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Surprise Church Plant! — December 2019 Prayer Letter


Dear Praying Friends & Family,

Grace and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? We have found both favor with God (grace) and have been reconciled to God (peace) through Jesus. It makes Christmas time even that more special to know what Christ has done for us. We wish you a Merry Christmas from Colombia! Read on to rejoice with us in the great work God is doing here.

Surprise Church Plant

We have made mention in previous letters about the possibility of several church plants that are already in the works around our area. One of these was in the Girardot (hee-dar-DOHT) neighborhood, where a couple in our church runs a children’s foundation. In November, we went ahead and started a few months ahead of schedule. God has blessed already! One of our preachers, Libardo, along with his wife Laura and daughter Valeria, is leading this new church. The foundation has graciously loaned us their facilities free of charge, but we are going to need to find a new place soon, as it is full each week! Please pray for us in the days ahead as we help this new church get off the ground. If you’d like to donate toward setup costs, send a check to Macedonia (or give online) and mark the gift “A Vance – Church plant.”

Special Visits

In November, our pastor, Charles Blackstock, and his wife, Debbie, came for a quick visit. What a refreshing time it was! We put him to work, preaching in all of our churches, and encouraging our leaders. Their stay was also a blessing to us as a family. They gave us wise counsel and comforted our hearts in the loss of our son a couple of months ago.

In December, we enjoyed the company of Aubrie’s mom and aunt, Juanita and Chris. We had a great time with them, though their visit did not go quite as planned. Our vehicle had trouble, and most of the family was sick while they were here, but it all worked out, and we even got to celebrate Christmas with them. We thank God that our families are so supportive of us being missionaries.

Family Funnies

I recently went on a daddy-daughter date with Anabel, our 7-year-old. At the end of the evening, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, “Dad, you’re the second-best dad I’ve ever had! Of course, #1 has to be God, but you’re pretty great too.”

Blessings & Opportunities

There are so many opportunities that have been opening up to get the Gospel out like never before. People are being reached. Leaders are being trained. New churches are being opened. God continues to pour out his blessing on it all. We don’t understand why he has been so gracious to us, but we are grateful. As long as he goes with us, we aren’t stopping anytime soon. We have another door that seems to be opening up to be on television all around Colombia. Also, we’re looking at a much larger building for our main church. More on these in our next update letter!

Thank You For Your Faithfulness

This year has been extremely challenging, but also full of blessing. We saw God do things beyond our dreams, and we felt stretched beyond our strength. We honestly couldn’t do what we do without your faithful prayers and financial support. God has used you to help us see many people reached with the Gospel. You may never meet these people face to face on this earth. But imagine that day in Glory when we’re all gathered around the throne of God. The redeemed from every nation, giving praise to the one who gave us grace and made peace. What a day that will be.

Prayer Requests and Needs

  • For our three churches and their leaders (in San Alonso, Café Madrid & Girardot)
  • For the Lebrija church plant, and funds to help them get started
  • For the Real De Minas church plant (more on this soon!)
  • For the many other pastors and leaders whom we are training
  • For our monthly financial support to increase as the ministry grows

Thank you for your love and support. Let us know how we can be praying for you!

For the Cause of Christ,

Aaron, Aubrie, Amira, Anabel, Aris & Alethea Vance

Our children’s ministry put together a wonderful Christmas program!
Brother Libardo leading our new church in the Girardot Neighborhood
I enjoyed interpreting for my pastor in 3 of our churches during his visit.
We are thankful that “Mamaw” & “Aunt Cat” came to visit us for Christmas!
I was invited to teach the Bible to some kids & teens at a local camp.
Download a printable version of our prayer letter here

Great Joy and Sorrow — September 2019 Prayer Letter


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.

Church Growth

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.”

Dreaming Big

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

In August, all but 4 of our preachers joined me at a conference in Bogotá
Café Madrid Biblical Baptist Church in front of their new building!
We found a great facility to rent for the Lebrija church plant!
There is still so much work to do!
Our girls got cold the other day. It was 79º in our apartment. 🙂

Moving forward in ministry and family — July 2019 Prayer Letter


Dear praying friends and family,

The ministry in Colombia continues to grow. God truly has us here for such a time as this. When I wonder, “Who are we for such a task?” I remember that it’s not about us. It’s about HIM! Your faithful prayers and support make it possible to see Christ magnified.

Leaders Training Leaders

Our core group of leaders has been both faithfully reaching others and reproducing themselves in others. This is what we set out to do from the beginning, and it is the plan we see laid out in the Great Commission and in 2 Timothy 2:2 — “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” These are exciting days!

Moving Ahead — Lebrija

We have several Bible studies going on weekly in different areas of our city. The men we have been training are leading these groups, and we hope to launch them as churches soon. I plan to highlight one of these in each of our following letters. The first one is our work in Lebrija (pronounced: leh-BREE-ha). This little town is the pineapple capital of South America (yes, it smells delicious!), and is close to the airport on the western outskirts of our city. Its population is around 50,000 people. Juan Cruz and his wife Jennifer lead the work, and it is hosted by a local family who has been traveling an hour each way to be a part of our main church in the city. Currently, there are between 10-15 people who attend every week on Wednesday nights. Both Juan and Jennifer are engineers who graduated from a large university close to our church. They have been with us since the beginning, and I married them last year. It has been great to witness God’s work in their lives, from salvation, discipleship, ministry training, and responding to God’s call. Pray for this work and the days ahead!

Building Update — Café Madrid

Our church in the Café Madrid neighborhood is advancing on the building project, though we have had some delays and added expenses in getting everything ready. The flooring had to be replaced entirely, and we found water leaks in the walls and ceiling. We hope to have the first floor finished in July, and continue to work on the second and third floors as the money comes in. The estimate we were given for the remaining projects is around $4,000. If you would like to help, you can send money to Macedonia (online or by mail) and mark the checks “A. Vance, Building Fund.”

Special Visitor for 5th Anniversary

Our first church here celebrated its 5th anniversary in July. I am amazed at how Christ has built his church! We have been at capacity for several years now, but somehow the church keeps growing. It was such a blessing to host Bro. Bruce Berry, our field director from Macedonia. He has been faithfully serving in ministry for over 40 years! He preached in 4 of our church services, taught our institute students for hours, encouraged our preachers in a special meeting, and even joined us for one of the future church plants in their Bible study. Yes, we put him to work! It was a very edifying time for all.

Welcome to 2 New Family Members!

We had the great honor to travel back to the States in June for a few weeks to support my brother Zach and his bride Taisa on their wedding day. We spent time with family, and I enjoyed preaching in our home church (both in the English and Spanish speaking congregations), as well a few other supporting churches. There were some complications with travel plans and our transportation, but God worked it out, and we’re glad to be back at home in Colombia. Also yes, we’re also expecting another baby, due in March 2020! We praise the Lord for this blessing.

Thank You…

Your prayers and support mean so much to us! Many people are hearing the Gospel, believing the Gospel, and growing in the Gospel because of your faithfulness. We would love for any of you to visit us and see the ministry here for yourself. It truly is a blessing what God is doing.

May Christ Be Magnified,

Aaron & Aubrie Vance & Family

It’s getting harder to fit our church into a group photo!
What an opportunity to invest in these faithful men of God.
Pray for Juan and his wife Jennifer as they lead one of our next church plants.
Testing out the new building for our Café Madrid church. It’s coming along!
Our leaders enjoyed hearing from Bruce Berry and his many decades of experience. He was a missionary to Brazil and is now our field director from Macedonia World Baptist Missions.
At my brother Zach’s wedding in June.

Christ is building his church and we have the keys! April 2019 Prayer Letter


Dear Praying Friends & Family,

It amazes me how God moves, how he provides, and how he proves himself faithful in every circumstance. Celebrate his goodness with us in this month’s report.

We finally have the keys!!

Our church in the Cafe Madrid neighborhood of our city has just finalized the purchase of a three-story house to use for church services, counseling, outreach, children’s activities and more. We thank those of you who have given generously and prayed earnestly for this need! Continue to pray, as we will be working to get the building ready over the next month or two. There remains much work to do!

Growing In Grace & Truth

Our Bible Institute continues strong with 36 men and women registered and preparing for lives of ministry. This semester we’re studying Systematic Theology, Old Testament Survey, and the Christian Home. I also meet with around 15 preacher men for several hours a week to consider biblical Homiletics and help them in developing their gifts and calling. We’re seeing a spiritual army being raised up to take this city, country, continent, and the world for the Gospel’s sake!

Family news

Aubrie, Aris, and Amira recently had birthdays, and Aubrie and I are excited to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in April! Our children are growing both physically and in their faith! In addition to Anabel getting saved and baptized, it is great to see how God is working in our oldest daughter Amira’s life and heart. She was able to join Aubrie and the ladies of our church to a woman’s retreat in March. She has been reading her Bible and sharing it with others. What joy it brings to us to see our children walking in the truth! We pray that Aris (4) and Alethea (1) may also understand and believe the Gospel in due time.

Next Steps & Prayer Requests

  • As previously mentioned, we have a lot of work to do on the new building for the Cafe Madrid church — fixing floors, patching and painting the walls, installing doors, securing windows, adding a security system, etc. This is going to cost a bit more than we had expected, but as always, we trust God to provide.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans live in or are passing through our city seeking a better life. We are trying to do everything we can to help them on their way. Our church gives out food and other supplies every week, which opens the door to share the Gospel. God is using this ministry to see many lives changed!
  • We have new bible studies starting up in a couple locations where we have families traveling up to an hour to come to our church. These are possibilities for futures church plants! Pray for the leaders and prospects.

Thank You

Once again, thank you for your constant prayers and faithful support. If you’d ever like to plan a trip to see the work here, we’d love to have you! Just let us know, and we can work out the details.

For Christ’s Fame,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and Family

Here are a few recent pictures from the ministry:

Aris, Amira, Anabel & Alethea wish you a wonderful Easter!

Wordless book project with one of our kid’s classes (in a classroom instead of the sidewalk!)

Praise the Lord for new believers and for faithful men in ministry!

Part of Instituto Bíblico El Faro (Lighthouse Bible Institute)

Anabel after her baptism

Ladies retreat in March

Back on the Field, and a Big Announcement! January 2019 Prayer Letter


Dear Praying Friends & Family,

Hello from warm and sunny Bucaramanga, Colombia! We thank God for a safe and smooth trip back on January 15th. We have hit the ground running and have many things to report in this letter, but first, a summary of our furlough last year.

Furlough Stats…

  • Total church services/meetings: 159
  • New churches visited: 36
  • Total miles travelled: 36,587
  • New financial supporters: 15
  • Beds slept in: 56
  • Gallons of gas used: 1,830
  • Vehicle break downs: 0
  • Books read: 72

We praise the Lord for the blessing of furlough! Yes, there were challenges, but God is always faithful. As you can see, he was very good to us during these 11 months.

Walking in Truth…

One of the greatest joys we had upon returning to the work in Colombia was in finding the churches united, growing, and walking in truth. We continue to meet new believers who have come to Christ since we left on furlough, and even those who are serving and being trained by the leaders we left behind. Our team of preachers and leaders have worked tirelessly, and with sincere hearts, all for the Glory of Christ, knowing their labor is not in vain.

HUGE NEWS!…

At the end of January, we signed a contract to purchase a 3-story building for our second church. God miraculously provided all the funds for this work in a short amount of time, and he used several of you to do so. We thank you! Our church in Cafe Madrid, Bucaramanga, Colombia thanks you. Those who will hear the Gospel and have the chance to believe also thank you. We should have the keys and be able to move in on March 28th.

Family Funnies…

Part of living in our area of the world is that we feel tremors (small earthquakes) often. We were welcomed back to Colombia by one of these tremors one night while I was meeting with the men of the church and Aubrie had all of our girls on our bed at home. Being on the 8th story of our apartment building, the effect is somewhat multiplied. Our 3-year-old Aris had forgotten about these tremors, and shouted, “What is this bed doing?!” Everyone is safe and sound, by the way.

What’s Next?…

As both of our churches move forward, we are continually looking for ways to keep growing and expanding the glory of God here in Colombia. Lord willing, we plan to start another church toward the end of this year, and maybe 2 or 3 next year. The leaders have been trained and are excited about the possibilities. Long term, we need at least 45 churches just for our city and hundreds more around the country of Colombia. We also look beyond our region and country, and we see many other nations who have yet to hear. We know that God wants to save them as well — how can we reach them? Friends, the harvest is great, and the time of harvest is now, but the laborers are few. We thank you for faithfully partnering with us in prayer and financial support as we do our part. But, I can’t help but think that maybe God wants some of you to join us… Are you willing?

May Christ Be Magnified,
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and family

Here are a few recent pictures from the ministry:

 

Yes, we took all of these bags to Colombia, and they all arrived with us. Praise the Lord!!

It’s great to be back at our church, who welcomed us back with open arms (and cake!).

This is it, folks! The future home of our church in the Cafe Madrid neighborhood of Bucaramanga.

The kids look forward to having a classroom instead of sitting outside on the sidewalk.

Reunited with old friends.

The highways of Colombia are full of Venezuelan families who have fled their country amidst the economic crisis. Some will establish themselves in cities of Colombia, while others are en route to other countries of South America. Pray for us as we minister to these precious souls around us.

Photo: Getty Images

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