What’s Your Passion?

By Rachel Greco

Why would 30 people from as far west as Oregon, as far northeast as New Hampshire, and as far south as Florida congregate in Waxhaw, North Carolina? For the fifth annual advocacy conference at JAARS, of course!

An affinity for aircraft drew Jim Elder—one of the thirty people who attended the conference—into the world of JAARS. Twenty-one years ago, he noticed a poster at his church for a Missions at the Airport event in his area. The event introduced Jim to JAARS and the work of Bible translation. “I wanted to be a part of JAARS work to support Bible translation and language development.”

About 10 years later, Jim discovered an old business acquaintance was working at JAARS as a partner representative, contacting JAARS financial partners in an assigned area. This man started the ball rolling, and Jim became an advocate not long after. He now serves at JAARS as an advocate and partner representative. Jim and his wife, Stella, speak at churches, Bible studies, small groups, organizations, and home meetings to share the work of JAARS and promote interest in being involved.

Jim and Stella Elder by JAARS R44 helicopter

One fruit from Jim and Stella’s work is that “Many friends have come alongside [us] to help spread the word about JAARS. This has led to several presentations that [we] wouldn’t have found on [our] own.”

At the recent two-day conference, advocates heard an inspiring presentation by Grace Goreth, the daughter of Cameron and Elaine Townsend. “It was an absolute blessing to hear Grace speak,” another advocate shares. “I [had] tears in my eyes about the blessing of being here at JAARS. It is such an honor and privilege.”

The advocates experienced an authentic, harrowing 4WD ride on our training course, simulating what many overseas workers experience every day. They also learned about the value of cell phones to Bible translation teams and the importance of teaching the next generation about missions through programs like JAARS CrossVenture—a hands-on experience held in the woods. 

Advocates role-playing for a CrossVenture activity

Jim sees the conference as an important tool that keeps advocates up-to-date with current messaging and builds teamwork and friendships. From this conference he learned “the importance of, and great need, for taking God’s Word to the unreached.”

Advocates participating in a team-building exercise at the conference

Is the Lord asking you to be an advocate for the Bibleless people of the world? According to Jim, “The best way to get people involved in this vital work is to share God’s heart for the nations, and make them aware of the need. That’s the heart of advocacy—people passionate about the work sharing their passion.”

What’s your passion?

Learn more about being a JAARS advocate here.