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FounderWilliam Cameron Townsend
  • 7405 Jaars Road, Waxhaw, North Carolina, USA
Coordinates34°51′53″N 80°44′31″W / 34.864771°N 80.741808°W / 34.864771; -80.741808
Area served
World Wide
> US$7,000,000[1]
Formerly called
Jungle Aviation and Radio Service
A Helio Courier in the JAARS hangar
A hangar building at the center
A King Air in the JAARS hangar

JAARS is a non-profit organization that helps organizations around the world get practical, day-to-day support for Bible translation. As of November 2012, JAARS focuses on five main types of practical support: aviation, land transportation, water transportation, information technology, and media.[2]

JAARS is a wholly controlled subsidiary of SIL International, but also partners extensively with other organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Operations and activities[edit]

JAARS typically doesn't start and operate its own programs overseas, instead working with local field partners. The type of involvement varies depending on the location, partner, and other factors.

JAARS Center[edit]

JAARS' headquarters in North Carolina is commonly referred to as the "JAARS Center". While the JAARS Center serves as the home for all of the organization's core operations (like transportation), it also hosts staff from partner organizations. For example, SIL International has both IT and media staff working at the JAARS Center.


In aviation, JAARS helps its field partners start and run local aviation programs. This help comes in the form of training staff, setting standards, equipping aircraft, research, and more.[3]

In turn, these partners provide a range of transportation services to a variety of people, including translators, support personnel, consultants, trainers, linguists, Christian mission organizations, hospitals, local people and governments. These services can also include medical evacuations and disaster relief work.

JAARS' aviation partners fly a variety of aircraft, including:

JAARS was one of fifteen organizations that financed the prototyping and development of the Quest Kodiak.[4]


William Cameron Townsend co-founded Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1934, and as the organization grew, he saw the need for airplanes and radio to reach remote areas around the world, to provide safe access to language groups. JAARS was originally formed as Jungle Aviation and Radio Service in Peru in 1948 and moved to its current location in Waxhaw, North Carolina in 1961. In 1986, as a result of diversifying activities (like information technology), JAARS officially dropped the original meaning behind the acronym and became simply "JAARS, Inc."


JAARS operates two separate museums at its headquarters campus in Waxhaw, North Carolina:

  • The Museum of the Alphabet was established in 1991 by JAARS founder William Cameron Townsend, and focuses on the development of the alphabet and the history of writing systems and written languages.[5] Exhibits include maps, paintings, sculptures, a copy of the Rosetta Stone, a Torah scroll that is over 150 years old, and a handmade lyre.[6] The languages covered include Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Cyrillic, and African languages.
  • The Mexico-Cardenas Museum was established in 1977 by Townsend with a focus on Mexican culture and Lázaro Cárdenas, Mexico's president from 1934 to 1940.[7] Cárdenas was close friends with Townsend, who led early efforts to study Mexican languages. Exhibits include Mexican folk art, photos, artifacts, and clothing.[6]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2012-05-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) at www.ministrywatch.com
  2. ^ Home | JAARS
  3. ^ Aviation | JAARS
  4. ^ Ioannou, Lori (23 November 2009). "A Turboprop Built for Trouble". Time Magazine. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  5. ^ "The Museum of the Alphabet". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Museums". JAARS. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Lázaro Cárdenas, William Cameron Townsend and the Mexico-Cárdenas Museum". SIL International. Retrieved 23 September 2017.

External links[edit]