What follows is an attempt to briefly describe how seed planted in the life of just one person has produced well over the 100-fold described in Matthew 13...
Marlene was a member of a local Baptist church in Guayaquil. For several years she tried to motivate her fellow brothers and sisters to be more engaged in evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. Excuses were always along the lines of "it is not in this year's budget," "we have a meeting planned to discuss this next month," "we have several outreach activities planned this year that will hopefully bring some new people into our church," "we don't have the money to plant a new church." No surprise that little to nothing was being done.
Marlene was part of an organic church planting training we were asked to do at her church through an invitation made to us by the pastor.
At the end of the training, Marlene respectfully requested permission to start a new house church, explaining to her pastor she wanted to put into practice what had been learned during the training. Her pastor gave his blessing.
Within a few weeks Marlene had won several friends and neighbors to the Lord through her house-to-house visitation, and through contacts made in her local business.
The first year Marlene baptized 18 and spent many hours discipling these new believers. They began meeting several times per week in Marlene's home as a new church start. The "mother church" with all their programs, budget, and paid ministry staff baptized three people that same year.
One of Maria's disciples was Martha. Martha employed a woman by the name of Monica to clean her house. Monica would share with Martha all the problems she was having at home with her husband and family. Martha offered to go to Monica's house and talk with her family. Martha invited Marlene to go with her.
Marlene and Martha listened to all the family problems and shared the Gospel with Monica and all the family she was able to gather to listen to the visitors. That evening Monica gave her heart to Jesus, as did her husband Medardo, and daughter Aneida.
Marlene and Martha continued to travel across town twice a week for several months discipling Monica, Medardo, and Aneida. Before long, Aneida's husband David joined the bunch, and the numbers started snowballing with nearly all of Monica and Medardo's families coming to know the Lord. [30-fold]
Soon Monica and Medardo had started a house church in their home. One day they came to me and asked if I would marry them. They thought if they were to continue to make disciples and start churches it was best they be married. So I married them, along with their daughter Aneida and David in a double wedding.
Within months, Monica and Medardo had started several new churches meeting in houses scattered throughout their community. They were now looked upon as the "wise ones" whom everyone would go to with their problems. [60-fold]
Aneida and David decided to begin witnessing to relatives located across town and start the work there by discipling family in the same way they had been discipled. A new church was planted there as well.
After several grueling months of daily discipling and planting several house churches in their neighborhood, Monica and Medardo decided to branch out to their Judea and Samaria. On alternate weekends they traveled out to a neighboring rural pueblo of Agua Fria (not real name) about three hours from Guayaquil. The weekend they were not in the pueblo, they were planting a new work in two distinct areas of Guayaquil where family members lived of people they were currently discipling. Always teaching the new believers just like they had been taught by Marlene. [100-fold]
After baptizing the first believers in Agua Fria, they left the work in the hands of their primary disciple, Juan (not his real name.) Juan did a great job until he fell into an adulterous relationship. At that point, grieved, Monica and Medardo took Juan and his wife into their own home for several weeks of restoration. Another brother was chosen to lead the new group in Agua Fria while Juan and his wife were being restored. (Church planting is often very messy!)
Monica and Medardo then decided that the Lord was leading them back to their hometown of Lomas to begin work there amongst the many people they knew. After spending their Sunday mornings working in Lomas, Sunday afternoons they teamed up with Marlene to train 30 new church planters in another town, Daule, not far from Lomas. Out of these 30, they are expecting about 7-8 to bear fruit. [100+-fold]
Things really start to grow exponentially when you realize we are only talking about one couple that Marlene discipled (Monica and Medardo.) When you begin looking at the discipleship/church planting lines of other people she has discipled/trained who are doing similar things, you begin to get the idea that maybe, just maybe, Ecuador can be won to Christ in this generation.
Here is a short video taken in May of this year of baptisms in just one of the many house churches started by Monica and Medardo. Almost everyone pictured in this video have their own lines of disciples/church planting, and all are the exponential fruit begun through Marlene's ministry. It is in their DNA to make disciples that make disciples.