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Big Praises and Big Steps Ahead!! January 2017 Prayer Letter


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) 

In Christ,

Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel & Aris Vance
Your Missionaries To Colombia

Click here to download a printable PDF of this prayer letter

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Things That Are Different And Not The Same


Here’s a fun post for you. These are a few adjustments we’ve had to make here in Colombia having to do with daily life. This list is definitely not conclusive, but they are just some things we’ve found interesting and had to learn. 🙂

"¡Mira las monitas!" (Look at the little monkeys!)

“¡Mira las monitas!” (Look at the little monkeys!)

At The Store

  • Fruit is dirt cheap. Just be sure to wash off the dirt.
  • Eggs are not sold nor stored in the refrigerated section but on a room temperature shelf.
  • Milk is not sold in jugs but in bags, also on the non-refrigerated shelf.
  • Cheese is used everywhere, but any type of yellow cheese is rare and expensive, that is if you can find any! (aka “Goodbye, Cheddar”)
  • Mountain Dew and Red Bull both are sometimes available, and are less than a dollar for what costs $2-4 in the States.
  • “Ragu” pasta sauce is imported and costs about $6 per jar.
  • Bottled carbonated water is as common as uncarbonated water.
  • Today we saw a tin of cookies (the same brand Aubrie used to buy for her Grandpa for Christmas at the Dollar Tree) for about $9.50 US.
  • We won’t be eating those cookies.

At Home

  • Hot water heaters are available, but not common. When we asked a real estate agent about this, he asked if the local water was too cold for us. We mentioned that we enjoy a warm/hot shower if we can get it, he gave us a serious look and asked, “But won’t that make you sick?” 🙂
  • Tile instead of carpet, bars on windows instead of screens, and open windows instead of air conditioning (The AC isn’t too much of a problem since it stays moderately warm).
  • Many friendly Colombian neighbors love to play music loudly at night. Salsa, Reggaeton, Mariachi… oh yeah.
  • Rent is a bit cheaper than the US, but buying a house or property is much more expensive!

Around Town

  • Traffic signals, lines, and signs are merely suggestions and often ignored.
  • On a 3 lane road, many times there will be 4 small cars and a couple of motorcycles squeezed in between each car. True story.
  • For a city of 2 million, I’ve only seen 1 small wreck in the week we’ve been here. Not sure how that’s possible as I’ve seen how people drive here. Lol…
  • Seat belts are almost never used. Just hold on for your lives!
  • Many people have multiple cell phones. In fact, there are over 49 million active cell phones and Colombia’s population is only 47 million.
  • On many street corners there are people who carry 50-100 new-release movies with copies of the cover and a burned DVD in a plastic bag, selling them for 1-2 dollars each. Yes, pirated. Right next to the cops. They don’t sell many in stores. I wonder why…
  • Public restrooms are between 25 cents and a dollar to use, toilet paper is rationed, and most public toilets do not have seats.
  • People that are strangers will often stop what they’re doing for hours to help you. I find this unique and refreshing, even coming from the Southern US! 
  • As I mentioned in my last post, our little blonde haired girls are referred to as “Monitas” or, little monkeys. There aren’t many foreigners, even in our big city, so they get lots of attention!
  • Colombians are very proud of their heritage and superiority in society (what people group isn’t?!). I had a taxi driver preach to me for 1/2 hour last night about how terrible each other Latin American county is, and how Colombia and its people, of course, is supreme in all things. I just smiled and said how much I liked Colombia. 😀 Inside I thought how great it would be if this man got the same passion for Christ and his glory… what a difference he could make!

Just because some people do certain things differently, doesn’t make them weird. Actually, it makes us weird, because we are prone to do things differently than them, in their own land. We try to have a student’s eye, watching and learning how people do things. We try to have a servant’s heart, helping and lifting up instead of expecting to be served. We try to have the Savior’s mind, who left it all, came to a different land, and gave his all for us so that we could be with Him.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

Let us all have the eyes of a student, the heart of a servant and the mind of our Savior!

Feel free to share, comment, or add to any of this. God bless!

January – February 2013 Prayer Letter Update


January / February 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

What a joy it is to greet you once again and share the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Deputation & Family Update

Since our last letter, we have added several new monthly financial partners and quite a few others that have expressed interest in joining us. I’m always amazed how God opens doors and crosses our paths with people and churches that desire to have an impact in Colombia. If you haven’t done so yet, I want to encourage you to jump on board with us. Each little bit really does help us get closer to reaching people in Colombia with the Gospel.

Also, if you know of a church that would be interested in supporting us or having us in to present our work, please let me know. You can contact me by clicking here.

From The Mouth Of Babes

Amira, who will be turning 3 in March, has made a habit of singing songs about people she meets. Her last song was about her new friend Kylee and went something like this, “I love my friend Kylee… She likes to color… She likes green, purple, blue and red… She’s my best friend ever… And she loves God too… We like to play… LaLaLaLa….” Maybe someday Amira will write a song about you! 🙂

Colombian Culture Corner

When you visit a home in Colombia (a common occurrence, since they are very relationship oriented), it is customary to bring a gift for the hostess, such as fruit, quality chocolates, a potted plant, or flowers. But DON’T take marigolds or lilies, as they are used in funerals!

An Event To Consider

The Our Generation Student Leadership Camp, May 27-31, is actually 2 camps in one. There is a track for youth groups (Middle/High schoolers) and another for College Students/Singles that are already interested in missions. With all the things you’d expect at a summer camp (Yes, there is a BLOB!), what sets this apart is its focus and theme on missions. Missionaries come from all over the world (including us, Lord willing) to challenge and train young people to live for God and be a WITNESS in our generation. Bring a group, bring a friend, and plan to be there. For more info check out: visionbaptistmissions.com. {{Also, keep an eye on our family’s website, as I’ll be giving away a free sponsorship soon!}}

Prayer Requests

  1. For growth in the new life of recent converts
  2. For others to trust Christ, here and far away
  3. For our support to continue to increase
  4. For Colombian hearts to be prepared
  5. For God to raise up more laborers.

Serving The King of Kings,

Aaron, Aubrie, Amira & Anabel Vance

 

Click on the icon to see the print version of our prayer letter (with pictures)

Click on the icon to see the print version of our prayer letter (with pictures)

 

 

Monster Theology


“Daaaadddaaaaa!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “Come here Daddy! I need you!”

It was 4 AM this morning. My precious 2 1/2-year-old daughter Amira was crying in desperation. So, what’s a good dad to do? Down to her room I went.

At first sight of me she seemed relieved, and immediately she exclaimed, “I need some milk.” We talked some, quenched her thirst, and the conversation quickly went from her dry throat to more pressing issues.

“I need to sleep with you in Mommy’s bed” (funny how that works, isn’t it?). “No dear,” I replied, “you can stay in your bed. Just a couple more hours until the sun comes up. Your bed is nice and comfortable!”

“But there are monsters on my wall.”

She said it in such a matter-of-fact manner that I had to try to keep from chuckling.

Turns out, the monsters were not just on her wall, but also in the closet, under the bed, and on the ceiling, she told me. Honestly, I don’t know where she got that idea, but she was fully convinced of the infestation.

I showed her how safe her room was, that monsters weren’t real, then I assured her that God is in our house and he keeps the monsters and other scary things away. She got tucked in and slept for a few more hours, and woke up nice and cheerful as if nothing had ever happened.  Thank goodness.

______

How many times do we act the same way? All around us there are “monsters” out to gobble us up. Maybe not the big, hairy, green ones, but our fear manifests itself in other ways.

  • I can’t try anything new because I might fail
  • I can’t witness because people might reject me
  • I can’t give to the church or missions because I might not have enough for other bills
  • I can’t speak to anybody about God because I might make them angry, and I might even be persecuted

It shows up in missions all around the world. May I be bold to say, Fear-based Christianity and fear-based missions is sin.

Why is it that the most frequent command in Scripture is to fear not? I believe that there are 2 prominent reasons:

1. Fear causes us to magnify a lie instead of Jesus

What is fear? It is worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet! Satan whispers a doubt, a lie, an unfounded anxiety, and we swallow it. That’s why we find the following in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Anything that makes itself greater than my God is an idol and must be torn down. Tear down your fear. Bring your thoughts into captivity. Trust Christ.

2. Fear causes us to miss God’s will

When fear controls your life, the Devil gets the victory because you’ve already given up. “There’s no use in trying.” many might say. When we think of reaching the world with the Gospel, what is the greatest hinderance? We have missed it because we’re dominated by fear. Paul told one of the young men he mentored in 2 Timothy 1:6-9:

“6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

He had to remind Timothy of something that was forgotten. Fear doesn’t have to own you. God has something greater for you. The power to defeat that fear is already in you.  If you don’t squash that fear, you will miss God’s plan for your life!

Christian, What’s your fear? What’s the “Monster on the wall?” What’s lifting itself up above Jesus in your life? What’s holding you back from doing God’s will? It’s time to lay it aside and trust Christ. It’s time to live boldly for the ONE who gave all for us.

 

___

Vance Family Footnotes


  • It has been North Carolina week for us!
  • Started out this week’s meetings at Community Baptist Church in Siler City, NC for their Missions Sunday.
  • I was blown away by the generosity and heart of this dear church. It’s exciting to see people who love Jesus and His mission
  • I preached and presented our ministry in Sunday School, then a director from BIMI (another mission board) preached the main service.
  • This man is a member of the church near Chattanooga that I went to as a child! It’s crazy how time flies… I remember him well.
  • Sunday evening I preached and presented our ministry at Pleasant Plains Baptist in Apex, NC.
  • What a fine group of faithful people. It was a joy to be there and meet these folks.
  • Wednesday I was privileged to be with the people of Temple Baptist in Mount Airy, NC
  • (This is the “Mayberry” of the Andy Griffith Show) — It was cool to stroll around town while in the area.
  • After the service here, they, along with 2 others this week, expressed their interest and plan to take us on for support. Praise God!
  • Also, God met a huge need through an unlikely source. I’ve been without a computer for a little while, and a young man said God laid it on his heart to buy me one with some extra money he had. What a huge blessing! Thank you Joseph.
  • I think it’s easy to feel spoiled as a missionary. We’re way blessed beyond what we deserve, that’s for sure.
  • Video to consider: Do You Suffer From D.I.M.S.?

A few pictures from the week…

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