January 2, 2015
Dear Praying Friends,
We trust that you all have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Life is more busy & blessed than ever here in Colombia. Up front, thanks to all who have supported us this year through your prayers and giving. We couldn’t do what we do without you allowing God to use you in this way!
Growing Church, Growing People!
In July we started our first church here, and in 6 months, God done things far beyond what we expected! New people visit nearly every week, many accepting Christ and getting into discipleship. There are also now 4 men who have expressed desire for ministry and are taking steps toward that end. Pray for Óscar, Eduardo, Sergio and Jhon and for me as I work in training them and others to do the work of the ministry. This is why we’re here!
Merry Christmas for Many Children!
In September we began an outreach ministry for children and adults in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of our city. The response has been phenomenal! We are averaging around 150 each week, with over 250 attending our end of the year Christmas program. Gifts were given, as was the Gospel, and several accepted Christ as their Savior! Thank you to those who donated toward this need. If you’d like to give toward future projects, you can give online (www.bemagnified.org), or by sending a check to our mission board marked “A. Vance – Special Project.” Our plans are to start another church here within a year.
Big God, Big Plans!
We are looking forward to seeing God work in 2015. We have big plans and ask that you pray specifically for these things. Be praying for free English classes we will be starting Monday January 5th. Pray for a youth camp that I will be preaching this month with churches from around the country. Pray for our leaders, and me as I train them. Pray for open doors to start more churches here. Pray for more laborers for our city of Bucaramanga, and the dozens of others that are full of unreached people. Pray for a missions trip we have planned for U.S. students and singles June 15-25 (There’s still time to sign up — info at http://www.bemagnified.org).
By our next prayer letter we’ll be able to introduce you to our new little baby girl, due February 23. Aubrie is doing well with the pregnancy, and our girls are thrilled about being big sisters. We’re required to leave the home we’ve been renting, so please pray as we find another house. It’s been over a 2 month process of complicated ups and downs, but we hope to finalize something this week. Contact us for our new mailing address. Also pray for a vehicle for our family and ministry. We have not have the funds for this, but we know that God can provide in his timing. If you’d like to give toward this need, you can give online or by sending a check to Macedonia (address below) and mark it “A. Vance — Vehicle.”
Once again, thank you! Thank you for holding the ropes for us! God is good. He is worthy. He is working. Are we willing to take steps forward this year for his glory?
Serving King Jesus,
Aaron Vance & Family
What an amazing time we had on December 20th with the children and families of Café Madrid, a poor community on the outskirts of our city of Bucaramanga Colombia. Our church, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro jumped in and participated in an amazing way. Dozens of people here collectively spent hundreds of hours preparing food, gifts, logistics and more to make the day a success.
And what a success it was!
We had 157 children sign up who had already been attending our Bible club program on Saturdays. These came, and brought people with them! We were expecting around 200, and God blessed us with over 250 people! Gifts were given, songs were sung, snacks were snacked upon and the Message of Christmas was preached. We thank the Lord for several who made professions of faith, receiving the BEST gift of Christmas, the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.
Please enjoy this video we put together of the special day:
Thank you to those who gave online to this need. It was a help to us as we were able to bless many children who may not have had a Christmas otherwise. We are constantly seeing lives changed in this neighborhood. Pray that God continues to work, and pray for us as we wait upon His timing to officially begin a church here!
If you would like to give toward future projects like this one, you can send a check to our mission agency, Macedonia World Baptist Missions, Inc. (PO BO 519 Braselton, GA 30517), or online, here.
May God bless. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
God’s Work In Café Madrid
For the past 3 months, our new church plant (just 5 months old), has sponsored an outreach ministry for children in an outskirt community of our city of Bucaramanga, called Café Madrid. I am amazed to see the impact God is making through us in this short time, both in families from the community and in our church people.
Changed Lives — Changed Destinies
These Children are thrilled to see us each time we show up, bringing their chairs to the local park, with smiles on their faces, ready to sing, say their memory verses, do a craft, eat a snack and hear a Bible lesson. Many of these do not know, or have been separated from their parents. Many of these would end up in jail, in gangs or dead within 5-10 years. Many of these might be lucky to eat one meal a day. Many of these have never understood or known the love of Jesus and his people. That is, until now. Children and adults are accepting Christ and experiencing a life and hope that is above circumstances.
Physical vs. Spiritual Food
We understand that giving physical help (humanitarian assistance) without the spiritual (real missions) is empty and non-profitable in the long-term. However, we also remember God’s words in Proverbs 28:27, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.” (See also Proverbs 3:27-28; 14:31; 19:17; 22:9; 31:20; Isaiah 58:10; Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 20:35; Romans 12:20; James 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).
Big Hearts, Big Plans
With that in mind, we are planning a big Christmas event this weekend. 157 children have registered (who have already been coming to our Bible Club), and many of them are bringing whatever family they have around. A small choir will sing songs they have been practicing, I’ll share a Christmas salvation message, we’re making traditional Christmas food for everyone, and we’ll give away special gifts to each of these kids. In a special box, we’ll put a few small toys (according to the child’s age and gender), a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, a book of Bible stories, a children’s gospel tract and a personalized letter from somebody in our church. That’s the most thrilling part for me. Our church folks have really jumped on board with this program and are working day and night as a team to see it come to pass. It’s really going to be a great day!
Your Part — Help us be a blessing!
If you want to be a part of blessing a Colombian child this Christmas, there is still time to give. You can sponsor a child’s Christmas this year for $5! You can donate through our mission agency, Macedonia World Baptist Missions, who will then forward the funds to us. They’ve made it easy to give online through Paypal, or you can send a check to: P.O. Box 519, Braselton, GA 30517 (make it out to MWBM, Inc. and put “Aaron Vance – Special Project” in the memo). All contributions are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt. Any extra funds that come in will be used toward this ministry for future projects and events.
And above all, please pray. Pray that everything goes smoothly. Pray that we can be a blessing to these families. Pray more precious souls accept God’s perfect gift of salvation. That is, after all, the real reason we celebrate CHRISTmas!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17 –
Enjoy this slideshow of a few pictures we have taken over the last couple months.
Hey y’all! We hope you all are enjoying time with family, opening presents, eating more than ya ought to, and most of all, celebrating Jesus! Christmas really is a wonderful time. This being our first Christmas in Colombia, things are a bit different for us, but we are so excited that God has allowed us to come this far and we trust he does some great things for his Glory!
Here is a little video we put together tonight, just for you!
Just to give you an idea of Christmas in Colombia, here are a few observations we’ve made…
~ Christmas (both the “Jesus” and the “Santa” side) seems to be an even bigger deal here than in the States
~ This city, Bucaramanga, is known as the City Of Parks, and nearly all of the hundreds of parks are completely decked out with pretty lights and nativity scenes
~ Nativity scenes are seen all over: in Buisness places, homes, government, etc. in fact, people pride themselves on how nice their nativity is set up.
~ Although you start seeing nativity sets in November, Jesus isn’t placed in the scene until the 24th
~ Almost as big as Christmas, a couple weeks ago they had a national holiday celebrating the Immaculate Conception (the party starts the night before and goes all day!)
~ Big fireworks aren’t legal here, but somehow people all around the city have lots of them and love to set them off until the wee hours of the morning. They don’t go down quietly, that’s for sure!
– In the first week of January they celebrate the Day of the Magi (“wise men”) and will also give gifts, mostly to extended family and friends
~ All the celebrations, though religious in nature, are big family get-togethers in which everybody practically marinates in beer, and loud music. A very “festive” time for sure.
I say all this to bring attention to something that beings me to tears… Colombia is so close to knowing Jesus–They even throw huge parties around him; BUT, their trust isn’t in Jesus for salvation, it is in their works, their church, their goodness, their family, their tradition… And if one does not abandon all else and trust on Jesus alone, they will not make it to God! (John 14:6). In other words, many don’t know the very one they celebrate. Do you? Will you pray with me that we can introduce Jesus to these precious folks who are so close?
We love y’all and would love to hear from you. How can we be praying for you? May God bless greatly as you magnify Jesus. Don’t forget– it’s all about Him!
* PS – we’ve been given a cat and a bunny. Please pray for us. Lol…