Dear Praying Friends & Family,
It has been said that when God blesses, opposition is right around the corner. We rejoice in God’s favor on the ministry here, and we rest in his grace during trials.
Our main church continues to flourish. In the last two months we have had big attendances for special days, but also a constant flow of guests for almost every service, as well as professions of faith and baptisms. We recently started preaching through the book of Acts. Much of what we have seen in the ministry here reminds me of those special days in the early church. People from every background are finding freedom in Christ and community in his body, the church. There is a spirit of unity, passion, boldness, and generosity as Spirit-filled believers work together to fulfill the Great Commission.
Letting Them Go
As many of you know, two years ago we started a second church in the Café Madrid neighborhood. We have worked alongside this church and its leaders since its inception. The pastor we trained, Díver Ortiz, has been doing an excellent job, and the church has grown. In September, we commissioned Pastor Díver’s family, as well as five other families from our church, to work in this daughter church full time. This change is bittersweet for us. They will be able to focus entirely on the other church; however, we will have much less contact with these families whom we love. It is all part of growing up. We sometimes joke that we feel like spiritual grandparents, even though we’re only in our 30’s. On a positive note, we now have more room to continue to grow in our first church, and newer leaders have the chance to step up and fill in the gaps left behind.
New Lebrija Church Update
In our last letter, I mentioned one of our next church plants, located in the town of Lebrija. God has moved over the previous two months, and we think we have found an ideal building to rent to help them get off the ground. It is easily accessible to around 50,000 people, large enough to get started, and at a fantastic price. Hopefully, sometime in October or November, we can sign the rental contract and begin to get everything ready for this exciting new stage of ministry. The leader of this work, Juan Cruz, is very encouraged, as are we, at how God is working things out. If you’d like to help with start-up expenses (chairs, essential sound equipment, literature, pulpit, etc.), you can send a gift through Macedonia and mark it “A. Vance — church plant.”
Our primary goal as missionaries isn’t just to build one megachurch that a lot of people attend. Instead, it is to make disciples that make disciples; it is to train leaders who train leaders; it is to plant churches that plant churches. With this in mind, we are dreaming big. There is already a pipeline of believers in various stages of training that we plan to send out someday soon, as God allows. We are also close to opening the next two churches, but this is a small effort in light of the task at hand. We need at least 50 more churches for our city, hundreds more for our country, and thousands more for Latin America. Then we look at the world and realize even those numbers are small in comparison to the great need. We believe we can reach the world in our generation, but we must get serious! Will you dream big with us?
Our Son, Amaziah
Many of you know we were expecting another child. A couple of weeks ago, Aubrie suddenly lost a lot of blood and went into early labor. Our son, Amaziah, was stillborn on September 19th and is now in the presence of Jesus. We held his lifeless body in our hands as we cried out to God for strength and grace. We don’t yet understand why this happened, but we trust our sovereign God, who works all things out for his glory and our good. Continue to pray Aubrie’s healing, as well as our family in the days ahead.
Prayer Requests and Needs
- For our two established churches and their leaders
- For the Lebrija church plant, and funds to help them get started
- For the Real de Minas church plant (more on this in the next letter!)
- For the many Bible studies going on each week as future church plants
- For the pastors and the leaders whom we are training
- For our family in the loss of our son and the raising of our four daughters
Thank you for your love and support. Let us know how we can be praying for you!
May Christ Be Magnified,
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance
“January 19th is your due date… Congratulations!”
This news was somewhat of a surprise to us, but we were excited to be expecting our 3rd child.
However, we never got to meet this blessing. On May 26th, 2013 (our second daughter’s birthday, no less), we spent the day in the hospital where we learned that the pregnancy was lost. Though very hard to see at the time, we now know it was in God’s plan.
Because of the loss of our baby, the doctors found out my wife had a painful disease called endometriosis, and they were able to do an operation to relieve some pain before it got worse.
Still, January 19th has come, and it’s hard not to wonder, “What if….?”
God has taught us to lean more on him this past year than any other. He has given us consolation with with we hope to be able to help and encourage others going through the same issues.
Following is a something I wrote down in honor of our little one. We called him/her Agape (Greek for perfect, unconditional love). But Amira, our oldest, called her little sibling Cookie. 🙂
So, to “Agape Cookie Vance” ..
You were ours for a moment;
So swift and so fleeting.
Now, your home is distant,
Our hearts left bleeding.
Questions bombard, we wonder
Who you would’ve grown to be.
Tall or short, a him or her…
We never got to see.
We never saw you walk,
Run, play, fall or cry;
Never heard you talk
Or sing pretty lullabies.
Doubts fill our minds,
What did we do wrong?
The sorrow echoes inside.
A never ending song.
But then a voice whispers
“Be still, my child, be still.
Your baby is in my arms,
Be still, trust me, be still.
“I knew about this all along.
Nothing takes me by surprise.
You did nothing wrong,
Just lift up your eyes.
“You see, I too, lost my son,
Jesus Christ, on Calvary.
He did for the wrong you’d done
To redeem you back to me.
“Separated for a moment,
He returned soon again.
Reconciled those that trust him,
Saving them from their sins.
“You, too, shall see your child,
Not there on earth, but here.
So fear not, I know it’s wild,
But have faith, you’re near.”
So I keep my eyes and focus
On him who is my rest and peace;
On the one who died for us,
His love poured out, all to see.
He is worthy of all I can give,
He deserves all worship, all praise.
For his name I choose to live
Telling of him all my days.
I choose to trust his heart, his mind;
He knows much more than I.
Sweet peace in Him I find,
We’ll all meet one day in the sky.
So, my child, hold on!
We’ll join you as soon as we can!
You’re safe in God’s loving arms.
We know it’s part of His great plan.
By Aaron Vance
January 19, 2014