In His Blood

By Rachel Greco

Flying is in Kyle Respass’ blood. His grandfather was a private pilot, his uncle’s a professional pilot, and his dad is a private pilot. His granddad loved JAARS; he volunteered for JAARS many times. Kyle remembers asking his granddad what the JAARS logo on his hat meant.

Even with all these relatives in aviation, Kyle didn’t consider being a pilot until he was a junior in high school. His uncle Doug visited his family and struck up a conversation with Kyle. The two spoke about aviation and when his uncle left, Kyle thought, “I should be a pilot.” He’s always been passionate about aircraft and loves the thrill and adventure. But what kind of pilot?

Kyle first considered being a water bomber—pilots who drop water and fire retardant on fires. But then, after discussing the pros and cons about this and corporate flying jobs with his uncle, Kyle decided to be a mission pilot. Kyle said, “If you like flying and love Jesus, then mission pilot is an obvious choice.”

In a conversation with his uncle, Doug told Kyle, “JAARS is always hiring [recruiting].” Kyle didn’t recall what his grandfather had told him long ago about who JAARS is, so his uncle explained how we serve Bible translation. The mission of JAARS—to make Bible translation and language development possible, especially in the most remote and difficult places on earth—resonated with Kyle. The Bible has impacted his life tremendously: “Just the idea of not having one wrenches my gut. So I want to be able to connect people with Bibles.”

At the recommendation of his uncle, Kyle attended the Keswick Missions at the Airport last year, where he met the Missions at the Airport team, Mike Mower and Stephen Sweeney, and heard incredible stories of flying in Cameroon from Rob Peterson.

“I loved getting to meet those strong men of God,” Kyle said, “and hearing their amazing stories of the things that the Lord did for them.” Kyle is thankful for the opportunity to meet these men of faith who have dedicated their lives to the Lord and looks forward to serving alongside them one day.

Kyle will be attending LeTourneau University in August to prepare for this long journey to JAARS mission aviation. But he doesn’t want to wait until he has a pilot’s license to begin sharing and serving with JAARS.

After the Keswick event, Kyle began researching how advocates help JAARS. “If I want to work for JAARS my whole life,” he thought, “I can start now by being an advocate.” He emailed the advocacy program manager, who turned out to be Stephen Sweeney, the JAARS Mission at the Airport coordinator whom Kyle had been corresponding with since meeting him at Keswick.

Once Kyle turned 18, only a few weeks after he emailed Stephen about being an advocate, he received business cards, declaring him an official JAARS advocate. Kyle will now have official training and information to hand out to people who express interest in Bible translation and JAARS.

He planned to dive right into his advocacy position by speaking to his churches and inviting them to the Missions at the Airport event at Keswick in May, where they could ride airplanes and helicopters while learning about Bible translation. Kyle was going to attend each day, since the event was close by, ready to answer questions and hand out information. Unfortunately, the quarantine changed those plans and the event was cancelled.

However, Kyle still has hopes to serve as an advocate in the future and looks forward to furthering the work of JAARS even before he sets foot in an airplane.

You also can help further our work of supporting Bible translation—without setting foot in an airplane or even outside your door! Visit here to learn more.