Category Archives: Church Planting

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.

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.

Church Growth

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.

Evangelistic Events

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…

Surprise Church Plant! — December 2019 Prayer Letter


Dear Praying Friends & Family,

Grace and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? We have found both favor with God (grace) and have been reconciled to God (peace) through Jesus. It makes Christmas time even that more special to know what Christ has done for us. We wish you a Merry Christmas from Colombia! Read on to rejoice with us in the great work God is doing here.

Surprise Church Plant

We have made mention in previous letters about the possibility of several church plants that are already in the works around our area. One of these was in the Girardot (hee-dar-DOHT) neighborhood, where a couple in our church runs a children’s foundation. In November, we went ahead and started a few months ahead of schedule. God has blessed already! One of our preachers, Libardo, along with his wife Laura and daughter Valeria, is leading this new church. The foundation has graciously loaned us their facilities free of charge, but we are going to need to find a new place soon, as it is full each week! Please pray for us in the days ahead as we help this new church get off the ground. If you’d like to donate toward setup costs, send a check to Macedonia (or give online) and mark the gift “A Vance – Church plant.”

Special Visits

In November, our pastor, Charles Blackstock, and his wife, Debbie, came for a quick visit. What a refreshing time it was! We put him to work, preaching in all of our churches, and encouraging our leaders. Their stay was also a blessing to us as a family. They gave us wise counsel and comforted our hearts in the loss of our son a couple of months ago.

In December, we enjoyed the company of Aubrie’s mom and aunt, Juanita and Chris. We had a great time with them, though their visit did not go quite as planned. Our vehicle had trouble, and most of the family was sick while they were here, but it all worked out, and we even got to celebrate Christmas with them. We thank God that our families are so supportive of us being missionaries.

Family Funnies

I recently went on a daddy-daughter date with Anabel, our 7-year-old. At the end of the evening, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, “Dad, you’re the second-best dad I’ve ever had! Of course, #1 has to be God, but you’re pretty great too.”

Blessings & Opportunities

There are so many opportunities that have been opening up to get the Gospel out like never before. People are being reached. Leaders are being trained. New churches are being opened. God continues to pour out his blessing on it all. We don’t understand why he has been so gracious to us, but we are grateful. As long as he goes with us, we aren’t stopping anytime soon. We have another door that seems to be opening up to be on television all around Colombia. Also, we’re looking at a much larger building for our main church. More on these in our next update letter!

Thank You For Your Faithfulness

This year has been extremely challenging, but also full of blessing. We saw God do things beyond our dreams, and we felt stretched beyond our strength. We honestly couldn’t do what we do without your faithful prayers and financial support. God has used you to help us see many people reached with the Gospel. You may never meet these people face to face on this earth. But imagine that day in Glory when we’re all gathered around the throne of God. The redeemed from every nation, giving praise to the one who gave us grace and made peace. What a day that will be.

Prayer Requests and Needs

  • For our three churches and their leaders (in San Alonso, Café Madrid & Girardot)
  • For the Lebrija church plant, and funds to help them get started
  • For the Real De Minas church plant (more on this soon!)
  • For the many other pastors and leaders whom we are training
  • For our monthly financial support to increase as the ministry grows

Thank you for your love and support. Let us know how we can be praying for you!

For the Cause of Christ,

Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance

Our children’s ministry put together a wonderful Christmas program!
Brother Libardo leading our new church in the Girardot Neighborhood
I enjoyed interpreting for my pastor in 3 of our churches during his visit.
We are thankful that “Mamaw” & “Aunt Cat” came to visit us for Christmas!
I was invited to teach the Bible to some kids & teens at a local camp.
Download a printable version of our prayer letter here

Great Joy and Sorrow — September 2019 Prayer Letter


Dear Praying Friends & Family,

It has been said that when God blesses, opposition is right around the corner. We rejoice in God’s favor on the ministry here, and we rest in his grace during trials.

Church Growth

Our main church continues to flourish. In the last two months we have had big attendances for special days, but also a constant flow of guests for almost every service, as well as professions of faith and baptisms. We recently started preaching through the book of Acts. Much of what we have seen in the ministry here reminds me of those special days in the early church. People from every background are finding freedom in Christ and community in his body, the church. There is a spirit of unity, passion, boldness, and generosity as Spirit-filled believers work together to fulfill the Great Commission.

Letting Them Go

As many of you know, two years ago we started a second church in the Café Madrid neighborhood. We have worked alongside this church and its leaders since its inception. The pastor we trained, Díver Ortiz, has been doing an excellent job, and the church has grown. In September, we commissioned Pastor Díver’s family, as well as five other families from our church, to work in this daughter church full time. This change is bittersweet for us. They will be able to focus entirely on the other church; however, we will have much less contact with these families whom we love. It is all part of growing up. We sometimes joke that we feel like spiritual grandparents, even though we’re only in our 30’s. On a positive note, we now have more room to continue to grow in our first church, and newer leaders have the chance to step up and fill in the gaps left behind.

New Lebrija Church Update

In our last letter, I mentioned one of our next church plants, located in the town of Lebrija. God has moved over the previous two months, and we think we have found an ideal building to rent to help them get off the ground. It is easily accessible to around 50,000 people, large enough to get started, and at a fantastic price. Hopefully, sometime in October or November, we can sign the rental contract and begin to get everything ready for this exciting new stage of ministry. The leader of this work, Juan Cruz, is very encouraged, as are we, at how God is working things out. If you’d like to help with start-up expenses (chairs, essential sound equipment, literature, pulpit, etc.), you can send a gift through Macedonia and mark it “A. Vance — church plant.”

Dreaming Big

Our primary goal as missionaries isn’t just to build one megachurch that a lot of people attend. Instead, it is to make disciples that make disciples; it is to train leaders who train leaders; it is to plant churches that plant churches. With this in mind, we are dreaming big. There is already a pipeline of believers in various stages of training that we plan to send out someday soon, as God allows. We are also close to opening the next two churches, but this is a small effort in light of the task at hand. We need at least 50 more churches for our city, hundreds more for our country, and thousands more for Latin America. Then we look at the world and realize even those numbers are small in comparison to the great need. We believe we can reach the world in our generation, but we must get serious! Will you dream big with us?

Our Son, Amaziah

Many of you know we were expecting another child. A couple of weeks ago, Aubrie suddenly lost a lot of blood and went into early labor. Our son, Amaziah, was stillborn on September 19th and is now in the presence of Jesus. We held his lifeless body in our hands as we cried out to God for strength and grace. We don’t yet understand why this happened, but we trust our sovereign God, who works all things out for his glory and our good. Continue to pray Aubrie’s healing, as well as our family in the days ahead.

Prayer Requests and Needs

  • For our two established churches and their leaders
  • For the Lebrija church plant, and funds to help them get started
  • For the Real de Minas church plant (more on this in the next letter!)
  • For the many Bible studies going on each week as future church plants
  • For the pastors and the leaders whom we are training
  • For our family in the loss of our son and the raising of our four daughters

Thank you for your love and support. Let us know how we can be praying for you!

May Christ Be Magnified,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance

In August, all but 4 of our preachers joined me at a conference in Bogotá
Café Madrid Biblical Baptist Church in front of their new building!
We found a great facility to rent for the Lebrija church plant!
There is still so much work to do!
Our girls got cold the other day. It was 79º in our apartment. 🙂

Moving forward in ministry and family — July 2019 Prayer Letter


Dear praying friends and family,

The ministry in Colombia continues to grow. God truly has us here for such a time as this. When I wonder, “Who are we for such a task?” I remember that it’s not about us. It’s about HIM! Your faithful prayers and support make it possible to see Christ magnified.

Leaders Training Leaders

Our core group of leaders has been both faithfully reaching others and reproducing themselves in others. This is what we set out to do from the beginning, and it is the plan we see laid out in the Great Commission and in 2 Timothy 2:2 — “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” These are exciting days!

Moving Ahead — Lebrija

We have several Bible studies going on weekly in different areas of our city. The men we have been training are leading these groups, and we hope to launch them as churches soon. I plan to highlight one of these in each of our following letters. The first one is our work in Lebrija (pronounced: leh-BREE-ha). This little town is the pineapple capital of South America (yes, it smells delicious!), and is close to the airport on the western outskirts of our city. Its population is around 50,000 people. Juan Cruz and his wife Jennifer lead the work, and it is hosted by a local family who has been traveling an hour each way to be a part of our main church in the city. Currently, there are between 10-15 people who attend every week on Wednesday nights. Both Juan and Jennifer are engineers who graduated from a large university close to our church. They have been with us since the beginning, and I married them last year. It has been great to witness God’s work in their lives, from salvation, discipleship, ministry training, and responding to God’s call. Pray for this work and the days ahead!

Building Update — Café Madrid

Our church in the Café Madrid neighborhood is advancing on the building project, though we have had some delays and added expenses in getting everything ready. The flooring had to be replaced entirely, and we found water leaks in the walls and ceiling. We hope to have the first floor finished in July, and continue to work on the second and third floors as the money comes in. The estimate we were given for the remaining projects is around $4,000. If you would like to help, you can send money to Macedonia (online or by mail) and mark the checks “A. Vance, Building Fund.”

Special Visitor for 5th Anniversary

Our first church here celebrated its 5th anniversary in July. I am amazed at how Christ has built his church! We have been at capacity for several years now, but somehow the church keeps growing. It was such a blessing to host Bro. Bruce Berry, our field director from Macedonia. He has been faithfully serving in ministry for over 40 years! He preached in 4 of our church services, taught our institute students for hours, encouraged our preachers in a special meeting, and even joined us for one of the future church plants in their Bible study. Yes, we put him to work! It was a very edifying time for all.

Welcome to 2 New Family Members!

We had the great honor to travel back to the States in June for a few weeks to support my brother Zach and his bride Taisa on their wedding day. We spent time with family, and I enjoyed preaching in our home church (both in the English and Spanish speaking congregations), as well a few other supporting churches. There were some complications with travel plans and our transportation, but God worked it out, and we’re glad to be back at home in Colombia. Also yes, we’re also expecting another baby, due in March 2020! We praise the Lord for this blessing.

Thank You…

Your prayers and support mean so much to us! Many people are hearing the Gospel, believing the Gospel, and growing in the Gospel because of your faithfulness. We would love for any of you to visit us and see the ministry here for yourself. It truly is a blessing what God is doing.

May Christ Be Magnified,

Aaron & Aubrie Vance & Family

It’s getting harder to fit our church into a group photo!
What an opportunity to invest in these faithful men of God.
Pray for Juan and his wife Jennifer as they lead one of our next church plants.
Testing out the new building for our Café Madrid church. It’s coming along!
Our leaders enjoyed hearing from Bruce Berry and his many decades of experience. He was a missionary to Brazil and is now our field director from Macedonia World Baptist Missions.
At my brother Zach’s wedding in June.
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