Jaars Center

President’s Letter

Dear Friend,

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in 30 years of ministry is to practice thankfulness to God, especially during terrible situations. Invariably, when my wife and I have faced pain and frustration,  God showed us something bigger he was doing in the situation, the ministry, and in our lives.

The writer of Hebrews says it well, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). The key to experiencing that harvest is gratitude.

Looking back on 2020 and its challenges—a global pandemic that is still ongoing, racial and ethnic tensions that flared violently, a contentious election, economic hardship, and more—it’s hard to be thankful. I get it. However, this is when gratitude is most important.

In this season, I am so thankful to have God’s Word in my own language, in both written and audio forms. When I lacked the energy to read, I could listen. The truths sustained and encouraged me as I trust they did you. And the Holy Spirit works in our lives to reveal more of God’s character as we follow Jesus.

Your partnership with JAARS is another area for which I am very thankful. Your generous support throughout this season has truly made an impact. While we faced constraints, God enabled us to respond creatively as you’ll read in this report. Thank you for making these ministry outcomes possible, but more important, thank you for being friends with us in God’s mission.

Many more areas come to mind, more than I can recount here. I hope and pray that you also are experiencing joy through thanksgiving. Let’s continue to pray and serve together to see that those who don’t yet have God’s Word in their own languages will soon!

Yours for God’s glory,

Woody McLendon

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.

Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

—Hebrews 12:11

2020 Scripture Celebration

Each year we take time to rejoice and celebrate God’s faithfulness in giving his Word to people groups and communities in their own languages. Watch this three-minute video montage of Scripture dedications around the world, a procession of Bibles and flags filmed at our hangar, and more.

“We can’t do what we do here without JAARS support. This is a very hard country to work in. …

We rely on JAARS to provide the major infrastructure for our flight department and continuous assistance for maintenance and other aircraft related issues, flight training, and audits of our operations.

JAARS is that steady, foundational partner for us.”

—Brandon Penkoff, pilot-mechanic, SIL Cameroon. Read the full story.

Above: Feedback from a Bible translator who shared a Scripture app with Southeast Asian refugees. Read the full story.

Ministry Accomplishments

Restored and relaunched a boat in Papua New Guinea, working in collaboration with an established local ministry. The Kwadima II, which we first sent in 2007, is now poised for even greater support of Bible translation and other ministry on remote islands.


Launched a new Mission Transportation Software program to make travel safer and more efficient in off-the-grid environments. To start, we’re supporting FlightSpan™—an iPad app that helps mission pilots plan routes, track changing runway conditions, monitor flights, calculate weight and balance, track cargo, and more.


Acquired and began overhauling a Cessna 206 for ministry. The aircraft was originally headed to SIL Cameroon, but God intervened in a way that left us amazed and grateful. It will now meet a critical need for SAMAIR, our partner in Peru, while paving the way for an even better solution in Cameroon.


Started a new partnership with Faith Comes By Hearing to support Oral Bible Translation in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. So far this partnership has launched seven new translation projects, and momentum is growing.


Held a water safety training event for over 40 dedicated Filipino missionaries who share God’s Word on remote islands. The water travel itself is dangerous enough—and these teams work in areas where bringing the gospel can be punishable by death.


Sent a rugged 4WD to the Central African Republic, where our partner ACATBA is forging ahead with Bible translation in eight languages despite an ongoing civil war.


Began the FAA certification process for a commercial autopilot system to be used in Pilatus PC-6s—long awaited by our partner in Indonesia.


Continued our core support of partners around the world, working amidst COVID-19 restrictions to provide training, research, support for field programs, shipping of critical supplies, and more. Six aviation families also served directly with strategic partners in Brazil and Peru. Read a story from one of these partners.

Kept every commitment to support ongoing programs that are crucial to our partners’ ministry. Thanks to God’s provision and your generosity despite the pandemic, we maintained our support for:

Renovated our Museum of the Alphabet while it was closed due to COVID-19, and created a virtual tour for people to enjoy in the meantime.


Prototyped and tested CrossVenture|Coastal, a new experience to introduce young people to the challenges of maritime travel for missionaries around the world—and inspire them to be part of the solution.


Launched our new JAARS Fellows program and welcomed the first two cohorts, Alpha and Bravo, for training and service at our campus in North Carolina.


Retooling Our Training

Training is a core part of our ministry, and as you can guess, it looked very different in 2020. We’re grateful that before the pandemic even hit, God led us to add online learning to our Pre-field Orientation for new pilots and mechanics. That course was underway when the world went into lockdown—but ground school continued via Google Classroom and Zoom.

Throughout the year, we found ways to keep training and connecting despite the distance. Our aviation team hosted two online conferences, taught two new online courses to partner organizations, and held a socially distanced version of our classic Mountain Week. We safely offered in-person training for off-road driving, water safety, and overseas security. And we created TIP, an online version of our popular Intercultural Communications Course that launched in January.

“I was anxious and scared for sure. I didn’t know if I would be able to make it uphill in the thick mud without getting stuck or drive off-camber or be able to do all the things that I had to remember at once to drive a motorcycle. …

Now, not only do I have the skills to drive these vehicles, I feel more confident going into a new culture because of what I have seen God do in and through me.”

—Woman who took our off-road driving course and Intercultural Communications Course in preparation to serve in Southeast Asia. Read the full story.

Adults trained in our Intercultural Communications Course
People trained in water safety, rescue equipment, and survival techniques
People trained in 4WD and motorcycle care, handling, repair, and recovery
New pilots and mechanics trained for service
Recurrent aviation training courses
People trained on personal security in an overseas ministry context

Responding to the Pandemic

Beyond our support for Bible translation, God also blessed us with the ability to care for many missionaries and community members during the pandemic. We sewed masks, 3D-printed face shields, and offered housing to missionary families forced to evacuate their overseas locations due to COVID-19. Our on-site clinic and Wycliffe counselors also offered medical, spiritual, and emotional support amidst the trials of 2020.

“A long time ago I saw other indigenous people listening to God’s Word in their own language. And I thought that would never happen in my language. But now here it is: God’s Word in my own language. It’s a dream come true.

—Luciano, a church leader in a remote village of Brazil where aviation opened the door for Bible translation

Financial Summary

We’re incredibly grateful that JAARS has remained in a healthy financial position throughout the pandemic—thanks to God’s provision and generous partners like you—enabling us to maintain support of our partners and those they serve around the world. As you’ll see in next year’s report, we are now busy investing our 2020 surplus, largely caused by COVID-19 restrictions on our activities, into high-impact projects and programs globally. Thank you!

“For 35 years we have been privileged to serve at JAARS as both volunteers and donors. … We know firsthand the emphasis they place on using gifts responsibly, and we are assured that the donations we send are used wisely to advance Kingdom work. For us, gifts to JAARS are an important investment.”

—Jim and Judy Boyd

The financial results reported here are a summarization of our full financial statements. Complete financial statements, audited by Capin Crouse LLP, are available here. Non-cash contributions include a labor grant for supported staff—supported by the financial and prayer contributions of friends and churches through Wycliffe Bible Translators—plus donated labor from volunteers; both are also recognized as expenses. Amounts in the report represent the financial activity of JAARS, Inc. for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020.


Cash Contributions $4,515
Non-Cash Contributions $7,898
Program Activity Revenue $1,353
Investment Income $89
Other Income $226
Total Income $14,080


Program Services $10,284
Management and General $1,468
Fundraising $603
Total Expenses $12,356
Ending Net Assets $11,447
Total Gain from Operations* $1,725

All numbers in thousands of U.S. dollars.

* Excludes depreciation expenses of $587 thousand included in our audited financial statements.


Board of Directors

Andrew J. Hood, Board Chair
Retired – Former Financial Services/Regional Supervisory Director, MassMutual

Bonnie Nystrom, Vice Chair
Translation Advisor, Wycliffe USA

Michael A. Graham, Treasurer
Partner, D’Alberto, Graham & Grimsley

Lee Bramlett
Organizational Development and Training Leader, City of Olathe KS

Dan Dugger
President, Fractrade

Grace Townsend Goreth
JAARS Ambassador

Liz Thomson
Director of Language Programs Services, SIL Anglo-Lusophone Africa Area

JAARS Officers

Woody McLendon

Brian Anders
Vice President of People

Steve Biggerstaff
Vice President of Engagement

Allan Courtright
Vice President of Facilities and Services

David Reese
Chief Financial Officer

Johannes Rehm
Vice President of Global Initiatives

Craig Russell
Vice President of Transportation Services

Craig Whaley
Vice President of Engineering, Corporate Secretary

Kathy Andrews
Assistant Corporate Secretary

Our mission is to make Bible translation and language development possible, especially in the most remote and difficult places on earth. We do that by enabling locally appropriate and sustainable solutions in transportation, technology, media, and training.

Our heartfelt thanks to the many generous supporters like you who made our ministry this year possible. To God be the glory!