Category Archives: Children
God is still working, even in the middle of COVID19! – March 2020 Prayer Letter
Dear praying friends and family,
Many of you will agree that this year has already proven to be one of the most unique and challenging we have faced. But Christ is still faithful! Join us as we review God’s great work here in Colombia, and we look forward to the days ahead.
During the last two months, we experienced a surge of new converts and attenders in our churches. We rejoice in seeing several baptized, 21 adults in our most recent new members class, dozens now in discipleship, and 12 additional students in our Bible Institute. All three of our churches have grown, and we praise the Lord for how he is building his church.
In February, we held evangelistic events for area children. We were able to reach over 150 kids through the local ministries of each of our three churches! Additionally, we took a team of 5 people to the remote village of Bocas Del Rosario. To get there, we drove 4 hours to a river port city, then took a small motorboat up the river for 3 hours. Over that weekend, we held Bible-Club style classes for 100 children, as well as an evening service for 80 adults (nearly everyone in the entire village!). The team plans to return each month, and the locals are asking us to start a church soon. Pray for wisdom in this new opportunity. We praise the Lord for dozens of professions of faith during each event.
Television and Media Outreach
In March, we hosted a team from Christian Media International. They have been raising funds to help us improve our media outreach and to get on local and national television. We’re very excited about this new door that is opening up to get the Gospel message to millions of Colombians who have yet to hear. They finished up their quick visit and brought us a couple of cameras to get started just before the outbreak of the Coronavirus. We must now go to digital services. God’s timing is impeccable!
COVID-19 In Colombia
Yes, we’re feeling the effects of this worldwide pandemic. Since mid-March, our city and country have been on total lock-down. All schools and most businesses are closed. Nobody can leave their houses except to get groceries and medicine, and all public meetings are banned, including churches. Police and military check every person that is out to see if they have a permit or a valid reason to leave their home, heavily fining those who violate the lock-down. Everything changed quickly, and we have tried to adapt. Our main church has gone entirely online, for now, using Facebook and YouTube to hold our services, as well as doing daily Bible studies. We have stayed connected to most of our people, and have even reached new people during this time. Our second and third churches have suffered more, as they are in more vulnerable areas, and not everyone has a reliable Internet connection or a device to watch services. The people, like many around the world, are hurting financially. Most aren’t able to work and were already living day-to-day. We have tried to deliver essential food supplies to those who need it most. It has been a great chance to minister even more and fulfill 1 John 3:16-18. Pray for us as we try to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Any additional support during this time will allow us to provide for more families.
Our Living Hope
There are many uncertainties and changes in our world today. Historically, that is when Christianity flourishes the most! When the pressure is applied, what’s on the inside comes out. As Christians, we have a living hope. We ought not to find our joy and identity in present circumstances, in health, in investment accounts, in job stability, or even in ministry itself. Our hope is in Christ, and HE never changes. We trust him to provide for us. We also pray for you as you go through much of the same there in the United States. We love you, and thank you for your faithfulness. Let us know how we can pray for you!
For Such A Time As This,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance
Enjoy some recent pictures from the ministry…
October 2016 Prayer Letter
Dear Pastors, Family & Praying Friends,
The last month has been packed full of God’s blessing on the ministry in Colombia. Read on to rejoice with us, as well as to be able to pray about several needs.
((Click here to download a printable PDF of this prayer letter))
Making It Official
In September, we took a big step as a body of believers in officially organizing and constituting our church. Over 60 saved & baptized adults signed a covenant of membership and legal documents as founding members. What an exciting day! Pray for us in the days ahead as we submit paperwork and travel to Bogotá to finalize the legal process. Having these documents allows us to open more facets of ministry, & assist missionaries who will need religious visas.
Passing The Torch
We were pleased to have my pastor, Charles Blackstock, with us for a week to celebrate the organizing of the church as well as preach several special services. He was a tremendous blessing to our people, to the men who are training for ministry, and especially my family. I wouldn’t be here today were it not for the years I spent under his mentorship!
Looking Around In Love
We love these people. We love the way God is working amongst them. Many of the men and women who have gone through the discipleship program are now reaching & teaching others, both within the church body and in the community. Continue to pray for this work, as well as a new meeting place as we are out of room! To move into a larger facility is going to cost quite a bit, but we have a BIG God! Pray if God would have you to support this ministry monthly as lives are being changed. It would be an investment into eternity.
Looking Back In Joy
Just over 10 years ago, in October of 2006, God allowed me, as a young, overconfident, single gringo to begin a Spanish ministry in Dawsonville, GA as an outreach of my church. I learned so much during those years. God was patient with me. My pastor was patient with me. Those first few families were patient with me. But through it all, a church was born and it is thriving today. The man who pastors now, Alfonso González, was my assistant for the last few years before we turned over the work to begin deputation, and is doing an excellent job! Many times I feel like a parent of grown children who are beginning their own families. That’s what ministry is all about. We trust to see the same thing many times over here in Colombia!
Looking Ahead In Hope
Our mission work in the north of our city is going fantastic. About 150 people meet with us on Saturdays in a park under trees & tarps with a “Sunday-School” type structure. We plan to find a building soon & establish a “full-service” church here as soon as God gives us the green light and one of our men is ready. Pray for this, as well as the finances to help them get started!
Also, each year we have a special event for Christmas. We give a gift to each child, teen, and adult who come to the program on Saturdays, a meal for everyone and a special presentation and Gospel message for the whole community. If you would like to sponsor one (or many!) of the 150 people, we’d love to give you the opportunity to do so! Just send a check to MWBM, PO Box 519, Braselton, GA 30517 and mark it “A Vance – Special Project”, or you can give online!
We Believe In Prayer
We couldn’t be here without your prayers! As you pray, please remember us in the following:
- The growth of our church — As well as finances to find a larger facility (we are packed out each week)!
- The training of the 16 men in the Bible Institute — Alfredo, David, Didian, Díver, Ernesto, Félix, Javier, Jhon Didier, Jhon Fredi, Juan Danilo, Julián, Kenneth, Leonardo, Libardo, Óscar, Óscar Mauricio…
- The advancement of our mission in the Café Madrid neighborhood — Especially the Christmas program in December and future plans to officially establish a church.
- Our family — Specifically our health and finances, and an upcoming trip I have in November to preach a pastors conference in Cuzco, Peru.
We love you & thank our God for each remembrance of you. Keep on keeping on for Jesus! He is worthy!!
Love In Christ,
The Vance Family
PS – Here are a few photos from recent days in the ministry here. Enjoy!
Report on the “Bless a Colombian Child” Christmas Project
What an amazing time we had on December 20th with the children and families of Café Madrid, a poor community on the outskirts of our city of Bucaramanga Colombia. Our church, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro jumped in and participated in an amazing way. Dozens of people here collectively spent hundreds of hours preparing food, gifts, logistics and more to make the day a success.
And what a success it was!
We had 157 children sign up who had already been attending our Bible club program on Saturdays. These came, and brought people with them! We were expecting around 200, and God blessed us with over 250 people! Gifts were given, songs were sung, snacks were snacked upon and the Message of Christmas was preached. We thank the Lord for several who made professions of faith, receiving the BEST gift of Christmas, the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.
Please enjoy this video we put together of the special day:
Thank you to those who gave online to this need. It was a help to us as we were able to bless many children who may not have had a Christmas otherwise. We are constantly seeing lives changed in this neighborhood. Pray that God continues to work, and pray for us as we wait upon His timing to officially begin a church here!
If you would like to give toward future projects like this one, you can send a check to our mission agency, Macedonia World Baptist Missions, Inc. (PO BO 519 Braselton, GA 30517), or online, here.
May God bless. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Awesome start to a new outreach ministry!
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!
To Our Child We Never Met
“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