One Faith Nurtured
Note: part two is posted January 14, 2013
“Can anything good come out of Salango?” In the 1930s, Salango a fishing village was so insignificant that it didn’t even appear on a map of Ecuador. Life in Salango was very simple; there was no electricity and no running water.
In 1936, a boy born in Salango was likely heralded with joy by his mother, but with no sense of the extraordinary plans God had for this new son of a fisherman, no hint of the impact that would be made when Enrique Guillén responded many years later to the Master’s call: “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men!” (Matthew 4:19).
After many years of hardship growing up, including the death of his mother, Enrique moved back to Salango to live with his father, the man who for so many years had refused to recognize him.
OMS missionaries working in the area were invited by Enrique’s father into his house. Fast forward to March of 1961 when the Word of God reached Enrique’s heart through a message preached there in the living room of his father’s house.
Pastor Guillén says, “I was not convinced, I was converted!” He remembers that his life changed completely from the inside out; from that moment, his loyalty belonged 100 percent to the Lord Jesus.
In the same year he married Esther, a radiant young Christian woman. Later, Enrique who was determined to serve the Lord decided to go back to school – he studied in the same classes as his son, David.
David remembers with a grin that each term, Esther, he and Enrique compared grades, which was a great motivator for his son. “It filled me with great pride to have a father who didn’t believe in limitations … and still doesn’t to this day.”
After high school, Enrique’s desire was to study in the seminary. But committee members told him that a poor fisherman from Salango would never find success in the academic world and that he shouldn’t waste the time and resources with his futile dreams.
But OMS missionary mentors elected to sponsor his studies. This generosity and vision on the part of the Mission continues to move Pastor Guillén to deep gratitude, even these many years later.
When Pastor Enrique is asked about the motivation for his sacrificial search for training, he responds: “There is a people that demands our witness and a Lord who impels us forward. We have a debt of love and there is no room for discouragement!”
Difficulties and rejection helped to shape within Enrique a special perspective of discipleship: with great intentionality, he seeks, finds and develops the potential in his disciples.
He says, “I identify greatly with what is said of Peter in Acts 4:13—he was an unschooled, ordinary man, but they took note that he had been with Jesus! The Lord by his grace saw the potential in me and by his grace called me and equipped me for His service. I try to do the same with others.”
Next: The rest of the story…