Ecuadorian Christian Amadeo Torres took Jesus’ command in Matthew 4:19 literally: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” When contemplating how to share the gospel with an unbelieving friend in a way the man could relate to, Amadeo encouraged IMB missionary Johnny Maust to help him buy the man a fisher’s net.
Ecuadorian Christian Amadeo Torres stands beside a window in his home in coastal Ecuador during a visit by IMB missionary Johnny Maust. Torres works closely with Maust in sharing the gospel and starting churches in the region.
In return for the net, the fisherman continues to give Johnny and Amadeo a portion of his yield — shrimp and lobster.
The missionary and Amadeo, his main national church-planting partner, began visiting Luis Quintero each Sunday afternoon at his hillside home overlooking the waterway he fishes in his canoe-sized boat.
They concentrated on sharing the Gospel of Matthew with him. In addition to their personalized example of a fisher’s net, Johnny brought a DVD of the story of Matthew and other books of the gospel to show the Quinteros.
Luis says the Word of God had an effect on him, and that’s why he chose to place his faith in Christ. His 12-year-old son, Marlon, followed suit. Marlon’s mother is holding back from making a similar decision. She says she is waiting to see if Luis becoming a Christian results in him becoming a better man.
That’s why Johnny and Amadeo return to visit the home each week — to disciple the family about what it truly means to follow Christ.
“Amadeo’s introduced me to a lot of people in the area I wouldn’t have known otherwise,” Johnny says. “He’s been a huge help in the ministry.”
‘YOU COME IN FRIENDSHIP’When Johnny met Yoryi (pronounced Georgie) Cortez, a community leader in the town of Lagarto where Johnny and Donna Maust hope to guide U.S. partnering churches to plant a church, the missionary knew Yoryi was “a person of peace.”
IMB missionary Johnny Maust, left, talks with Yoryi Cortez, a community leader in the small town of Lagarto, Ecuador, where Johnny and his wife, Donna, hope to guide U.S. partnering churches to plant a church. Yoryi is not a Christian, but he has agreed to participate in and possibly host a Bible study.
Yoryi is not a Christian, but he has agreed to participate in and possibly host a Bible study.
“Your groups are different than others [religious groups] who come here,” Yoryi tells Johnny about the U.S. partnering churches. “That’s why I accepted your invitation to Bible study. Other groups come in and preach to us. You don’t come in with [preaching] fear but with friendship. Your churches come in doing something for the community.”
Yoryi owns a discotec (music/dance club) on the first floor of where his mother, Gloria, lives a few houses away from him. In her second-story home, U.S. church groups have eaten many a meal prepared by members of a weekly cooking class Donna teaches.
“If you want to use my home, you are welcome,” Gloria tells Johnny during a recent English-as-a-Second-Language certificate ceremony led by ESL teachers from Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
The Mausts envision the rectangular dance floor of the discotec converted into a venue to show the JESUS film, teach Bible studies and eventually house a church of new believers
“They are recognizing we are here to share the love of God,” says Donna. “When problems come in people’s lives, they know they can rely on our friendship to give them guidance, to talk with them about God and to pray together.”