “The Church and The Community.” A local pastor taught “The Pentateuch.” And Timothy was privileged to teach “Leadership Development,” “Simple Doctrine,” and “Missiology.” We had 27 students, two translators and three professors.
We thank everyone who helped provide such a wonderful week of encouragement and learning.
Next year we plan to offer more classes and we will push for participation from 100% of our churches.
Would you or your pastor like the opportunity to participate in upcoming Seminary weeks? If so, click here and you will be directed to our Global Strategy page. Simply click on the email icon and we can begin our conversation about your participation.
We are privileged to work with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Ecuador. We are honored to partner with many churches and supporters from our home country. If you would like to help us by joining our support team we would love to partner with you! Please click here for our donation page.
With love from the equator,
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.
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,
(To join our partnership team please click here. We appreciate your ongoing support!)
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!
In His Grip,