Blessings that Overflow

By Julia Rose

When Elaine Drake saw a Wycliffe poster that described their vision for all peoples to have access to the Word of God in their heart language by a projected year, she knew she wanted to be a part of the work being done across the globe. Having been raised in a church with a strong emphasis on missions, Elaine had often heard about how God uses those willing to go. 

Longing to be a part of the Wycliffe vision, she graduated from high school a year early to pursue linguistics at Wheaton College. In the chapel there, a bust of Jim Elliot—a mission martyr—always reminded her of her interest in missions, especially aviation. Through her knowledge of Wycliffe, Elaine had learned about JAARS and was intrigued by its work in aviation.

Even though Elaine ended up teaching at a Christian school in Colorado, her heart for missions never shrank. But God brought her to JAARS in a way she didn’t expect—through marriage! At the church Elaine attended, no one seemed to know about JAARS. When she met Craig there and he described his desire to be a JAARS pilot, she knew he was the one. After she and Craig married, they lived in an air park, with their own plane and hangar. 

Elaine drake and her husband, Craig

Years later, Craig retired from working as an air traffic controller and announced they were going to JAARS to serve. 

At that time, Elaine was working in customer service and sales. God was using that job to prepare her for the position he had in mind for her at JAARS—one that even used similar software! While most people have to transition and adjust, she was able to jump right in.

Now, God is using Elaine greatly in the Partner Relations department. Whenever people feel led to donate, she is the one who thanks them for their financial gifts—for that enabling JAARS to further Bible translation through technology, transportation, media, and training. She stays in touch with those who give to JAARS and finds others who are willing to be used by God. She often sends handwritten notes to donors—a lost art for which many recipients have expressed appreciation. Through her regular interaction with those who donate to JAARS, Elaine witnesses God’s work in their lives and sees how he brings them to JAARS—often because of aviation interests and connections like hers!

“I can definitely see how God leads me, because when I think to ask him for his wisdom,” Elaine remembers, “I can see him steering me in a direction other than what I might have planned. And at the end of the day I can see why.”

Writer’s note: God has used Elaine Drake tremendously in my life over the past few months. After I obeyed God’s prompting to give to JAARS out of what he has blessed me with, she reached out to me, beginning an ongoing correspondence. Because she noticed my interest in writing, I am now serving JAARS in this capacity. Not only did she help open doors for me so I could write for JAARS and watch God work wonders, she has also prayed for me and shared verses and poems to brighten my day. Her kindness and thoughtfulness in sending me handwritten notes every now and then have been such an encouragement. They always come at the perfect time. Not always material, the overflowing blessing God pours out on us can also be people he puts into our lives, like Elaine Drake, and places of opportunity, like JAARS.

Julia Rose (the author) poses with Elaine Drake.

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” (Malachi 3:10 NASB 1995)

You too can be a part of God’s work at JAARS! Click here to see how you can support the JAARS mission.