Furlough Update & Church Robbery — June 2018 Prayer Letter
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.
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Goodbye Colombia, Hello USA… February 2018 Prayer Letter
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
I am writing this update during a layover halfway between Colombia and the USA. Yes, we have officially begun our furlough. We are looking forward to the next 11 months. However, to be honest, we have been inundated by intense emotions and spiritual warfare. What will happen to the work, the people, our close friends and spiritual family in Colombia? Yet, we rest in Christ‘s faithfulness, and we trust him for the future. After all, it is HIS church.
Click here to view and download a printable PDF of this letter
A Time To Reflect
Long before we landed in Colombia as missionaries, and long before there was a church, we were already preparing to leave. It may seem odd, but having an “expiration date” of sorts allowed us to have a determined goal and clear path of ministry. If our purpose is to not only win disciples of Christ but also to train them, this deadline gave us something to work toward. Now, we leave behind not only 2 growing churches full of passionate followers of Christ, but also the leaders to continue to take them to the next level. There are 8 preachers who will preach regularly, 4 who will preach semi-regularly, and another 4 who are just starting and will assist in scripture reading, discipleship and other ministries. Other men and women have stepped up to lead every other ministry of the church. What once fell only on the shoulders of Aubrie and I, has grown into a dynamic effort of many to make disciples and see Christ glorified. It really is incredible that God would allow us to be a part of HIS work in Colombia.
Successful Recent Activities
Here’s a quick rundown of what has happened in our ministry and what we’ve been up to since the last update at the beginning of December:
- Christmas outreach in our Cafe Madrid mission church. We were able to sponsor, with generous help from both of our local churches, over 100 needy families with baskets filled with food, basic toiletries, toys for their kids and a Gospel DVD.
- First men’s retreat. Why did we wait so long to do this? It was great to get away with 30 men and study John chapter 17 and Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, as well as relax a bit and strengthen the brotherhood.
- Missions conference. We enjoyed the fellowship and preaching from Latin American missionary pastors who serve in Bogotá – Colombia, Maracay – Venezuela, and Trujillo – Peru. What an eye opening time. Please pray for these families. In addition to fully supporting our daughter church, our main church is giving sacrificially to others to see the Gospel get to the regions beyond!
The church and its leaders are also getting ready for events to reach even more people during the whole year. I look forward to hearing how God uses them, even in our absence
Planning Ahead & Dreaming Big
We are already making big plans for our return at the beginning of 2019. We hope to begin at least 3 more churches in key areas, as well as other outreach ministries to minister to the 2.2 million people of our city of Bucaramanga, and beyond. Obviously as we make all these plans, we submit them to the Lord and his will. For the task ahead, as well as the growth of our family, we find ourselves under-supported. We are praying and trusting God that during this furlough, we can see another 15-20 monthly prayer and financial partners added to our team to help fulfill the Great Commission. Will you be pray about being one of these special partners?
From The Mouth Of Babes
After we landed in the USA, we were standing in the immigration line for US citizens. There was another American lady behind us, and Anabel, our 5 year old, looked up and told her it was OK to take her picture if she wanted to. She‘s been used to this for the past 4 years, but apparently blonde hair & blue eyes are more common here than in Colombia. The lady was a bit perplexed.
We are sincerely grateful for you. Because of your faithful giving and prayers, God is adding much fruit to your account. People are being saved! Continue to pray for our family during this furlough. We expect to have a great time sharing of God’s favor upon the ministry, but we are not oblivious to the possibility of reverse culture-shock, as well as the dangers on the road. Also pray for our dear friends and leaders in the churches of Colombia during our absence.
Rooted & Grounded In HIM,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance
(along with Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea)
June 2016 Prayer Letter
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
April 2016 Prayer Letter
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
February 2016 Prayer Letter
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