IMB missionaries Johnny and Donna Maust (shown in photo above, left) travel up and down the coast in Ecuador, visiting churches to help them continue to grow in Christ, and working to establish new churches among an unreached people group called Afro-Ecuadorians.

Afro-Ecuadorians are descendants of slaves who formed settlements on Ecuador’s coast. The Spanish sailed the Afro-Ecuadorians’ ancestors to Ecuador in the early 16th century. Some of them escaped from shipwrecks on voyages intended to reach countries farther south. Today, more than 600,000 Afro-Ecuadorians represent approximately 5 percent of Ecuador’s population.

As the Mausts visit their villages, mud grip tires are a necessity for mobility, especially during the rainy season. A set of mud grip tires costs about $720. They are thankful to Southern Baptists who give — to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program — to make a way for them to reach the villages.

In addition to giving financially to support missionaries, North Garland Baptist Fellowship in Texas partners with the Mausts by going to Ecuador. After a vision trip in 2013, Pastor Tony Mathews returned in the fall of 2014 with a group of African-American pastors from the Dallas area. He encouraged them to become partners to reach the people group with the gospel.

“Just getting to know Johnny and to see his heart for the Afro-Ecuadorians is encouraging — he’ll go anywhere and talk with people about the Lord,” says Tony.

“Now, I desire that everyone craves to be a part of it,” Tony says. “I want to show my people that God is not only their personal God, but He is also a global God and we need to be there to share that news with others.”