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,
This month’s update is all about new life. In the US, many of you are currently in the middle of Spring, however, here in Colombia the weather stays about the same all year long… (HOT!) We’re talking about a different kind of new life! Read on to find out how God is being glorified through the ministry here in Bucaramanga, Colombia.
A New Daughter Church Is Born!
In March we were able to start a brand new church out of our main work, which is just under 3 years old itself! We had been sowing seeds of the Gospel in this community, called Café Madrid, for some time now, and Christ is doing amazing things. We have several leaders who have been trained, as well as up-and-coming pastors who have been studying ministry with me and who are leading in almost every aspect of this new church. They are preaching, teaching, leading singing, discipling new believers and organizing events and services. It’s amazing to see the Lord working through these men and women, as well as the great response in the community. We’ve had between 50-70 for each service, and are in need of a more permanent facility. Currently we meet in a community center. Please pray for this work in the days ahead!
New Believers Born Into The Family!
As result of the work in the daughter church, as well as our main church, people are coming to an understanding and faith in the Gospel. It is a beautiful thing to see this new spiritual birth all around us. Some have come from religious backgrounds, but without having ever understood who Jesus is or why he died on the cross, and others come from humanism and atheism and are coming to a realization that there is a God who is HOLY, JUST, but also merciful and mighty to save! It never gets old! Pray for these first-generation believers.
New Leaders Born & Growing!
Our Bible institute has had tremendous growth this year. Training leaders is really the heart of our ministry. We know that without “teaching them to observe all things,” we are not fulfilling the Great Commission! This is what Jesus, Paul and the other Apostles did throughout their lives. Because of this focus, the Gospel message has made its way around the world, through the ages, to us here today. Last year we had 12-15 men training for ministry, but now there are around 25 who are committed to serving the Lord, peaching the Gospel, and have given their lives to the ministry. We are going through organized theological and ministerial themes and studies, as well as life-on-life and hands-on practical teaching. The long-term success of our ministry really depends on these men and women. Continue to pray for them!
New Little Vance Coming Soon!
Speaking of new life, Aubrie and I are pleased to announce that God is entrusting us with our 4th baby, due in November! Our three girls are excited and already convinced it’s going to be another girl. If that’s the case, there will already be plenty of hand-me-downs! Either way, we are so blessed, and we trust God to help us raise all of our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We appreciate your prayers for our family, especially Aubrie, in the months ahead as we prepare for this new arrival.
Once again, thank you for your continued support of our family and ministry. There are amazing things happening here, but we know that it’s only by, through, and because of God’s grace. One last prayer request is for our first furlough, coming up during 2018. We are currently making plans for this trip back to the States, to give a report to our supporting churches and raise more support for the growing ministry here in Colombia. If you would like more info, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 678-696-0082. I will give some more details in our next letter.
Our sincerest love and warmest greetings,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel & Aris Vance
Here are some recent pictures from our ministry and family:
Just a quick note to let you know that tomorrow, Sunday, March 5th, is the big day! We’ll be officially inaugurating another church here in Bucaramanga, Colombia at 4 PM in the afternoon.
It has been exciting to see how everything has been coming together. The enemy is fighting, yes, but the Light of the Gospel always overpowers the darkness!
This is the same neighborhood we’ve been working in during the last two years, primarily with the children. Because of this, the reception has been fantastic, even beyond what we expected. We’ve handed out thousands of invites and spent many hours in prayers and preparations, but we know that all is vain unless it is God doing the work.
If you get a moment this evening or Sunday before 4 PM Eastern Time, please join me in prayer for several things:
- For the 25+ leaders coming from our first church plant, including one of the men who has been training with me during the last couple years and will be preaching the main message. Others will help with music, children’s programs, logistics, etc.
- For the people in this new neighborhood, that they would continue to be receptive to the Gospel, that many would believe, that the new believers would take steps toward growth in their new Christian life and that we could train leaders of leaders who will take the torch and run the race set before them.
- For wisdom in finding a more permanent meeting place (we will be meeting in a community center as we continue to search for a building to rent/buy).
- For finances as we help the church get off the ground (if God would have you give toward this need, you can give by check or online here).
- For me and my family as we lead the charge. We have all been battling minor health issues during the last week and we pray this won’t get in the way of serving.
I’ll send another update on Monday, Lord willing. We don’t really know what to expect, but we trust that in all things, Christ is magnified! It is, after all, his church, his work, done through his strength, in his grace, and for his glory!
Colossians 1:27-29 says:
“27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”
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!