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. Recently they completed a two-year assignment in Paramaribo, Suriname, with the MAF affiliate program Surinaamse Zendings Vliegdienst (SZV). They have now accepted an assignment to Guatemala with another MAF affiliate, AGAPE, where they started their missionary service in 1998. This transition includes helping Benjamin get settled in Colorado for an internship at IdRaHaJe Christian Camp before moving to Guatemala.
After serving in different roles within ADSM and SZV, which helped the programs stabilize and expand, Juan Carlos will take on a new role as Director of Maintenance for the programs in both Guatemala and Honduras while remaining available for special projects in Oaxaca, Mexico. He will focus on improving the maintenance programs and record keeping, upholding the MAF safety standards and strengthening the communication between these three programs in neighboring countries. He also looks forward to getting involved as a teacher in the Bible programs for pastors and leaders in remote villages.
As a thyroid cancer survivor, Johanna continues to push herself forward. Her time in Suriname involved going back to homeschooling Benjamin and Hannah while mentoring young wives in the art of keeping a home, cooking and general life skills. Together with Juan Carlos, she invested many hours a week helping a group of Cuban immigrants as they learned the ins and outs of living in a capitalist economy. They discipled this group through teaching a Sunday School class in Spanish and holding a couples Bible study to teach them Biblical principles.
Juan Carlos was born into a loving, Christian family in Monterrey, Mexico. He came to know Jesus as his Savior at age six through family devotions. When he was twelve he read Nate Saint’s biography 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 to 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. 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.”
God calls the men and women of MAF to serve Him in unique ways. He may also be calling you to a special role in the Portillos’ ministry. Please prayerfully consider becoming a Ministry Partner with them through prayer and/or financial support.
Population: 17.3 million
Capital: Guatemala City
Official Language: Spanish
*MAF operates as AGAPE in Guatemala
MAF missionaries raise support for a pooled fund out of which MAF covers salary, housing, benefits, and staff-related ministry expenses. MAF exercises discretion over the use of missionary support in the exercise of its mission and care of its staff.