Tommy Downs

Tommy Downs

A Servant of Jesus Christ

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.

When we first got here we immediately served anywhere and in anything we could, lots of dishes, cleaning tables and such. In the bush, we got to wash dishes every night (Hopper especially); the leaders informed us that we didn’t have to, which we knew, we just like to serve. At night (when we were in the bush) we needed to refill our water jugs for the camp at the village well, so we decided to go the second mile and pump water for the villagers there as well. Hopper did it several nights in a row empowered by the spirit; it’s tiring work.

I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know the people here, from the leaders, the other AMTers, the staff, the translators, and villagers. It’s cool to see other Christians from around the world; we have classmates from America, Cambodia, South Africa, and Zambia. One of the Cambodians is a lot like Hopper so I like to call him “Cambodian Hopper”; his name is Theara, he’s friendly, enthusiastic, helpful, has an amazing unique laugh, is great with children, and is just overall a delight. It’s funny though because Theara’s really short and so the height difference between him and Hop is adorable. We also met a guy on the staff named Caleb, we call him “Canadian Tommy”; he plays like six instruments. I claimed a girl named Maddie as my American me; she’s a sweetheart who loves to sing (like an angel); she’s 18 years old and is going to be getting married next year. So yeah, there’s a lot of cool people here, and it’s a blast meeting them and spending time with them.

Ministering in the bush was cool, everywhere we went the people welcomed us and listened to what we had to say. It’s a cultural thing here that they’ll bring chairs out for the men first starting with the oldest and if theirs enough the women, otherwise we get to sit on a mat-like thing. One house we went to I chose a seat that was very uncomfortable and so I repositioned myself a lot, but I was delightedly surprised when the man of the house noticed my discomfort and offered up his chair to me. He then went and got another chair from his hut, but I was so touched by his kindness. Through our time in the bush lots of people accepted Christ, people got healed, we got to cast out a demon out of someone, it was my first time, that was awesome! One day we walked trying to find a hut with someone we could minister to that our group hadn’t reached yet. Each day we split into groups and went out, exited to see God working in the village. Anyway this one day we walked and walked and walked and walked, eventually we passed by these two guys who told us we were almost at a village.

Now something you should know is that when a Zambian tells you “far” it means near, but to a non-Zambian it’s far. So we had no idea when we’d actually find a hut, we had already been walking for around 2 hours or so and we couldn’t turn back now, so we walked on. Praise the Lord we did find the village, it was far! From camp to that village it was 11.6 kilometers through sand roads; the walking wasn’t too bad it was more the heat and the fact most of us had run out of water. But it was worth it. That morning before we headed out we were encouraged it wasn’t about the numbers, it’s about the “one’s and the two’s”. Because if even one person gives their life to Christ how precious, how priceless that is; no amount of time or pain trumps the significance of someone’s salvation. So we went for the “one’s and the two’s” but we got the forties! We found a village of around sixty people including babies and young children, it was worth it!

When we headed back we prayed that Casey (our AMT leader) would come find us and give us a ride, and so not long after we got to the main road he pulled up, hallelujah! He pulled up in his white vehicle, with two others who chose to join in on the rescue party. Hop and I said that we could still walk the rest of the way but it was going to get dark soon. Casey had a car for around five people; he came with two others beside himself, and had a car seat in one of the seats; we had seven adults and a toddler with us. So we shoved two people on the roof, one person in the trunk, Hop and I stood on the bumper, and everyone else miraculously fit in the car, hallelujah! We all made it back to camp safe and sound before dark. We were supposed to have made supper that night but because we were so late others ended up making it.

There’s so much more I could say, but I’m going to stop here for now. Just know we’re doing good, God is with us, I love you and look forward to seeing you all when I come back. May God bless you all!