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.
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.”
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
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
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
Hello from warm and sunny Bucaramanga, Colombia! We thank God for a safe and smooth trip back on January 15th. We have hit the ground running and have many things to report in this letter, but first, a summary of our furlough last year.
- Total church services/meetings: 159
- New churches visited: 36
- Total miles travelled: 36,587
- New financial supporters: 15
- Beds slept in: 56
- Gallons of gas used: 1,830
- Vehicle break downs: 0
- Books read: 72
We praise the Lord for the blessing of furlough! Yes, there were challenges, but God is always faithful. As you can see, he was very good to us during these 11 months.
Walking in Truth…
One of the greatest joys we had upon returning to the work in Colombia was in finding the churches united, growing, and walking in truth. We continue to meet new believers who have come to Christ since we left on furlough, and even those who are serving and being trained by the leaders we left behind. Our team of preachers and leaders have worked tirelessly, and with sincere hearts, all for the Glory of Christ, knowing their labor is not in vain.
At the end of January, we signed a contract to purchase a 3-story building for our second church. God miraculously provided all the funds for this work in a short amount of time, and he used several of you to do so. We thank you! Our church in Cafe Madrid, Bucaramanga, Colombia thanks you. Those who will hear the Gospel and have the chance to believe also thank you. We should have the keys and be able to move in on March 28th.
Part of living in our area of the world is that we feel tremors (small earthquakes) often. We were welcomed back to Colombia by one of these tremors one night while I was meeting with the men of the church and Aubrie had all of our girls on our bed at home. Being on the 8th story of our apartment building, the effect is somewhat multiplied. Our 3-year-old Aris had forgotten about these tremors, and shouted, “What is this bed doing?!” Everyone is safe and sound, by the way.
As both of our churches move forward, we are continually looking for ways to keep growing and expanding the glory of God here in Colombia. Lord willing, we plan to start another church toward the end of this year, and maybe 2 or 3 next year. The leaders have been trained and are excited about the possibilities. Long term, we need at least 45 churches just for our city and hundreds more around the country of Colombia. We also look beyond our region and country, and we see many other nations who have yet to hear. We know that God wants to save them as well — how can we reach them? Friends, the harvest is great, and the time of harvest is now, but the laborers are few. We thank you for faithfully partnering with us in prayer and financial support as we do our part. But, I can’t help but think that maybe God wants some of you to join us… Are you willing?
May Christ Be Magnified,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and family
Here are a few recent pictures from the ministry:
Yes, we took all of these bags to Colombia, and they all arrived with us. Praise the Lord!!
It’s great to be back at our church, who welcomed us back with open arms (and cake!).
This is it, folks! The future home of our church in the Cafe Madrid neighborhood of Bucaramanga.
The kids look forward to having a classroom instead of sitting outside on the sidewalk.
Reunited with old friends.
The highways of Colombia are full of Venezuelan families who have fled their country amidst the economic crisis. Some will establish themselves in cities of Colombia, while others are en route to other countries of South America. Pray for us as we minister to these precious souls around us.
Photo: Getty Images
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 Praying Friends,
Busting At The Seams!
Each week our church is packed out, as people young and old are experiencing God’s amazing grace. It’s great to see new visitors nearly each week and a constant flow of people repenting and believing on Jesus for salvation, as well as following in baptism and discipleship. Leaders are being raised up and are serving in ministries both within and outside the local church body. The field is ripe in Colombia! We are needing more space and praying about our next steps. Would you pray with us?
Our Bible Institute is entering into its second semester this month. The 17 men in our institute all have a desire and calling to preach the Word, however and wherever God would see fit. Great days are ahead! Several of these are looking into training with me on a daily basis. Pray that the Lord gives us wisdom in training these, as well as the financial backing to allow them to dedicate themselves fully to the ministry.
In other news, there is a possibility we will be opening a children’s home soon. It’s an opportunity that the Lord seems to be dropping in our laps. We are praying for a family to help us lead this new endeavour. Stay tuned for details!
Learning To Say Goodbye
It was good to have Jason Fowler with us for part of June. He is a young man from our home church (Lighthouse Baptist in Dawsonville, GA), and is preparing to return for a long-term internship to work in our ministry. It’s amazing to see how God has worked in his life since I met him 9 years ago. Please pray for him. We have another individual and a small group who are planning to come this summer. If you’d like to line up a trip for your church or family to see the work here in Colombia, just shoot me an email or give me a call. We’d love to have you.
Our Kids, The Negotiators
There are several small stores in the first floor of our apartment building. Well, Anabel, our 4-year-old, found an umbrella toothpick one day, the kind they put in drinks, and took it into a store and came out with candy. We asked her where she got the candy, so she said, “I traded for it!” They’re learning the Colombian way! 🙂
Praises & Prayer Requests
Our church, Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro. We’ll be celebrating our second anniversary in July! Pray for the spiritual growth of recent converts, as well as wisdom in how to accommodate everybody in our limited space.
- Men preparing for ministry in our Bible Institute. (Alfredo, Andrés, David, Díver, Ernesto, Félix, Hernando, Javier, Jesús Alberto, Jhon Fredi, Juan Carlos, Juan Danilo, Kenneth, Leonardo, Libardo, Óscar, Richard…)
- Trip to Chile in July. I was invited to preach a youth congress for some ministry friends, and Juan Danilo, one of the young men training with me gets to tag along!
- Pray for increased monthly support. With all the ministry growth we’ve been experiencing, comes greater expenses. Pray that God would lead more folks to partner with us in reaching Colombia with the Gospel.
- Pray for our family’s health. We’ve been dealing with minor illnesses lately, and Aubrie has had some deeper issues since the beginning of the year. Pray we can get some answers and relief for her.
Thank you for holding the ropes for us as we minister in Colombia. God is adding much fruit to your account! We love you thank God for every remembrance of you.
Love In Christ Jesus,
“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;” Philippians 1:3-5