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
Dear Praying Friends & Family,
One of the most significant messages of the Bible is that God works in ways we cannot fully understand. He uses ordinary people for extraordinary tasks. He makes a way to move forward when it seems to be a dead-end. He works out even the worst circumstances for his glory and our good. He only calls for us to trust and obey. In this update, we highlight how this is happening all around us.
One Door Closes, Another Opens
I mentioned in our last letter that the landlord of our second church told us we need to vacate soon. Almost immediately, we were approached by the owners of a store three doors down to inform us that if we would ever want to purchase property, they want to sell to us. What an amazing opportunity! God works things out, doesn’t he? This building was used as a community store on the first floor and served as the owner’s residence on the second and third floors. The space is beautiful and perfect for a church! It will provide a long-term home, and help this new church become fully autonomous. It is also right in the community park that was recently renovated. The first floor is big enough for the church auditorium, and children would have classrooms upstairs instead of meeting on the ground outside.
The owners are giving us an incredible price for the property, and already have all the documents in order. We need to raise $50,000 for this need by January when we return from Furlough. Praise God, in the last two months, we’ve already seen 30% of that given! Please pray about how you could help this young church. Any amount helps! Checks can be sent to:
Macedonia World Baptist Missions, Inc.
PO Box 519, Braselton, GA 30517
(put “A. Vance – Building Fund” in the memo)
You can also give online at mwbm.org. Click on the “give online” banner, follow the prompts, and look for us on the drop-down menu. All gifts are tax-deductible.
Hurry Up, and Slow Down!
It’s amazing how God makes us slow down sometimes. To say this fall has been busy would be quite an understatement. I have had some discomfort for much of this year that finally came to a head in November. I was experiencing extreme pain just hours after arriving “home” after a trip to upstate New York. I rushed to the emergency room and then was transported by ambulance to another hospital where I spent five days. They did several procedures and surgeries, and praise God that all was successful.
It’s hard for me to cancel meetings, but the rest required to recover has been a blessing in disguise. God knows what we need. I’m thankful also for my wife, Aubrie, and her support during all of this. Somehow she excels in keeping up with our children and home on top of being my nurse. She is amazing.
The End Is In Sight
Our tickets are purchased, and we will return to Bucaramanga, Colombia on January 15th, 2019! Furlough has been challenging in some ways, but a tremendous blessing in every way. I’ll write more on this in our next letter. We are close to our monthly support goal, praying the last 10% would come in soon. There is much to do when we return, so we appreciate your prayers as we make the transition back.
Thank you for holding the ropes for us through your prayers and financial giving. God is working, and he is adding fruit to your account. We are grateful for you!
Trusting and Obeying HIM,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and family
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 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)
Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel & Aris Vance
Your Missionaries To Colombia
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