My name is Bruce Hansen. I attended LeTourneau as a married student from 1984-87 majoring in aviation technology. My wife Jenny worked as a R.N. at Good Shepherd Medical Center for many hours to help put me through school. After I graduated from LeTourneau, I worked as a flight instructor at LeTourneau for another few years to build flight hours. We had planned all along to go into missionary aviation after finishing school. I also worked for an aircraft rebuilder for two years and gained invaluable A&P experience.
We had been looking at mission organizations for a while, trying to evaluate which mission would fit best with my skills and our family. We had always heard of the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators and knew some translators personally. This greatly affected our desire to be a part of a worthy task such as Bible Translation. We had also met a number of Wycliffe MKs at LeTourneau and enjoyed hearing their stories of how they grew up and of the faithful and challenging work of their parents and others.
When we first began to communicate with JAARS, the aviation/technical support arm of Wycliffe, they suggested that I get some more experience in flight before coming for orientation. The Lord took us to Juneau, Alaska, where I flew for a small regional airline. It was the perfect experience needed for missionary aviation, and we loved the adventure of being in Alaska. We even went there on a furlough for another summer season of flying in 1998.
We joined Wycliffe in 1990 and proceeded through all the required training courses. In August 1992, we headed out for our first assignment to Colombia, first spending nine months in Costa Rica for Spanish language study. Flying a Helio Courier in Colombia was like the ultimate fulfillment of many hours of training and experience that God had orchestrated over the years. We served in Colombia until February 1998, when our aviation program was closed down due to ongoing security concerns in the country. It was hard closing the door for aviation in Colombia after many years of successful and fulfilling flight service in that country.
God took us to another place of service, though. We have lived in Papua New Guinea since August 1998. PNG is the largest aviation branch of JAARS. Unpredictable weather, mountainous terrain and tough airstrips combine to make PNG a very challenging country in which to fly. Some of the most difficult flying I have ever done has happened here in PNG. It's worth the difficulties and challenges when I think of the many changed lives of people who now have God's Word in their own language.