Antonio Chirin is an indigenous Shuar. His community, Yumaran Suku, is in eastern Ecuador. At the age of 56 he met Jesus as his Savior through the Multiplication Network Ministries (MNM) church planter in the area, Gonzalo Quimbuilco.
“Gonzalo spoke about the things of Christ on Sundays in the center of the community. I had been Catholic and ‘mayor’ of the community for years, and I wanted to change my life,” Antonio says.
Despite hearing from God, his understanding was based in his previous traditional ethno-religious experience and his way of living hadn't changed. “I wanted to change my life and the way I was before and was hesitant to leave behind the ‘fun’ I had when I was drunk.”
For a few years, Antonio, his wife, and 11 children had a cantina in their house. It was a place where the people could come to dance, party, and drink. “I have stopped doing this,” he says about closing the cantina, “because I decided to follow Jesus and change my way of living.”
After closing the cantina, Antonio decided to donate the property so they could have a place where families of the community could come and know Christ. Nevertheless, following Christ has not been easy. As a leader of the community, Antonio has gotten a lot of criticism and has been also been discouraged by his adult children, who do not know Jesus.
"I have talked with my children and some of them want to change their lives and follow Christ, but others do not agree and prefer to live as they please. It doesn't work to obligate them to believe. Every person, including my children needs to make their own decision. I am continuing on.” Antonio says, glad to have the support of his wife, a believer as well.
"The people from here want to party all the time. Very few of them want to follow Jesus. I don't insist that they change. I know our Father will do great things and we will continue to work with them in unity. They do need a change in their lives."
Antonio continues to learn from Gonzalo, the church planter and pastor where he lives. He wants to grow in his faith and to keep searching for God even as he experiences adversity. Antonio's dream is that all the people in his village will come to know Christ and change the way they live through the salvation Jesus wants to bring to entire communities just like Yumaran Suku.