And yet, what’s the alternative? Let millions of people live and die without ever hearing God speak in a way that cuts straight to their hearts?
We reject that. So did our founder, William Cameron Townsend, who started the modern Bible translation movement a hundred years ago. And so do thousands of God’s people who are part of the work today—praying, serving, and investing to reach “every nation, tribe, people, and language” (Rev. 7:9).
How about you?
– Jeremiah 32:27
Today 1.5 billion people, speaking 6,665 languages, still don’t have a full Bible in their first language. Work hasn’t even started in 2,115 of those languages.
Those are big numbers—but they represent real people, loved and sought by God. Are we going to balk at what it takes to make it possible for them to have the same Scriptures we enjoy every day, in more versions than we know what to do with? Are we going to call that impossible? Never.
Let’s roll up our sleeves, together, and make it possible.
Linguistics and biblical studies are tough enough in the classroom. Try working in a remote village—where you’ll really learn to depend on God. For your health. For supplies. For a working computer and internet. For a safe way to get in and out of the village. For everything.
Whether you’ve traveled around the world, or stepped up to serve your own village, it can feel like God called you to do the impossible.
That’s why JAARS exists.
For 72 years we’ve worked to make Bible translation possible, even in the most unlikely of places. It never gets old. Every day, we see the grit and commitment of our colleagues on the ground, and we work to lighten their load.
Take ACATBA, our partner in the Central African Republic. They’ve seen unspeakable sorrows in recent years as their country has been torn apart by civil war. Roads are a muddy nightmare. Their office gets only eight hours of city power a week. But right now, they’re translating God’s Word into nine languages—because they know how badly people need it.
It’s our honor to help these heroes of the faith. Thanks to your support over the years, we’ve sent them solar power, WiFi upgrades, funds for generator repair, and a 4WD vehicle. At the height of the civil war, we covered food and living expenses for their Bible translators.
Earlier this year, we visited ACATBA to encourage their team and explore how else we can help. They have a long road ahead: Bible translation still needs to start in more than 50 languages. And with all the turmoil, children have missed years of school, communities are internally displaced, and many have experienced severe trauma.
Many of our other partners face their own version of impossible. Take our friends in the Philippines. They share God’s Word on remote islands—in an area where that’s punishable by death. To get there, they travel for hours on the treacherous waters of the Sulu Sea. Many didn’t know how to swim, or what to do if their boat capsized.
So they called JAARS. We went and trained 42 people, starting in a pool and ending in water over 1,000 feet deep. One trainer put it this way: “I came away feeling guilty that my life as a believer is so easy in comparison to the constant challenges these servants of the Lord face!”
That barely scratches the surface. To see more stories of our work in transportation, technology, media, and training, check out our blog.
– Dan Stoner and his wife, Rachael (pictured above left), both serve as mission pilots. Before heading to the field, they came to JAARS for flight training and our Intercultural Communications Course. Read their story here.
– Johnny Reeves, pilot, after we shipped his family’s belongings and motorbike (pictured above) to their new home in Papua New Guinea. Read his story here.
That’s why we’re asking you to invest today in our CORE Mission Operations—the very lifeblood and foundation of our work.
It’s never been more important. Like all of us, our partners are getting hit hard by COVID-19. It’s one more challenge on top of the mountain they already face. They’ll need help from everyone who can pitch in to make Bible translation possible in the wake of this pandemic.
Let’s answer their call—together.
If you’ve been to the JAARS Center in Waxhaw, North Carolina, you know what a special place it is. More than 500 people, 552 acres, 49 buildings, and 4 airstrips—all here to support Bible translation in every corner of the world.
We’re blessed to cover roughly 2/3 of our operating expenses through internal operations here at the JAARS Center. But we depend on generous people like you for the rest. When you give to our CORE Mission Operations, you are investing in the heart of our ministry:
We fly, fix, train, plan, and work hard every day so the people who live in the most remote and difficult places on earth can hear about and worship the God who made them and loves them.
Why? Because other than our relationship with God, people matter most. People matter more than anything else on earth. We are created in God’s image, and he wants us to know and love him. What mission is more meaningful—more worthy—than our Lord’s command to introduce people to himself … to share the gospel with them in the language they value most, so that they can come to know and love him back?
This story from Nate Gordon (pictured above right), who served for 22 years as a pilot in Indonesia, says it all:
“The people sat and listened as, for the first time in their valley’s history, the ancient Hebrew words of David and Solomon were spoken in Ketengban. Many times the missionary felt too tired to continue, but the people forced him to keep reading late into the night. …
They gathered every night after work, hungry to repeat the wonder of hearing the Word of God in the language that had a clear and unobstructed shot at their hearts. …
As I look at the level of expense in terms of time, energy, and money that it has taken to reach this tiny community in Papua, Indonesia, I begin to shake my head and smile at the absolutely ridiculous economics of it all. How much for Psalms and Proverbs in the night?
And then, I am reminded of the immeasurable cost my God expended in searching out and finding me.”
– Jim and Judy Boyd