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Missionary Stories

Ed and Abbie Potter

Our personal stories

First and foremost, we are a team,

Abbie's father was a pastor, and she grew up in  Arkansas, Hawaii,  Colorado, California, Illinois and Texas, attending 10 schools in 12 years. Such drastic moves were often traumatic, so she said she would never marry a preacher. Now she says she's learned not to tell God what she'll "never" do. Not only did God give her a preacher for a husband, but, for good measure, a missionary, to boot. "Never say never" became one of her guiding principles, especially if she's talking to God.

We married in 1966, and our two eldest children, Rachel and Rick, were aged 3 and 4 when we arrived in Brazil in 1972. Jeff was born there in 1973, and in 1976, we moved to Madeira Island, Portugal, where Joy was born in 1980.


Abbie is an accomplished self-taught pianist, and she used her musical gifts to form and direct the church choir in Funchal. Special musical works by John Peterson and other more recent composers were presented at Christmas and Easter. When a given work was not available in Portuguese, she set about to translate the lyrics so the works were always performed in both English and Portuguese. 

Her artistic nature extends to her passion for flower arranging, which in Madeira meant using fresh flowers according to the season of the year. Here in the US, she's learned to rely on silk and other artificial flowers.


The first foreign language I studied was Latin for 4 years, grades 8-12, which was followed by NT Greek in university. Other languages followed, with few or no formal course studies: Hebrew, then Portuguese, from which has come Spanish; French and elementary Italian.  Along the way, I picked up other languages, including Swedish, German, and Russian. Because of a greater contact with Russian (and Ukrainian) speakers, as badly as I speak Russian, it's better than my German for example. When people ask how many languages I speak, I say I'm fluent in two, English and Portuguese, and proficient at butchering 5 or 6 others with varying degrees of linguistic barbarity. Some people collect stamps; I collect languages.

I believe my gift is teaching, and the Bible has been my main subject for over 50 years of ministry as pastor and missionary.  Added to my love for languages, that naturally led to teaching English as a foreign language for almost 20 years.  Mix in a heaping dose of a passion for writing, how could I not embark on my profession as a freelance translator, proofreader and editor? That encompasses the last 30 years, and now bi-lingual podcasting appears as the natural outcome of all these things together. 60 years of Bible ministry; 56 years of marriage; 44 years on the foreign mission field; 20 years of teaching EFL; 30 years as a professional translator;  still in year 1 as podcaster.

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