A Match Made in Heaven
It was a match made in Heaven, encompassing three countries.
Jeyson Braun, though Brazilian, was born and raised in Ecuador. His parents had moved there in order to broadcast the gospel in Portuguese to Brazil via shortwave radio. Ecuador’s position on the equator and its high altitude enabled them to reach more Brazilians than broadcasting in Brazil itself.
Jeyson grew up among other missionary kids, including those belonging to MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship). These encounters and his mechanical mind directed him to pursue mission aviation.
He went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago hoping to complete their aviation program, as many of his friends had done. But he learned that Moody would require him to do three years of aviation training in Tennessee. Because Jeyson wasn’t a U.S. citizen, he couldn’t work and afford the training in Tennessee.
By that time, his parents had moved back to Brazil after living in Ecuador for 21 years. When Jeyson visited them, he heard about Asas de Socorro (Wings of Help)—a JAARS mission aviation partner.
The Asas headquarters was only an hour away from where his parents’ home. Knowing his desire to be a pilot, they encouraged him to check it out.
While visiting Asas, Jeyson realized they were going to hold their once-a-year event to evaluate new candidates during the few weeks he’d be there before he returned to Moody to finish his four year Bible training. So Jeyson let Asas evaluate him and was accepted into their training program.
But he decided to continue with his plans to return to Moody to receive an undergraduate degree. “I had done two years, so I decided to return and finish four years with a missions major.”
Stephanie, Jeyson’s wife, says, “I’m glad he went back because that’s where I met him.”
Stephanie grew up in church and became interested in missions at a young age. “Whenever I heard missionaries speak at our church, I felt like they were talking to me,” she explained. At age 14, during a mission trip to Guatemala, Latin America was imprinted on her heart.
She attended Moody and studied TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). At first, Stephanie wasn’t sure if she would go into ministry. She didn’t even realize TESOL was in the missions department. But taking those mission classes grew her heart for serving overseas.
There at Moody, Stephanie met Jeyson, who was also interested in Latin America. He graduated two years before Stephanie and returned to Brazil. The couple’s relationship survived the miles, time differences, and cultural variations. It was a true match made in heaven!
Once Stephanie graduated, she and Jeyson married, and she joined him in Brazil. Jeyson received training via Asas’ flight program and served with them for 14 years as a pilot-mechanic. Stephanie taught and took care of their two children.
About two years ago, Jeyson decided to focus full-time on maintenance; Asas was swamped with maintenance needs, and he felt God had gifted him with skills in that area.
Jeyson learned about JAARS when he served with Craig Russell—the JAARS Vice President of Transportation—there in Brazil and also through coworkers who came to JAARS for training.
So when Jeyson and Stephanie felt like God was leading them into a new season of ministry, JAARS seemed like a natural fit. Jeyson now serves in the hangar as a mechanic and Stephanie is preparing for the birth of their third child.
Stephanie says about living and working at JAARS, “I love knowing about what’s happening all around the world in different locations. We had been just in one location and got zoomed in. Now we’re back out and see the whole picture.” She loves how peaceful and restorative JAARS can be. “You feel really valued for your effort and time [overseas].”
Who knows? Perhaps this is their next match made in Heaven.
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