Christians leaving for the mission field will no longer have to worry about baggage fees or about airlines losing their luggage. An aviation ministry called Judah 1 is seeking to eliminate these problems and will soon become the first Christian airline.
“This means Judah 1 (upon receiving its DOT and 121 Certification) will have the freedom to transport as many different churches and mission organizations as we can,” said the ministry’s founder and CEO, Everett Aaron, in a post announcing the news. “This is a huge honor and privilege and we give God all the glory!”
Meeting Missionaries’ Needs
While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given its approval for Judah 1 to transition from being a private operator to an airline, Judah 1 is still currently a non-profit ministry. Aaron says he anticipates being fully certified by the summer of 2019. The airline will be based out of the North Texas Regional Airport.
Once that happens, customers will pay ticket prices that are competitive with those of other airlines. However, even though Judah 1 will have the status of an airline, the ministry will not take just anyone, but will focus on serving Christians going to the mission field. One advantage for missionaries flying with Judah 1 is not having to go through the same security checks they would experience at a normal airport. And again, patrons will not have to worry about losing luggage or paying baggage fees.
Aaron says there is research showing that about half of missionaries lose their luggage or other goods while they are traveling: “I know some of the trips we have been on ourselves with other missionary groups traveling, they ship their stuff via container and medical supplies and stuff either get tied up in customs, food spoils, some things [sic] it just gets lost.” It’s even common for people to steal Bibles and sell them on the black market.
In a video explaining the ministry, Aaron says something else that distinguishes Judah 1 is the fact it is the only organization that offers missionaries transportation via a large, commercial aircraft. There are a couple other aviation ministries in existence, but they only provide small aircraft.
Born From a Vision
Judah 1 was born out of a vision God gave Aaron in 1994, showing him this specific need that missionaries have: “Judah 1 really came about from the Lord showing me the need for mission aviation, and as we researched and did our due diligence, we found out that there was a great need for large commercial aircraft to transport missionary teams into the mission field.”
With their current MD 80 aircraft, Judah 1 can transport 2,000 pounds. Once the ministry achieves its airline status, it will add several other aircraft, enabling the company to carry 30,000 tons. They hope to have 20 aircraft within the next five years.
“It’s not just about the preaching of the gospel,” says Aaron. “We want to see the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit in action.”