Tommy Downs

Tommy Downs

A Servant of Jesus Christ


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.


Somedays in the village I’m once again amazed that this is the life I get to live. There’s a Korean missionary in one village who’s delightful, she’s full of energy and passion for kids, so we visit her once a week to encourage her to reach out to the adults in the village as well. Most of the time she’s preaching to us in Korean and Tha one of the Cambodians I work with translates into Khmer for us. She’s been a bit discouraged that she hasn’t had much success reaching the adults in her village, so we started going with her going house to house. Her language skills are rudimentary, but we believe she can reach her village. On one occasion we went with her to a neighboring village that had a family of Cambodian believers and also an elderly American woman missionary. We gathered them together and suggested that they stop complaining that there’s no other believers and just join forces. It was a discussion in 3 languages, Korean, English, and Khmer and it was unreal. I hadn’t spoken any English with anybody in a while at this point so to be speaking with the American was a bit jarring. But we all had a basic understanding of Khmer, only falling back on our native languages when necessary. I’m praying for unity between the believers that they’ll be able to work as one body.

We divide into 2 groups and we go to 2 different villages a day, for a total of 10 villages that we regularly visit every week. There’s several misconceptions in Cambodia that you have to confront when sharing the gospel or discipling new believers:

  • Christians can’t love their parents or families. Not True!
  • Christians are forbidden from crying at funerals. Not True!

We encountered one grandpa in a village who regularly calls evil spirits to help him, but when he realizes their evil he then casts them out in Jesus’ name. After not being able to hold in our laughter, we told him that he shouldn’t be calling the spirits in the first place. In that same village a woman comes to the bible study, she doesn’t believe but her husband does so she goes home and tells her husband what we talked about.


My friend and coworker Micah returned to Cambodia to prepare for the couple expeditions he’s leading here this year. He’s a bit out of practice with his Khmer language skills and he’s only learned half the levels before he left Cambodia last year, so he invites me to tag along with him and translate a bit. It’s an absolute blast to get to work with him, he’s got the heart of an evangelist and doesn’t let anybody escape. One night there was a man convulsing outside my apartment and Micah said we should do something about it. We went out there and prayed for him and they loaded him into a car. They said maybe he was drunk but they didn’t know. So Micah gathered the young guys there who had witnessed the event and started preaching while I translated for him. 5 highschoolers gave their life to Jesus that night and I’m going to see if I can set up a bible study going with them next week.


Micah also taught our coministers for a couple days and Charles had me translate because he claims he can’t understand Micah’s English because he speaks on deep concepts. Charles had to step in a few times to correct the things I was saying since my vocabulary is rather low.

Some of the people in one village that we’ve been teaching got baptized a couple weeks ago, that was cool, sometimes it feels like nothing is happening, but other times the testimonies just pile up. I don’t usually share testimonies because I’m not really certain that I understand what’s going on and I don’t want to misrepresent things. But people are getting delivered from fear, from addiction, and from discouragement all the time.

Kids Camp


We had 41 kids for the 2 day kids camp at Amy and Thanak’s (my old home). I was a camp counselor with Srey Tut who I know well, and I was glad to hear that her husband is opening up to Jesus. There were 3 other groups, each group had a guy and a girl for leaders one of which was a Cambodian and one an American which was a fun dynamic. We played hard, there were a lot of goofy wacky games for team bonding. My team was “love” and I came up with a really fun cheer that made us laugh every time. The other teams couldn’t help but do our cheer because it was so fun. We taught about Jesus of course and the Holy spirit and abiding in Christ.

Our friends from all over really pulled together to make this event special for everyone. From teaching to food preparation to security to assisting with games we had an awesome group of people working together. It’s awesome to have opportunities for us all to come together like that.


14 kids got baptized on the second day and we followed that up with a crazy waterfight as is Cambodian tradition for this time of year.


Things are going great, I’m excited for what lies ahead and I’m still not sure what that is, but there’s a lot of stuff in the works.

Pray for us to raise up more disciples and for them to fully understand who they are and how to do the work of the ministry.

For the kingdom,

Tommy Downs.