Category Archives: Ministry
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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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,
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,
We’ve wrapped up 2016, and what a year it has been! God has continued to pour out his blessings on our family and the ministry he has given us in Colombia. Sometimes I look around and wonder why God would be so good to us, then I remember that it’s because he’s just a good God! Looking back on the achievements and milestones of this year, we rejoice primarily that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that we are known and loved by an awesome God. That is the greatest blessing of all!
Year In Review…
During 2016 we saw many who placed their faith in Christ for salvation, 36 believers were baptized, 52 completed our discipleship program, and 15 men are training for ministry in our institute. Our attendance average for the year was around 120 in our main work in addition to another 150 in our mission work which meets in a local park. Through your prayers and financial support, lives are being eternally impacted for the glory of God! We couldn’t be here without you holding the ropes for us. Thank you for your faithfulness!!
Also during 2016, I went to Chile in July to preach a youth congress and to Peru in November to preach a pastors’ congress in Cuzco and teach in a Bible College in Arequipa. These opportunities were tremendous blessings, both to be able to share God’s Word, encourage God’s people, and to see ministries that are farther along. It challenges us to continue to dream big for the Lord. William Carrey said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!” The need is great throughout the world, and the fields are white unto harvest, especially in Latin America, but we need more laborers!
The Year Ahead…
During 2017, we are taking many large steps as a family and ministry, not the least of which is to add more classes (and people!) to the Bible Institute in February. Training faithful men is at the heart of our ministry, especially with our furlough approaching at the end of the year. I’m so excited to see the fire and passion these men have for Christ and his Gospel. Pray with me that we can get them ready for the life of ministry God has planned for each of them.
Also, we have taken a step of faith to move forward with getting our second church off the ground. Please pray in the days ahead as we will be looking for a building to rent, purchasing chairs, literature and basic sound equipment for this brand new work. The people of our main church, as well as the core group we have already built in the new neighborhood, are all excited about giving birth to this daughter church. Pray also for the establishment of its leaders. One of the men who is training in our institute will be pastoring this new flock, and several of our key families will be sent out to serve, evangelize, disciple and prepare future leaders. If you would like to donate toward this project, you can send a check to Macedonia World Baptist Missions and mark it “Aaron Vance – Special Project” or give online at www.BeMagnified.Org. We thank Community Baptist in NC for the generous donation they have already made. We still need about $2,500 to set up a place to meet for this brand new church. Pray!
From The Mouth Of Babes…
During our family devotions recently, Anabel, our 4-year-old, prayed that our dog would get saved (he’s been bad lately). 🙂 It gets better… The devotion had to do with the fact that with God, nothing is impossible! Oh, to have the faith of a child!
Once again, thank you for your prayers, your friendship, and your support. As Paul expressed to the church at Philippi,
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:3-6)
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel & Aris Vance
Your Missionaries To Colombia
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.
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!