Dear Praying Friends & Family,
We have experienced an incredible two months since our last update! Between emergency surgery, church growth, travel, a medical clinic, and hundreds of salvations — God has been so good.
“You Shouldn’t Be Alive!”
As I mentioned previously, since last year, I had been dealing with occasional abdominal attacks. The doctors here did not know the cause. I decided to go another route and pay out-of-pocket to be seen by the best gastroenterologists in our city and get the care I needed. They quickly did more tests and found I had an umbilical hernia that was getting strangulated. Between October and June, I had ten severe attacks. According to the doctors, I should not have lived through them. But God must not be done with me yet! The surgery in June was simple, and I have recovered well since then.
“I Can Finally See!”
At the end of June, we hosted a team from Medical Missions Outreach to do a vision clinic for our city and surrounding area. Over four days, we served 938 people, nearly all of whom received glasses (and sometimes two pairs)! Each person also spent time one on one with personal evangelism workers from our churches, and over a third of them made professions of faith! Praise the Lord! Many waited for hours, and even days, to be seen. Unfortunately, we had to turn away thousands of people who we could not accommodate. The desperate need was humbling. After receiving glasses, one happy elderly person cried with joy and told us they were glad to finally see with their eyes, but also with their heart. They had just trusted Christ for salvation. Now, the real work begins. Pray as we follow up with each of these souls and get them connected into discipleship and community in one of our five churches.
“Is There A Church In My Area?”
Since arriving in Colombia in 2013, we constantly hear this question. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough churches to adequately help our city’s population and even less so the surrounding towns and villages. Even after the medical clinic, in which we had people travel hours to come to us, we received multiple requests to start churches in these other areas. The need is great. There is so much more to do. Though we are actively training many Colombian and Venezuelan men and women for ministry, we pray that God raises more missionaries to come and help. Will you help me pray for more laborers in this ripe harvest field of Colombia?
“I’m Ready To Let God Transform Me!”
One of the recent converts in our church has had a very messy past. Jaime was heavily involved with drugs, gangs, violence, addictions, crime — you name it. After hearing and believing the Gospel, he told me he’s ready for a change. As we sat over lunch last week, he expressed, “I don’t know what the future looks like for me, but I’m sure not going back to the past; I’m ready to let God transform me.” He’s still a bit rough around the edges, but I love seeing how the Gospel changes lives. It works.
Aubrie and I are so grateful for each of you. Your prayers are precious to us. Your monthly and one-time financial support is used by God to provide for each of our needs and to reach more people on the mission field. Your notes, cards, emails, and texts encourage us more than you will ever know. Thank you. We hold you close in our hearts and our prayers. May God bless you.
To Magnify Christ,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance, and Family
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;”1 Thessalonians 1:2
Following is a video update we posted during the Vision Clinic.
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
The Gospel continues to advance in Colombia! God is working. We have seen new doors open during the last two months, even amidst unrest and uncertainty.
Advancing Despite COVID
I know you’re tired of hearing about COVID-19. We are too. Unfortunately, the cases have gone up lately here in Colombia. This has incited more curfews and restrictions. The midweek curfews start at 8:00 PM, and occasionally they will also decree a complete lockdown on the weekends. And yet, our churches continue to grow. We continue to see salvations, baptisms, and discipleship courses start. I am convinced that when pressure is applied to the church and the Gospel, it always grows. We might have to adapt, but we advance. We see this in the book of Acts. We have seen this during the pandemic. Pray for our churches during this time. Pray for those who have contracted the virus, as well as those who mourn the death of loved ones.
We held a combined men’s retreat in March, with around 40 men from our different churches. The theme was “This Means War!” We saw some saved, and many were encouraged to take the next step in their walk with God. Many of these men have started to get involved in our training for ministry. Pray for these men and their families, as many are currently experiencing a spiritual attack.
Advancing Through Media
In March, we hosted a team from Christian Media International. They have graciously helped us obtain video equipment and training to broadcast the Gospel on local and national television (Canal TRO). It appears we will have a weekly half-hour slot for only $600 per month! This ministry outlet has been a part of our plan since the beginning, and it is encouraging to see it start to go forward. Pray as we get paperwork and initial recordings set up to sign the contract with the TV station in the coming days.
Advancing Amidst Conflict
At the end of April, all around Colombia, millions participated in a nationwide strike, protesting a proposal of the government for higher taxes. What started as peaceful has turned violent in recent days. Many cities have called in Martial Law. There are constant burnings of buildings, vandalism, theft, and confrontations between police and rioters. Some areas look more like war zones than the beautiful Colombia we know. As of the writing of this letter, 19 have died, and hundreds injured in these conflicts. Please pray for Colombia. Pray for its leaders and people. Pray that people may know the Gospel, the source of true peace.
Advancing As A Family
Aubrie and I celebrated our 12th anniversary in April. I am amazed by the goodness of God to let us be one, to serve him, and to raise our four daughters together. On another note, my health has been a big concern lately. Though we are still awaiting a definite plan, it appears I have an obstruction in my intestines that has been causing the random abdominal attacks. This obstruction may be related to the surgery I had three years ago. I have adjusted my diet, which has helped, but the problem probably won’t go away without another surgery. We appreciate your prayers in this trial. God’s grace is sufficient.
Thank you again for your faithful prayers and financial support. We love you all and pray the Lord continues to bless you as you serve him wherever you are. Let us continue to advance!
For King Jesus,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance, and Family
“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,”Colossians 1:3
Following is a video update with the content of our 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…
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.
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
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
It amazes me how God moves, how he provides, and how he proves himself faithful in every circumstance. Celebrate his goodness with us in this month’s report.
We finally have the keys!!
Our church in the Cafe Madrid neighborhood of our city has just finalized the purchase of a three-story house to use for church services, counseling, outreach, children’s activities and more. We thank those of you who have given generously and prayed earnestly for this need! Continue to pray, as we will be working to get the building ready over the next month or two. There remains much work to do!
Growing In Grace & Truth
Our Bible Institute continues strong with 36 men and women registered and preparing for lives of ministry. This semester we’re studying Systematic Theology, Old Testament Survey, and the Christian Home. I also meet with around 15 preacher men for several hours a week to consider biblical Homiletics and help them in developing their gifts and calling. We’re seeing a spiritual army being raised up to take this city, country, continent, and the world for the Gospel’s sake!
Aubrie, Aris, and Amira recently had birthdays, and Aubrie and I are excited to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in April! Our children are growing both physically and in their faith! In addition to Anabel getting saved and baptized, it is great to see how God is working in our oldest daughter Amira’s life and heart. She was able to join Aubrie and the ladies of our church to a woman’s retreat in March. She has been reading her Bible and sharing it with others. What joy it brings to us to see our children walking in the truth! We pray that Aris (4) and Alethea (1) may also understand and believe the Gospel in due time.
Next Steps & Prayer Requests
- As previously mentioned, we have a lot of work to do on the new building for the Cafe Madrid church — fixing floors, patching and painting the walls, installing doors, securing windows, adding a security system, etc. This is going to cost a bit more than we had expected, but as always, we trust God to provide.
- Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans live in or are passing through our city seeking a better life. We are trying to do everything we can to help them on their way. Our church gives out food and other supplies every week, which opens the door to share the Gospel. God is using this ministry to see many lives changed!
- We have new bible studies starting up in a couple locations where we have families traveling up to an hour to come to our church. These are possibilities for futures church plants! Pray for the leaders and prospects.
Once again, thank you for your constant prayers and faithful support. If you’d ever like to plan a trip to see the work here, we’d love to have you! Just let us know, and we can work out the details.
For Christ’s Fame,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and Family
Here are a few recent pictures from the ministry:
Aris, Amira, Anabel & Alethea wish you a wonderful Easter!
Wordless book project with one of our kid’s classes (in a classroom instead of the sidewalk!)
Praise the Lord for new believers and for faithful men in ministry!
Part of Instituto Bíblico El Faro (Lighthouse Bible Institute)
Anabel after her baptism
Ladies retreat in March