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John Edward Jansma

August 12, 1938 ~ April 18, 2018 (age 79)

John Edward Jansma, 79, of Livingston, Montana fell asleep and woke in the arms of his Lord and Savior, on April 18th at 4pm after a valiant five year battle with multiple myeloma.

John served his Lord as a missionary in Brazil for 45 years with Ethnos 360 (formerly New Tribes Mission) and retired in 2005.  For most of these years, John was involved with the Marubo tribal group in a remote isolated village on the tributary of the Amazon – the Ituí River.

He leaves behind his wife Diana after forty-nine and a half years of marriage.  The Lord blessed them with three children:  Philip, Joanna and Janet.  Philip is married to his wife Kristi and lives with his twelve children in Manaus, Brazil.  Joanna serves in Papua Indonesia.  Janet is married to Mike Griffith and lives in Arizona with her four children. 

John was the second eldest of eight siblings to John & Ruby (Pinnick) Jansma of Lynden, WA.

 He is also survived by his siblings: Ken (Laina) Jansma, Bellingham, WA; Nancy (Olin) Bretches, Arvada, CO.; Charlotte Jansma, Seattle, WA.; Evelyn (Mike) Irving; Henderson, NV; Everett, Anchorage, AK; and Roberta (Doug) Maier, Bellingham, WA. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, his older sister Betty (Joe) Wynia and younger brother Robert.

John never sought fame nor wanted to be put on a pedestal.  He was a simple country boy – left home at 14 to work on a neighboring dairy farm in Whatcom County.  After graduating from Nooksack High school he moved on to other places and other places of employment and eventually on to his maternal Uncle Roy Pinnick’s home in Billings, MT.  While there, he came to really understand the salvation God planned for him and he realized the claim the Lord had on his life.  He gave himself to God to be used.  He went to the New Tribes Mission Bible School in Chicago, IL at that time.  After completing the missionary course, he heard of the needs in Brazil and responded with “Here am I, Lord, send me”.  He loved the Marubo people.  They not only accepted him but one of the family clans adopted him into their family.  John lived right with the family: working, hunting, fishing, eating everything just as they did.  Being single for the first 10 years allowed him to do this and thus learn the language and culture more quickly.  His biggest joy was to see the change in the Marubo’s from a life of fear and superstition, to one filled with life and hope.  The missionaries involved with him from time to time formed an alphabet and started writing in Marubo early on.  John taught several classes for the people on how to read and write in their own language.   He worked very diligently on translating Bible stories and then portions of the Bible. 

John had a very strong work ethic.  He was always working on his “to do list”.  He inherited the Dutch green thumb and loved his flower & vegetable garden, both in Brazil and here. Because of the isolation of our village, there were few opportunities to get away from the “work” and chaos of life.   Our favorite thing was to get in the dugout canoe with tackle boxes and poles and go up and down the Ituí River to enjoy the jungle noises & nature.   John loved fishing and upon retirement here discovered Newlan and Martinsdale reservoirs to continue our fishing.

John loved each of our three children and all the grandchildren… He delighted in hearing what they were involved in, even though most the time far from us. He was pleased to watch them mature into responsible, hard-working people that also live for the Lord.  John loved being the Champion Mexican Train player with any family and friends.   He also enjoyed going to some of the grandkids sporting events.

John will certainly be missed.  He lived a full life, and we rejoice that Jesus welcomed him home with a “well done, good and faithful servant”.

Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2:00 P.M. at the Paradise Valley Community Church, 1772 E River Rd, Livingston, MT 59047. A reception will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers:  The family would like to suggest memorial gifts be sent to Ethnos360, 312 W. First St., Sanford, FL. 32771-1231 for the ministries of Philip and Kristi Jansma and or Joanna Jansma, or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the care of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory in Livingston. Online condolences may be shared at

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