Same Ministry, New Location

Serving overseas as an aviation mechanic was exciting. Our family spent six years in Southeast Asia as part of a team that gave missionaries, local pastors, and villagers reliable transportation to some of the most remote parts of the world.

As a mechanic, I saw planes come and go every day, loaded with people and supplies, heading to different places all over our island. My absolute favorite memories are the times when I watched airplanes loaded with boxes of newly printed Scriptures on their way to villagers so they could read about how much God loves them, some for the very first time.

Seeing those planes take off, bound for villages far away, always made the hard work I did repairing and inspecting them worth it. I’m thankful for the small part I played by helping to keep the airplanes flying.

One of Jon’s colleagues in Southeast Asia.

My family loved living overseas, serving God on the front lines, and expected to do so long-term. However, in 2013, the Lord redirected our path, using family educational and medical needs, and called us to serve instead at the JAARS Center in Waxhaw, North Carolina. I am still an aviation mechanic and now work on helicopters as well as airplanes (which my kids think is cool!).

When I served overseas, I called JAARS for help or information. Here, I am part of the team that answers those calls from various field locations around the world. I am seeing firsthand just how vital the work here in North Carolina really is.

Now, instead of fixing and inspecting airplanes that carry villagers and new Bibles, I am fixing and inspecting the airplanes that are used to train new missionary pilots and mechanics, who will go to those remote places and transport villagers and Bibles. These same planes participate in the Missions at the Airport events that help give people a small glimpse into the part aviation plays in Bible translation and encourages each of them to be involved.

Over the last year, I have realized that my skills as an aviation mechanic are needed here in Waxhaw just as much as they were needed in Southeast Asia. I count it a privilege to be able to serve the Lord at JAARS because I know that I am part of a worldwide team that is taking Scripture to Bibleless people in their heart languages.

Jon Thomas

Jon, his wife, Tina, and their four children served with YAJASI in Indonesia for six years before transitioning to JAARS in Waxhaw, North Carolina, last year.