January 2, 2015
Dear Praying Friends,
We trust that you all have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Life is more busy & blessed than ever here in Colombia. Up front, thanks to all who have supported us this year through your prayers and giving. We couldn’t do what we do without you allowing God to use you in this way!
Growing Church, Growing People!
In July we started our first church here, and in 6 months, God done things far beyond what we expected! New people visit nearly every week, many accepting Christ and getting into discipleship. There are also now 4 men who have expressed desire for ministry and are taking steps toward that end. Pray for Óscar, Eduardo, Sergio and Jhon and for me as I work in training them and others to do the work of the ministry. This is why we’re here!
Merry Christmas for Many Children!
In September we began an outreach ministry for children and adults in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of our city. The response has been phenomenal! We are averaging around 150 each week, with over 250 attending our end of the year Christmas program. Gifts were given, as was the Gospel, and several accepted Christ as their Savior! Thank you to those who donated toward this need. If you’d like to give toward future projects, you can give online (www.bemagnified.org), or by sending a check to our mission board marked “A. Vance – Special Project.” Our plans are to start another church here within a year.
Big God, Big Plans!
We are looking forward to seeing God work in 2015. We have big plans and ask that you pray specifically for these things. Be praying for free English classes we will be starting Monday January 5th. Pray for a youth camp that I will be preaching this month with churches from around the country. Pray for our leaders, and me as I train them. Pray for open doors to start more churches here. Pray for more laborers for our city of Bucaramanga, and the dozens of others that are full of unreached people. Pray for a missions trip we have planned for U.S. students and singles June 15-25 (There’s still time to sign up — info at http://www.bemagnified.org).
By our next prayer letter we’ll be able to introduce you to our new little baby girl, due February 23. Aubrie is doing well with the pregnancy, and our girls are thrilled about being big sisters. We’re required to leave the home we’ve been renting, so please pray as we find another house. It’s been over a 2 month process of complicated ups and downs, but we hope to finalize something this week. Contact us for our new mailing address. Also pray for a vehicle for our family and ministry. We have not have the funds for this, but we know that God can provide in his timing. If you’d like to give toward this need, you can give online or by sending a check to Macedonia (address below) and mark it “A. Vance — Vehicle.”
Once again, thank you! Thank you for holding the ropes for us! God is good. He is worthy. He is working. Are we willing to take steps forward this year for his glory?
Serving King Jesus,
Aaron Vance & Family
Happy New Year from the Vances in Colombia! I thought I’d share a fun little post of some [interesting] Colombian traditions and New Year’s rituals.
Colombia has a load of these New Year superstitions, and most people pick a couple to practice each year (you couldn’t possibly do all of them… lol). It’s amazing how many more of these I’m finding out about as we go along.
1. Vuelta A La Manzana (Trip Around the Block)
At midnight, many Colombians will grab an empty suitcase take a fast lap with it around the block. They believe this will increase chances of taking a big trip in the upcoming year. PS – our suitcases won’t be getting out again any time soon; moving to Colombia was enough for now! 🙂
2. Las Uvas (The Grapes)
It’s crazy how much I’ve been asked if we have prepared our “New Year’s Grapes.” 🙂 Colombians will get 12 grapes and once the clock strikes midnight, they’ll start eating them one by one (at each strike of the clock), making a wish on each. BUT, they believe you have to eat all 12 grapes before 12:01 to make sure the wishes come true!
3. Calzón Amarillo (Yellow Underwear)
This ritual is supposed to bring good luck, especially with the lottery. If you really want to be lucky, you’re supposed to wear it inside-out and/or backwards!
4. Dinero En El Zapato (Money In The Shoe)
So, if you want to have a financially prosperous year, you need to stuff some bills in your shoe (then put it back on), or at least have some money in your pocket.
5. Las Lintejas (The Lentils)
Colombians put a few grains, particularly lentils, in their pocket to make sure they have enough food to put on the table for the year.
6. Subir La Escalera (Climb The Ladder)
If there’s no ladder available, a chair can be used, but this ritual takes the figurative saying literally, making sure one climbs the ladder of society and life during the year.
7. El Año Viejo (The Old Year)
Perhaps one of the most interesting, to me at least, is the Old Year doll. Many Colombians carry out this tradition each year, gathering a pair of clothes, stuffing it with paper, cardboard and even explosives, then setting it in the street and incinerating it at midnight. This represents the old year passing and a new year coming. Past mistakes, failures, sins, can be left behind, because it’s a new year. Now there is a new opportunity, another chance at life. The old has gone and the new has come.
When I think of the new year traditions, particularly the Old Year doll, I cannot help but to think of the difference Christ makes in one’s life when they receive him as their Savior. When a person is born again, it is just that… they are born again! They really are made new! They really are a new creature! They really do have a different approach to life, a different hope, a different (and BETTER) purpose… What a difference Christ makes! We pray many Colombians come to know this Christ, not just as a religious figure or good luck charm, but on a personal level. On a complete-repentance-and-trusting-faith level.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21
This list of 7 New Year’s rituals in Colombia is not near conclusive (I’ve heard of another 7 or 8 more traditions but I thought you’d get bored…lol), but I wanted to give you an idea of what we see here. Our wish for you, our friends and family, as you enter this new year, is that you would be full of God’s love, growing in his grace, and in the knowledge in his Word. We pray for health, prosperity, success, and open doors to serve our great God. We love you all!