He was the best fighter and brawler at the weekly Guanano drinking fests. He would often go to missionary Barry Spor’s house to work on Bible translation with swollen knuckles and tell Barry whom he had beaten up that week.
Gus spent a lot of time with Barry as he helped Barry learn the Guanano culture and language for three years, and then helped write Bible lessons. He was exposed to the heart of the Gospel during that time. He learned that he had a sinful nature that God hated, knew that he was going to Hell and couldn't do anything to change that. He understood that God had promised to forgive his sin debt and made a promise to rescue him from Hell if he'd trust in Him. But he couldn’t understand why God, who hated sin, would send a Savior.
Gus struggled with the concept that due to his sin nature he was going to Hell unaccepted by God, but at the same time God loved him and wanted to accept him into His family. He could not make sense of those two seemingly opposite thoughts.
One day at a drinking party, Gus quarreled with his dad and brothers. The quarrel ended with Gus hitting his father and a brother in the face. He was really shocked and sad about what he did as he staggered drunkenly back home.
When he got there his wife told him to not come home untill he was sober. That pushed him over the edge. He went into his house got his shot gun, put a shell in it, went into the living room of his house and told his wife good-bye. He put the end of the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Boom! At the last second his wife yanked the gun barrel away saving his life. The blast went through the wall instead. Gus, though shaken to the core by the incident, was not quite ready to change his ways.
He continued to work on the 68 lessons from Genesis through Jesus’ ascension with Barry. By the time the Guanano missionary team, Barry and Denise Spor and Lindy and Carol Drake, reached the lessons on Abraham, Gus had trusted in God’s Rescuer and Sin Payer. Like an Old Testament saint, Gus now trusted in the One God promised to send to pay his sin debt.
“As we got to the end of teaching the 68 lessons,” wrote Barry, “we had an all-day teaching day on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Gus was just really eating up this new teaching that explained all that Jesus did to pay his sin debt and rescue him from Hell.”
Barry watched as Gus bounced up and down on his bench with each new revelation of God’s saving grace. His face shone with excitement.
“As we wound down and were nearing the end of that day's long teaching,” Barry continued, “I could see Gus still bouncing in his excitement out of the corner of my eye as I taught. Then all of a sudden without warning Gustavo just flew off his bench right at me. The first thing I thought was ‘Oh boy, am I ever in for it!’ thinking of his reputation for beating people up and all. The next thing I knew Gus had his arms around me and he was crying into my shoulder saying things like, ‘Thank you for coming here so I could know Jesus as my Rescuer.’”
Gus told Barry, “If you hadn't come I would have gone to Hell never knowing what Jesus had done and never trusting Him to rescue me."
Then he turned to the group of people there that day and shared “You must think that I am crying because I'm sad, but that's not it. I am crying because I am happy. Happy I belong to God and happy that I have the One I have trusted in, Jesus. I want you all to be happy like I am.”