Honoring the Past and Provoking to the Future

By Rachel Greco

Speeches. Hands lifted in worship. A Helio Courier restored and renamed after a martyr.

JAARS recently celebrated its 75th anniversary here in Waxhaw, North Carolina, taking time to honor our past and look ahead to the future. What a wonderful time it was, and thanks to all those who came to celebrate with us!

Enjoy these highlights of the event. And be sure to watch our documentary, Whatever it Takes: The First 75 Years of JAARS. Thank you for your part in easing burdens, reducing barriers, and delivering God’s Word to people in the most remote places on earth!

Helio Courier Dedication

Some important symbols from the past: cherry pie–our founder William Cameron Townsend’s favorite dessert–which he used to remind us to keep the “pie” in pioneering. The bottles represent water from the Amazon River and Crystal Lake at the JAARS Base.


JAARS President Steve Russell and JAARS Ambassador Grace Townsend Goreth pray over the restored Helio Courier named Toña, dedicating it to the Lord.


Aviation mechanics who worked on the Helio Courier in the past or present pray over it at the dedication ceremony.


Steve Russell accompanies aviation staff and Roy Gleason (middle) to the Helio Courier for his first flight in it after many years. Roy was one of the aircraft’s first pilots in Ecuador!


The Helio Courier, with Roy inside, preps for takeoff!


Guests were able to tour the “Miss Virginia,” a WWII DC-3 aircraft that flew for many years as a part of the JAARS fleet in South America.


Commissioning of JAARS President Steve Russell

Bonnie Nystrom (far right) and other board members read Scripture and prayers over Steve Russell and his wife, Cindy.


JAARS President Steve Russell and board chair Andy Hood with senior leaders from SIL International, Wycliffe USA, The Seed Company, Wycliffe Global Alliance, and Wycliffe Associates.


The JAARS senior leadership team.


The Reopening of the Cárdenas Building

A child enjoys one of the new exhibits at the Cárdenas Building, now part of The Alphabet Museum at JAARS.


The Cárdenas Building tells the history of JAARS.


At the renovated Cárdenas Building, guests can now pretend they are pilots flying into remote mountain airstrips!


The Signing of a New Agreement

JAARS President Steve Russell and SIL Executive Director Michel Kenmogne sign a new agreement framing up an exciting, future-looking model for collaboration between our two organizations. Also pictured: Andy Hood and Hans Combrink, board chairs for JAARS and SIL, respectively.


Celebrating the Past and Looking to the Future

JAARS staff and guests watch our documentary, Whatever It Takes: The First 75 Years of JAARS. Watch it now here!


Ending the Weekend with Worship

Staff and guests enjoy a night of worship at the JAARS hangar.


Worship leaders from Carmel Baptist Church did an excellent job in leading us to praise the Lord! What a great way to end the weekend–praising the Lord for all that he has done!