Project AmaZon (PAZ) was founded by the late Luke Huber, who came to the Amazon in December of 1976. Luke had been raised in central Brazil by his missionary parents — Melvin and Katherine Huber — who led him to the Lord. Even as a youth, Luke's zeal for Jesus and for The Great Commission was strong.
Luke was only 26 years old when he arrived in Santarém, a strategically located river port in the central Amazon. Accompanied by his wife Christine and their two daughters, Sarah and Esther, Luke found that Santarém and the surrounding river villages were ripe unto harvest. As he surveyed the rivers, he found village after village with no evangelical church.
It was in those early days that God gave Luke, and his wife Christine, the vision that was to become the very heart of PAZ: to plant a church in every village and town in the Amazon Basin. To accomplish that goal, Luke knew that he was going to need two things: more workers and lots of boats.
Over the next few years, Luke’s parents and the entire Huber family — Angela, Tim, Becky and Abe — came to Santarém to work with PAZ. Additional missionaries also caught the vision and came from the United States. At the same time, Luke began to build a fleet of diesel-powered riverboats to carry evangelists, church planters and health workers into the surrounding river communities. In some towns and villages the Gospel was met by opposition — sometimes even persecution — from spiritists and works-based religions. But the PAZ church, like the early-day church in Jerusalem, grew rapidly in the face of opposition. It is a testimony to God’s power and mercy that many of the Brazilians who once opposed the Gospel so fiercely have since been won over and become important leaders and teachers in the PAZ churches.
An army of born-again Brazilians rose to take important leadership positions in the church. It had been Luke’s vision and his dream from the beginning that PAZ would evolve from being an American-led mission to a vibrant, self-propelled church led by Brazilians. And that, God be praised, is precisely what has happened.
It is fitting that when Luke died — in a plane crash in 1994 — he was out on the Amazon River, doing the work that he had been called to do and loved so much. Luke’s death stunned those who knew him and loved him — even those who only knew of his work from afar.
The Vision Takes Hold
But after Luke’s death, the Lord poured out an extra measure of grace on the mission and the churches, raising up new leaders, bringing in droves of new believers and filling everyone with a new sense of urgency and devotion. These new leaders took hold of the vision that was once Luke's, and began planting churches and bases across the Amazon Basin.
Though Luke’s parents, Melvin and Katherine, have since passed away, the rest of the Huber family continues in active ministry work with PAZ. Today, the mission is led by Jeff and Becky Hrubik (Becky is Luke’s sister), who live at the mission’s home base in Santarém. Together, they oversee a staff of missionaries who are supported independently by their own churches, families and friends.
By God’s grace, PAZ has planted hundreds of churches and developed thousands of leaders to take the Gospel to all of the Amazon. We are seeing God break strongholds centuries old and are gaining momentum against the enemy: the battle for the Amazon is being won!