New Year, New Growth — February 2021 Prayer Letter


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Dear Praying Friends & Family,

It’s a new year, and God is still at work in Colombia and around the world! Aren’t you glad that our God was not surprised by the pandemic and other events of the past year?

New Baptisms And Church Growth

Our most recent church, Ágape Baptist Church, has continued to grow since its inception in November. We have seen new people attend weekly, and many are finally understanding the Gospel for the first time. Even last week, we were able to baptize three men who recently believed in Christ for salvation. We have around 30 adults attending a new members class this month, preparing to join us as we officially organize as a church in March. I am thrilled at how the Lord is building his church, and he is allowing us to have a small part. Thank you, again, to those who have prayed for and given specifically to this new work.

Faithful Men Training Faithful Men

Years ago, before we started the first church in Colombia, I asked God to give me one or two men to train for the ministry. Over these past seven years, he has called many more than I even asked for, and they have been faithful men. Our first churches are now running fully autonomously, and their leaders are even planning on how they can reach new areas with the Gospel. New Bible studies are being started, many times without our direct involvement. Some of the first generation of men we saw saved and trained are meeting with and training a new generation of preachers, who, in turn, will reach others. This multiplication process has been the goal since the beginning. I think only eternity will tell the total reach of this ministry. It is incredible to see and be able to participate in this work. Let us continue to be faithful in the process, and God will bring the fruit.

Setback in the Adopted Church

I mentioned in our last letter that we would be assuming leadership of a small nearby congregation. Right after we sent out that update, it seems that everything fell through, at least for now. The meeting place, the logistics, and even the people’s will seemed to all fall apart. It may have been because of the Christmas season, but we will see. Pray that God gives us wisdom in how, or if, we should proceed.

Family News

It appears that Aubrie and a couple of the girls contracted COVID at some point in January. Thankfully, their symptoms were mild, and they have fully recovered. Since late last year, my health has been a big concern, as I have had five random abdominal attacks. The doctors haven’t figured out the issue yet, so we appreciate your prayers. We also are happy to inform you that we could take from our personal savings over the last 11 years and purchase a home debt-free in February. This is a huge answer to prayer! The whole ordeal was clearly a work of God. The house is quaint and may need a little work, but the location, price, and timing were perfect. Pray as we try to get the necessary repairs done and move during the next couple of months. 

Thank you once again for your prayers and support. Let us be faithful until Jesus comes.

In Him, By Him, For Him,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris and Alethea Vance

PS – Here is a video update with the content of this letter that you can share with your church.

This new church would not have been started, were it not for COVID!

Jersson is one of several men who were recently baptized.

It’s exciting to get photos like these, another adult Bible study being led by the men we trained.

The “Santísimo” is a large statue of Jesus that overlooks our city. We look forward to the day Colombia can know the real Jesus!

The kids all pitched in to make over 100 sandwiches to distribute to the homeless on Christmas Eve.

Aubrie is an amazing wife and mom. We celebrated her birthday in February.

Two New Churches! — November 2020 Prayer Letter


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Dear Praying Friends & Family,

Let’s just say it — 2020 has been crazy! However, even amidst the craziness of the COVID-19 pandemic, strict lockdowns, natural disasters, and the wild political climate, nothing can stop the spread of the Gospel! 

A New Congregation Is Born!

On November 22, we launched the Agape Baptist Church. We invested two months into establishing and edifying our core group, as well as endless hours into preparing our meeting place. We have consistently had over 50 in attendance since then! God has allowed everything to fall into order. We are already working with some of the new believers in home bible studies and discipleship. We want to give a special thank you to those who gave generously to this new church plant. God is already adding fruit to your account!

Another Congregation Is Adopted!

Recently, I received an interesting request from another pastor close to our city. He left the charismatic movement years ago and has tried to lead his church to be more biblical. They have followed our ministry for a while now. He is moving away and does not have anybody to take the church in his absence. So, the day before we launched Agape Baptist Church, I met with this pastor and 35 of their members who want us to take over and lead their church. I will be going once a week to do a service in a facility lent to us by the local city government. The idea is to find them a permanent meeting place eventually and for one of our men to take over as pastor. This church was another utterly unexpected opportunity God has brought us. I think the name of the church is appropriate — Open Door Baptist Church. Pray as we go through this open door.

The Gospel Still Works

Since arriving in Colombia 7 years ago, God has done spectacular things. I would have never imagined the extent we would be able to plant churches and train leaders in so little time. But none of this success is because of any merit or giftedness on our side. It’s all God’s grace and his Gospel! Can I encourage you to believe that? Wherever you are, may we hold the conviction that the Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

Blitz Trip To The USA

Thanks to a supporting church in Florida, I traveled to the US for two weeks in November. During this time, I preached 11 times and got to squeeze in several other meetings and see some family. What a blessing! Since I traveled alone, I was happy to get back quickly to my wife and kids. 

Thanksgiving

After enjoying a Thanksgiving meal, our family went around and prayed, thanking God for something special he has done this year. Alethea (who just turned 3) said, “Thank you, God, for the virus!” In everything, we must give thanks, right? We don’t know why God has permitted this year to be such a crazy one, but I’m glad he did. He works all things out for his glory and our good. We are grateful for his grace, his love, and the hope of his return. We are thankful for you too! Many of you support us with monthly or one time gifts, which permits us to live and work here in Colombia. Many of you pray for us regularly. Your prayers are obvious, given the blessings on the ministry here. Thank you! We trust you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year Holiday. 

For The Gospel,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris and Alethea Vance

We praise the Lord for the new church and the beautiful place to meet.
The children have a great space now, as well as workers to show them God’s love.
Christian Media International (CMI) has partnered with us in getting our media ministry and studio set up. We praise God for this incredible investment!
This is the church that Pastor Daniel wants us to take. We’re meeting in a government building as of now.
I married Félix and Schantall in October. He has assumed the pastorate at our main church. I remember when he first wandered into our church 6 years ago. God has done a great work in his life!
Alethea turned 3 in November. She brings loads of joy and smiles to all those around her.

Churches Gather Again, & A New Church Starting Soon! — September 2020 Prayer Letter


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Dear Praying Friends & Family,

The total lockdown quarantine has ended in Colombia! After six months of isolation, we’re gradually easing back into a sense of normalcy (whatever that is). We continue to move forward in the ministry in which God has placed us. There are spectacular things taking place in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and we get to have a part! Read on for more. 

We Meet Again!

September the 13th is a day I’ll not soon forget. It was the first day we met as a local church body since mid-March. Our gatherings haven’t been the same as before. There are now multiple services, attendance limits, strict safety protocols, per-registrations, masks, social distancing, and the like, but it feels like home. How is it that we don’t fully appreciate something until it is taken away? Though we’re not in the same circumstances, I am beginning to understand the Apostle Paul’s lavish expression of love toward the churches as he wrote letters to them, many times from prison. 

“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.” 

(1 Thessalonians 2:17) 

May we never undervalue the great liberty and joy it is to assemble with other believers! 

Exciting Church Plant News

In mid-August, we got the keys to the building for the new work on our city’s southern side. We are working hard to prepare this building for public services, though there is still much to do. We thank the Lord for how he has already provided the funds and skilled workers amongst our people to repair the electric wiring, structural issues, and other needed renovations. God has also put together a fantastic core group of about eight families, and we have been meeting weekly to work out who we are and plans to launch the Agape Baptist Church very soon. I’m thrilled to see how everything is coming together! We still need some finances to get off the ground. If you’d like to help, any special offerings can be sent through our mission board and marked “A. Vance – Building Fund.” Following is a breakdown of things we still need:

  • 120 Plastic Chairs ($1,000)
  • Pulpit ($300)
  • Church Sign ($300)
  • Fans ($200)
  • Piano ($500)
  • Guitar ($200)
  • Water Dispenser ($200)
  • Basic Sound Equipment ($2,000)
  • Tracts and Literature ($500)
  • Basic Office Furniture ($500)
  • Security System ($1,000) 
  • Additional Building Repairs ($1,000)

Family Funnies

Kids learn new technology so fast! Alethea, our 2-year-old, recently found Aubrie’s cell phone and decided to go on a photo spree while we were talking one day. We looked up and heard her say, “What a handsome man!” She was admiring her photographic skills (and her “good-looking” dad!). 

Keep Holding The Ropes!

Once again, thank you! Thank you to those who support us monthly so we can live and minister in Colombia. Thank you to those who sent in special offerings during the last few months to help us get by and move forward in the Gospel Ministry. Thank you to the countless many who pray without ceasing for us. Thank you for remembering us. How can we pray for you?

By His Grace and For His Glory,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance & Family 

Everywhere we go now, the protocol to enter is basically the same. Here, Aris is getting her temp taken and hands disinfected to go into church.
All of our services are packed (with protocols) since reopening! We’ve even reached new families.
Meeting with our core group families to plan the start of Agape Baptist Church
We’re making progress on the new building. Hopefully, we’ll be able to show you the finished product soon!
Anabel and Amira once again enjoying an “arepa de choclo” (a sweet cheese & cornmeal cake).
September 19th marked a year since our son died. It hasn’t been easy, but thank God for His grace!

God’s Word Is Not Bound! — July 2020 Prayer Letter and Special Announcement


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Dear Praying Friends & Family,

The Apostle Paul affirmed from a Roman prison that he was suffering and bound, “but the word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9). God continues to work, even through quarantines and lockdowns! We have seen some incredible stuff here in Colombia during the past months. Also, we’re excited to announce a new door of ministry that God has opened for us. Read on for more!  

Ministry In Times Of COVID

As I write this letter at the end of July, we are now passing 130 days of national quarantine lockdown. It would be easy to hunker down and wait for this pandemic to pass. Ministry looks different and is honestly challenging, but we always need to move forward with God! After over four months of virtual church services, fellowships, classes, discipleship, and counseling, we feel a bit of virtual fatigue. But as we take a step back and look at what God has done, it’s all worth it! We’ve seen several people saved, new converts grow, and families restored. Seven of our church members have had loved ones pass away during this time. It has been tough but also has provided opportunities to lead other family members to Christ. We keep hearing of formerly antagonistic brothers, parents, and neighbors who are hearing and believing. I was able to share the Gospel with a 30-year-old man with AIDS on his deathbed just hours before he passed. Another man, an agnostic in his 70s, accepted Christ last week. It’s worth it! 

A Huge Step Of Faith

Three years ago, the former pastor of a Charismatic church on the south side of our city contacted me. He asked if we’d be interested in taking their building. It wasn’t right timing then because we were starting our second church in the far north region. He contacted me again almost two months ago and offered it to us again. This time, I went to look at the possibility, along with several men from our church. It is in a very strategic area where we desperately need a church, and we have talked about the potential for some time now. Well, it seems now is the time. After praying, fasting, and seeking counsel, God has let everything fall into place. We have decided to move forward in faith to start another church, even though we’re still waiting on the government to lift church-meeting restrictions. Taking a step like this seems a bit crazy, but I believe the Lord is in it! We’re going to take a few families and start this work from scratch. In a virtual business meeting, our main church voted unanimously to accept Félix, one of our preachers, as their pastor, and in favor of the new work. It feels like a trust fall, but I’m amazed at how God seems to be leading and affirming this decision. Over the next two months, we will be getting things ready to start having services in the Agape Baptist Church. There are so many things we will need to purchase, and though we already have some savings for this church plant effort, we could use some more help with the finances of getting started. We would be grateful for anything you’d like to send. You can give online or by mail through MWBM and mark the gift “A. Vance – church plant.”

A Close Call With The Family

The national government still requires minors and adults over 70 to remain in their homes, except to walk within a half-mile of their house occasionally. Well, Aubrie recently took our 10-year-old Amira out to walk and spend a little time with her. A man on a motorcycle stopped to rob them at knifepoint. Thankfully he only got their picnic breakfast and some art supplies, and, praise the Lord, they are both OK. Pray for those who are desperate during this time. 

Staying Focused

We came to Colombia to evangelize the lost, establish local churches, and equip leaders (at least, that’s what’s on our prayer card). Since we arrived nearly seven years ago, God has guided us in fulfilling those goals and allowed us to see things of which we had only dreamt. However, the work isn’t done yet. We must keep focused on Christ and his mission, even amid uncertain times. Thank you for faithfully supporting the ministry and praying for us. We’d love to hear from you. How can we be praying better for you? 

For The Glorious Christ,

Aaron & Aubrie Vance & Family 

Amira organized a weekly Bible study with other kids in our neighborhood.
Abelardo & Janet were among several couples to complete the premarital course and get married during quarantine.
This is how our church has been gathering until we can meet in person.
The inside of the new church building. There’s much to do!
Here’s a quick walkthrough video of part of the new building. Since it was primarily to show to our church people, everything is in Spanish.

5 Blessings of Difficulty — May 2020 Prayer Letter


Dear Praying Friends & Family,

Many of us had a “20/20 Vision” theme for this year, but nobody saw 2020 coming! If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is fragile, but God is faithful. Yes, things are different, even difficult, as we continue our lockdown here in Colombia, but we refuse to complain. We recognize that neither our God nor his Word is bound. He continues to work mightily! 

Difficulty Prompts Creativity

Colombia went on full quarantine on March 20th, and it isn’t stopping anytime soon. Our outreach, discipleship, counseling, and teaching ministries all look vastly different from a few months ago, but the work continues. We thank God for modern technology to creatively minister. Daily, people meet virtually for corporate prayer, group training, and one-on-one discipleship. We also push out Gospel content and preaching daily to the masses on social media. Pray as we continue to adapt to the restrictions placed upon us.

Difficulty Propels Generosity

We have witnessed first-hand the generosity of God’s people, both in the States and here in Colombia. Many of you have sent special offerings during this time, and we are sincerely grateful! God has taken care of us. Whether you are a new or long-time supporter of our family and ministry, thank you! Additionally, our people have given like never before to meet the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ who are not as fortunate. Even as many faithful members lose their jobs, the church offerings have increased. It is genuinely baffling. Because of this generosity, we have assisted hundreds of people with groceries and basic needs. God’s people respond this way in times of adversity! 

Difficulty Proves Sincerity

Whenever persecution comes (or any pressure in life), it reveals what is on the inside. Curiously, and sadly, during the past two months, I have had several hard conversations with people who attended our church but have now drifted away, either to apostasy, false doctrine, or indifference. I believe God will use this pandemic to purge his church of those who do not sincerely believe. There will always be those who consider themselves Christians because it is convenient, or because they have accepted a false gospel. May our version of Christianity always align with Christ and his Word. 

Difficulty Produces Simplicity 

This pandemic has been a blessing to us! Through it, God has stripped away much of the busyness and assiduity of life and forced us to slow down. Our family has enjoyed much more quality time together to study God’s Word, teach our kids songs of faith, cook, and enjoy meals together, and pray for those around us. We did these things before, but not to the same degree. Though we continue to minister daily, we must contemplate what ministry is all about. The quarantine has taken away our ability to fulfill much of what the church is supposed to do, and maybe God allowed it to reveal how much we need to get back to the basics. Christ commissions us to make disciples of all nations. Christ commands us to gather faithfully and connect sincerely with his church to love, correct, help, and teach one another. Christ called us to be salt and light in the world. Have we made “church” and Christianity more about an event than following Christ? 

Difficulty Provides Opportunity

Currently, in Colombia, our total lockdown is in effect until July, and the “health emergency crisis” is declared until the end of August. Despite the abundant changes and challenges, there are more open doors than ever to reach the lost world around us. People need hope, and we have that hope. Let us not back down; instead, let us advance in the mission! Our family is in it for the long haul.  

Aubrie and I, along with the girls, send you our greetings and sincerest love. We are deeply grateful for your prayers and financial support. We are praying you and are here for you if you need to reach out to speak to a friend. 

For Christ the King,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance

May 2020 Vance Family Prayer Letter
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