Our churches are wonderful! Each one is unique in the challenges they face and the people that they reach. The Tonsupa Church is located near the town of Tonsupa in the Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador.
Right now the province of Esmeraldas is experiencing much drug related violence. The church courageously ministers in the face of this violence. There is also a large number of brothels in and near Tonsupa. The church faithfully serves Christ in this difficult environment.
The people make their living on the sea, in the tourism industry, or by farming. They work hard, and enjoy newness of life in Christ!
Will you join us in praying for our brothers and sisters here? Please pray for them as they shine the light of Christ in this difficult place. Together we can make a difference!
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
With much love, The Downings
We are always amazed by the generosity of our supporters! We know that many of you are actively looking for opportunities to make a positive difference in this world. Many of you have asked about needs in our ministry here in Ecuador. With that in mind we want to introduce Jean to you.
Jean is one of our Children of Promise kids who are currently waiting for a sponsor. He lives in a small costal town and is an active member of the church there.
Jean is in 7th grade and his favorite subjects are Math and Natural Science. He has one brother and one sister and along with them he lives with his Mom and Dad in a three room house made of cement and zinc roofing. There is water, electricity, and a latrine at the house. Assistance is needed for Jean’s school fees and basic necessities.
Jean has a bright future and we invite you, your family, your Sunday school, your small group or your church to become part of his life.
For just $38 dollars a month you can partner with Jean through Children of Promise and our ministry. You can help mentor him through your letters and your monthly donation will help him succeed educationally.
Will you help this young man? Please click here for more information.
We would love to wrap Jean up in a big hug from you and inform him of your sponsorship!
Together we can make a difference, the Downings
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.
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!
With much love, The Downings,
(also pictured, Bonnie and Eric Newell, and Abby Torgeson)
This is part confession part praise.
I (Timothy) just spent five days in Tonsupa to nail down some details for our upcoming Seminary intensive week. As I arrived in Tonsupa I had in mind many problems that needed solutions before I returned to my family in Quito. How will we feed our students? Where will they sleep? What about transportation? Can I really expect my students to focus on classes in such a tropical environment? Where is the nearest hospital? What items will we need from the Seminary building? How will we transport them to the Tonsupa church? What about security? These were just a few of the questions that were swimming around my mind.
I arrived with a plan, a good plan, a plan that had our budget and other constraints in mind. A visionary plan. And God smiled.
As I began explaining my plan to the pastor of the Tonsupa Church she listened and finally asked one simple question. “Have you considered our local Christian campgrounds?” I had not even known about thier local Christian campgrounds. After a few moments of discussion we found ourselves in my car to visit the campgrounds. What we found was a fully equipped and perfect place to house our students and hold our classes. The long list of problems melted away in the tropical heat!
I am very greatful to Brother Patricio, Sister Irma, Sister Deila, and Sister Susana for their help and guidance. Without their input I would have never seen God’s plan becuase my view would have been blocked by the details of my own plan!
I can’t help but smirk at myself and my plans sometimes. Christ is the head of the Church, he makes the plans my job is to listen and then engage His perfect plan.
May you see Christ clearly so that you can follow Him closely,
To participate in training Pastors and Leadrs by donating to our Seminary fund click here!
Y Dios sonrió.
Esto es en parte parte de la confesión de alabanza.
Yo (Timoteo) acabo de pasar cinco días en Tonsupa para precisar algunos detalles para nuestra próxima semana intensiva de seminario. Cuando llegué a Tonsupa, tenía en mente muchos problemas que necesitaban soluciones antes de regresar a mi familia en Quito. ¿Cómo alimentaremos a nuestros estudiantes? ¿Dónde van a dormir? ¿Qué pasa con el transporte? ¿Realmente puedo esperar que mis alumnos se centren en clases en un ambiente tropical? ¿Dónde está el hospital más cercano? ¿Qué elementos necesitaremos del edificio del Seminario? ¿Cómo los transportaremos a la iglesia Tonsupa? ¿Qué hay de la seguridad? Estas fueron solo algunas de las preguntas que nadaban en mi mente.
Llegué con un plan, un buen plan, un plan que tenía en mente nuestro presupuesto y otras limitaciones. Un plan visionario. Y Dios sonrió.
Cuando comencé a explicar mi plan al pastor de la Iglesia de Tonsupa, ella escuchó y finalmente hizo una pregunta simple. “¿Has considerado nuestros campamentos Cristianos locales?” Ni siquiera había sabido sobre sus campamentos Cristianos locales. Después de unos momentos de discusión, nos encontramos en mi automóvil para visitar los campamentos. Lo que encontramos fue un lugar totalmente equipado y perfecto para alojar a nuestros estudiantes y realizar nuestras clases. ¡La larga lista de problemas se derritió en el calor tropical!
Le agradezco mucho al Hermano Patricio, a la Hermana Irma, a la Hermana Deila y a la Hermana Susana por su ayuda y guía. Sin su aporte, nunca hubiera visto el plan de Dios, porque mi punto de vista habría sido bloqueado por los detalles de mi propio plan.
No puedo evitar sonreírme a mí misma y a mis planes a veces. Cristo es el jefe de la Iglesia, él hace los planes de mi trabajo es escuchar y luego comprometerse con su plan perfecto.
Que veas a Cristo claramente para que puedas seguirlo de cerca,
Para apoyar a nuestros Pastores y Líderes de la Iglesia mediante la donación a nuestro fondo del Seminario, ¡haga clic aquí!
This year we began the process of reimagining the training program that serves the Church of God in Ecuador. We spent the previous year listening to many students currently in the Seminisry program, church leaders and Pastors. We listened to their ideas, their concerns, their hopes, dreams and needs. We were blessed to be able to fashion many of their ideas into a plan for the future.
There is a grand plan for the future of the Seminary program and this year is the first step. This year we begin a biennial approach as to where the anual Seminary intensive week will be held. Every other year the intensive week will be offered at a church away from the Seminary building in Quito.
Our goal is to include more students in our intensive training by making classes more accessible in their local. We also hope to expose all Seminary students to each unique work of the Ecuadorian Church of God. We hope to inspire our next generation of Pastors, Church planters, and Leaders by aquainting them with the larger work of Christ in their own country.
By moving the seminary intensive week biennially we will be able to include students who have not traditionally been able to attend classes in Quito. We will also be able to bring a greater sense of unity within the Church of God by introducing our students to the context of ministry in their sister congregations. This biennial approach will also help begin the process of Seminary shared leadership. Historically the Seminary program has been in the hands of the missionary, self contained in Quito and given to the Church, this biennial approach will allow for more particapation of Ecuadorian leadership with the ultimate goal of building a board of directors to carry out the ministry of the Seminary through the church.
This year we are happy to offer the Seminary intensive week hosted by the Tonsupa Church. In addition to the change of location here are some other changes we will experience this year.
• In the morning we will offer a writing clinic for students who are interested in becoming writers. We will cover the topics of how to begin, how to research, how to edit, and how to self-publish.
• Because our intent is to include as many local students as possible we will begin our classes after lunch which will allow those who need to work the opportunity to study as well.
• We will offer more classes and give the students the opportunity to choose between classes offered during the same time slot. This will create a greater passion for the classes chosen and smaller class sizes.
• We will have Respected Ecuadorian Pastors as our professors (along with additional visiting professors as well).
• We will offer beginners classes and advanced classes.
• This year’s visiting professors are Reverend Jorge Palacios, Abby Torgeson and Doctors Eric and Bonnie Newell.
Would you pray with us as we take this first step into the future of our Seminary ministry?
With much love,The Downings
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!
Then we ate together!
A Church that plays together stays together!
Friends, as always we want to communicate to you how joyful we are to be an extension of your ministry in Ecuador. We know that some of you who are avid readers of our updates will someday visit us, but for those who will not have that opportunity we are blessed to be your hands and feet here in Ecuador. If you are already a prayer supporter and you keep up with our posts and you would like to help us financially please click here. We just received our updated budget from Global Strategy and we need several additional supporters to keep us on the field. Would you please consider supporting us at $15, $25, $50 or $75 per month? Your help is greatly needed and appreciated.
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.
Here are some pictures of the split right after the recent earthquake. (Thanks to our friend Katia Salgado for the following photos)
The church building reborn.
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.
(If you would like to partner with our ministry please click here. We are in need f a few more living link partners!)