Seven aviation missionary organizations are united under one tent this week during the Sun ‘n Fun fly-in.
The organizations — JAARS, Mission Aviation Fellowship, New Tribes, Agape Flight, Harvest Aviation, Hobe Sound College (which has a flight school), and Mission Safety International — are sharing a blue and white tent in the South East exhibit area. Outside the tent are several of the organizations’ aircraft, including Agape Flight’s twin engine Bandeirante, a JAARS Helio-Courier — which is slated to fly Thursday and Saturday — and a Robinson R-44 helicopter. Meanwhile, Moody Radio is broadcasting from the grounds all week.
While the organizations each have a different mission, they are united in their desire to help people all over the world, said Glen Ferguson with JAARS. “Each organization has a special fit, and we all work together,” he said.
Making it possible for the organizations to exhibit at SUN ’n FUN is a relatively new group, the Mission Aviation Support Association of Florida (MASA), formed to provide support for the missionaries during the week.
MASA provides housing in the local community, transportation and food during the week, according to company officials to John Hoke, MASA president.
“Our job is to do whatever we can to support them,” he said.
Helping out are seven local churches: Auburndale Community, Victory, Vineyard, Baptist Church of the mall, Heritage Baptist, Harborside Christian, and Evangelical Presbyterian. The churches take turns providing meals for the 36 missionaries on site.
This is the second year MASA has been at SUN ’n FUN. Last year, just three missionary organizations were on-site. “Over 760 hot meals were prepared and served, 35 homes were used, and 14 vehicles were loaned, and missionaries spoke in 26 different locations,” he said.
Before operations can be expanded even more, Hoke said MASA will need to find more local churches to provide support.
Each of the missionary groups has information on its efforts around the world, as well as displays including a jungle boat and a flight simulator. If you stop by, you’ll also hear some fascinating tales from missionary pilots who have served in some of the most remote locations in the world.