Tommy Downs

Tommy Downs

A Servant of Jesus Christ

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.”

“Ok.” I said not understanding the revelation that he had tried to give me. But just two days ago, I realized the gravity of what that meant.

Satan fell because he wanted to elevate himself, to steal God’s glory for himself. And now he gets glory when people and sin and disobey God and follow after him. We were created for God’s glory, to give him honor, to praise him, to please him. We give him glory in the way we live and when we declare what he has done to save mankind. When people come to Christ, that brings him glory, the angels have a party. However, when we boast and exalt ourselves, we are snatching glory for ourselves.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” Matthew 6:2 ESV

“for All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,” 1 Peter 1:24

The reward that the hypocrites get is glory on this earth that fades, but those who give glory to God get to partake of God’s glory in heaven.

Glory is the most precious thing in the universe, it’s the only thing that anyone actually cares about, though maybe we don’t recognize it as such. Fame is just glory. Money is just glory. Satisfaction in one’s work, it’s just glory. Loving God, it’s giving him the glory that he so rightly deserves. God deserves all the glory, so Satan trying to steal it is so repulsive, and so so wrong.

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:” 1 Peter 5:1

“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Peter 5:4

Those that love God want to see him glorified and he in turn shares that with us. But you don’t want any glory, you might think; but you want to give it all to Him. You’re glorified in His glorification because “he who humbles himself will be exalted.” It’s like being a servant to the king. When the king wins, his subjects win, so his subjects work hard for their ruler.

But what do we do with that glory? We don’t really want it or need it, do we? Yes we do.

“the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:10-11

When Jesus glorifies us, we can in turn praise him and glorify God even greater by giving it back to him who deserves it. When he’s glorified, I’m glorified, because I’m his son, he’s in me and I in him.

Final Expedition

We did a final expedition without any Overland staff, it was easy and fun. Corey, Jessy, and Candace were our leaders, they handled everything very well. Everyone likes Corey, it’s a pleasure to work under him or with him.

We set up camp, and it was early afternoon, so some of us (but not Joy or Hopper) went out to minister hut to hut. I could already see that Henry was a brilliant translator, he would expound upon everything said and amp up the emotion and use gratuitous hand gestures and body language.

Theara and I did recon for the bore holes (wells) and we found the two of them and we picked a favorite. Over the course of the week we carried a lot of water (Maybe people took a lot of showers, I don’t care); however, our ministry partners like Prudence who can carry water on her head, helped grab water often.

We didn’t get any Nshima for the week, but I don’t think any of the locals minded having different stuff, they still went up for seconds. The food was excellent like always, and I finished up the food that no one else wanted.

The next day was Sunday, so we split up into 4 groups and went to 4 of the local churches. All the services were predominately music and their musical talent was super impressive. In my group, at the Pilgrim Wesleyan Church, Oscar preached a word, and I played a song on mandolin, then Thanak played a couple songs on guitar. Afterwards we went out and did hut to hut and ministered to the people, praying for them, listening to them, getting to know them, and encouraging them in the word.

That night a lot of locals were gathered to hear a word, so Corey called Hopper over to teach - He did phenomenally. And after some time he called me over to play some music.

One day, we put together a team of guys: me, Holden, Corey, Theara, Henry, and Pastor Daniel. We looked like some military special ops group or something, we were all so different looking, and Holden was wearing a white tank-top and his tattoos were showing. But we were well received and at the last place, Theara bought a chicken. Corey and Theara bickered for a bit about the ramifications of having a chicken while Holden carried the poor bird. Eventually it started to rain and we sought shelter inside a 5’ by 5’ hut. But there wasn’t enough room with the charcoal and the bed taking up most of the space, so Holden left to go back to camp and I followed.

It rained even harder and I felt bad for Theara’s chicken. When we got back to the base, Thanak and I got some kids and we played soccer in the very violent rain. We were completely soaked. I took off my shirt finally and my tan lines were glorious; it’s like my head and arms don’t belong to my body.

Final Interview

I got interviewed about our positions in Overland Missions; it was a casual conversation. They finalized that they’re sending me to Cambodia and didn’t really give me any additional details, but that’s fine.

Then we kinda hung out with the Cambodians, Maddie, and Noah and Kya. Kya and Noah brought us lots of monkey oranges and we ate a lot of them.

The leadership there interviewed Joy and Hopper, they’re not joining Overland, but they love Overland and Overland loves them and they blessed each other.


On Sunday morning they prophesied over us, everyone was encouraged.

That night we went through the official graduation. There was lots of food and appetizers and deserts.

Going Home

The next morning we headed home. I played my mandolin at the Livingstone airport and delighted many people. When we checked in our bags in the next hall, the man checking the bags asked if it was I who played the music and that they really liked it. Everyone was having problems with our paperwork for leaving the country, but Casey got it resolved. At the Qatar airport I played some more music (this time on my tenor recorder) while we waited for our flight and a few people talked to me about how much they needed to hear those old hymns and that they were blessed for it.

I sat next to a missionary who I didn’t know who didn’t work with any organization. He preaches to Muslims in the middle east and back in the States.

When we got back to Chicago, I played some more music while we waited to pick up our bags. It was 40 some degrees out and we were dressed for Africa weather, but we didn’t let it bother us, we can adapt. I put on a long sleeve shirt though.

When my family picked us up from the bus stop they were very excited. People at Overland said we’d suffer sensory overload when we went to Walmart and saw all the choices, but I was instead disappointed by the lack of choices, I couldn’t find any milli mill (white corn-meal) for making nshima anywhere. But I mean also, by the time we got to Walmart we’d already been in a van full of siblings yelling and vying for attention, so we can take on anything I guess.

Back Home

So now I’m back home and we’re ramping up preaching, ministering, sharing, encouraging, and prophesying. I’m working on learning the Khmer language (Cambodian) and am preparing for being a full-time missionary to Cambodia. Wherever I am I’ll be doing God’s work, because it’s all for his glory. The earth will pass away, but his glory is eternal, and inviting other people to share in that glory is glory unto itself. Christ has so much for us, so much more than salvation, we can walk every day as a son of God, because he’s in us, and we’re in him.

Jesus said to the father about us, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.” John 17:10

What an honor, to glorify Jesus.

“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:22-23

Unity with one another, unity with Christ, I could never have imagined it was possible.