Paradise on Earth

By Rachel Greco

“I never thought I would leave my comfort zone to do missionary work like this, even though I’m not a missionary overseas,” Beatrice relates about her current role as a tour guide at JAARS.

When Beatrice and Charlie, her second husband, began to consider marriage, Charlie confided that he was hoping to serve with a Christian organization after he retired. Beatrice had some reservations: she had never considered mission work, she was still working, and she had her nearby family to consider. The couple realized they needed to learn more about service opportunities and agreed to pray about it. As he often does, God answered those prayers in unexpected ways.

Once they married, Beatrice and Charlie attended a Perspectives class. There, God touched the couple’s heart through a speaker sharing how the Lord opened the door for him and his family to go to Mongolia with Wycliffe to spread the gospel.

Then, within a few months, some Wycliffe representatives handed out information at their church in California. The Holy Spirit prompted them to ask the Wycliffe workers what requirements they would need to join Wycliffe. With that knowledge and a recruiter’s contact information, they returned home and looked on Wycliffe’s website to see what kind of volunteers were needed.

Beatrice and Charlie spoke to the California recruiter many times to figure out if God was calling them to serve with Wycliffe. After filling out an application, the recruiter gave them some unexpected counsel. She said, “There’s actually another organization that probably better fits you and your situation—JAARS.”

 “What’s JAARS?” Charlie and Beatrice queried.

When the couple contacted the JAARS recruiter for more information, she suggested they visit an upcoming Check-IT-Out event at the JAARS Center.

“It was a very new experience, a new world to both of us,” Beatrice explained. Neither of them had been to North Carolina before.

The speakers at the Check-IT-Out conference spoke of serving overseas and at JAARS in different roles. “We were so touched by how JAARS role in Bible translation can touch so many other people through what they do in bringing God’s Word to people in remote areas,” Beatrice said.

Beatrice hadn’t previously connected Wycliffe with JAARS. She understood the work of Bible translation, but now, after listening to people’s firsthand experiences, she understood how Wycliffe and JAARS work together. “I have a Chinese translated Bible,” Beatrice related, “and I know that many other main languages already have the Bible translated. But I never thought about those remote people who don’t even have a writing system or God’s Word. I never thought about how God’s Word changed their life, especially after I heard the stories.” Beatrice and Charlie were impressed by how JAARS builds technology, media, and logistical bridges that connect Bible translators with the communities who need God’s Word in a language and format that speaks to their hearts.

Right after Check-IT-Out, Charlie told people, “This is it. This is where I want to come.”

Charlie working on software

Beatrice wasn’t quite ready to uproot her life and move across the country. There were several other members of her family to consider.

The couple had Beatrice’s parents, who lived with them, to think about, as well as their adult sons. Although Beatrice’s parents had doubts, their sons supported the idea of them serving the Lord at JAARS. “That’s great. You should go!” their boys told them.  

So when Charlie retired the following year, the couple took another risk and moved across the country with Beatrice’s parents. They planned to stay for three months.

Now…that three months has turned into three years!

Beatrice and her husband with Chinese visitors on a JAARS Day.

Beatrice works in the tour office, leading visitors on tours about JAARS while Charlie works in the IT department. “Every day, I feel so different from the [corporate] world I worked in before—so different,” Beatrice relates. “I just love the environment here, and I enjoy my new relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Beatrice describes what it’s like to be away from the pressures of her old job in the workaday world, where she often had to work overtime and even weekends. She says it “feels like a kind of paradise on earth. Here I get to hear God’s story every day!”

The risks of leaving our comfort zone for the Lord are always worth it. How is God calling you to step out in faith for him? View opportunities to serve or work at JAARS here.