Where Your Mission Takes Flight

By Julia Rose

Imagine taking the controls of an airplane for the first time, hearing inspiring stories of men and women who have done and are doing what you want to do. What if you could also deepen your understanding of mission aviation and, more importantly, of your faith? In August, ten young people won’t have to imagine this experience because they’ll be living it.

They will be attending the JAARS CrossVenture|Aero camp, a new five-day aviation program that replaces the Brigade Air programs hosted in previous years. From August 8–12, the camp will give teens ages 15–18 an experience they’ll never forget, one that could have eternal impact. Rachael Stoner, director of CrossVenture|Aero, explains that the camp is based on new curriculum and will use a Cessna 172 recently acquired especially for the program. It will introduce participants to aviation and the role it plays in missions. But even more valuable than the experience of getting to fly a plane—possibly for the first time for many participants—are the three lessons which the campers will take away with them.

First and foremost, through devotionals and the investment from godly leaders and role models, campers will establish a firm foundation of who they are in Christ. It’s easy for teens to find identity in a career or a dream, in what they do instead of who they are. But at CrossVenture|Aero, the focus is first about Christ and then missionary aviation. Having a personal relationship with Jesus comes before being a pilot.

The second thing campers will know by the end of the week is that they are needed in the work of Bible translation. Over the course of the week, guest speakers will share stories from the field and their time serving with JAARS. Guests like Nard Pugyao will give firsthand accounts of the impact of missionary aviation on Bible translation. These stories are entertaining, but they also inspire awareness. They make clear the aviation roles that are waiting to be filled, possibly in the future by the listening participants. A few years from now, former CrossVenture|Aero campers will be the ones sharing their stories with the next generation, urging them to also join the great mission of Bible translation.

Rachael Stoner, director of CrossVenture|Aero

Then … after realizing that they’re needed in the call to go to all the nations … participants will learn that they can do it! The aviation part of the program is more than just a fun airplane ride. Rather it’s an intentional investment of both ground and flight training by certified flight instructors. Weather permitting, they will give each camper several half-hour flight lessons. Taking off and landing at Townsend Field will provide an incredible introduction to the basics of flying. When not in a JAARS plane, students can extend their experience in a flight simulator.

The impact of CrossVenture|Aero might not be evident for a few years; it’s like planting a tree and waiting for it to come to the point where it bears fruit. Only God knows what will take root during that one week. But that week may be a pivotal point in the lives of young people who may return to JAARS a few years down the line—as missionary aviators. Perhaps those dreams haven’t even been realized yet, or maybe they’ve been growing in participants’ hearts for as long as they can remember. Either way, CrossVenture|Aero is where their mission can take flight.

If you or someone you know is interested in CrossVenture|Aero, click here to learn more!