Juan Carlos and Evelyn Johanna Portillo, along with their children Rebekah, Benjamin, and Hannah, have served as a pilot/mechanic family in Oaxaca, Mexico, with the MAF affiliate program Alas de Socorro Mexico (ADSM) for 13 years. They feel that God is opening doors for a two-year assignment in Paramaribo, Suriname, with the MAF affiliate program Surinaamse Zendings Vliegdienst. This transition includes helping Rebekah, their oldest, get settled at Malone University in Ohio before moving to Suriname.
After serving in different roles within ADSM which helped the program stabilize and expand, Juan Carlos will take on a new role in Suriname as a maintenance instructor while continuing as a pilot. He will focus on preparing a Surinamese young mechanic to fulfill the requirements for obtaining an FAA A&P mechanic license.
As a thyroid cancer survivor, Johanna continues to push herself forward and has completed two years of formal Bible training. She has also completed a year of Biblical Family Counseling through Eagles International Christian University. She served as the librarian for the missionary school their children attended, helped on dental trips to remote villages, and was involved with several ministries in the local church. She looks forward to seeing how God will use her in their new assignment.
Juan Carlos was born into a loving, Christian family in Monterrey, Mexico, where he lived until he graduated high school. He came to know Jesus as his Savior at age six through family devotions. When he was twelve he read Nate Saint’s biography as told in Jungle Pilot, and felt God calling him to missions and missionary aviation. He studied at Hebron Ministerial Institute in Guatemala, where he earned a diploma in Bible studies, before starting his pilot’s training. He earned his mechanic’s license at Moody Bible Institute in Tennessee. Juan Carlos shares, “God confirmed His calling on my life through His provision for my flight and maintenance training. I have been able to use these skills to open doors for the Gospel by serving people in different situations – medical emergencies, natural disasters, and through development projects. I look forward to continuing to serve in these areas for many years to come.” A favorite Scripture for him is Isaiah 40:29-31, which always reminds him that whether he is soaring, running, or just able to walk, God is the One who strengthens him.
Johanna was born in Guatemala where she lived until she was seven when her family immigrated into the United States. Her family came to know Christ as she was growing up and started going to church, but it wasn’t until she was 20 years old that she fully dedicated her life to Jesus. She and Juan Carlos met at their church in Los Angeles. As they got to know one another, Juan Carlos shared with her his calling to missions and Johanna began to read and learn more about missions, and felt her own calling to missions work. Johanna’s favorite Scripture this term has been Jeremiah 29:11, 12. “In the midst of hard times, I can trust God’s faithfulness and his plan to give us hope and a future.”