One Step at a Time

By Rachel Greco

Nine families from at least four states and South Korea have followed the Lord one step at a time to leave their homes and serve the Lord in five countries.

First, though, they will live at JAARS for three months as the aircraft mechanics, avionic technicians, and pilots who attend our JAARS Pre-Field Orientation (PFO) course that begins in March. PFO is an important step in their preparation to spread God’s love here and overseas.

Join us in welcoming this year’s participants and their families to JAARS and PFO!

Daniel and Karys Rounds

Organization: YAJASI, an aviation partner with JAARS in Indonesia

Daniel learned about mission aviation through a mission worker serving with South America Missions. God then used JAARS staff working remotely at the School of Missionary Aviation Technology to encourage him to attend Moody Aviation in Spokane, Washington.

After graduating from Moody in 2017, Daniel worked at the Grand Rapids, Michigan, airport to gain more experience. In 2021, he and his wife, Karys, joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and are now here finishing their training. Daniel, who will serve YAJASI as an aircraft mechanic, is looking forward to learning the JAARS strategies for aircraft maintenance, especially the specific training he’ll receive on the turbine engines and Pilatus Porters that he’ll help maintain in Indonesia. “I think the direct experience with the aircraft operated by YAJASI will allow me to start helping out with maintenance quickly once I arrive on the field.”

Karys grew up hearing stories about mission workers and wanted to be one. She graduated from Moody with a degree in youth ministry and intercultural relationships.

While she and Daniel were investigating mission organizations, Daniel said he wanted to serve with JAARS because he knew JAARS personnel. Karys had never heard of JAARS, but when Daniel explained that JAARS partners with Wycliffe Bible Translators, she was on board.

Karys hopes to teach English to Indonesian middle and high school students and will be care for their three boys.

David and Katrina Smith

Organization: SAMAIR (South America Mission) Bolivia

David has always had a love for aviation. When he was in college, JAARS landed one of its helicopters on his campus. The JAARS staff spoke at chapel about the need for pilots on the mission field, which piqued his interest.

Katrina first felt the call to missions, specifically to Latin America, when she went on a mission trip to Nicaragua in college.

After marrying, Katrina and David were led to JAARS through our partnership with South America Mission in Bolivia.

David is most looking forward to learning the JAARS flying standards and sharpening his aviation skills in the hangar and the air. “This course will give me the confidence I need to work in remote areas with limited resources.”

Nick and Erica*

Organization: Africa Inland Mission (AIM) AIR

Thirteen years ago when Nick was in college, God used a Kenyan friend to introduce him to missionary aviation and his future wife.

“We have felt called to Africa and have been burdened to serve unreached people groups,” Nick said.

Here at JAARS, he is excited to get back in the Cessna 206 and learn to use more of its potential in short field operations. “The PFO training will help me confidently operate the Cessna 206 as a pilot in East Africa. I don’t have much recent Cessna 206 experience, so PFO will be a great season of preparation in both operating and maintaining the airplane safely and to high standards.”

Tripp and Allie Usry

Organization: AIM AIR

Tripp heard about mission aviation from a friend while in flight school with the military.  God burdened Tripp’s heart for people, especially those who haven’t had an opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus.

“I was excited to learn that I could take part in reaching them with the gospel using a skill that I was already developing,” Tripp said.

At PFO, he’s looking forward to learning from and interacting with the JAARS pilots who collectively have decades of experience on the field. “In aviation, there’s no substitute for experience, but a close second is learning from others and sharing stories.”

Allie has felt a calling toward missions since she was a child. She told the Lord she was willing to serve in missions while in college, but she felt no specific call until years later.

Taewan and Na Young Kim  

Organization: SIL Papua New Guinea (PNG) Aviation

Around the summer of 2009, God touched Na Young and her husband, Taewan, at every worship service they attended at their home church in South Korea. They considered where their lives as Christians were headed. In 2012, during an annual prayer meeting, God invited them to serve him overseas.

In July 2013, she and Taewan quit their jobs and spent a year resting and spending time with their family. At the end of the year, Taewan got his A&P license, an FAA certification for aircraft mechanics. Na Young took a course to become a Korean-language teacher. During this time, they encountered Global Bible Translators (GBT) Korea and JAARS. “We have always dreamed of serving as helpers and collaborators for assisting other mission workers,” Na Young said. “After meeting these [organizations], we’re even more certain.”

The process has been long: first, their calling in 2012; next, becoming membership in GBT in 2018; then, Taewan passed his Technical Evaluation at JAARS in 2021. “It was not easy,” Na Young said, “but we’re excited. What we realize clearly is that it was his timing, not ours. And what he truly wants is obedience, just one step at a time toward him.”

Na Young is excited to meet new neighbors and grow in her English-speaking skills.

Brendan and Allie Palmer

Organization: JAARS Aviation at Waxhaw

The Lord led Allie into mission aviation through the testimony of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and the rest of their crew. She had heard their testimony in middle school on the 50th anniversary of their deaths.

From that point on, Allie did what she could to pursue the call of mission aviation, including attending LeTourneau University in Texas and majoring in missionary aviation. She heard about JAARS in college and took a vision trip to YAJASI during her junior year. She will serve here at JAARS as a mechanic/avionics technician.

“[During PFO], I am most looking forward to learning the ins and outs of JAARS life. I’m excited to learn from seasoned mission aviators and pick up their tips and tricks and bits of wisdom.” Allie wants to be as much of a sponge as possible.

“I’m also looking forward to seeing how God will use PFO to grow me, not just in professional skills, but relationally and spiritually, too.”

Brendan saw Allie’s heart for missions during college, but it was only after they graduated, when they started dating, that he realized he wanted to join her in serving in missions.

He’ll work at JAARS as an engineer. He can’t wait to “play” with all the fun new tools available in the JAARS maintenance shop.

Evan and Kristal Young

Organization: AIM AIR

Kristal and Evan originally were not interested in missions, but God slowly led them both in that direction. As they ran after “safer” and more “financially reliable” pursuits, God shaped and refined their priorities, drawing them toward the work he was doing overseas in missions. After all the other doors seemed to close in their faces, he shone a light on one door: the need for them to be involved in his work in East Africa as part of AIM Air. “It was a good 10 years that God used to bring us this direction. We were a Crock Pot, not a pressure cooker,” Evan said.

“There are not many opportunities you get in this life where other people are dedicated to investing in you,” he explained about PFO. “It’s very rare to find people who will sacrifice their own time and abilities to ensure that you are able to benefit from what they have to give. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be surrounded by people like that. People who are giving the gifts they’ve been given to see others blessed. How can you explain that, other than the love of Jesus Christ?”

Evan believes this training will help equip him to be the best workman he can be. It will enable him to protect the pilots he serves so they can continue serving mission workers, and to continue sharing the gospel to communities cut off from the good news of Jesus Christ.

Dan and Barbara Holtz

Organization: AIM AIR

At a mission conference during Dan’s freshman year at Cedarville University in Ohio, God called him to missions. Because he had a lifelong interest in aviation, he looked at mission aviation.

During spring break, he visited JAARS—half an hour from his parents’ house—to find out what it would take to become a mission pilot.

“Over the years of training and preparation that followed, [my wife and I] found God laying the work of church planting among unreached people groups increasingly on our hearts.” God led the couple to support the efforts of AIM AIR in Africa.

While here at JAARS, Dan is most looking forward to mountain week and learning the skills needed to land on challenging airstrips. He hopes the skills and discipline he learns will enable him to deal with the unusual situations that are usual on the mission field without being overwhelmed.

Kenneth and Meghan Gingerich

Organization: SIL PNG Aviation

Kenneth’s interest in missions was inspired by grandfather’s church-planting ministry in Belize. As a teen, he read End of the Spear, the story of Jim Elliot and Nate Saint, and it sparked his interest in mission aviation. He then learned about JAARS at the Sun ‘n Fun airshow.

He looks forward to learning about the transition from piston-to turbine-engine operations with the R66 that JAARS has recently acquired. PFO will provide him with skills to safely operate in mountainous, high-altitude, and rapidly changing weather environments such as those in PNG.

Praise the Lord for calling these families into his great kingdom work! Join us in praying that God protects them while they’re here and gives them the knowledge and skills they need to serve him well.

*Last name removed for security reasons

We asked the 2022 PFO orientees:  If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Daniel Rounds: The ability to teleport himself, other people, and objects.

David Smith: If he could have any superpower, David would want tireless energy to keep up with his three girls.

Nick: Since Nick’s always wanted a birds-eye view, his superpower would be to fly—which he nearly has as a pilot!

Tripp Usry: Super speed!

Na Young Kim: The ability to communicate with anyone, even animals.

Allie Palmer: Super speed like the Flash, or the ability to fabricate things with her mind.

Brendan Palmer: The power of flight and he’s working toward that, with help from Allie, by building a KR2 airplane from scratch.

Evan Young: Every fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Dan Holtz: The ability to teleport for all the times when he needs to get somewhere but can’t fly a plane.

Kenneth Gingerich: He’d love to go anywhere at the speed of light.