What an amazing week! Friend, God is at work among the people in Bucaramanga, Colombia! Here is a quick rundown of what we’ve been up to.
- Our first church plant here, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro, just completed 2 months since it’s inauguration. We are still seeing new visitors every week, during the Sunday, Tuesday and Friday services. Regular attendance is slowly but surely growing, as is the offering. They are nearly at a point already where they can take care of their basic monthly expenses (rent and utilities). This is a great step!
- Aubrie has been taking the kids out after our song service and doing a special program for them. This was a stretch for her, but a huge blessing to them! Her group keeps growing each week (there were 8 kids yesterday!), and the children look forward to their special time each week.
- Many people in this area are learning (or want to learn) English, so we decided to begin services once a week in English to give them a chance to practice. We hold this special service right before our main Sunday morning Spanish service and encourage people to stay for both. What I didn’t know was that we would also attract a few foreigners that live here who also speak English. In addition to a few Colombians that come, we have a gentleman from Texas, a Korean who grew up in London and his family and others that join us each week.
- Several are plugging into discipleship, meeting with me throughout the week. It is wonderful to see each progressing, growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- Many families are excited about getting involved in serving in various ministries of the church. This is one of the most exciting things for me! There are also a few men that are wanting to go further. Pray for these that God would enable them to do the work of the ministry and enable me to train them!
- The family is doing well. This week our girls are on vacation from their preschool. Aubrie and our next little baby are fantastic. We find out on THURSDAY if we’re having a boy or a girl! Amira and Anabel are split as to which they want, but they’re both enthusiastic about having a baby around.
- A special thanks to the DeGaetano family for the gifts they sent us for the new baby this week! Also to Plantation Baptist Church for sending a few books by Striving Together publications to distribute to people in our church. What a blessing!
- Just like in many parts of the U.S., it’s fair season here as well. The “Feria Bonita” is going full blast. The difference is that the fair here takes place literally all over the city. Bike races, concerts, art & craft sales, food, games and much more draw people out of their homes to wander around the city. It’s a great opportunity to get the Gospel into people’s hands. Please pray as we pass out tracts this week to some of these people.
- We continue to see the Gospel change lives! Thank you to those that support us to make this work possible.
- **Family funny — I had a dream I went to Walmart a few days ago. Weird…
How can we be praying for you?
Saturday morning, several families, all newcomers to our church plant in Colombia, decided to skip their regular Saturday morning sleep-in and show up early to our church in the city for training and prayer.
Then, about 8:30 AM eleven of us (8 adults) loaded up and traveled the swirling road to the northern district — said to be one of the most dangerous and poorest areas around.
We unloaded our supplies at a local park and immediately, young people were coming out from everywhere carrying chairs and siblings. They knew why we were there… to share with them Bible stories and songs! The community president had been coming to our church for the past few weeks and had been announcing all week long that we would be coming.
And boy, did they show up! The best count was over 90 children, 10-20 adults (moms), plus the 11 from our church. This all when we were only expecting 20-50! We had just begun to plan this outreach one week ago. It’s amazing to see how, when God is in something, it comes together in a way only He can make happen.
What did we do? We sang songs about Jesus, I shared the Bible story about God’s creation being “very good” and that each of them had value and was precious to God, the children colored a sheet corresponding with our lesson, and then snacked on some cake that one of our ladies made. It was a great time, but perhaps the greatest thing was to see how our church folks, jumped in and helped with every little detail. God is growing them, and their heart to see others come to know the sweet salvation we have through Jesus is astounding. What an encouragement.
Please be praying as we will be continuing this ministry, Lord willing, every two weeks. This is a great time to get the children to focus on God and open their lives to him. Most of these kids will end up just like their family members and friends within a few years…
…Boys will be hooked on drugs before their 14th birthday. They will get involved in violent gang activity and either end up in jail or dead before they are 25.
…Girls will be pressured into thinking that they must give their body away while they are still children. We were told this morning that the girl’s mindset in this community is that if they do not have a “spouse” by the time they are 12 that they will never have one. We met mothers who were not yet in high school and children who did not know their parents at all.
The need is incredible. Yes they are poor, but the true need these kids have is knowing that they are loved, that there’s a God that offers new life to them, and to believe on Jesus! They need to know they don’t have to follow the footsteps of others who have destroyed their present life and forsaken all hope for the next life. They need somebody to believe in them.
Will you come help us start churches, train the Colombian people & see others like these reached before it’s too late?
Here is a video we put together with pictures of the day’s event. I trust it is a blessing to you!
September 1, 2014
Brace yourselves — This is perhaps the most exciting prayer letter we’ve ever written! The past two months have been packed with God’s grace and blessings. Here is a quick rundown summary.
The Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro had its first official services on July 13th with around 40 in attendance. Several acknowledged their need for salvation, repenting and believing on Jesus that day! There have been new visitors every week and many families and individuals are plugging in with personal discipleship, helping around the church and bringing their friends. Pray especially for a few young men who have shown interest in going further. Christ is building his church!!
Just days before the inauguration of our church, a Colombian lady contacted me from the USA whose mother was back in her hometown of Bucaramanga visiting family, and suddenly passed away. Both the daughter and this woman had been recently saved and were attending a good church in Florida, and I was asked to perform her funeral. The wish of this woman was that her lost family members would hear the Gospel preached at her funeral. What God did was truly amazing. By our best counts, about 120 people showed up for the service at our church (which really only holds 80), and heard a clear presentation of Biblical salvation. Dozens of these decided to place their faith in Jesus alone for eternal life. It was amazing! What an honor to this lady who had just been saved one year before. God is good!
More Lives Changed
We have seen several receive Christ and become born again in the past month, including religious people, who realized that Jesus is the only way, He is enough and that works do not save; also Atheists, who understood that there is a God who created them, loves them and died for them; and even an ex-paramilitary hit-man, who found a new beginning and new life in Jesus. God’s power has no limits. He is mighty to save all who will believe.
A Productive Visit
Our pastor and several from our home church came to visit in July. They helped get out thousands of invites the weekend before the big church launch and were a tremendous help to get the building ready for all the people. God worked through them and in them. Please pray especially for two of the young men that desire to return here or another place as God leads to work as full-time missionaries. If you would like to bring a group to Colombia, please get in touch with us, or see our website with details about a trip for students and singles June 15-25, 2015. We would love to have you!
- Growth of the church numerically and spiritually
- Families and individuals who are in discipleship
- A new youth outreach starting this month in the poorest and most dangerous neighborhood of our city
- Additional monthly financial support. At this point we have many more plans but are only held back by lack of funds. Would you consider partnering with us, that fruit would abound to your account? No amount is too small!
- Aubrie and the new baby — they are healthy and in the 2nd trimester already!
We love you and pray that the abundant grace of Almighty God would fill you, bless you and enable you to continue laboring for his Worthy Name!
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and family
Thank you for all you do to make it possible for us to be here! How can we be praying for you?
One of the greatest joys we have as a family is not only serving in Colombia as missionaries, but giving through our home church above our regular giving to support other foreign missions. It’s a blessing to know we have a part in fulfilling the “both” command of Acts 1:8.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8 KJV)
We know that, as missionaries ourselves, we live by the faithful provision of God’s people. Many of you give sacrificially so that the Word of God is glorified though us here in South America, and God is adding fruit to your account!
So here’s the question I have for you…
How has Faith-Promise missions giving blessed your life? Would you leave a comment or send me a note to share your testimony with others? There may be many that are on the fence about whether to get involved or not, and your testimony could make a difference in their lives!
Thanks, and God bless you in your faithfulness to Him!
Once again, I have been absolutely amazed. God continues to put his blessing on our ministry in Colombia. Many of you prayed much for our first service at Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro in Bucaramanga. Following is a report of what God did.
- Around 40 thousand invites & tracts total were distributed
- 25 people attended the English Service on Sunday July 13th
- 39 or 40 people attended the Spanish Service that followed
- I was able to start a series in John, wherein I shared the first several verses and the thought, God Came to Us! He brought us eternity, he brought us light, and he brought us life. What an amazing truth! All we must do is receive him.
- 5 people informed us that they repented and trusted Christ alone to be saved!
- Most everybody said they’d be back and bring a friend!
- Many people came because they received an invite in the street or in their home, several came that were personal contacts of mine, some through our Facebook Page and some through the website.
- The visiting group from our sending church, Lighthouse Baptist in Dawsonville, has been such a blessing. They have helped paint and repair many areas of the church building, pass out thousands of invites and tracts the past week, and helped with a few things during the service. We thank God for their presence and help. Pray for my pastor, Charles Blackstock, who will be preaching our midweek service tonight (Tuesday).
- Sunday evening we participated in a special service across town at a sister church with Panamanian missionary, José Morales. They had a wonderful attendance with many visitors. My pastor preached, I interpreted, and the Holy Spirit did a special work.
Thank you all for your prayers and financial support. We have gotten off to a great start! With the funeral that the Lord allowed us to host last Wednesday, as well as this inauguration, we have seen dozens of people profess faith in Christ in the first week of our church! GOD IS GOOD!
Please continue to pray for us. We are just getting started! Pray that some of the young men that have already shown interest would allow God to move in their hearts and lives, and that He would call some to the ministry and let us train and equip them. This is what it’s all about!
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2
Here are a few pictures from a wonderful day.