Week in Review – September 30, 2014
Hello, and welcome to another week in review. We thank the Lord for the time he gives us to serve him in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and for you who pray for us and support us financially!
- We had quite the scare in our church on Sunday between our English and Spanish service. As people were arriving, one of our young man, Jhon desired to speak to me about something for a few minutes. This is one who just told me a week ago that God has given him a desire & calling for ministry. Well, during our conversation, he began to have massive seizures. Our people from church came in and were working with him, and contacting doctor friends and his family. We took him to a hospital and got his seizures under control. He spent the night there, but seems to be recovered now, and back on the right medications.
- Needless to say, we missed our 2nd service. However, we didn’t miss an opportunity to serve! During our hours-long wait in the hospital, I was able to spend that time with 4 of our men, discussing our great God and his Word and purpose for our lives. My wife stayed back at the church with most of the ladies. I think this event has strengthened our people.
- Please pray with me for both Jhon and his family. They are not believers, but we are praying that even through this situation that they will see the love we have one for another and surrender their lives also to Jesus.
- We thank the Lord for the growth we’ve seen in the church lately with new visitors in our services as well as new people plugging in to discipleship and serving. It’s amazing to be a part of God’s work!
- I was able to feel our little girl kick for the first time this week! Aubrie is just over 19 weeks along… Almost halfway there!
- We’re in the process of name picking. Since we happened to end up with all A names, we don’t want this one to be left out. Any ideas?
- We are hoping to purchase a vehicle this month, Lord willing. We are at a point now where it is needful, both for family and for ministry. Instead of a small car, we would like something that could carry 7 or more passengers for use in the church. Used vehicles are not cheap here, but we know that our God is able. Will you pray with us about this need? If you would like to give toward this cause, we would appreciate it greatly! Anything helps!
An event to consider
- This week I want to highlight a special ministry of our sending church, Lighthouse Baptist Church in Dawsonville, GA. For the past 3 years, they have done a special End Times walk-through drama called Hell’s Gates. It has been a huge evangelistic success. Tens of thousands of locals as well as church groups have come through and seen a clear biblical depiction of the end times and the plan of salvation. If you are within a few hours of Atlanta, I’d encourage you to check out their website to buy tickets or to get more info!
Think On These Things
- We’ve been walking through and studying the book of John as a church. It’s amazing to see how each message has been meeting the needs of our people. Here is a passage we dug into this week. Maybe it will challenge you as it did us…
- 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. … 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. [John 6:45-51]
- Jesus gave his flesh for the life of the world, but they must hear! All it takes to receive eternal life is to believe on Jesus, but how will they ever believe unless they’ve never heard?! As Romans 10:17 clearly states in the context of this thought, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” As we lift up the Word, God does the work of drawing men unto him and saving. Are you actively concerned about helping others individuals, people groups, and cultures hear?
- Thank God for new salvations! One of these was a lady named Rosalba who repented and believed on Christ on Monday! Pray for her as she grows in this new life.
- Saturday was the second time we’ve gone as a church to a community outreach on the outskirts of our city. We had 115 children, several adults and 10 from our church! I taught on the fall of mankind and our sinful nature, showing that though we all have sinned, Christ loved us and died for us while we were yet sinners. Pray as we lay a foundation for the Gospel in this needy community! Our hope is to start another church here eventually.
- Sunday services are always a joy as people come, worship the Lord passionately and listen attentively to the preaching of God’s message. It is an exciting thing feeding the spiritually hungry and seeing Christ and his Word satisfy their hunger.
- We began a weekly email for our church. If you’d like to receive this (it is in Spanish, by the way), you can sign up here: eepurl.com/3ycWr
- One of the most thrilling things for me this week was that a young single man and another middle aged married man came to me and expressed their desire to be in the ministry. God had been dealing with them. Pray for Jhon & Óscar, among a couple others that I believe the Lord is working on!
- We went Thursday to find out the gender of our next child and we discovered how rebellious (or modest) it was! No cooperation at all… So we went back Friday and without a doubt it is a… well, check out this short video we put together to find out: youtu.be/7GFXx9kxNNE
- This week, with the city’s fair going on, we’ve been in many situations where thousands and thousands of people surrounded us. I couldn’t help but to think of the Lord Jesus’ words in John 4:34-35:
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
- I challenge you to lift up your eyes around this world and realize that the need is great, the time is now, and the responsibility is ours! Let us commit to doing the will of the one who has sent us, and to finish his work!
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?