Dear Praying Friends & Family,
The last two months have been a roller coaster. In this report, I cover some of the enormous challenges we’ve faced, as well as some of the tremendous blessings. Through it all, God is our rock and fortress, and we cling to him.
“Pastor, We Need To Talk.”
I landed in Colombia toward the end of July for a quick, 2-week trip to celebrate our church’s 4th anniversary and the wedding of one of our preacher men. It was looking to be a joyous trip, but I heard a fateful phrase way too many times… “Pastor, we need to talk.” I sat through dozens upon dozens of complaints, observations, and concerns, all about one of the men who had served closest to me for the past four years. After all was said and done, this man decided to leave, and he didn’t leave well. He hurt many people and thought everyone was against him. He wouldn’t let others help him. To him, it was everyone else’s problem. Pride destroys as nothing else can! As we dug deeper into the situation, we found numerous issues beyond mere hurt feelings. Pray for this man, as well as his family and two other leaders who left with him. We continue to love them and pray that they repent and can be restored to fellowship with Christ’s church.
Moving Forward In Faith
It may sound crazy, but I’m grateful that this horrible situation took place when it did. Our church and the rest of the leaders have risen to fill in the gaps, and I believe we are better for it. We lost around ten people, but since then we’ve had dozens of new families visit, new members added, and new leaders are stepping up. We improved several systems, and the church is in even better shape than before. We’ve been encouraged in seeing both spiritual and numerical growth in the past month. Our leaders are united, as is the entire church body. People are still being saved and discipled. New opportunities are opening up like never before. We press on in the strength that Christ gives.
We recently enjoyed a baseball game with the whole family for the first time. Aris, our 3-year-old, had never been to such an event, and since everyone was shouting, she decided to join them with a loud “HALLELUJAH!”
Praises & Prayer Requests
- Thanks to offerings from some of you, we were able to recover 100% from the church robbery I write about last time. Praise God!
- God has given us safety on the road, several good meetings, and a few more supporters. Amen! Pray as we head into a hectic “missions conference season.”
- The landlord of the house our second church is renting notified us that she needs the property back soon. However, we were just offered an incredible piece of property next door. We are trying to raise $50,000 to purchase it when we return to Colombia. I’ll write more about this in our next letter. If you’d like to give, click here.
- We thank God for some excellent opportunities we’ve had to witness while here in America. There is still a great need here!
The Our Generation Summit
We will be participating in a missions event like no other on December 28-29, 2018. For the first time, The Summit will take place in Ohio. Plus, it’s only $80, including lodging. We would love to see you there! For more info check out their website: www.ogsummit.com.
Once again, thank you. Your prayers and financial support have made our ministry possible. May God supply your every need.
To Magnify Christ,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and family
To download a PDF of this letter, click here.
Or, following is a JPG of this prayer letter that you can also save and print:
And some recent pictures from our ministry and family:
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
Hello again from the furlough road! We’ve got a lot to update you on in this letter, so buckle up!
Friends, Old & New
It has greatly encouraged us to visit some of our supporting churches and to see the many familiar faces of those who have been praying for us during all these years. It is awesome to share about God’s grace in Colombia, and the fruit that has been added to their account. We’ve also made some new friends at churches who have had us in to share about the ministry and are considering joining our team of rope-holders. Thank God for his faithful saints! Each month we are inching closer to our support goal. Contact us if you want us to come to your church.
Colombia’s New President
On June 17, Colombia had their final presidential runoff election, wherein Iván Duque won the majority vote. He looks to carry on the efforts of the last two presidents to eliminate the corruption, violence and drug trafficking that plagued the country for decades. Many are happy, others are not. We know, however, that real peace only comes through knowing Christ. Pray for this new leader, and for the people of Colombia, to know the true peace-giver.
Planting Seeds In New Fields
Our preachers and leaders in the two churches of Bucaramanga have been doing a tremendous job with the preaching, outreach, discipleship, as well as every other ministry. Thanks to technology, we talk very regularly and I am excited about getting back in the trenches with them. We are looking forward to planting a couple more churches when we return, and these leaders are already holding bible studies in some of the target areas. It is exciting to see!
We had somebody break into our main church just a couple of weeks ago. They stole at least $1,500 worth of cash, and maybe other things. This was the church’s rent money, missions support and some of the building fund offerings. It looks like we will simply have to absorb the loss, as the police couldn’t find any significant evidence to continue an investigation. We thank God nobody was hurt and the damages were not worse, and we trust him to provide. He is always faithful.
Aris, our 3-year-old, was just asked if she’s ever been on a family trip. She said NO! This is a kid who has had passports from two countries since she was a baby and has already visited more countries and US states than most people do in their lifetime. For her, life on the road is normal, as is traveling on planes and staying in hotel rooms. #MKlife
- Wisdom as we raise our children, lead ministries, and plan for the future.
- Continued safety as we travel on the road (several close calls lately).
- Remaining support to be raised (we are at around 85% of our recommended level of monthly support).
- Special financial needs for recuperating what was stolen in Colombia as well as other projects.
- Opportunities and boldness to witness as we travel here in America.
Once again, thank you for your faithful prayers and support. We love you all and pray that God continues to bless you as you strive to glorify him.
May Christ Be Magnified,
The Vance Family
Aaron • Aubrie • Amira • Anabel • Aris • Alethea
Here are a few recent pictures from our lives and ministry.
Alternatively, here is a JPG image of the letter that you can view and print:
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
Jesus said in Matthew 16 that he would build his church, and that is exactly what is happening here in Bucaramanga. This month’s update is full of praises as well as some family news.
New Church Taking Baby Steps
Our second church plant here, which we began in March, is growing and people are becoming more grounded through Bible teaching and preaching. Several of our leaders have begun weekly home bible study groups to strengthen new believers as well as give them an opportunity to make a Gospel connection with their friends and family. After 4 months of meeting in a community center, we finally found a place to rent at the end of June. It’s a small house, and there is a lot of work to be done, but we are thrilled about the progress and the new opportunities. Two of our men, Félix and Díver, are sharing the load of pastoring this new work. Please pray for them, and specifically that Félix would find a godly wife.
Edifying The Body Of Christ
Our first church in Colombia will be 3 years old in a couple weeks. We have a constant flow of new visitors, new believers to baptize, and new disciples who are committed to following Christ. I have loved seeing the spiritual growth and maturity of these believers over the last few years. As I look around, it is evident we are entering into the next phase of ministry and the next stage of this church plant. At the beginning, my family and I did everything from cleaning the church, teaching children’s classes, evangelism, discipleship, preaching all the services, organizing special days, teaching leadership classes, bookkeeping and more. Now, those who were brand new believers not long ago are not only serving in all of these areas, but leading. Some are not only leading, but they are also leading other leaders. This is what missions is all about! We look forward to many more years of being involved in this ministry!
Baby Girl #4 Coming In November!
Yes, you read that right. We’re having ANOTHER girl! Each of our girls — Amira (7), Anabel (5) and Aris (2) — are excited and already suggesting names, some of which are pretty wild! Pray for Aubrie in the 2nd half of the pregnancy.
Saying Goodbye From Far Away
My grandfather, Donald Swaim, passed away at the end of June. He would have been 87 in a couple weeks. He was a believer and was always witnessing to everyone he met. He took me to Mexico, where he had been a missionary, when I was 15, and he constantly encouraged me to follow God’s will for my life. One of the hardest parts of being on the mission field is not being there with loved ones in the end, though we do rejoice in the hope we have in the Gospel. Thanks to technology and the help of some family, I was able to speak to him and say goodbye before he passed away.
Coming Back For Furlough in 2018
Lord willing, our family will be returning to the States for furlough from February 2018 until the New Year. This will serve several purposes: (1) to give a report to our supporters of the great things the Lord has done; (2) to raise more financial support from new churches as the ministry expands and we plant more churches; (3) to preach world missions and cast a vision to see God call more laborers; (4) to spend time with extended family; (5) to provide an opportunity to the preachers and leaders in the ministry here in Colombia to exercise their gifts and calling. If you would like to schedule us to come to your church, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call (678-696-0082)! We are now filling up our calendar.
As always, we are grateful for each of you for your prayers and financial support. Thank you for holding the ropes for us as we minister in Colombia, South America!
With love in Christ and for his glory,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris (& BABY) Vance
Here are some recent pictures from our ministry and family:
Dear Pastors, Family & Praying Friends,
The last month has been packed full of God’s blessing on the ministry in Colombia. Read on to rejoice with us, as well as to be able to pray about several needs.
Making It Official
In September, we took a big step as a body of believers in officially organizing and constituting our church. Over 60 saved & baptized adults signed a covenant of membership and legal documents as founding members. What an exciting day! Pray for us in the days ahead as we submit paperwork and travel to Bogotá to finalize the legal process. Having these documents allows us to open more facets of ministry, & assist missionaries who will need religious visas.
Passing The Torch
We were pleased to have my pastor, Charles Blackstock, with us for a week to celebrate the organizing of the church as well as preach several special services. He was a tremendous blessing to our people, to the men who are training for ministry, and especially my family. I wouldn’t be here today were it not for the years I spent under his mentorship!
Looking Around In Love
We love these people. We love the way God is working amongst them. Many of the men and women who have gone through the discipleship program are now reaching & teaching others, both within the church body and in the community. Continue to pray for this work, as well as a new meeting place as we are out of room! To move into a larger facility is going to cost quite a bit, but we have a BIG God! Pray if God would have you to support this ministry monthly as lives are being changed. It would be an investment into eternity.
Looking Back In Joy
Just over 10 years ago, in October of 2006, God allowed me, as a young, overconfident, single gringo to begin a Spanish ministry in Dawsonville, GA as an outreach of my church. I learned so much during those years. God was patient with me. My pastor was patient with me. Those first few families were patient with me. But through it all, a church was born and it is thriving today. The man who pastors now, Alfonso González, was my assistant for the last few years before we turned over the work to begin deputation, and is doing an excellent job! Many times I feel like a parent of grown children who are beginning their own families. That’s what ministry is all about. We trust to see the same thing many times over here in Colombia!
Looking Ahead In Hope
Our mission work in the north of our city is going fantastic. About 150 people meet with us on Saturdays in a park under trees & tarps with a “Sunday-School” type structure. We plan to find a building soon & establish a “full-service” church here as soon as God gives us the green light and one of our men is ready. Pray for this, as well as the finances to help them get started!
Also, each year we have a special event for Christmas. We give a gift to each child, teen, and adult who come to the program on Saturdays, a meal for everyone and a special presentation and Gospel message for the whole community. If you would like to sponsor one (or many!) of the 150 people, we’d love to give you the opportunity to do so! Just send a check to MWBM, PO Box 519, Braselton, GA 30517 and mark it “A Vance – Special Project”, or you can give online!
We Believe In Prayer
We couldn’t be here without your prayers! As you pray, please remember us in the following:
- The growth of our church — As well as finances to find a larger facility (we are packed out each week)!
- The training of the 16 men in the Bible Institute — Alfredo, David, Didian, Díver, Ernesto, Félix, Javier, Jhon Didier, Jhon Fredi, Juan Danilo, Julián, Kenneth, Leonardo, Libardo, Óscar, Óscar Mauricio…
- The advancement of our mission in the Café Madrid neighborhood — Especially the Christmas program in December and future plans to officially establish a church.
- Our family — Specifically our health and finances, and an upcoming trip I have in November to preach a pastors conference in Cuzco, Peru.
We love you & thank our God for each remembrance of you. Keep on keeping on for Jesus! He is worthy!!
Love In Christ,
The Vance Family
PS – Here are a few photos from recent days in the ministry here. Enjoy!
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