What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

It all started with the Tower of Babel. (pronounced ‘Babe- el’, I just learned.) Here is where people started worshipping creation rather than our creator.  This is when God caused people to speak many different languages and scattered them upon the earth. The babbling started in Babel. 🙂

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

Art by Al Baughman

Out big world consists of a little over 7000 languages. In Papua New Guinea alone, there are over 820 different languages. Only 1,850 (nearly 26%) have the New Testament or the entire Bible translated.  As of right now, there are 2,200 languages in process of Bible translation. Think about that. There are still so many people who do not know or have access to God’s word in their own language.

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

In 1948, Cameron Townsend founded JAARS.  JAARS stands for Jungle Aviation and Radio Services. JAARS exists to make Bible translation possible.  

In JAARS own words, “We are a community of full-time missionaries, dedicated volunteers and even a few employees who work together to accomplish the Great Commission goal of providing Scripture to every people group on earth in the language they understand best – their heart language.  We do that by supporting Bible translation and language development partners globally, and by working with prayer and financial partners in the United States to help make a range of unique on-the-field solutions possible.”

Lives are transformed and peace is learned and understood in formally violent villages and people groups when God’s message is heard .

In the early 60’s the Belk family donated 256 acres to JAARS. Later they acquired over 600 acres in total.  We walked around the self contained community of JAARS. (They even have their own volunteer fire department) and caught a glimpse of just some of the behind the scenes work that goes on here.  

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

yeah, re-read that.

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

There are departments that specialize in planes, boats, motorcycles, and vehicles all designed to navigate through jungles, islands too small to access by anything but planes, or roads so flooded only motorcycles and boats can get around.  To see all the people that participate behind the scenes in a plane being made ready to take missionaries, cargo, supplies, equipment, tools, solar panels, batteries, and translating technology is a little overwhelming.

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

For aviation alone there is training, machinists, engine repair, mechanics, 3-D simulators and 3-D printers designed to make parts.  (I am sure I missed something) There is also safety training, media support, and a paint shop to consider.  Did you know that a coat of paint (approximately 8 pounds per coat) is weighed and must be taken in consideration in the weight of a plane?

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

In the past, Bible translation took up to 30 years to translate the New Testament into a new language.  Think about that. Many people groups have only an oral language. Some communicated by clicking their tongue or whistling.  Someone had to live with a people group to learn the language and be able to develop an alphabet and teach it before even beginning to translate the Bible.

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

This is how technology has helped speed up the translation process:

  • 25-30 years to translate Bible using only men,
  • 12-15 years with the use of computers and
  • 7-8 years using ‘Mother Tongue’ (someone who helps translate that already speaks the native language.

Now with technology, natives can listen to God’s word in their own language.  

The business of Bible translation can be a dangerous line of work.  Kathy Courtright, a 2nd generation missionary grew up in Peru and Colombia.  In 1981, Colombian revolutionaries not finding the director (Will Kindberg, Kathy’s father) kidnapped Chet Bitterman instead and later killed him.

According to Wikipedia“There was found an entry in Chet’s journal written nearly 2 years before his death that read. “The situation in Nicaragua is getting worse. If Nicaragua falls, I guess the rest of Central America will too. Maybe this is just some kind of self-inflicted Martyr complex, but I find this recurring thought that perhaps God will call me to be martyred in His service in Colombia. I am willing.”

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

Here Kathy Courtright points to the Bible her mother and father, Will and Lee Kindberg, helped translate the old fashioned way, before computers.

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

Ashaninca Campa Bible

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

These are only 1/2 of the Bibles showcased that have been translated in other languages. It is a wonder to see it.

What made this field trip unique was how the process of being a missionary, JAARS member, and behind the scenes worker was shown to the kids.

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

To get a visual of all the people God uses to accomplish Bible translation, the docent had the kids dress the part of the native head chief, the translator, the pilot, the car mechanic, the boat captain, the construction person, the computer guy and several others.  Then she told ½ the audience to pray for the missionaries and the other half to support financially.  What a great visual of how God uses all His people to accomplish good things.

The most interesting part of the field trip is when Greg Lorei showed us a glimpse of The Jesus Film.  This film has been translated into over 1,400 languages. (To date, more than 200 million men, women and children have indicated decisions to know Christ after viewing the “JESUS” film, and new churches are being planted daily. And yet, much of the world remains in spiritual darkness. An estimated 2 billion people have yet to hear the gospel even once….” The Jesus Film)

With the help of technology, JAARS is able to change the voices of all the actors’ vocal parts into speakers who can speak the language of whatever country or area they are showing the film.  I didn’t realize just how powerful that was until I actually heard it for myself.  In our case, they had the kids speak into a microphone and took their voices and placed them into the voices of the actors.  What is even more unbelievable is that anyone can learn to use this basic computer technology; homemakers or homeschoolers, from 8 years old to 80.

When you realize just how far reaching this is for the watchers of the film to see and hear Jesus in their own language, it gave me goose bumps.

Voice overs: Many of the kids took a turn being the voice of an actor (Sometimes the same actor). There are some goosebumps mixed in with these giggles. Powerful indeed.  Video by Cynthia Meacham

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

What you don’t know about Bible Translation- JAARS homeschool field trip

If you are ever in this neck of the woods, I highly recommend stopping by JAARS for a visit.  This is Adventure Group’s 3rd field trip here in 20 years.  And because of technology, it changes every time we come.

October 2004 field trip (Thanks Neecie)

The Great Multitude in White Robes 9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. Revelation 7:9 NIV

Donate to JAARS here and get an idea of the countries, teams, departments, and more that your money will help fund.

Try Alphabet Smash!

Join our low key fun homeschool newsletter and get a BONUS "Alphabet Smash" download of the letters C.H.R.I.S.T. A fun way to intentionally engage your child with the letters of the alphabet and discover together the amazing ways God has blessed us alphabetically!

Success! Now go check your email and confirm.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This