Dear Praying Friends & Family,
The last two months have been a roller coaster. In this report, I cover some of the enormous challenges we’ve faced, as well as some of the tremendous blessings. Through it all, God is our rock and fortress, and we cling to him.
“Pastor, We Need To Talk.”
I landed in Colombia toward the end of July for a quick, 2-week trip to celebrate our church’s 4th anniversary and the wedding of one of our preacher men. It was looking to be a joyous trip, but I heard a fateful phrase way too many times… “Pastor, we need to talk.” I sat through dozens upon dozens of complaints, observations, and concerns, all about one of the men who had served closest to me for the past four years. After all was said and done, this man decided to leave, and he didn’t leave well. He hurt many people and thought everyone was against him. He wouldn’t let others help him. To him, it was everyone else’s problem. Pride destroys as nothing else can! As we dug deeper into the situation, we found numerous issues beyond mere hurt feelings. Pray for this man, as well as his family and two other leaders who left with him. We continue to love them and pray that they repent and can be restored to fellowship with Christ’s church.
Moving Forward In Faith
It may sound crazy, but I’m grateful that this horrible situation took place when it did. Our church and the rest of the leaders have risen to fill in the gaps, and I believe we are better for it. We lost around ten people, but since then we’ve had dozens of new families visit, new members added, and new leaders are stepping up. We improved several systems, and the church is in even better shape than before. We’ve been encouraged in seeing both spiritual and numerical growth in the past month. Our leaders are united, as is the entire church body. People are still being saved and discipled. New opportunities are opening up like never before. We press on in the strength that Christ gives.
We recently enjoyed a baseball game with the whole family for the first time. Aris, our 3-year-old, had never been to such an event, and since everyone was shouting, she decided to join them with a loud “HALLELUJAH!”
Praises & Prayer Requests
- Thanks to offerings from some of you, we were able to recover 100% from the church robbery I write about last time. Praise God!
- God has given us safety on the road, several good meetings, and a few more supporters. Amen! Pray as we head into a hectic “missions conference season.”
- The landlord of the house our second church is renting notified us that she needs the property back soon. However, we were just offered an incredible piece of property next door. We are trying to raise $50,000 to purchase it when we return to Colombia. I’ll write more about this in our next letter. If you’d like to give, click here.
- We thank God for some excellent opportunities we’ve had to witness while here in America. There is still a great need here!
The Our Generation Summit
We will be participating in a missions event like no other on December 28-29, 2018. For the first time, The Summit will take place in Ohio. Plus, it’s only $80, including lodging. We would love to see you there! For more info check out their website: www.ogsummit.com.
Once again, thank you. Your prayers and financial support have made our ministry possible. May God supply your every need.
To Magnify Christ,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and family
To download a PDF of this letter, click here.
Or, following is a JPG of this prayer letter that you can also save and print:
And some recent pictures from our ministry and family:
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
Hello again from the furlough road! We’ve got a lot to update you on in this letter, so buckle up!
Friends, Old & New
It has greatly encouraged us to visit some of our supporting churches and to see the many familiar faces of those who have been praying for us during all these years. It is awesome to share about God’s grace in Colombia, and the fruit that has been added to their account. We’ve also made some new friends at churches who have had us in to share about the ministry and are considering joining our team of rope-holders. Thank God for his faithful saints! Each month we are inching closer to our support goal. Contact us if you want us to come to your church.
Colombia’s New President
On June 17, Colombia had their final presidential runoff election, wherein Iván Duque won the majority vote. He looks to carry on the efforts of the last two presidents to eliminate the corruption, violence and drug trafficking that plagued the country for decades. Many are happy, others are not. We know, however, that real peace only comes through knowing Christ. Pray for this new leader, and for the people of Colombia, to know the true peace-giver.
Planting Seeds In New Fields
Our preachers and leaders in the two churches of Bucaramanga have been doing a tremendous job with the preaching, outreach, discipleship, as well as every other ministry. Thanks to technology, we talk very regularly and I am excited about getting back in the trenches with them. We are looking forward to planting a couple more churches when we return, and these leaders are already holding bible studies in some of the target areas. It is exciting to see!
We had somebody break into our main church just a couple of weeks ago. They stole at least $1,500 worth of cash, and maybe other things. This was the church’s rent money, missions support and some of the building fund offerings. It looks like we will simply have to absorb the loss, as the police couldn’t find any significant evidence to continue an investigation. We thank God nobody was hurt and the damages were not worse, and we trust him to provide. He is always faithful.
Aris, our 3-year-old, was just asked if she’s ever been on a family trip. She said NO! This is a kid who has had passports from two countries since she was a baby and has already visited more countries and US states than most people do in their lifetime. For her, life on the road is normal, as is traveling on planes and staying in hotel rooms. #MKlife
- Wisdom as we raise our children, lead ministries, and plan for the future.
- Continued safety as we travel on the road (several close calls lately).
- Remaining support to be raised (we are at around 85% of our recommended level of monthly support).
- Special financial needs for recuperating what was stolen in Colombia as well as other projects.
- Opportunities and boldness to witness as we travel here in America.
Once again, thank you for your faithful prayers and support. We love you all and pray that God continues to bless you as you strive to glorify him.
May Christ Be Magnified,
The Vance Family
Aaron • Aubrie • Amira • Anabel • Aris • Alethea
Here are a few recent pictures from our lives and ministry.
Alternatively, here is a JPG image of the letter that you can view and print:
Dear praying friends & family,
We are in the full swing of our furlough and God has proven himself more than faithful. Thank you for keeping up with us and the ministry in Colombia.
On The Road Again…
So far, we have updated several of our supporting churches, and shared the work in new churches in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. We’ve already seen five new monthly supporters join our team, and a few more that will be voting on us soon. Praise the Lord! We are still praying for 10-15 more partners to reach our needed support. If you’d like to schedule us to come to your church, or if you know of a church that may be looking to take on new missionaries, please get in touch by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 678-696-0082. We have a few openings left for the remainder of the year.
Meanwhile in Colombia…
Our leaders back in Colombia are doing a phenomenal job with all the preaching, teaching, event planning, and ministering in both of our churches. I continue to receive wonderful reports of the growing ministry, new families, as well as how edifying all of the sermons have been. We praise God for his faithfulness in this area as well. God allowed me to travel back to Colombia for a quick trip over Easter week. What a blessing it was to meet some of the new converts, minister to both of the churches, as well as meet with and encourage the leaders!
We take for granted how many things in the USA are foreign to our children. Our two oldest children were 3 and 1 when we moved to Colombia, and the youngest two were born there, so it’s been fun to expose them to the following “new” things: Taco Bell, vacuum cleaners, Wal-Mart, baseball, bagels, white eggs sold in the refrigerated section, root beer, free refills, all-you-can-eat buffets, snow, booster seats, and the abundance of other kids that look just like them.
The Time In Between…
As a family, we are enjoying furlough. Sure, we miss some of the stability and sense of purpose of being in Colombia, however, being here is more needful for now. Each side presents its own unique challenges and blessings. Here, we are learning how to juggle the girls’ education, the countless hours on the road, the changing environment, etc., but we’re also learning how to make it all very positive and beneficial. We are grateful for opportunities to share the Gospel around the country, realizing that people need Christ everywhere. We are reminded about the need to lean on God and not our own understanding. It has been a rewarding time to meet new friends, grow personally, rest a little as a family, plan for the future, and consider how we can improve each area of life and ministry.
Thank you all for your prayers and faithful support! Thanks as well to those who have given special offerings. God has used you to not only encourage us, but to reach many people in Colombia and beyond. Please let us know how we can pray for you.
May Christ Be Magnified,
The Vance Family
Aaron • Aubrie • Amira • Anabel • Aris • Alethea
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” — Philippians 1:20-21
Here are some recent photos:
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