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 (email@example.com) 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
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,
Productive Christmas TripThanks to family and friends who purchased our tickets, we were able to make a trip to the US over Christmas. It was a blessing to see people we hadn’t seen in a couple years, as well as take advantage of many opportunities to minister.
In addition to preaching opportunities in Ohio, Georgia, and at the Our Generation Missions Summit in Tennessee, I was able to record 15 Spanish sermons in our home church’s television studio, Lighthouse Global Studios. These will soon broadcast throughout Latin America. Pray that the Word would have free course and be glorified!
During our month-long absence from the work in Colombia, several of our men stepped up to preach & to make sure the services ran smoothly. They did an excellent job, and we returned to find that our church had even grown by a few new families!After only a year and a half since we began our church, it is humbling to see how God has blessed in our ministry. We are seeing well over 100 people attending Sunday services, as well as another 100-150 children & teens in our Bible clubs on Saturdays. People are getting saved, they’re excited about discipleship and they’re growing in their walk with God. They are getting grounded in the Truth. God is working in great ways in Colombia! We invite you to come and see for yourself, and to pray for more laborers for other cities where there is still no Bible-preaching witness.
Training MenA principle part of our ministry philosophy is that of investing in faithful men who can teach others also. We find this model throughout the whole Bible, and clearly worded in 2 Timothy 2:2. Since the beginning, my prayer has been that God would give us men for me to pour my life into. Well, in February we officially began a Bible Institute for this end. Twelve men have committed to training, all with a calling and desire to preach the Word. God is calling. Men are responding. Christ is being magnified.
From The Mouth Of BabesDuring Christmas, we overheard a deep theological conversation between Amira, our 5-year-old and her cousin Conner, also 5 years old. Amira: “The Holy Ghost is God.” Conner: “No, the Holy Ghost isn’t real!” Amira: “Yes, she is!” 🙂
Praises & Prayer Requests
- Vehicle. Praise God for the funds that have come in for this need! Thanks to those who have given. Lord willing, we will be purchasing something in the weeks to come. Pray that we can find the right vehicle, and that all paperwork will go smoothly.
- Mission Trip. We are expecting a mission team from one of our supporting churches toward the end of March. Pray that God would work in and through them. If you would like to line up a trip, just get in touch and we can work something out.
- New believers. There are several people who have recently believed on Jesus for salvation. Pray as we help them grow in grace and truth, and for others to be saved.
- Church growth & plans. This year we are focusing on training men and furthering our discipleship development, as well as opening a mission church on the outskirts of town. The enemy is not happy, as we have had some spiritual attacks lately, but the Light is always stronger than darkness!
- Financial Support. With the ministry growth and family growth, we could use at least another 5 monthly supporters. Would you pray about partnering with us as we continue to lift up Jesus and his Gospel to the Colombian people?
Love In Christ Jesus,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance
(along with Amira, Anabel & Aris!)
02-2016 prayer letter