Tag: Worship


We tried something different and…. it was a success!35F815A9-755D-42C2-A278-F22816FA7E29

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.

Pastor Rodrigo teaching Christian Ethics.
Pastor Luis teaching Homiletics.
Pastor Jorge teaching Life Stewardship.
Pastor Paula teaching Hermeneutics.
Pastor Patricio Teaching Evangelism.
Pastor Pol teaching the Book of John
Pastor Katita Preaching.
Sister (future Pastor?) Veronica sharing during worship.
Pastor Delia Praying before her Focus on Tonsupa class.

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!

Our students this year!

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!

Pastor Jorge Palacio from Pennsylvania helped expand our class options by teaching Leadership Development.

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!

This year we were blessed to host visiting Missionary Abby Torgeson teaching Biblical Sexuality.

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!

Doctor Eric and Doctor Bonnie Newell helping attract new students by co-teaching Christian Education.

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.

The students are eager to employ their new 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!

Pastor Paula and Pastor Delia both taught and studied in this year at the Seminary intensive!

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!

Young Church leaders preparing for Christian service!

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,4DDAB047-130A-45DD-8E15-8CA9B1EE26D6    The Downings,

(also pictured, Bonnie and Eric Newell, and Abby Torgeson)

Timothy And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Good(?), Day

An early morning call awoke part of the Downing family last Sunday.  It was one of those calls that you don’t really want to receive.  It was Granny (Timothy’s mother) and she spoke in a very worried tone.  “I need to take Grandpa to the hospital you need to get here as soon as possible.”  The reason we needed to get there as soon as possible was that all of our boys (2 years old, 3 years old, and 13 years old) were visiting their Grandparents.  As well as our boys behave (cough, cough) and as good as our boys are (total loss of composure) Granny had no interest in taking them to the ER with Grandpa.  In the bleak midwinter darkness Timothy fumbled around getting dressed and finding his keys, he paused briefly at the door, looked out over the snowy landscape and threw the snow shovel in the back seat.  What followed is best told in Timothy’s own words.

I raced to my kids who were by this time left alone at Granny and Grandpa’s house.  My eldest had been awakened and informed that he needed to watch the other two until I arrived.  The car’s engine was racing and my mind was turning just as fast.  What if my Dad was in real trouble?  How will my Mom deal with this?  How will my kids deal with this?  How will I deal with this?  What if my younger sons are awake and crying, will my eldest son act wisely and maturely?  What if that police officer I just passed wants to catch a speeder this Sunday morning?

I shaved a significant amount of time off of the hour it usually takes to get to Mom and Dad’s house.  When I arrived I found a quiet serine house with three children sleeping in a common bed.  As I gazed into the innocent sleeping faces of my sons I could not help but contrast their serenity with my inward turmoil.  Undercutting the peace I found in the house was the uncertainty of my Dad’s situation.  At that moment I decided to shield my kids form the maelstrom of emotion I was experiencing.  I made a quick breakfast for the kids and woke them up so that they could get ready for church.  We kept the schedule that they were expecting, only instead of Granny and Grandpa’s laid back approach the kids would have to deal with Daddy’s fast paced manner.  We arrived at church in time for Sunday School, then we enjoyed worship.

After church we hurried back to Mom and Dad’s house just in time to meet them in the driveway.  Of all the possible outcomes of Dad’s health scare the actual diagnosis was the best possible diagnosis.  Nothing life threatening, just something uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Latter that day I decided to load up some fire wood before driving my kids home.  I could not load much because I brought the family car.  What happened next happened fast, almost like a slap-stick comedy.  I slipped in the snow and busted my knees on the way to the car.  Then I drove the car off of the driveway and into a tree.  That was right before spraining my back by picking up too much firewood at once, crushing my fingers in the car door and cracking my head after falling down during my attempt to dig the car out of the snow bank that I had managed to lodge it in.  All of this happened shortly before the excitement of a “controlled” slide down my parents steep snow covered driveway.

Then it began to rain (apparently the front end of a winter ice storm).  As I drove home with all of the early morning drama and late afternoon slap-stick in my rear view mirror I noticed something else in my mirror…red and blue lights.  Thankfully I received no ticked, just a friendly reminder to slow down on the icy roads.

The day defiantly took me to the depths of emotional uncertainty and irritation but over all it was a very good day.  It was a good day because at the height of my concern (dare I say worry) over my father’s condition I heard my friend Rev. Wesley Duff give a sermon the helped me put my concern into perspective and eliminate my worry.  It was a good day because even during the slap-stick phase of the day or the red and blue lights portion of the day the words of worship spoken by Rev. Dan Schaub echoed in my mind and the morning’s songs of worship provided for me the soundtrack that overcame the rest of the day.

It has always amazed me how a good dose of worship cures the ills of the day.

Of course, as uplifting, meaningful and healing as a worship service can be there is a different approach to the practice of worship that develops a particularly Christ-like demeanor.  When we view our work and play as an act of worship we establish a lifestyle of worship which adds a deep sense of purpose to our life.  Now even mundane tasks become infused with meaning because they are and act of worship.  It is this kind of worship that we hope to instill in the lives of our kids.

May your worship shine before all people everywhere!

In His Grip,


The Downings


Bonus missionary exercise: Our first year on the mission field will be spent at a language school geared to missionary families in Coasta Rica.  There we will learn how to assimilate into a Latin American culture, and we will intensively study Spanish.  We will have a radical change in our lifestyle, for the first time we will have no car and space at our apartment will be very limited.  We have told the kids that each of them will need to fit everything necessary for life in one suitcase.  Here is the exercise, look through your house, find what you think is necessary to live in Coasta Rica for a year.  Now try to fit it all in one suitcase.  Can you do it?  Our kids can!

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