Missionary pilots to offer helicopter rides at Four Green Fields Farm

LANDING: A missionary is greeted by villagers after landing in Cameroon. (Courtesy photo)

LANDING: A missionary is greeted by villagers after landing in Cameroon. (Courtesy photo)

RODNEY – Missionary Pilots travel to remote locations, cross language and cultural barriers and make a difference in the lives of people around the world.

Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS) missionary pilots began providing transportation and communication support for missionaries working in the Amazon jungle in 1948. Now, JAARS supplies technical, logistical and training resources to the worldwide Bible translation movement.

“Our goal is that people around the world will have God’s word in their heart language so they have access to the world of God as we do and they can make their own choices about following God or not,” said Mike Mower, JAARS director of Missions at the Airport. “But at least they will have the opportunity.”

Cran-Hill Ranch is hosting several JAARS pilots and representatives who are offering helicopter rides and sharing their experiences as missionaries to people in the community through Monday.

Having served with JAARS for 32 years, 20 years of which were served overseas as a missionary pilot, Mower has many poignant memories; however one stands out above the rest.

After returning missionaries to a village in the Philippines following a seminar, Mower was approached by villagers, who informed him of a man in need of medical care.

“The people came and said a man had been injured and they wanted to know if I could fly him to the hospital,” Mower recalled. “His access to medical care was five days away, hiking and a long bus ride.”

A 45-minute flight, Mower transported the man, one of his family members, and a missionary to the nearest hospital, where he remained for a week.

“He had been shot with an arrow,” Mower said. “A man from another village wanted to marry his daughter, he refused, and the man got angry and shot him. This had happened a week before, and he was a very sick man.”

During the man’s recovery after the arrow was removed, the missionary began reading the injured man printouts of the Bible in his native language, teaching him about God, forgiveness and the importance of loving one’s enemies.

“When we flew him back to the village, people surrounded him around my airplane,” Mower said. “They had one burning question for this man, ‘What are we going to do to take revenge on the fellow that shot you?’ Their culture is a culture of revenge. For as long as they knew, they had been taught that if you are harmed or injured, you must take revenge.”

The man stood under the wing of the plane and related to the villagers that he had no intentions of harming the man who shot him, his family or his village. The two villages became peaceful neighbors, and the cycle of fighting came to an end.

There are now churches in both villages, and they work together during harvest time.

While Mower said his role as the director of Missions at the Airport removes him from these worthwhile experiences, it also enables him to train more missionary pilots to make a difference across the globe as well as share the JAARS mission with people across the country.

“We are out sharing what God is doing around the world,” he said.

Scott Barger, Cran-Hill Ranch executive director, said hosting JAARS is one way Cran-Hill Ranch is connecting the community with the ranch as well as what is happening around the world.

“To have something that is so unique, like mission aviation pilots, who are actually right out there in the jungles, landing in crazy places, and hearing their stories, is a great opportunity,” Barger said.

Helicopter rides are taking place from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. today, June 19, and Friday, June 20, as well as from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, at Four Green Fields Farm, 15693 Wilson Road, in Rodney. Rides also will be available from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 22, and from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday, June 23.

Rides are $28 per person and are about six minutes in length. They will not take place if there is inclement weather.

For more information, contact Mower at (704) 576-1248.

SITTING IN THE SHADE: Villagers in Cameroon enjoy the shade of a helicopter in Cameroon. Missionaries working with the worldwide Bible translation movement provide them with versions of the Bible in their heart languages. (Courtesy photo)

SITTING IN THE SHADE: Villagers in Cameroon enjoy the shade of a helicopter in Cameroon. Missionaries working with the worldwide Bible translation movement provide them with versions of the Bible in their heart languages. (Courtesy photo)

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Posted by Miranda Roberts

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