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Churches Gather Again, & A New Church Starting Soon! — September 2020 Prayer Letter


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Dear Praying Friends & Family,

The total lockdown quarantine has ended in Colombia! After six months of isolation, we’re gradually easing back into a sense of normalcy (whatever that is). We continue to move forward in the ministry in which God has placed us. There are spectacular things taking place in Bucaramanga, Colombia, and we get to have a part! Read on for more. 

We Meet Again!

September the 13th is a day I’ll not soon forget. It was the first day we met as a local church body since mid-March. Our gatherings haven’t been the same as before. There are now multiple services, attendance limits, strict safety protocols, per-registrations, masks, social distancing, and the like, but it feels like home. How is it that we don’t fully appreciate something until it is taken away? Though we’re not in the same circumstances, I am beginning to understand the Apostle Paul’s lavish expression of love toward the churches as he wrote letters to them, many times from prison. 

“But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.” 

(1 Thessalonians 2:17) 

May we never undervalue the great liberty and joy it is to assemble with other believers! 

Exciting Church Plant News

In mid-August, we got the keys to the building for the new work on our city’s southern side. We are working hard to prepare this building for public services, though there is still much to do. We thank the Lord for how he has already provided the funds and skilled workers amongst our people to repair the electric wiring, structural issues, and other needed renovations. God has also put together a fantastic core group of about eight families, and we have been meeting weekly to work out who we are and plans to launch the Agape Baptist Church very soon. I’m thrilled to see how everything is coming together! We still need some finances to get off the ground. If you’d like to help, any special offerings can be sent through our mission board and marked “A. Vance – Building Fund.” Following is a breakdown of things we still need:

  • 120 Plastic Chairs ($1,000)
  • Pulpit ($300)
  • Church Sign ($300)
  • Fans ($200)
  • Piano ($500)
  • Guitar ($200)
  • Water Dispenser ($200)
  • Basic Sound Equipment ($2,000)
  • Tracts and Literature ($500)
  • Basic Office Furniture ($500)
  • Security System ($1,000) 
  • Additional Building Repairs ($1,000)

Family Funnies

Kids learn new technology so fast! Alethea, our 2-year-old, recently found Aubrie’s cell phone and decided to go on a photo spree while we were talking one day. We looked up and heard her say, “What a handsome man!” She was admiring her photographic skills (and her “good-looking” dad!). 

Keep Holding The Ropes!

Once again, thank you! Thank you to those who support us monthly so we can live and minister in Colombia. Thank you to those who sent in special offerings during the last few months to help us get by and move forward in the Gospel Ministry. Thank you to the countless many who pray without ceasing for us. Thank you for remembering us. How can we pray for you?

By His Grace and For His Glory,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance & Family 

Everywhere we go now, the protocol to enter is basically the same. Here, Aris is getting her temp taken and hands disinfected to go into church.
All of our services are packed (with protocols) since reopening! We’ve even reached new families.
Meeting with our core group families to plan the start of Agape Baptist Church
We’re making progress on the new building. Hopefully, we’ll be able to show you the finished product soon!
Anabel and Amira once again enjoying an “arepa de choclo” (a sweet cheese & cornmeal cake).
September 19th marked a year since our son died. It hasn’t been easy, but thank God for His grace!

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.

5 Blessings of Difficulty — May 2020 Prayer Letter


Dear Praying Friends & Family,

Many of us had a “20/20 Vision” theme for this year, but nobody saw 2020 coming! If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that life is fragile, but God is faithful. Yes, things are different, even difficult, as we continue our lockdown here in Colombia, but we refuse to complain. We recognize that neither our God nor his Word is bound. He continues to work mightily! 

Difficulty Prompts Creativity

Colombia went on full quarantine on March 20th, and it isn’t stopping anytime soon. Our outreach, discipleship, counseling, and teaching ministries all look vastly different from a few months ago, but the work continues. We thank God for modern technology to creatively minister. Daily, people meet virtually for corporate prayer, group training, and one-on-one discipleship. We also push out Gospel content and preaching daily to the masses on social media. Pray as we continue to adapt to the restrictions placed upon us.

Difficulty Propels Generosity

We have witnessed first-hand the generosity of God’s people, both in the States and here in Colombia. Many of you have sent special offerings during this time, and we are sincerely grateful! God has taken care of us. Whether you are a new or long-time supporter of our family and ministry, thank you! Additionally, our people have given like never before to meet the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ who are not as fortunate. Even as many faithful members lose their jobs, the church offerings have increased. It is genuinely baffling. Because of this generosity, we have assisted hundreds of people with groceries and basic needs. God’s people respond this way in times of adversity! 

Difficulty Proves Sincerity

Whenever persecution comes (or any pressure in life), it reveals what is on the inside. Curiously, and sadly, during the past two months, I have had several hard conversations with people who attended our church but have now drifted away, either to apostasy, false doctrine, or indifference. I believe God will use this pandemic to purge his church of those who do not sincerely believe. There will always be those who consider themselves Christians because it is convenient, or because they have accepted a false gospel. May our version of Christianity always align with Christ and his Word. 

Difficulty Produces Simplicity 

This pandemic has been a blessing to us! Through it, God has stripped away much of the busyness and assiduity of life and forced us to slow down. Our family has enjoyed much more quality time together to study God’s Word, teach our kids songs of faith, cook, and enjoy meals together, and pray for those around us. We did these things before, but not to the same degree. Though we continue to minister daily, we must contemplate what ministry is all about. The quarantine has taken away our ability to fulfill much of what the church is supposed to do, and maybe God allowed it to reveal how much we need to get back to the basics. Christ commissions us to make disciples of all nations. Christ commands us to gather faithfully and connect sincerely with his church to love, correct, help, and teach one another. Christ called us to be salt and light in the world. Have we made “church” and Christianity more about an event than following Christ? 

Difficulty Provides Opportunity

Currently, in Colombia, our total lockdown is in effect until July, and the “health emergency crisis” is declared until the end of August. Despite the abundant changes and challenges, there are more open doors than ever to reach the lost world around us. People need hope, and we have that hope. Let us not back down; instead, let us advance in the mission! Our family is in it for the long haul.  

Aubrie and I, along with the girls, send you our greetings and sincerest love. We are deeply grateful for your prayers and financial support. We are praying you and are here for you if you need to reach out to speak to a friend. 

For Christ the King,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance

May 2020 Vance Family Prayer Letter

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. 🙂
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