The soft rumble of an approaching airplane caught the ear of a villager deep in the Brazilian jungle.
As he scrambled to get a view through the jungle canopy, the sight of the distinctive blue and white airplane confirmed his excitement and he knew immediately what he had to do.
He dropped everything and began trekking through the deep rainforest in the direction the plane was headed, desperate to experience what he knew would occur once the plane landed:
His only chance for weeks to hear the Word of God.
Jeyson Braun makes regular flights across the jungles of Brazil – but he’s not transporting planes full of tourists.
Instead, Jeyson’s plane carries missionaries, their equipment, and the Word of God to village after village – places too remote to reach any other way.
Jeyson and his wife Stephanie serve Brazil through the ministry of JAARS.
Originally known as the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service, JAARS provides practical, day-to-day support for missionaries and Bible translators around the world.
This support can take a variety of forms: technology and internet access, safety equipment, books and materials, training courses, and, in Jeyson’s case, transportation.
In remote locations like the tucked-away villages in Brazil, missionaries and church planters need aviation support more than ever. And the blue-and-white planes flown by JAARS often signal this change to communities in need of God’s love.
In Brazil, 42 unreached people groups and 91 “minimally reached” groups live deep in the Amazon rainforest.
Isolated from the outside world by thousands of square miles of rivers and trees, these communities long to learn more about God and His Word.
Jeyson and Stephanie have served in Brazil for fourteen years, and they’ve seen radical changes happen in the native communities within the vast rainforest.
More villages than ever have constructed airstrips so that missionaries and teachers can come straight to them.
Many villages with airstrips host Bible storytelling conferences where missionary teachers teach a specific book of the Bible or stories from the Word, using translated portions of Scripture or oral storytelling techniques relevant to the village’s cultures and values.
“The people are really hungry for the Word, even if they don’t have the whole Bible yet,” said Jeyson. He and other JAARS pilots fly Bible teaching teams out to the remote villages every few weeks for conferences.
This hunger for God’s Word permeates the Brazilian jungle, even in the areas without airstrips.
One man was able to attend a storytelling conference in a village far from his own – and was so moved by what he learned that he told the staff, “I want to be able to participate in more of [these conferences].”
But the leader of the missionary team was forced to tell him, “There’s no way we can go to your village. It’s too far and the plane can’t land there.”
The man’s village had no runway for a plane and it was too remote to access by car. Jeyson and the other pilots were heartbroken, but the man himself was not discouraged.
“Well, I’m going to do something about it,” he told the missionaries. “I’m going to make my own runway so you guys can come.”
But building a runway would take months, and the man couldn’t wait that long to learn more about God and His Word!
He wanted to attend more of the storytelling conferences, but he didn’t have a watch, a calendar, or any other way of knowing when or where they would be held.
That’s where the distinctive blue-and-white airplanes of JAARS came in.
The man realized he could simply watch for a JAARS plane to fly by overhead.
So whenever one crossed the sky, he’d note its direction and would travel through the deep rainforest for days, trying to reach the Bible storytelling conference he knew was happening wherever the plane landed.
After trying this tactic several times, the man finally reached a conference in progress! He stayed for the remainder of the teaching and begged to know more about Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and Christ Himself.
“My village needs to know more about this,” he told the missionaries. “When [our] runway is ready, you guys need to come and land there and start doing these courses.”
The rest of this man’s village agreed, and they’ve started building a runway for the missionaries’ planes.
It’s difficult work in the dense Brazilian jungle, so Jeyson and other JAARS pilots are working with them to find an appropriate place for planes to take off and land.
It’s all in a day’s work for those who serve with JAARS.
The ministry calls itself “a multidisciplinary team of problem-solvers.” This vast network of individuals with a variety of skills is “committed to the belief…that people’s lives and communities are transformed as they experience God’s Word in their own language.”
Working with Bible translators and other missions organizations, JAARS focuses on providing “unique on-the-field solutions” to make outreach work possible in “the most remote and difficult places on earth.”
The aviation ministry of JAARS is its most well-known feature, but the organization also provides safety trainings, technological equipment and access, communication devices, and much more.
Thanks to the work of JAARS, people in the most hard-to-reach places in the world are encountering the love of God—just like the man who keeps following those blue and white planes until they can bring the Bible to his village!
To learn more about the work of JAARS, and to consider partnering with this ministry, visit the official JAARS website.