Jaars Center

From The President

Dear Friend of JAARS,

A Bible expositor once said, “True faith always has content—the revealed word of God. Salvation comes to those who believe the facts of the gospel.” He was exactly right. And the apostle Paul asked these questions: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:14–15, 17 ESV).

As believers, we logically know that Christ’s command is to make disciples and go to the nations. Even so, some questions arise in my mind: How many more generations do people without God’s Word have to wait until we go? Where are these people who “have never heard”? Sure, unsaved people are everywhere, even in our own neighborhoods. Still, they have access to God’s Word, and despite that access, they have chosen to ignore what is readily available. 

What about those who have never heard—who have no access and no knowledge of the facts of the gospel? They still exist in far-off, hard-to-reach places.

That is why God commands those of us who have His truth to go to the nations. In Christ, God is “reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:19–20 ESV).

How can we be ambassadors? Well, we can learn the skills, find the remote people, and take God’s Word to them. Or, if unable to do that ourselves, we can go to the nations by supporting those with the skills to go. At JAARS, we can help you go to the nations. Together, we can fulfill the Great Commission—by training, deploying, equipping, and sustaining with your support in partnership. Collectively, we—as the body of Christ—can go to the nations. God makes His appeal through us.

When the apostle Paul was answering questions from the Corinthians about their current circumstances as new believers, he made a remarkable, inspired statement. He declared in 1 Cor. 7:17, “Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” While the immediate context addresses marriage, position, and family, the principle is broad. God calls each of us to a life that He has assigned.

Ephesians 2:10 states, 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Prepared beforehand. That we should walk. Living the life God has assigned. 

As we seek that goal together, we know God moves through His people to support one another. Some of us can fly airplanes. Some can translate the Word of God and then reach remote people via our airplanes. Some can provide the resources to fly those airplanes. All can reach those who have never heard—God making His appeal through us to be His ambassadors. That is our passion—indeed, our calling—at JAARS. It is also our appeal. Let’s go to the nations together.

After a wonderful year of celebration for our 75th anniversary, JAARS is now creating its next generation. We call it the 4th Generation of JAARS. We have incredible skills to train this newer and younger generation and the ability to mentor and disciple them. This generation is already being trained and equipped to reach new fields in remote rainforests and beyond. 

But they cannot do it without your help. We cannot train them without your help. And those to whom God is making His appeal need all of us as His ambassadors so that they may be changed by the power of His Word. 

Training, equipping, deploying, sustaining. Praying and supporting.
Won’t you please help us fulfill the Great Commission together?

Steve Russell
JAARS President and CEO

“What about those who have never heard—who have no access and no knowledge of the facts of the gospel?”

—Steve Russell

At our 75th anniversary President Steve Russell and Grace Townsend Goreth bless the plane Toña for its new role as a training aircraft at JAARS.

“Let’s go to the nations together!”

—Steve Russell

Covering the Last Mile

Your financial gifts and prayers are taking God’s Word and His love to the unreached at the ends of the earth!

Covering the Last Mile of Missions

in the Melanesian Rainforest

Mountains rise from pristine white beaches to brush the sky’s belly at 16,000 feet. Villages perch like birds’ nests on the slopes. Hot, humid rainforest lies beneath, with tangled roads that become rivers during unpredictable rainstorms.
“Last mile” missionaries must tackle challenges like these as they strive to reach people in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and other Pacific islands who need the gospel.

“There are a lot of remote places up in the mountains or in the swamps or ridgelines where you can’t carve out an airstrip.”

—Christopher Clark, JAARS-trained pilot serving with SIL-PNG Aviation

1,816 Total Aviation Hours Flown in Papua New Guinea
97 People Groups Needed Helicopter Service
3 Aviators Trained at JAARS


Places Only Helicopters Can Reach

Atop four mountains in Papua New Guinea (PNG) live 2,000 Nema people who don’t have God’s Word in their language. Like the Nema, 80% of the new translation programs in PNG will be places that only helicopters can reach. 

“There are a lot of remote places up in the mountains or in the swamps or ridgelines where you can’t carve out an airstrip,” said Christopher Clark, a JAARS-trained pilot serving with SIL-PNG Aviation.

Because of SIL-PNG Aviation’s shortage of helicopter pilots, Christopher, knowing the ability of JAARS to provide the training, decided after 19 years of flying fixed-wing aircraft to transition to flying helicopters.

One reason that Christopher wanted to receive this training
at JAARS was its high quality: “I knew they were going to use high standards.” After completing helicopter training at JAARS, Christopher returned to PNG with a solid foundation for flying in this challenging environment. Thank you for enabling us to keep training pilots who serve in the most remote locations.

Will I Survive This?

The nation of Papua New Guinea includes a number of islands, such as New Ireland, New Britain, and Bougainville. To reach people on the islands with the gospel, our co-laborers in Christ must travel across open ocean in dinghies that are meant for calm water. Sometimes 10-foot waves can tower over them. One wrong turn, and they could end up with a swamped boat, adrift at sea. “Will I survive this?” is often their thought as waves toss their tiny boats every which way, spraying saltwater into their eyes and damaging their cargo. 

Recognizing these challenges, the JAARS Sea Operations (Sea Ops)team traveled to three regions of PNG to provide water safety training for Bible translators who serve with the Papua New Guinea Bible Translation Association. 

Alphonse, one of the participants, had hiked for hours to several villages to find fuel just to reach the training. When he arrived, he was afraid. “But when I attended the course,” he said, “I was thankful. I’m going to bring some new ideas to our village people to teach them how to swim.”

A Maintenance Trip Makes All the Difference

“[The landing strip] was right up amidst the foothills of the mountains, and the pilot followed the terrain and had to land with Visual Flight Rules only,” said Paul Wiedenfeld, a JAARS maintenance specialist, about SIL-PNG’s runway in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. 

Paul and three other experienced JAARS maintenance specialists traveled to Ukarumpa along with three younger, less-experienced maintenance specialists who are interested in serving overseas. They worked on projects that the small PNG aviation team didn’t have time or people to handle. 

When the JAARS maintenance team arrived at Ukarumpa, three out of the six aircraft were out of service. By the time they left, five aircraft were in service, and only one was out of service. “Having this [crew] here in PNG was a great encouragement to our team,” Paul Stewart, the maintenance manager for SIL-PNG, said.


“It’s impossible to do Bible translation, plant churches, or any community development without airplanes.”

—Brad McFarlane, YAJASI aviation operations coordinator


Casey and Valerie Ellis work to see that the North Ambrym people of Vanuatu can interact with and understand Scripture. They deliver Bible studies, portions of Scripture, and other material to villages scattered across the island. 

The Ellises recently bought a four-wheel drive vehicle to traverse the muddy, flora-lined paths that weave across the island. They took the JAARS 4WD training to acquire the skills necessary to drive across the challenging terrain. “Before you’ve sat behind the wheel and have overtaken a hill successfully and gone through a mud bog, it’s intimidating,” Casey explained. “So to have gone through and experienced those things, [we] feel empowered to continue to learn, and to move forward.”


In this mountainous, rainforest-tangled country, airplanes are often the only means of transport to villages perched on mountains. “If you go there, you have to go by air,” said Brad McFarlane, the aviation operations coordinator for our aviation partner, YAJASI. “It’s impossible to do Bible translation, plant churches, or any community development without airplanes,” he continued.

So it makes sense that airplanes would aid in Bible dedications too. With your support, we funded many of the flights that carried Bibles, New Testaments, and special guests into these mountain-carved airstrips for four dedications. The training that you provide here at the JAARS Base also enabled these flights. Thank you!

Total Aviation Hours Flown In Indonesia
Passengers Flown
Pounds of Cargo Carried

Reaching Unreached People Groups

in the Congolese Rainforest

The second largest rainforest in the world stretches across six countries—Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. 
Dense undergrowth, violent storms, unreliable public transportation, and civil unrest make it difficult to reach the more than 150 people groups in this region with the gospel. Many of them remain unreached—without God’s Word in their language.


Rukundo Abel knew only how to sink in water, not float, which is a problem for someone who routinely travels across Lake Victoria—the largest lake in Africa—to deliver Bibles.

Reaching the islanders in Uganda with God’s Word is not easy. Rukundo and his team hire fishing boats to reach the islands, and sometimes the trips take nine hours. Several times, his life and the lives of his team members have been endangered as they tried to deliver Bibles.

Earlier in the year, JAARS sent Rukundo’s team life jackets and a kit with safety equipment because such equipment is expensive and hard to acquire in Uganda. Then during the summer, the JAARS Sea Operations (Sea Ops) team conducted a remote training course for Rukundo and his team. 

“Now, knowing that when I have my life jacket with me, in case of anything, I am safe. It gives me confidence daily, that I can still keep on doing my mission that God has called us to do on the islands.”


A Helicopter Makes All the Difference

Because of your gifts to Aviation Operations (Air Ops), we were able to help fund SIL Cameroon Transportation again as they seek to make Scripture available in this difficult area. Your support also enabled them to make flights to remote villages and transport both goods to market and sick or injured people to higher levels of care.

The pilots also went with a team to a village of unreached people to show the JESUS film, which had a great impact! “The village leaders were very encouraged and are asking for the hospital to help with the church, and they want more Bibles,” Mark said. “It was a great impact that we wouldn’t normally be able to make without the helicopter.”

Driving Through the Interior of Africa

Our Land Operations (Land Ops) team trained several of the SIL Cameroon transportation staff at the JAARS Base so they can go out and train others how to operate four-wheel drive vehicles and motorcycles in various parts of Africa. 

The roads here can become rivers or mud pits in the rainy season, and in the dry season, they are deeply rutted, making this kind of training essential to Bible translators and other gospel workers. One translator said, “The motorcycle does a great service, and without [it], the work would be impossible.”

“Now, knowing that when I have my life jacket with me, in case of anything, I am safe. It gives me confidence daily, that I can still keep doing my mission that God has called us to do on the islands.”

—Rukundo Abel

245 Total Aviation Hours Flown in Cameroon
277 Passengers Flown
97 Land Ops People Trained

“The motorcycle does a great service, and without [it], the work would be impossible!”

—Congolese Translator

Getting Mission Workers There Safely

in the Amazonian Rainforest

The Amazonian rainforest weaves its web across Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Suriname, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, French Guiana, and Guyana. Challenges abound for our co-laborers who share the gospel with people in this remote area: long, hot trips by boat with minimal or no shelter, lack of roads, steep hikes, and dense jungles.

Helicopter pilots Jeremiah and Bruno doing field training in Brazil.

The people of northwestern Brazil are asking for someone to bring them the gospel.

“It was such a joy to see that church dedicated and to see that these young believers, who are just getting started and discipled, now have a place that they can call their church home.”

—Marcos, JAARS-trained pilot


Training the Next Generation of Pilots

The people in northwestern Brazil are asking for someone to bring them the gospel.

But this is one of the hardest-to-access areas in Brazil. Few villages have runways, and due to regulations and logistical hurdles, there isn’t a good way to build more. So a helicopter is the best way to meet the transportation need. 

Jeremiah Diedrich returned to Brazil to oversee Brazilian helicopter pilot Bruno’s field checkout. “I would like to thank JAARS that I can now receive this training from the JAARS pilot here in Brazil,” Bruno said. “We are already serving several villages, several missionaries. So certainly this mission has a gigantic impact in the kingdom of God and here in the country of Brazil.”

Back at JAARS, Jeremiah is passing on his experience of flying through the rough weather and terrain of Brazil to pilots who are learning to fly helicopters overseas.

Providing the Means to Worship

Your gifts to Air Ops enabled us to continue to support Asas de Socorro, a national aviation organization in Brazil. Thank you! 

Marcos Baughman, a JAARS-trained pilot who serves with Asas, used a floatplane to deliver supplies for the construction of a church in one community. “It was such a joy to see that church dedicated and to see that these young believers, who are just getting started and discipled, now have a place that they can call their church home,” Marcos said. 

Another group whom Asas de Socorro serves, the Kiriku* people, once were antagonistic to outsiders, but they now have the New Testament and long to study and share it with their neighbors. Two JAARS-trained pilots, Peter Stuart and Jake Anderson, flew 80 Kiriku people from 16 villages to one location so they could come together to study God’s Word and worship.

*Name changed for security reasons


Indigenous Christians are translating the Bible for seven language groups in a country crisscrossed with rivers. These co-laborers must frequently travel these rivers to do their work, but using commercial boats is expensive, dangerous, and often unreliable. 

Your gifts enabled their organization to build and deploy four boats; now they can reach people quickly and safely. Your gifts are having an impact in their lives for the gospel!

The Sea Ops team also trained these co-laborers how to use safety equipment like personal flotation devices. 

Shortly after the Sea Ops training, one of the women who had taken the course was riding on a commercial boat when it capsized. Although this woman had been fearful of the water before the training, she now remained calm, reassuring the other passengers and made sure they stayed together. Partly due to the training and your gifts, she is able to serve another day.

“I knew it would be very high-quality training, and it far exceeded my expectations!”

—Christina Lehigh, instructor at SMAT talking about our PT-6 Maintenance Course

Training and Equipping Pilots

and Mechanics at the JAARS Base

Pre-Field Orientation

This year, with your help, during our Pre-Field Orientation, we trained a Papua New Guinean mechanic, two pilot-mechanics who will serve with Africa Inland Mission, one pilot with South America Mission, and a pilot and a mechanic who will serve in Papua, Indonesia, with our aviation partner YAJASI. 

“We’re all thankful that JAARS can provide the training for us, the excellence in aviation, and [that we can] work as a team to extend the hope that we have in Jesus and the gospel,” Gabe Lawrence, one of the pilot-mechanics, said.

PT-6 Maintenance Course

JAARS conducted a PT-6 turbine engine heavy maintenance course for SMAT (School of Missionary Aviation and Technology). The turbine engine is being used more and more overseas because its fuel is much easier and cheaper to find, making this course a felt need by many mission aviation organizations. 

Because of your help, we are able to offer the course at a much lower cost than the one taught at the factory, and students can practice troubleshooting problems and solutions on our turbine engine run stand.

“I knew it would be very high-quality training, and it far exceeded my expectations,” said Christina Lehigh, an instructor at SMAT.

13,152 Total Hours Spent in Training
306 People Trained
35 Pilots Trained
47 Maintenance Specialists Trained
2 PT-6 Turbine Engine Heavy Maintenance Courses Held
2 Cessna 206 Courses Held

What’s Next?

Equipping the Next Generation

Check out our new Apprentices program! This two-year program will technically and spiritually equip young licensed pilots and mechanics so they can serve God fruitfully overseas.  

You can help us share the gospel by equipping and deploying this next generation of dedicated followers of Christ!

Financial Summary

As we celebrated 75 years in 2023, we praised God for continuing to keep JAARS in a strong and steady financial position. Going forward, we are excited to see how the Lord will reach the unreached through generous people like you partnering to make our work possible.

Our Mission

We reduce barriers, ease burdens and deliver God’s Word. We do that by training, equipping, deploying and sustaining individuals, teams and stations to aid in the work of proclaiming the gospel to the whole creation.


Cash Contributions $5,881
Non-Cash Contributions $10,412
Program Activity Revenue $1,578
Investment Income $43
Other Income $20
Total Income $17,934


Transportation $5,076
Base Ops $5,051
International $702
Technology $2,362
Management & General $1,181
Fundraising $1,436
Total Expenses $15,808
Total Gain (Loss) from Operations* $2,126
Ending Net Assets $13,682

*Includes land and apartment gift of $2,283,000

Numbers for Income and Expenses are in thousands of U.S. dollars.

Amounts in this report represent the financial activity of JAARS, Inc. for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2023. The results reported here are a summarization of our full financial statements. Complete financial statements, audited by Capin Crouse LLP, are available at jaars.org/stewardship. Non-cash contributions include a labor grant for supported staff—funded by the financial contributions of friends and churches through Wycliffe Bible Translators—plus donated labor from volunteers; both are also recognized as expenses.

Execute - flightspan-13
Pastors and elders hold their new Bibles high in celebration


Board of Directors

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

Bonnie Nystrom, Vice Chair
Translation Advisor, Wycliffe USA

Lee Bramlett, Treasurer
Director, Good Dads KC

Liz Thomson
Director of Planning, Monitoring and Learning, SIL International

Dan Dugger
President, Fractrade

Marita Eden
Regional Partner Relations Representative, JAARS

Grace Townsend Goreth
JAARS Ambassador

Daniel Johnson
Retired – Director of Finance, Nonprofit and Government Organizations

Nydia García-Schmidt
Consultant, Generosity and Stewardship, Wycliffe Global Alliance

Ryan Kruse
Test Engineer, Team Penske

JAARS Officers

Steve Russell
President and CEO

Brian Anders
Vice President of Personnel Operations

Kathy Andrews
Assistant Corporate Secretary

Steve Biggerstaff
Vice President of Advancement

Johannes Rehm
Vice President of Global Operations

Craig Russell
Vice President of Air, Land, and Sea Operations

Denise Shockley
Vice President of Financial Operations and CFO

Stephen Sweeney
Chief of Staff

Quinn Varnado
Vice President of Marketing and Future Operations

Craig Whaley
Vice President of Research & Development and Engineering Operations, Corporate Secretary 

“When you look at the people that are still unreached, it’s because they are the hardest to reach. [Where they live] is the most difficult, the most resource-intense, the most logistically challenging.”

—Jeremiah Diedrich, JAARS helicopter instructor