Children’s eyes grow wide as the JAARS helicopter emerges from the cotton-puff clouds in the cornflower-blue sky overhead. The children point up and gasp as vibrant Easter eggs flow like a colored waterfall from the aircraft. Mothers grip their little ones’ hands tightly to prevent them from gathering the eggs before it’s safe. When the signal is given, chaos ensues as children run to grab as many eggs as possible. Smiles adorn their faces and laughter erupts and echoes off the buildings surrounding the field. Only two words perfectly describe the children’s reactions: pure joy.
The JAARS Missions at the Airport team held the egg drop event in Oakboro, North Carolina, on March 27 in partnership with Divine Real Estate. These events raise awareness of the work JAARS does to support Bible translation around the world.
At first glance, the helicopter seems to be the focal point of the Missions at the Airport event. After all, kids stare in awe at it. People line up to ride in it. However, the real focus of the event is what God is doing in people’s lives, globally and locally.
For Jim and Marcia Rountree, new volunteers for Partnership Ministries (a branch of JAARS which reaches out to donors and potential donors), the Missions at the Airport egg drop in Oakboro was their first such event. Marcia, who helped people fill out waivers before they took a helicopter ride, said: “It was really inspiring to see families together and [to see] how supportive and excited for each other they were to experience something like this. And the kids’ expressions were just priceless!”
Along with helping people sign waivers, Marcia had several meaningful conversations. Two attendees in particular stood out in her mind. One was a fourteen-year-old girl who has aspirations to be a medical pilot in the military. This girl was thrilled at the chance to ride in the helicopter, since she had never ridden in one before. She even got to talk to some of the JAARS pilots about how they became pilots. Marcia was grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life through providing a helicopter ride.
Another attendee Marcia ministered to was a woman there with her young child. The woman told Marcia about difficult situations that had arisen in her life, and Marcia encouraged her and shared the hope of the gospel with her.
Jim, who helped people get in and out of the helicopter safely, emphasized the value of these Missions at the Airport events: “[They] expose JAARS to a lot of different people [of all ages]. Parents can guide their children [to consider missions].”
Marcia’s and Jim’s experiences highlight an important fact: The helicopters and planes used at Missions at the Airport events, and at JAARS and by our partners overseas, are simply vessels. They enable staff and volunteers to minister to people and share how God’s power can transform their lives.
The team at JAARS who plan and conduct these events want them to be a place where people are attracted to the Light of Christ through life-giving relationships. These exciting events also draw attention to the work God is doing at JAARS and around the world and give attendees an opportunity to consider how they might serve the Lord through Bible translation.
See if and when a Missions at the Airport event is coming near you here.