Dear Prayer Partners,
Hello again from beautiful Bucaramanga, Colombia! The Lord has opened many doors for us since our last letter. We have seen people trust Christ as well as new discipleship and home Bible studies started, including one in our own home. As we establish these contacts, we plan to officially open a church within the next couple months. It is exciting to be a part of God’s work. Consider coming to join us!
I returned this week from an evangelistic campaign on the other side of Colombia where I was able to preach several times in small villages in open-air meetings and from house to house. Many attended, with over 30 trusting in Christ for salvation, and we were also able to encourage new believers. These campaigns were in preparation for church plants by the Colombian national pastor who invited me. Though I spent dozens of hours in buses, taxis, motorcycles, riverboats and on foot, this trip was a tremendous blessing! The culture, accent, and the weather is much different on the Coast than here in the mountains where we live. Thankfully, the Gospel message works the same!
February kicks off the school year here in Colombia, so our girls began attending a nearby preschool in the mornings. They are learning well and have fun playing with the other children. Meanwhile, Aubrie is meeting with a personal tutor at the same time to improve her Spanish. I’m proud of how they are all coming along in the language and culture! When explaining to Amira she would be wearing a uniform like all the other children, she exclaimed, “Oh Yeah! Everybody likes Unicorns!” She still gets excited about wearing her unicorn each day. Ha…
Colombian Culture Corner
Many everyday words in Colombia are very vulgar and offensive in other Spanish-speaking countries. Coming from pastoring the Spanish ministry in GA with people from many different countries, it has been an adjustment using these words. It’s all part of learning the culture. We just have to be careful for the words that work the other way around! :)
- New converts, discipleship groups & Bible studies
- Wisdom as we choose a location for the church
- Financial support — We could use several more partners as we launch the church
- That God would continue to glorify himself in us!
Love In Christ Jesus,
Aaron Vance & Family
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Timothy 2:3-6
P.S. - Our new field address is: Carrera 51 #50-103 Bucaramanga, Santander Colombia You can also call us any time on a US number that rings on my cell here: 678-696-0082 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Y’all don’t mind if I brag a little on Aubrie, do you?
Today, February 10th is a very special day… It’s the anniversary of my wife’s 22nd birthday!! ((I think that’s when we were supposed to stop counting… Lol))
Aubrie, you’re amazing and I love you with my all! You’re the best wife I could ever imagine, the best mother to our girls, the best looking, most compassionate, most loving person I’ve ever met. I couldn’t imagine my life without you.
Thank you for sticking with me, and not giving up, even through the hard trials we faced last year. Thank you for your heart. Thank you for being 100% supportive in the ministry The Lord has placed us in. Thank you for your excitement in reaching people with the Gospel. Thank you for your love for God and his Word. I thank Christ for you.
You’re my companion, my best friend, my sweetie. Happy birthday. I look forward to getting old, sore and wrinkly with you. Ok, maybe not so much the “sore” part, but you know what I mean.
Yours for life,
“January 19th is your due date… Congratulations!”
This news was somewhat of a surprise to us, but we were excited to be expecting our 3rd child.
However, we never got to meet this blessing. On May 26th, 2013 (our second daughter’s birthday, no less), we spent the day in the hospital where we learned that the pregnancy was lost. Though very hard to see at the time, we now know it was in God’s plan.
Because of the loss of our baby, the doctors found out my wife had a painful disease called endometriosis, and they were able to do an operation to relieve some pain before it got worse.
Still, January 19th has come, and it’s hard not to wonder, “What if….?”
God has taught us to lean more on him this past year than any other. He has given us consolation with with we hope to be able to help and encourage others going through the same issues.
Following is a something I wrote down in honor of our little one. We called him/her Agape (Greek for perfect, unconditional love). But Amira, our oldest, called her little sibling Cookie. :-)
So, to “Agape Cookie Vance” ..
You were ours for a moment;
So swift and so fleeting.
Now, your home is distant,
Our hearts left bleeding.
Questions bombard, we wonder
Who you would’ve grown to be.
Tall or short, a him or her…
We never got to see.
We never saw you walk,
Run, play, fall or cry;
Never heard you talk
Or sing pretty lullabies.
Doubts fill our minds,
What did we do wrong?
The sorrow echoes inside.
A never ending song.
But then a voice whispers
“Be still, my child, be still.
Your baby is in my arms,
Be still, trust me, be still.
“I knew about this all along.
Nothing takes me by surprise.
You did nothing wrong,
Just lift up your eyes.
“You see, I too, lost my son,
Jesus Christ, on Calvary.
He did for the wrong you’d done
To redeem you back to me.
“Separated for a moment,
He returned soon again.
Reconciled those that trust him,
Saving them from their sins.
“You, too, shall see your child,
Not there on earth, but here.
So fear not, I know it’s wild,
But have faith, you’re near.”
So I keep my eyes and focus
On him who is my rest and peace;
On the one who died for us,
His love poured out, all to see.
He is worthy of all I can give,
He deserves all worship, all praise.
For his name I choose to live
Telling of him all my days.
I choose to trust his heart, his mind;
He knows much more than I.
Sweet peace in Him I find,
We’ll all meet one day in the sky.
So, my child, hold on!
We’ll join you as soon as we can!
You’re safe in God’s loving arms.
We know it’s part of His great plan.
By Aaron Vance
January 19, 2014
Dear Prayer Partners,
Hola From Colombia!
We have at last arrived on the field! It’s been quite a process, but now the easy part is done and the work has just begun.
The last month in the US was very hectic with 15 meetings in 5 states (what was I thinking??). We sincerely appreciate all that helped us prepare for our departure as well as those that gave monthly and one time gifts. God used you to get us here. You have advanced the cause of the Gospel and there will be eternal fruit to your account.
It was definitely a different experience spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in Colombia without the rest of our extended family, but God’s grace is always sufficient! Christmas is an exciting time here, as everything was completely decked out with lights and nativity scenes. On the surface it appears that Colombians celebrate the Christ of Christmas even more than in the States. However, it brings tears to my eyes that most Colombians don’t KNOW the Christ of Christmas. They know the religious traditions, holidays and rituals, but all without a sweet relationship with Jesus. There is a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). Please pray as we introduce Christ the Savior to those that know him only in tradition and religion.
We have been able to survey different areas of this growing city and have it narrowed down to a couple of neighborhoods for our first church plant, hopefully by Spring. The need here is incredible. We have seen some people saved and are currently working on making contacts and conducting home bible study groups in preparation for the church launch.
During our time getting established we have also been able to attend and help out another Baptist church started by a missionary brother from Panama on the other side of the city from us. I’m currently preaching here each Wednesday. Please pray for Pastor José Morales and this dear church.
Again, thank you for your support in prayers and financial gifts. For those that have been holding out, we remain at about 95% of our needed funds and could definitely use a few more monthly partners as we launch our ministry. Please prayerfully consider if God would have you support the work of church planting in Colombia. Souls are in the balance.
Also pray for wisdom in all that goes into starting a church, for open doors to present the Gospel, for men & women as well as young people that we could not only see saved but also trained and discipled.
Lastly, pray for the family as we adjust. The girls are doing great learning some Spanish and Aubrie is gaining fluency. It’s a big change to all but we’re excited to be here for the glory of our great God.
All for Jesus,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira & Anabel Vance
P.S. – Here is our new field address:
Carrera 51 #50-103
You can also call us any time on an US number that rings on my cell here: 678-696-0082 or email us: email@example.com
Happy New Year from the Vances in Colombia! I thought I’d share a fun little post of some [interesting] Colombian traditions and New Year’s rituals.
Colombia has a load of these New Year superstitions, and most people pick a couple to practice each year (you couldn’t possibly do all of them… lol). It’s amazing how many more of these I’m finding out about as we go along.
1. Vuelta A La Manzana (Trip Around the Block)
At midnight, many Colombians will grab an empty suitcase take a fast lap with it around the block. They believe this will increase chances of taking a big trip in the upcoming year. PS – our suitcases won’t be getting out again any time soon; moving to Colombia was enough for now! :-)
2. Las Uvas (The Grapes)
It’s crazy how much I’ve been asked if we have prepared our “New Year’s Grapes.” :) Colombians will get 12 grapes and once the clock strikes midnight, they’ll start eating them one by one (at each strike of the clock), making a wish on each. BUT, they believe you have to eat all 12 grapes before 12:01 to make sure the wishes come true!
3. Calzón Amarillo (Yellow Underwear)
This ritual is supposed to bring good luck, especially with the lottery. If you really want to be lucky, you’re supposed to wear it inside-out and/or backwards!
4. Dinero En El Zapato (Money In The Shoe)
So, if you want to have a financially prosperous year, you need to stuff some bills in your shoe (then put it back on), or at least have some money in your pocket.
5. Las Lintejas (The Lentils)
Colombians put a few grains, particularly lentils, in their pocket to make sure they have enough food to put on the table for the year.
6. Subir La Escalera (Climb The Ladder)
If there’s no ladder available, a chair can be used, but this ritual takes the figurative saying literally, making sure one climbs the ladder of society and life during the year.
7. El Año Viejo (The Old Year)
Perhaps one of the most interesting, to me at least, is the Old Year doll. Many Colombians carry out this tradition each year, gathering a pair of clothes, stuffing it with paper, cardboard and even explosives, then setting it in the street and incinerating it at midnight. This represents the old year passing and a new year coming. Past mistakes, failures, sins, can be left behind, because it’s a new year. Now there is a new opportunity, another chance at life. The old has gone and the new has come.
When I think of the new year traditions, particularly the Old Year doll, I cannot help but to think of the difference Christ makes in one’s life when they receive him as their Savior. When a person is born again, it is just that… they are born again! They really are made new! They really are a new creature! They really do have a different approach to life, a different hope, a different (and BETTER) purpose… What a difference Christ makes! We pray many Colombians come to know this Christ, not just as a religious figure or good luck charm, but on a personal level. On a complete-repentance-and-trusting-faith level.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21
This list of 7 New Year’s rituals in Colombia is not near conclusive (I’ve heard of another 7 or 8 more traditions but I thought you’d get bored…lol), but I wanted to give you an idea of what we see here. Our wish for you, our friends and family, as you enter this new year, is that you would be full of God’s love, growing in his grace, and in the knowledge in his Word. We pray for health, prosperity, success, and open doors to serve our great God. We love you all!