On October 9, 1993, Deanna, Annika, and I boarded a jet in Seattle to move to Brazil. Ross and Karen Hansen travelled with us to get the lay of the land, and to give birth to Janaea in Brazil. (Ross was one of my best friends from Bible School, and I later married his sister Deanna). Luke Huber told us having a baby in Brazil was a good way to get a permanent visa, as Brazilian children have a legal right to have their parents live in the country with them. This was our strategy too, as Deanna was pregnant with Olivia when we moved. Deanna and I still live here on our family visas even though all three of our Brazilian daughters now live in Canada.
We didn’t know what to expect when we moved to the Amazon. None of us had ever been to Central or South American. I knew things would be different when the stewardess served me a thimble full of coffee that was as sweet as syrup. Once we had Annika asleep, we put on our headphones to watch the airplane movie. Deanna and I were laughing and engaged at the appropriate times, and Ross and Karen thought we were really catching on to the language. Later we realized they had listened to the whole movie in Portuguese, while we listened to it in English. None of us realized there were audio language settings on our armrests.
We arrived in the Amazon on October 10, almost 24 years ago. Jim Benson, who we had never met before, was there to pick us up with a white VW Kombi van. Jim and his wife Julie were also new missionaries at that time, learning how to speak Portuguese.
Fifteen years later Ross and Karen moved back to Canada. They donated the Murphy Rebel floatplane back to PAZ mission, under the care of Jim Benson, who lives in Manaus.
This week we had lunch with Jim!
What an unexpected treat. Jim’s heart still aches for the unreached people or overlooked people of the Amazon Basin. . . and he says there are many. Julie (Jim’s wife) is back in the US with their daughter and granddaughter for a few months.
When we first moved to Brazil Regina was one of our language teachers. She was a missionary from Southern Brazil. Regina and her husband Grant are still missionaries in the Amazon. Reconnecting with Regina and meeting Grant were among the unexpected highlights of our time in Manaus.