We thank the Lord for putting us both in the ministry. The Lord has sure been good to us through the years. We spent twelve and a half years of our marriage in the country of Ethiopia. We saw many people come to the Lord and baptized. Though Ethiopia is a challenging field for most Bible believing Baptist missionaries, we saw one church started. We praise God!
The Lord began to move on my heart about going back to the United States. I prayed and fasted for a word from the Lord. About 2am one morning I got a call from the United States. The Lady on the other end simply said, “You’re coming home”? She asked twice before she said who she was. We talked for a while. The next day I prayed and read my Bible in the church office all day. I then had God’s peace about going back. I figured then it would be for a furlough. While leaving the office, I looked out the window and witnessed the brightest rainbow I ever saw. We came back immediately. The Lord had not given us any peace about going back to the foreign field as we prayed. After time of seeking the Lord, I received sure direction from the Lord to go to the east coast, then to the Washington D.C. area to reach not only Ethiopians but anyone who would hear the Gospel and come. As daunting a task it seemed, Carletta and I began to make plans to do ministry in the greater Washington D.C. area.
James Downs’ Testimony
I came to know the Lord as my personal Savior in September of 1983, in Philadelphia, PA. A classmate of mine witnessed to me outside my high school as I was going home. Eddie Bell showed me from the Scripture that my works could not save. He showed me that Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead for me. There, while standing on the sidewalk, I bowed my head and asked the Jesus Christ to come into my heart.
After spending four year in the US Navy, I surrendered to preach. I graduated from Norris Bible institute in Fort Worth, Texas; and earned my bachelor degree at Trinity Baptist Bible College in Arlington, Texas.
Years later, I met my wonderful wife, Carletta. Christmas of 2004 I was over a family’s house from Church. Their nephew’s wife, who graduated from Hyles Anderson, showed me a picture of Carletta. I thought she had most beautiful smile I ever saw. After writing and dating her, we were married December 2006. We have been blessed with two fine children: James, thirteen and Abigail, seven.
Carletta Downs’ Testimony
At age 15, I began a new high school in Tacoma, WA. There were two girls who, befriending me, invited me to their church. Wishing to be friends with them, I accepted. I was going to church with them for a couple months, when one Sunday afternoon service, the Lord impressed upon my heart to go to the alter. At that time, I didn’t know what I would do once I got there but felt the urge to go. As I made my way to the alter, I was met by the head deacon’s wife, Mrs. Mitchell, who showed me how to be saved. That afternoon I called upon the Lord to save me as I put my trust in him for eternal salvation. Years later the Lord directed me to attend Hyles Anderson College in Crown Point, Indiana. It was under the preaching of Dr. Jack Hyles that I surrendered my life to full time service.
We look forward to planting churches in the D.C. area. Our experience in Ethiopia gives us an open door not only in reaching Ethiopians but anyone God allows us to minister to.