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by Ed Young
In Luke, chapter 5, verses 1-11, we read that after speaking to a crowd of people from Simon's boat that was just off shore, Jesus instructs Simon: "Put out into deep water and let the nets down for a catch." Simon responds with: "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything." He was probably tired and looking forward to getting some sleep. And Jesus was really a carpenter, not a fisherman, so how would he know.... On the other hand, Simon had been impressed with this newly-emerging religious teacher who was actually healing people and driving demons out of people. So he adds: "But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
The end result was a great catch of fish, so many fish that Simon signaled his partners to come and help. Both boats were so full that they actually began to sink. When Simon saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" And then Jesus says those famous words: "Don't be afraid; from now on you will fish for men."
So, after becoming a fisher of men, is it possible to also have long stretches of not catching anything or catching very little? I know that can happen.
When the Culiacan Project was just getting started, people came from a number of different places to cast their nets into the deep water that was in the migrant farm worker camps.
George was a friend of mine from Flagstaff, AZ. I had been a teacher at a little Indian Bible Institute in Flagstaff and George had worked at the Rescue Mission in town. During our morning sharing time in Culiacan, George gave the following testimony.
He said that it took a lot of effort to see one person come to Christ at the rescue mission. It was like sending 10 people to pick one piece of fruit off of a tree. They took turns jumping up and trying to get the piece of fruit or throwing things at it or climbing the tree. Eventually, they got it and were glad for it. But here in Culiacan, George said the fruit is just falling off of the trees into the baskets. The harvest truly is great. George had cast his net into the deep water and was a part of the great catch that year in Culiacan and for many years after that as well.
Kent was a friend I had met while in Southern Mexico. He had translated the New Testament into three related languages. He had worked hard in Southern Mexico for 30 years but seen relatively little fruit. He came to Culiacan to try casting his net there. He gave this testimony.
I had a very emotional time last night. In the villages in Southern Mexico where I work, the people are very closed to the Gospel. They are afraid of their neighbors turning against them. So when I go to the villages to show films, no one comes to the movie until after it is dark enough that no one sees them. They watch from as far away as they can and as close to their house as they can be. At the end of the movie, I turn it off and turn on a light so the people can see me. As soon as I turn on the light the people run like cockroaches for their homes so their neighbors will not know they watched the movie. But last night in the camps, these same people came to watch a movie. When the movie was over and I turned on the light, instead of running away like cockroaches, they crowded in close so they could hear me speaking to them in their native language. I choked up and started to weep. I just couldn't believe it".
Here in Culiacan the fruit is just falling off the trees into the baskets
Before becoming staff members of Global Recordings Network, Dave and Gerry Gutierrez had worked in village ministry in Southern Mexico. They spent 15 years in a remote village and had seen very little fruit from their ministry. After two weeks at the Culiacan outreach they said: "We have seen more response to the Gospel here in two weeks than we saw in fifteen years of ministry in the village." Dave and Gerry were casting their nets in fresh water. Since then, they have not only been casting their nets each year in Culiacan, but they led the GRN ministry in Mexico from 1995 to 2011 and developed the GRN ministry in several other countries.
Global Recordings Network Centers are not the fishermen. We do help the fishermen. We make nets. We make good nets, nets that actually catch fish. The mother tongue is the language of the heart. Many "fishers of men" that are working across linguistic and cultural barriers have found our nets to be very useful.
Our staff all have a part in the production, repair and supply of these nets. We do have some staff workers who are involved in actually using the nets. We also have some that are involved with helping others become more familiar with the availability of our nets and how they work.
If you or others you know of are involved in some way with internationals worldwide, remember:
"For nets that work, contact Global Recordings Net Works"
And please remember to pray for our Net Work workers worldwide.