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
Dear Praying Friends,
March and April have been such a whirlwind here in Bucaramanga, Colombia! We are pleased to report some praises of God’s great favor upon the ministry in these days.
Church and Bible Institute Growth
Our church has continued to witness the Lord’s mighty hand in changing lives, calling leaders and using them to impact others. In addition to seeing people regularly saved and baptized, we currently have 43 people each week either teaching or receiving basic discipleship lessons. Our building is packed out every week and we are investigating creative options to continue growing before having to move again (we have been here for less than a year!). What a great problem to have! Pray with us as we are looking into buying property, Lord willing. More info coming soon!
Our Bible Institute has continued to grow with more men who feel called toward the Gospel ministry. It thrills my heart to have a part in preparing them for the work God has for their lives. They’re applying what they’re learning now by working in many of our ministries, and we have one of them preach a mini-message every service. Pray for these men and their families as they take steps necessary toward full-time service.
Mission Group Visit
We had a great time with Victory Baptist from Shelbyville, TN who came to visit over Easter week. Thousands of tracts were distributed, and many of the men were able to preach, including Stephen Lawwell, a Christian apologist. He has already planned a return trip! It was a productive trip for everybody, for the church here, and for our family. All were challenged, and some are considering full-time missions. We also enjoyed the company of a long-time friend and missionary, Jeff Bush, as well as a new friend, Peter Knezevich. THANK YOU, Victory, for your labor of love and for opening your heart to us. *If you would like to line up a trip to Colombia, just get in touch!
“¡Ven a mi Iglesia!” (Come to my Church!)
Our kids, Amira (6), Anabel (4) and Airs (1) are all doing well with learning Spanish and helping with the ministry here. One of their favorite things to do is invite people to our church with gospel tracts when we go out anywhere. They’ll chase people down until they take one. Nobody can say no to these little blonde haired princesses!
Praises & Prayer Requests
- Praise God for providing a vehicle! We praise God for the 10 passenger 2009 Kia van we were able to buy at the end of March. It has been a blessing, both for our family and ministry. Thank you to all who gave and prayed toward this!
- Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro. People are getting saved and being added to the church constantly. Pray for their spiritual growth, as well as wisdom in how to accommodate all of the new believers in our limited space.
- Men preparing for ministry in our Bible Institute. (Alfredo, David, Eduardo, Ernesto, Félix, Hernando, Javier, Jhon Fredi, Juan Carlos, Juan Danilo, Kenneth, Leonardo, Libardo, Óscar, Richard…)
- 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.
Once again, thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support. God is adding much fruit to your account through your gifts.
Love In Christ Jesus,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel & Aris Vance
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Dear Praying Friends,
First of all, I apologize for the delay in getting updates to you. Our September letter did not go out, so I am sending it along with this one. It has honestly been the most blessed period in all of our years of ministry.
Don’t worry. We’re talking about the good kind — an explosion in growth! Since being in the new building, our attendance is now nearly 100. This is in addition to the many we see in our outreach ministry in the north part of the city! People are finding joy in the Lord and his Word. We are regularly seeing people saved and baptized. Colombia is experiencing a great movement toward the Gospel, but we need more laborers. There is much to do!
In September, we finished our series on the Gospel of John. To conclude, 7 of our men helped me by each preaching a mini-sermon on the “I Am” statements of Christ in John. It was a sweet night of reflecting on the sufficiency of Christ, and more exciting still to see him work in new preachers of the Gospel. This is why we are here — to train men! Pray for these & others as they develop the calling God has placed on their lives.
In December, we will conduct a special Christmas program again in a poor area of town where we have a weekly outreach ministry. We did this last year and it was a huge success! We’ll prepare a special gift and meal for each of the 200 children who attend and then preach to the families and community. For about $5 per child, we will include a toy, toiletry items, a gospel-centered kids book, and a personalized letter. This is the area of our next church plant, Lord willing.
We have also just started a bus route to this area on Sundays to bring families in until we can get a church officially started there. Pray for an increase in our monthly support to provide for this new ministry. Also, pray for funds to purchase a personal vehicle. This has become an urgent need.
Residents At Last!
It was quite a struggle to get our new visas, as the laws changed multiple times this year, extra certifications were requested, documents were lost internationally, and we paid much more than anticipated, but the Lord is faithful in providing each part of this need and allowing us to finalize everything just in time. Thanks especially to Community Baptist in NC and Calvary Baptist in OH for the special offerings. We are now permanent residents of Colombia!
Thanks to our sending church & family, we will be back in the States for one month over Christmas. This will be the first time we’ve been back since two years ago when we arrived in Colombia. We thank God for a full schedule including a couple new churches who wish to join our team of financial supporters. This is an answer to prayer!
We will also participate in an amazing missions retreat called the Our Generation Summit in Pigeon Forge, TN from December 31 through January 2. Why don’t you come join us? Time is short. Contact me for information.
- More lost souls to be saved, baptized and discipled
- Continued growth in our church — Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro
- Christmas program for needy children in our outreach ministry
- Christmas traveling to Georgia and Ohio
- Our people who will be leading the church in our short absence
- Church Youth/Singles ministry camp in January
- URGENT: Purchase of a vehicle for family and ministry
We wish you a very Merry Christmas! Thanks for standing with us & supporting the Lord’s work in Colombia.
Aaron & Aubrie Vance
(with Amira, Anabel & Aris!)