The rumor is that I’m a person who destroys churches, so let me explain.Read More
We were teaching in the village one day at this little shack shop and I was thinking to myself, “We come here every week and it’s always the same, I’m tired of this. I’m tired of teaching people and them not getting nor understanding it. I’m tired of Cambodians being too afraid to step out in faith and truly trust God. I’m tired of them being too scared to share their faith. I’m done just talking.”Read More
First ExpeditionRead More
Last month was the Cambodian new year, so we celebrated by going to Siem Reap and engaging in a massive waterfight for a few days. (Ok, actually we were there to have meetings and encourage one another and talk about future plans for our team in Cambodia, but the waterfight was a great bonus.) I used my new-to-me phone to capture some epic video of the waterfights.Read More
I’ve never had aspirations to teach, but Charles asked me to teach his eight Cambodian coministers for a week. It was weird at first teaching in Khmer for an hour an a half every day, but it became more natural with time. It’s hard to understand me, but there’s a couple guys who really get what I’m saying who are able to summarize it for everybody else.Read More
French and Chinese
After 3.5 months in the states it was finally time for me to go back to Cambodia.Read More
Ambassador of Christ
On December 27th, my sister Harmony brought forth her first son, Wolfgang Alexander Morgan. 9lbs, 3oz, delivered by her husband Reece.Read More
Smell of salvation
I finally finished language school and I got my first taste of what ministry will look like without having to get up every morning and do school first.Read More
Message From Bonnie
The InvitationRead More
Marlin tasked me with making a recruitment video for AMT to get people to Cambodia, so naturally I decided to make something as silly as possible to make Cambodia stand out from the other countries.Read More
The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, is a labyrinth of indistinct tall rundown buildings woven together by a network of dark alleys. If I really searched I could see patches of the sky but I was too occupied with avoiding traffic and potholes. There’s anti-conversion laws that are trying to suppress the gospel so things are a bit different. Nepal is 90% orthodox Hindu so it’s similar to India in that way.Read More
Khmer New Year
EDIT March 11th 2023: Wow, that was terrible, why did I ever do that? We all make mistakes, this is one I’ve grown from, but it caused a lot of destruction. I was lauded for it at the time before it all went south.
If you had to give up your sense of humor, your hobbies, your family, your favorite foods, and even your own native language, could you? I used to be afraid of losing all the things about me that I used to think were so important, but now I see they’re just superficial and not who I am.
The Apostle Paul says: “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23, ESV2011)
I don’t want people to look at me and see anything other than Christ, I don’t want people to look and say, “there’s another American,” or “that guy’s unique,” or “that guy is special.”
We’re not called to be ourselves, Jesus calls us to deny ourselves.
The body of Christ
I’m comprehending a lot more when listening in the language and am starting to read and write using the Khmer “alphabet.”
We’ve started teaching the kids in Kantuot and it’s great to see them excited about learning songs and memory verses about Jesus. I also appreciate that the vocabulary and grammar that Thanak uses when teaching them is more on my level and I can learn new words easier.
Because of travel restrictions we don’t have any expeditions of foreigners coming in to Cambodia to evangelize with us, however, this week a group of Cambodians from YWAM came to help us. They’re young and it’s cool to see Cambodians learning how to reach their own people with the gospel.
We had a “revival” day at Marlin and Sreyown’s house and our team in coordination with their team, preached to, worshipped with, and prayed for everyone that came. I heard it was great but I missed most of it because I had volunteered to teach the children. Some ministry partners and I took the kids to the field next to Marlin’s house and kept the kids busy.
It felt kinda funny that my Cambodian friends were looking to me to tell them what to do with the kids when I don’t really understand the culture or the language well enough to be able to do much on my own. But having helped Thanak before with the kids in Kantuot, I knew 2 songs in Khmer and taught the words and actions to the kids. Did I feel awkward and silly leading Cambodian children (and the adults who were helping me) in singing and dancing? Of course, but I think we did well. Since the songs were about Creation I asked for someone to share the story and so Nikah from YWAM gave a great message on it going from Adam and Eve and connecting it to Jesus and the cross; I was impressed by how attentive the kids were as she spoke. Then Sopoan taught them to recite Ephesians 6:1.
We played a lot of fun games. I picked some, had my partners pick some others. The kids taught us one where you have to jump over a rubberband rope (being tall and acrobatic it’s easy for me). You are allowed to touch the rope with your feet though, so a lot of little girls would do a backwards spinning jump kick to bring the rope down and cross it.
We also played soccer and I gave a lot of piggyback rides and flipped a lot of kids. We did some cartwheels and some handsprings and I wore myself out in the hot sun; it was good, I haven’t gotten that much exercise in a couple years. I’m a little stiff and a little red from sunburn and from putting out a very large brushfire the day before.
I could say some cliches about how important kids are, but it’s true. There’s nothing better than knowing Christ from a young age and being able to grow up knowing how loved you are. The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who will humble themselves like little children.
Overland Missions has overhauled some stuff on their website and now you can register an account online and track your donations and update your payment information there. Now you’ll only have to phone the office if you want to. It’s gonna reduce the load on our office staff and enable us to grow as an organization and take the gospel further.
We’re looking for land to build a base and that’s an exciting next step for our team as it grows. I made this page that talks about it and has a donation option.
My biggest regret is the time difference (I’m 13 hours ahead of Iowa) and my schedule and how difficult it is to keep in contact with you my friends, partners, and family. I would love to setup some timeslots where we can voice/video chat and catch up.
I miss you,
Tommy DownsRead More
Welcome to the Jungle
I finished level one of language school, everyone has been real impressed with my pronunciation thus far. Still don’t understand most things, but I can kinda tell what people are talking about and I understand real simple conversations.Read More
The real world
Holiday in Cambodia
Here I am at the World Headquarters yet
New Family Photo
I took a new family photo for my family a few weeks ago, and it’s the best one ever according to Reece.Read More
Trying to leave
Thank you friends, family, and partners. I’m now fully funded and getting started on the process of transitioning to being a career missionary. Some stuff coming up:
- 05-15: I’m having a going away party this Saturday at my house at 2pm, everyone is welcome.
- 05-24 We’re going to get a new family picture in a couple weeks that includes my new niece Charity Joy Morgan.
- In the next couple days I’m gonna start doing the paperwork to get a student visa entrance to Cambodia (if that fails I’ll go to Brazil or Zambia or somewhere for a bit, but we’re hopeful that I’ll get to Cambodia.) By sometime next month I hope to be on the foreign field. I have a fellow laborer who is also leaving for Cambodia around the same time, so we might coordinate that a little.
So last month in January my whole family (sans Hopper and Grandpa) went to Florida for the Overland Missions conference. We got to meet a lot of other missionaries and heard some great testimonies of how God is moving in the nations. I even got to volunteer to do both cleaning and security for the 4 day event.Read More
It feels so fake to only be thankful because a holiday tells us to, but I think any excuse to be thankful is a good excuse. Look at the apostle Paul, there wasn’t enough suffering in this world for him to even compare to the glory of Christ in him.Read More
I am humbled by the people behind me; by the people praying, by the people funding, by the people that trust me to go into all the world to preach, disciple, and serve in Jesus’ name. God has been so faithful, he always goes above and beyond to bless me. I’m honored to have a great team in Cambodia already teaching, ministering, and encouraging people.Read More
Taking God's Promises for Granted
It’s often a bad thing to take things for granted because you are assuming permanence to something that could change. But God doesn’t change and his word does not change.Read More
Preparations for Cambodia
I’ve been working on learning the Khmer language and raising up a team to send me to Cambodia. I plan on getting there by April or May this year. I’ve still got a lot of work to do and people to call and contact.Read More
Glory (Back 'Home')
“Do you know what all of this is for?” Said Dan Galle to me months ago, “This battle of God versus Satan? The devil has already lost, what in the world is he fighting for? It’s all about who gets the glory.”Read More
We got to do a bushcooking class where we take limited resources over a fire in the woods and make fun meals. The Cambodians already have it all mastered, but the Americans have interesting ideas. I had my team make a lentil chilli the first day, we didn’t get first place, but we tied for second.Read More
Came Back Alive
Pleasant surprise! We had some days that weren’t 125 degrees, so we had a surprise Come Back Alive session where we made Corey our leader and we went out into the “bush” (Outside the gate). We followed GPS coordinates to a goat and Hopper put the goat on his shoulders like Keith Green from the ministry years volume 1 and carried it the whole way. We walked for a few kilometers, following other coordinates and clues until we came to a location where we were supposed to set up camp and survive. Unfortunately we had very few supplies that they let take with us, so we only had 2 lights.Read More
We got to practice preaching every day. It was interesting and fun. The first couple days were improv based on scriptures we drew out of a basket or envelope.Read More
Hopper's Real Week 1 (Schoolin begins) *(REWIND)*
Been doin some tests an’ the like, pretty fun lectures or discussions depending on the awakeness of the class, few tests and homeworks nuthin’ too crazy, day in day out. Jane-Marie had us out physical training and running for 20 mins straight, into 4 sets of 10 inline pushups, ahah pushed us hard, was fun. I heard her comment that Tommy, Joy, an I do whatever we’re asked, that we push ourselves irregardless, won’t break when tired just keep moving. That was a kindness, I like to think living your Christian life is a lot like that. You don’t burn out, you don’t stop, there is no break, or time to just “veg out”, you haven’t got an excuse, cuz the kingdom is your mission, and if you stop pushin, if you don’t challenge yourself, then you get slow, and if you’re slow, then they kill ya. So I was pleased by that, cuz thats how I’m’a live 4 Christ ya no?Read More
Africa Update Yeah...
Ministering in Nsongwe: Every Sunday I organize a group and we go out and minister in the nearby village by the base. It’s refreshing to go out, pray for people (see them healed), talk with them, preach to them, and share God’s love. It’s typically me, Joy, Hopper, and a Cambodian who go. (The first time we took Theara (Cambodian Hopper); the next time we took Samrach. (a nice Cambodian woman) We go to Nsongwe and we seek out Trevor (because he invited us) and either he goes out with us as our translator, or he gives us someone else, like his cousin Ellefa.Read More
Joy's Sector Trip Update
Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve wrote. We had a bunch of Zambian chiefs on base a while back. Zambia’s been in a drought for the past two years, so we unified together believing for rain. It’s coming and it’s gonna bring glory to God. We went out on our sector expedition last week, it rained a bit while we were there, praise the Lord, but more’s coming. The expedition was amazing, we got to preach two to three times a day, and pray for people everywhere we went. Many people got saved and encouraged, and people are being healed, hallelujah!Read More
Ate a Rat
We started taking a course (Wilderness First Responder) where essentially we learn how to be EMTs. It’s definitely fun stuff. Now I can pretend to be a doctor with so much more plausibility. I’ll use the simpler stuff often, I’m sure. Though really, Jesus is my healer, so I’ll always go to him first.Read More
Tommy's Third Week of School plus Revival Week
Interesting 3rd week. We “learned” vehicular mechanics in two and a half days. We “learned” 4x4 driving in a day. We studied hard though… We also learned about Children’s ministry and that we shouldn’t water down the gospel for them, but that they can have the same Holy Spirit as adults. They get spiritually malnourished by being given only bible stories instead of their identity and victory in Christ.Read More
Joy's Second Week of School
Hey everyone, this is Joy writing, Hopper’s wife and Tommy’s sister. It’s been about two and a half weeks of AMT, and it’s definitely different than I expected. We’ve been informed that “dirty missionaries” is not a thing here, they prefer people shower once a day, wash their clothes once a week, and keep their tents nice and orderly (we’ve been told they have surprise inspections). All the food is delicious, with every meal something new. We haven’t really got the chance to eat gross or challenging foods, although we do get to finish everyone else’s plates. It’s funny, we seem like homeless starving people as we ask people for their leftovers. Many times I’ll be taking people’s dishes and just hand the plates with leftovers/scraps to Tommy or Hopper. There is no shortage of food on the base, we just don’t like seeing food go to waste.Read More
First Week of School
I’m enjoying my first week of school, mission Theology is our morning class, it’s easy. Sustain in the evenings is a bit different and may be more challenging.Read More
Hopper's Africa Update
Greetings to friends and family alike, may the sanctifying grace and tranquilizing peace of the Lord be upon you.Read More
Back From First Expedition
Then we got back from Salumbwe, and we went shopping at the Shoprite. But the other truck did not start, so most of the people from that truck squished into ours and Holden and Corey and some staff stayed with the other truck. I found out later that they got it working by putting a bag over the gas cap because there was an air leak. They had learned that trick while making moonshine in prison… Truly God does work everything out for the good of those who love God who are called according to his purpose. Wow.Read More
First days at AMT
When we arrived at the airport in Livingstone Zambia, we grabbed our bags and waited for the Overland people to come pick us up. While we waited, I started playing my coda flute, my recorders, and then my mandolin. An african in what looked like a military outfit approached me and started flipping through my music binder. He asked me to do some particular songs and that he’d sing too. I didn’t believe that he knew the songs and that maybe he was just in a choir or something. But we started singing together and I realized that he did know the songs and that he was an expert at singing harmony. Soon there was a whole crowd of Africans singing with us and it was amazing. We kept going through songs and singing them and I played mandolin also. They asked where I was going and I told them that I was with Overland.Read More
Travelling Fun Times
I didn’t exactly trust that leaving from Dubuque at 11:15am would be early enough to catch a bus in Madison and from there get to the Chicago airport 2 hours before our flight left at 6:50pm.Read More
Advanced Mission Training Update 01
In 10 days, my sister Joy, her husband Hopper, and I are going to Zambia for 3 months. We’re going for advanced mission training by Overland Missions where we’ll learn 17 courses for spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. There’s so many people longing for a savior, yearning for a friend who haven’t seen Christ. We’re going to the ends of the earth to share Jesus (who lives inside of us) with every person.Read More
Advanced Mission Training
Hopper said he wanted to do AMT (Advanced Mission Training), so Joy (My sister, his fiancé) and I decided we’d do it too.Read More
This is all libre, free, open source software. Which means it’s free to download obviously, but also that the code is available for anyone to edit and improve upon. They’re also usually cross-platform, which is nice since I run GNU/Linux.Read More
The Case For the Recorder
The recorder is a fantastic musical instrument. For the following reasons:Read More