Category Archives: Children

Class, Camp, Celebration, & Challenge – A Machine Gun Update


Hey friends! There has been much going on lately in the Vance family household. God has been good (what’s new there?!) and we’ve been enjoying each minute. This post is simply to get you all up to speed on some amazing recent events… (I alliterated it for my preacher friends, so bear with me).

Class

OGTCThe past week was both exciting and exhausting as I was privileged to teach a 14 hour modular class at the Our Generation Training Center on Evangelism & Leader Training in Catholic Cultures. God really blessed as we went through the Master Plan of World Evangelism and some of The Gospel According to Rome. I’d definitely recommend both of these books if you are serious about both learning how Jesus trained leaders to reach the world, and how to deliver the Gospel to those that are close yet still depend on works.

Camp

camp3-1024x447My family and I will leave Monday morning to spend a week with teens and college students from around the country at the OG Student Leadership Camp. I was at the very first camp that was held 9 years ago just before I spent 6 months in Peru preparing for the mission field. The camp helped me tremendously as I was able to get around missionaries that were getting the job done in reaching people and training men. It was encouraging to see how God was using other young men, and now I’m able to return on the other side of that equation. Please pray that God works in the lives of the many teens and singles that will be there. God has a plan for each of them. Pray that some are saved, some are called, and all would be surrendered to God’s will for their life!

Celebration

anabelThis Sunday our little Anabel turns 1-year-old! It’s crazy how time flys by. It seems like just last week that we brought her home from the delivery room. It seems like just yesterday she was starting treatment for her tumor (which is doing fantastic, by the way), and it seems like a few minutes ago she was an infant. Now she’s trying to talk, walk (she’s getting close!) and she’s growing up into a little lady. Wow… We joy in the fact that God has entrusted our children to us, and we take very seriously our responsibility to shepherd their hearts and guide them through their childhood years toward knowledge of, and commitment to, Christ.

Challenge

setup fundIn our last prayer letter I mentioned that as of right now, it looks like we’ll be moving to Colombia in November. Well, that is becoming more of a reality each day! Our support continues to steadily rise (at 79% now!), and our setup fund needs are being met, little by little. We just received the girl’s passports this week and will be getting our religious visa for Colombia very soon. Here’s the challenge: Would you pray that everything goes smoothly in these last few months? There’s much to do, still some money to raise and lots of traveling to do on deputation between now and then. Secondly, would you pray that God would send more people to Colombia? The need is great. The laborers are few! If we were to plant a church for every 50,000 people, we would need at least 940 churches throughout the country! Maybe God would have you to come and help us.

 

We love y’all and would love to hear how things are going in your lives. What can we pray for you about? Keep your eyes on Jesus… He’s coming soon, we must be busy in the work he has left us to do. God bless!

Monster Theology


“Daaaadddaaaaa!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Come here Daddy! I need you!”

It was 4 AM this morning. My precious 2 1/2-year-old daughter Amira was crying in desperation. So, what’s a good dad to do? Down to her room I went.

At first sight of me she seemed relieved, and immediately she exclaimed, “I need some milk.” We talked some, quenched her thirst, and the conversation quickly went from her dry throat to more pressing issues.

“I need to sleep with you in Mommy’s bed” (funny how that works, isn’t it?). “No dear,” I replied, “you can stay in your bed. Just a couple more hours until the sun comes up. Your bed is nice and comfortable!”

“But there are monsters on my wall.”

She said it in such a matter-of-fact manner that I had to try to keep from chuckling.

Turns out, the monsters were not just on her wall, but also in the closet, under the bed, and on the ceiling, she told me. Honestly, I don’t know where she got that idea, but she was fully convinced of the infestation.

I showed her how safe her room was, that monsters weren’t real, then I assured her that God is in our house and he keeps the monsters and other scary things away. She got tucked in and slept for a few more hours, and woke up nice and cheerful as if nothing had ever happened.  Thank goodness.

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How many times do we act the same way? All around us there are “monsters” out to gobble us up. Maybe not the big, hairy, green ones, but our fear manifests itself in other ways.

  • I can’t try anything new because I might fail
  • I can’t witness because people might reject me
  • I can’t give to the church or missions because I might not have enough for other bills
  • I can’t speak to anybody about God because I might make them angry, and I might even be persecuted

It shows up in missions all around the world. May I be bold to say, Fear-based Christianity and fear-based missions is sin.

Why is it that the most frequent command in Scripture is to fear not? I believe that there are 2 prominent reasons:

1. Fear causes us to magnify a lie instead of Jesus

What is fear? It is worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet! Satan whispers a doubt, a lie, an unfounded anxiety, and we swallow it. That’s why we find the following in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Anything that makes itself greater than my God is an idol and must be torn down. Tear down your fear. Bring your thoughts into captivity. Trust Christ.

2. Fear causes us to miss God’s will

When fear controls your life, the Devil gets the victory because you’ve already given up. “There’s no use in trying.” many might say. When we think of reaching the world with the Gospel, what is the greatest hinderance? We have missed it because we’re dominated by fear. Paul told one of the young men he mentored in 2 Timothy 1:6-9:

“6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

He had to remind Timothy of something that was forgotten. Fear doesn’t have to own you. God has something greater for you. The power to defeat that fear is already in you.  If you don’t squash that fear, you will miss God’s plan for your life!

Christian, What’s your fear? What’s the “Monster on the wall?” What’s lifting itself up above Jesus in your life? What’s holding you back from doing God’s will? It’s time to lay it aside and trust Christ. It’s time to live boldly for the ONE who gave all for us.

 

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Welcome To The Family, Anabel!


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Well it has been a crazy day!

Last night (Friday 5-25-12) Aubrie started having contractions that were slightly harder than she’d been having for the past month. For those that have been following our story, you know we’ve been expecting our second daughter and were already overdue by a couple days. In fact, a month ago we spent the night in the hospital in which they tried to stop pre-term labor. They did a pretty good job! We spent another night in the hospital 3 weeks ago and they were sure we’d be leaving with our child in our arms then. Nope. It wasn’t time…

And, for 3 weeks she had regular contractions and was walking around at about 5 cm dilated.

Well, last night turned into early morning, and the contractions were getting so painful that we decided to go to the hospital as soon as we could.

We got there just after 2 AM and by 2:54 AM we heard the first cries of baby Anabel May Vance! Aubrie went so fast into hard labor that the doctor on call couldn’t get there in time for the delivery! In fact, though Aubrie was in extreme pain, they didn’t have time to get her meds or an epidural to relieve the pain. she went from 6 cm dilated to 10 in a matter of 3 or 4 minutes and only pushed for 2 minutes before Anabel made her grand entry. This baby was ready to be seen!

She weighed in at 7 lb 8 oz, measured 20 1/4 inches long and has been extremely healthy so far.

We decided to name her Anabel, which means Beautiful Grace of God. Her middle name is May, which was my grandmother’s name and is a part of my wife’s grandmothers name.

Amira came in later this afternoon and was thrilled to see her baby sister. She was all smiles. I think they’re going to make a good pair!

We appreciate your prayers. God has been so good to us and has been with us through it all.

Enjoy some pictures from the day….

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Bed Rest? What’s That?!


It has been an interesting week, to say the least. Not exactly what we planned, but God knows 🙂

We got home late Monday night from a missions conference about 9 hours away (BTW, thanks to the good folks of Grace Baptist Church in Newport NC for an awesome week!). Tuesday was our only free day before leaving for another two conferences starting on Wednesday. Well, since we’re hardly in town these days, we scheduled an appointment with Aubrie’s doctor. With one month to go on our pregnancy, we found out that Aubrie was having contractions every 7-8 minutes, was 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced! Basically, she was way ahead of schedule and at risk to go into preterm labor. Soooo, off to the hospital we went. Aubrie’s doctor wanted to get her hooked up to an IV to get lots of fluids in her and continue to watch her contractions and the baby.

Long story short, we only stayed a few hours before they sent us home with very specific instructions for Aubrie to be on bed rest, mainly to keep this baby from coming too early. The goal is to get us until May 3rd when she’ll be a full 37 weeks. That’s still 3 weeks early, but it will be far enough along that the baby shouldn’t have any complications.

Wait… bed rest? What’s that??

Like I said, it’s been an interesting week! I cancelled our other two conferences and decided to stay home to take care of Aubrie and Amira. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve occasionally cooked meals, washed clothes, washed dishes, changed diapers, cleaned the house and kept up some with our 2-year-old before… but this has been a whole new ball game. Taking care of these things exclusively while Aubrie rests has been an eye opener to how awesome of a wife and mother she is! To think she does this stuff all the time, without complaining and still keeping up with me as we travel… well, it’s amazing! And some people say that housewives don’t have real jobs… ha.

I know you’ll read this Aubrie… Thank you. I love you and appreciate all you do. You’re the best.

Now, if we can keep this child cooking for just a little longer that would be great. Only a few more days left until we can reach 37 weeks. Aubrie is still having plenty of contractions, even with rest. But we know our next little princess will come when she’s ready, and God will give strength and grace to bring her into this world.

I’ll let you all know when our girl arrives. As the day approaches I’ll be posting pictures and micro updates on our Twitter and Facebook accounts if you’d like to stay even more up-to-date. Thanks for your prayers. We love y’all!

Here’s a video of Amira getting ready for her little sister’s arrival. She and her mommy have made a book to read to her. It is adorable.

Raising A Child On The Road (Video)


This is how Amira likes to travel!

A few years ago I had all the answers. If you asked, I could probably give some [pretty good] advice on being a great spouse, raising practically perfect children, preaching fantastic sermons, and whatever else you’d like to throw my way. I even had Bible verses for all that!

But the old saying I’ve heard said a thousand times now rings true in my life…

“The older I get, the less I know!”

Marriage, ministry, raising children and life in general takes hard work, tireless determination and God’s grace. It is easy to talk about and hard to do.

I remember countless times seeing THAT child at Walmart (you know who I’m talking about!) and thinking… “That will never happen with my kids.” You know, the boy who whines, screams and openly rebels against his parents. The girl who gets what she wants, when she wants, and how she wants it… or else. The kid that is nothing less than a brat.

Well, guess what… God has blessed me with a wife and a munchkin of my own! Suddenly, I realized things really aren’t as easy as I had supposed. Just this week we were at the store and in a moment which snuck up on me like a tiger on its prey, I was that parent with that kid.

And you know what? The more I am blessed to lead a family, the more I realize something… we desperately need God’s presence in each of our lives! You see, no matter how much discipline, structure, schedule and consistency we have in our parenting, it is human nature to rebel. We are born in iniquity and foolishness, and without God’s grace we will continue in that same rebellion until our last breath.

Aubrie and I hope to raise children that fear the Lord, respect his Word, and enjoy serving him. But above all else we want to see them individually submit themselves to God’s loving hand when they understand their need of his salvation. That is why we try our best to have family devotion time. This has been one of the hardest things to keep regular and consistent in while traveling on the road, but the need for us all to meditate on God’s Word and commune with him in prayer is paramount. They need the Word of God. I need the Word of God.

Raising a child while on the road has its challenges. We’re blessed that [as of right now] Amira loves to travel. Going “bye-bye” is one of her favorite things to do! Spending hours in the car going from one meeting to the next is still something fun for her. It’s hard to believe she’ll be two this month, and it’s hard to believe that in just over 2 months we’ll meet her baby sister (who is still unnamed, by the way). With the Lord’s help we hope to live by the principle found in Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

How do you and your family do devotion time together? What advice do you have and what challenges do you face? Leave your answer in the comments… I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s a recent video of us reading through a chapter in proverbs together as a family. Amira likes to repeat the phrases sometimes, it really is cute. We love you guys! Thanks for following us and for your prayers.

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