Wings of Mercy

By Rachel Zimmerman

The dense Amazon jungle covering most of Brazil is larger than the whole Southwest United States—2,000,000 square miles. The reality of those millions of miles, covered in tropical jungle and crisscrossing rivers, is formidable to travelers.

Within this vast expanse, Asas de Socorro* connects distant and isolated places by aircraft. Asas de Socorro, whose name means “wings of mercy,” literally extends mercy by sending out local pastors, Bible translators, and missionaries via its aircraft wings. And through its partnership with Ethnos360 and JAARS, Asas experiences the intertwining of each organization’s strengths: Missions of mercy become opportunities for reliance on one another in difficult situations.

Flashdrives containing newly published New Testaments flown in by airplane

Difficult situations easily emerge in the context of jungle travel. Local pastors and missionaries who travel to transport New Testament translations and to share the gospel with villagers have no easy journey.

Asas de Socorro’s Cessna 206 in Brazil where Jake enountered the steering problem

Jake Anderson, a pilot-mechanic with Asas, frequently experiences these challenges. Once, while he transported a village church leader to another town for a discipleship program, the Cessna 206 he was flying experienced steering difficulties. In a little town deep in the jungle Jake turned to the JAARS field support staff for help. “I was able to get just enough internet to get a message out to JAARS field support asking for advice,” Jake remembers. They responded within 15 minutes with troubleshooting feedback and helped him find a solution. The issue was resolved within an hour!

The Ethnos360 helicopter being refueled in Brazil

The Ethnos360 helicopter—the key form of transportation for Ethnos360 mission workers in the jungle terrain of Brazil, is another conduit of mercy. For Ethnos360, getting their own repair shop running would be a “massive task” in Brazil. Asas, already an established Approved Repair Station, is able to maintain the Ethnos360 helicopter. Having a well-maintained, reliable helicopter allows mission workers to travel safely to villages where the terrain makes other forms of transportation impossible.

Meanwhile, from more than 3,000 miles away, JAARS provides support to both Asas and Ethnos360. A contribution of helicopter tools produced by the JAARS machine shop helps Asas maintain the Ethnos360 helicopter.

The chest of tools that the JAARS engine shop created for the Ethnos360 helicopter

The JAARS engine shop also helps Asas take care of its own aircraft from afar. Jake recalls a crankcase issue with the Cessna 210 engine. With the help from several calls to the JAARS engine shop, the Asas team entirely disassembled and reassembled the engine! That very Cessna 210 was then able to safely transport New Testament translations to western Brazil.

Together, Asas de Socorro, Ethnos360, and JAARS all support the ultimate mission of mercy—sharing the Word of God. This eternal task would unfold much more slowly without all three aviation mission organizations working together. And to you—one of our most important partners—thank you for serving alongside us!

If you or someone you know is interested in serving alongside us in aviation, look here.

*A JAARS aviation partner in Brazil