Dear Praying Friends & Family,
I am writing this update during a layover halfway between Colombia and the USA. Yes, we have officially begun our furlough. We are looking forward to the next 11 months. However, to be honest, we have been inundated by intense emotions and spiritual warfare. What will happen to the work, the people, our close friends and spiritual family in Colombia? Yet, we rest in Christ‘s faithfulness, and we trust him for the future. After all, it is HIS church.
A Time To Reflect
Long before we landed in Colombia as missionaries, and long before there was a church, we were already preparing to leave. It may seem odd, but having an “expiration date” of sorts allowed us to have a determined goal and clear path of ministry. If our purpose is to not only win disciples of Christ but also to train them, this deadline gave us something to work toward. Now, we leave behind not only 2 growing churches full of passionate followers of Christ, but also the leaders to continue to take them to the next level. There are 8 preachers who will preach regularly, 4 who will preach semi-regularly, and another 4 who are just starting and will assist in scripture reading, discipleship and other ministries. Other men and women have stepped up to lead every other ministry of the church. What once fell only on the shoulders of Aubrie and I, has grown into a dynamic effort of many to make disciples and see Christ glorified. It really is incredible that God would allow us to be a part of HIS work in Colombia.
Successful Recent Activities
Here’s a quick rundown of what has happened in our ministry and what we’ve been up to since the last update at the beginning of December:
- Christmas outreach in our Cafe Madrid mission church. We were able to sponsor, with generous help from both of our local churches, over 100 needy families with baskets filled with food, basic toiletries, toys for their kids and a Gospel DVD.
- First men’s retreat. Why did we wait so long to do this? It was great to get away with 30 men and study John chapter 17 and Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, as well as relax a bit and strengthen the brotherhood.
- Missions conference. We enjoyed the fellowship and preaching from Latin American missionary pastors who serve in Bogotá – Colombia, Maracay – Venezuela, and Trujillo – Peru. What an eye opening time. Please pray for these families. In addition to fully supporting our daughter church, our main church is giving sacrificially to others to see the Gospel get to the regions beyond!
The church and its leaders are also getting ready for events to reach even more people during the whole year. I look forward to hearing how God uses them, even in our absence
Planning Ahead & Dreaming Big
We are already making big plans for our return at the beginning of 2019. We hope to begin at least 3 more churches in key areas, as well as other outreach ministries to minister to the 2.2 million people of our city of Bucaramanga, and beyond. Obviously as we make all these plans, we submit them to the Lord and his will. For the task ahead, as well as the growth of our family, we find ourselves under-supported. We are praying and trusting God that during this furlough, we can see another 15-20 monthly prayer and financial partners added to our team to help fulfill the Great Commission. Will you be pray about being one of these special partners?
From The Mouth Of Babes
After we landed in the USA, we were standing in the immigration line for US citizens. There was another American lady behind us, and Anabel, our 5 year old, looked up and told her it was OK to take her picture if she wanted to. She‘s been used to this for the past 4 years, but apparently blonde hair & blue eyes are more common here than in Colombia. The lady was a bit perplexed.
We are sincerely grateful for you. Because of your faithful giving and prayers, God is adding much fruit to your account. People are being saved! Continue to pray for our family during this furlough. We expect to have a great time sharing of God’s favor upon the ministry, but we are not oblivious to the possibility of reverse culture-shock, as well as the dangers on the road. Also pray for our dear friends and leaders in the churches of Colombia during our absence.
Rooted & Grounded In HIM,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance
(along with Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea)
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
We just finished up Thanksgiving here in Colombia. It’s just another day for most folks, but it causes us to remember that we truly have much for which to be thankful! Besides the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake we were able to enjoy (thanks to my mother-in-law!), we are sincerely thankful to God for everything around us. His blessings are plenteous, and his grace is abundant!
Thankful For Our Newest Baby Girl
We are pleased to introduce you to Alethea Jewel Vance, born November 16, 2017. Aubrie and the baby are doing great, and we are all adjusting to having a household of 4 daughters! Alethea is Greek for truth, and Jewel is Latin for Joy. We pray she can be a beacon of truth and a conduit of joy to the world around her!
Thankful For Our Upcoming Furlough
Our tickets have been purchased and we are starting to fill up our calendar for our furlough from the first week of February until the end of December 2018. Our goals are five-fold: (1) To give a report to our supporting churches of the work God has done; (2) To raise urgent financial and prayer support for the growing ministry; (3) to visit with extended family; (4) to raise awareness for world missions; (5) to give an opportunity to our leaders and churches in Colombia to exercise their gifts and calling.
We are praying to add 20 supporters to our team. If you haven’t yet begun partnering with us to reach Colombia, would you prayerfully consider us in your monthly missions budget? If you would like to schedule a meeting with us, or just need more info, email us at email@example.com. Also, please see the included recommendation letter from our sending church pastor, Dr. Charles Blackstock.
Thankful For Recent Church Growth
Both of our churches have been growing stronger each month. We recently met with 30 of our church leaders to plan out the 2018 calendar while we’re gone. I look forward to hearing how God continues to use the church to reach our community. The need is great, and the doors are wide open to get the Gospel to the people! We are already planning to starting at least 3 more churches by the year 2020, Lord willing. Several of our men have taken great steps toward leading the two established churches while we are away next year, which also serves as preparation toward starting their own churches.
Thankful For Christmas In Colombia
Our entire city transforms every year at Christmas. Extravagant lights, fireworks shows, elaborate nativity scenes and a festive environment makes this time of year a lot of fun. However, most people see Christmas just as an excuse to party, have time off of work and relax. Though it would seem on the surface that Christ is more prevalent in Christmas here, most people still do not know him. They haven’t heard the true Gospel, of salvation that isn’t earned through religion or works, rather by grace through faith in Christ’s finished work. In other words, many here “have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). Christmas is a great time to share the Gospel, both here in Colombia as well as wherever you live and minister. Let’s not hide the hope we have!
Thankful For Our Prayer Warriors
We appreciate all of you and your prayers for our family and ministry. Truly, God is working in spite of us, and I believe the prayers of His saints have had a great impact. Don’t stop! In fact, here are some specific requests you can lift up to God on our behalf:
- Pray for Alethea, and all the paperwork left to do for her to be a dual citizen and be able to travel.
- Pray for our furlough travels coming up January 31st, as well as the meetings we will have next year.
- Pray for the men and women who are leading the various ministries in our churches, both now and while we are gone. Especially pray for the men who will be preaching the Word.
- Pray for more missionaries in Colombia. Never has there been a time in which people were more re- ceptive to the truth of the Gospel, yet there is a need for more full-time Gospel-preaching laborers.
With love & prayers from Colombia,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
Sometimes, the Gospel ministry feels like a hospital. In one area, new births are taking place, in another, the sick are being treated, and in another still, patients are in therapy and rehab. On every side, people’s lives hang in the balance, and we can have a small part in helping them get well. This is the joy of serving God!
Welcome To The Family…
Those new spiritual births are always a thrill to see. Several have accepted Christ and followed in believer’s baptism over the last couple months, including our oldest daughter, Amira! She had been asking questions for some time now, and was finally ready to take a step of faith to trust in Jesus for salvation, making it public through baptism. It’s so exciting to see the work of the Holy Spirit who brings conviction of sin and confirms the truth as we lift up Christ. This is the power of God!
Both of our churches have grown with new families being added constantly. We are seeing chains of people who have been reached with the Gospel and are reaching others. Those who were being discipled recently are discipling others in the fundamentals of the faith and even leading small groups and Bible studies. This is missions!
Celebrating Milestones & Ministry…
We recently celebrated our third anniversary at our main church, as well as the inauguration of a new meeting facility in our second church. Both of our churches are at capacity each week. It was a joy to have friends from the US (Steve, Erin, Jason and José) visiting during this time. They were such a blessing to us and the people to whom we minister, and worked hard in the getting the new building ready for use.
Our Bible institute has grown exponentially, and now has around 30 students preparing for ministry, both full-time and as faithful members and leaders in the local church. Please pray for these core leaders as we establish them in the Biblical doctrines and ministry. Over a dozen men have responded to God’s call to preach!
Let’s Meet Up! — Furlough 2018
Our furlough is quickly approaching, and we would love to come by your church to give a report of the work God is doing here through us in Colombia. We are now scheduling meetings for February through December of 2018. We are also looking to add around 20 monthly support partners to our team in order to continue to plant more churches. Do you have any recommendations? We have plans in place to plant three more churches by 2020, Lord willing. We have the leaders who are being trained, and we have mapped out the areas that are wide open and needing a Gospel preaching church. We just need the funds to help them get started. If you’d like more info, send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-696-0082.
A Home Full Of Girls…
The family is doing very well, and Aubrie is nearing the delivery date for our 4th daughter. Pray for her especially during this time. We hope to introduce you to this little princess in our next letter toward the end of November.
We are sincerely grateful for your prayers and monthly support, as well as a few special gifts that have come in recently. It is through your faithfulness that we can live and minister here in Colombia. If you do not currently support the ministry here, would you consider partnering with us to become part of our team? Lives are at stake, and we have the message that can save them. Thank you, and God bless!
Your Missionaries In Colombia, South America,
The Vance Family
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Baby girl “A” 🙂
Here are some recent pictures from the family and ministry…
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
Jesus said in Matthew 16 that he would build his church, and that is exactly what is happening here in Bucaramanga. This month’s update is full of praises as well as some family news.
New Church Taking Baby Steps
Our second church plant here, which we began in March, is growing and people are becoming more grounded through Bible teaching and preaching. Several of our leaders have begun weekly home bible study groups to strengthen new believers as well as give them an opportunity to make a Gospel connection with their friends and family. After 4 months of meeting in a community center, we finally found a place to rent at the end of June. It’s a small house, and there is a lot of work to be done, but we are thrilled about the progress and the new opportunities. Two of our men, Félix and Díver, are sharing the load of pastoring this new work. Please pray for them, and specifically that Félix would find a godly wife.
Edifying The Body Of Christ
Our first church in Colombia will be 3 years old in a couple weeks. We have a constant flow of new visitors, new believers to baptize, and new disciples who are committed to following Christ. I have loved seeing the spiritual growth and maturity of these believers over the last few years. As I look around, it is evident we are entering into the next phase of ministry and the next stage of this church plant. At the beginning, my family and I did everything from cleaning the church, teaching children’s classes, evangelism, discipleship, preaching all the services, organizing special days, teaching leadership classes, bookkeeping and more. Now, those who were brand new believers not long ago are not only serving in all of these areas, but leading. Some are not only leading, but they are also leading other leaders. This is what missions is all about! We look forward to many more years of being involved in this ministry!
Baby Girl #4 Coming In November!
Yes, you read that right. We’re having ANOTHER girl! Each of our girls — Amira (7), Anabel (5) and Aris (2) — are excited and already suggesting names, some of which are pretty wild! Pray for Aubrie in the 2nd half of the pregnancy.
Saying Goodbye From Far Away
My grandfather, Donald Swaim, passed away at the end of June. He would have been 87 in a couple weeks. He was a believer and was always witnessing to everyone he met. He took me to Mexico, where he had been a missionary, when I was 15, and he constantly encouraged me to follow God’s will for my life. One of the hardest parts of being on the mission field is not being there with loved ones in the end, though we do rejoice in the hope we have in the Gospel. Thanks to technology and the help of some family, I was able to speak to him and say goodbye before he passed away.
Coming Back For Furlough in 2018
Lord willing, our family will be returning to the States for furlough from February 2018 until the New Year. This will serve several purposes: (1) to give a report to our supporters of the great things the Lord has done; (2) to raise more financial support from new churches as the ministry expands and we plant more churches; (3) to preach world missions and cast a vision to see God call more laborers; (4) to spend time with extended family; (5) to provide an opportunity to the preachers and leaders in the ministry here in Colombia to exercise their gifts and calling. If you would like to schedule us to come to your church, please send me an email (email@example.com) or give me a call (678-696-0082)! We are now filling up our calendar.
As always, we are grateful for each of you for your prayers and financial support. Thank you for holding the ropes for us as we minister in Colombia, South America!
With love in Christ and for his glory,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris (& BABY) Vance
Here are some recent pictures from our ministry and family:
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
This month’s update is all about new life. In the US, many of you are currently in the middle of Spring, however, here in Colombia the weather stays about the same all year long… (HOT!) We’re talking about a different kind of new life! Read on to find out how God is being glorified through the ministry here in Bucaramanga, Colombia.
A New Daughter Church Is Born!
In March we were able to start a brand new church out of our main work, which is just under 3 years old itself! We had been sowing seeds of the Gospel in this community, called Café Madrid, for some time now, and Christ is doing amazing things. We have several leaders who have been trained, as well as up-and-coming pastors who have been studying ministry with me and who are leading in almost every aspect of this new church. They are preaching, teaching, leading singing, discipling new believers and organizing events and services. It’s amazing to see the Lord working through these men and women, as well as the great response in the community. We’ve had between 50-70 for each service, and are in need of a more permanent facility. Currently we meet in a community center. Please pray for this work in the days ahead!
New Believers Born Into The Family!
As result of the work in the daughter church, as well as our main church, people are coming to an understanding and faith in the Gospel. It is a beautiful thing to see this new spiritual birth all around us. Some have come from religious backgrounds, but without having ever understood who Jesus is or why he died on the cross, and others come from humanism and atheism and are coming to a realization that there is a God who is HOLY, JUST, but also merciful and mighty to save! It never gets old! Pray for these first-generation believers.
New Leaders Born & Growing!
Our Bible institute has had tremendous growth this year. Training leaders is really the heart of our ministry. We know that without “teaching them to observe all things,” we are not fulfilling the Great Commission! This is what Jesus, Paul and the other Apostles did throughout their lives. Because of this focus, the Gospel message has made its way around the world, through the ages, to us here today. Last year we had 12-15 men training for ministry, but now there are around 25 who are committed to serving the Lord, peaching the Gospel, and have given their lives to the ministry. We are going through organized theological and ministerial themes and studies, as well as life-on-life and hands-on practical teaching. The long-term success of our ministry really depends on these men and women. Continue to pray for them!
New Little Vance Coming Soon!
Speaking of new life, Aubrie and I are pleased to announce that God is entrusting us with our 4th baby, due in November! Our three girls are excited and already convinced it’s going to be another girl. If that’s the case, there will already be plenty of hand-me-downs! Either way, we are so blessed, and we trust God to help us raise all of our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We appreciate your prayers for our family, especially Aubrie, in the months ahead as we prepare for this new arrival.
Once again, thank you for your continued support of our family and ministry. There are amazing things happening here, but we know that it’s only by, through, and because of God’s grace. One last prayer request is for our first furlough, coming up during 2018. We are currently making plans for this trip back to the States, to give a report to our supporting churches and raise more support for the growing ministry here in Colombia. If you would like more info, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 678-696-0082. I will give some more details in our next letter.
Our sincerest love and warmest greetings,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel & Aris Vance
Here are some recent pictures from our ministry and family: