September 1, 2014
Brace yourselves — This is perhaps the most exciting prayer letter we’ve ever written! The past two months have been packed with God’s grace and blessings. Here is a quick rundown summary.
The Iglesia Bíblica Bautista El Faro had its first official services on July 13th with around 40 in attendance. Several acknowledged their need for salvation, repenting and believing on Jesus that day! There have been new visitors every week and many families and individuals are plugging in with personal discipleship, helping around the church and bringing their friends. Pray especially for a few young men who have shown interest in going further. Christ is building his church!!
Just days before the inauguration of our church, a Colombian lady contacted me from the USA whose mother was back in her hometown of Bucaramanga visiting family, and suddenly passed away. Both the daughter and this woman had been recently saved and were attending a good church in Florida, and I was asked to perform her funeral. The wish of this woman was that her lost family members would hear the Gospel preached at her funeral. What God did was truly amazing. By our best counts, about 120 people showed up for the service at our church (which really only holds 80), and heard a clear presentation of Biblical salvation. Dozens of these decided to place their faith in Jesus alone for eternal life. It was amazing! What an honor to this lady who had just been saved one year before. God is good!
More Lives Changed
We have seen several receive Christ and become born again in the past month, including religious people, who realized that Jesus is the only way, He is enough and that works do not save; also Atheists, who understood that there is a God who created them, loves them and died for them; and even an ex-paramilitary hit-man, who found a new beginning and new life in Jesus. God’s power has no limits. He is mighty to save all who will believe.
A Productive Visit
Our pastor and several from our home church came to visit in July. They helped get out thousands of invites the weekend before the big church launch and were a tremendous help to get the building ready for all the people. God worked through them and in them. Please pray especially for two of the young men that desire to return here or another place as God leads to work as full-time missionaries. If you would like to bring a group to Colombia, please get in touch with us, or see our website with details about a trip for students and singles June 15-25, 2015. We would love to have you!
- Growth of the church numerically and spiritually
- Families and individuals who are in discipleship
- A new youth outreach starting this month in the poorest and most dangerous neighborhood of our city
- Additional monthly financial support. At this point we have many more plans but are only held back by lack of funds. Would you consider partnering with us, that fruit would abound to your account? No amount is too small!
- Aubrie and the new baby — they are healthy and in the 2nd trimester already!
We love you and pray that the abundant grace of Almighty God would fill you, bless you and enable you to continue laboring for his Worthy Name!
Aaron & Aubrie Vance and family
Thank you for all you do to make it possible for us to be here! How can we be praying for you?
“Dear Lord, bless all the missionaries, and… um… and… um… and… yeah, bless them. Amen.”
You’ve been there. You’ve heard it before. A missionary comes to your church and says, “Pray for us!” In your mind you acquiesce, and you may even tell them, “We’ll be praying for you, brother!”
But what does that mean? How should we actually pray for them? Will a “blanket prayer” work? Just one big “Bless them all, Lord!”?
In short, no.
I’m going to take a few posts to outline some things that I’ve learned from my personal study on this topic. What does the scripture say about praying for other believers, particularly those serving as missionaries or ministers of the Gospel?
Let’s start with a something so vastly important yet incredibly basic.
1. Get To Know Your Missionaries!
Philippians 1:3-8 “3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 8For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.”
If you don’t know somebody, you won’t be able to pray for their specific needs. Any missionary that’s worth his salt will take time to try to communicate with his supporters. Prayer letters, emails, a personal website, a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc… whatever it takes to get their ministry and needs “out there.”
But that means nothing if you don’t make an effort to keep up with them.
Supporting missionaries financially is important, yes, but make an effort to put a face to the check you send. When you know your missionaries and try to keep up with what’s going on, you’ll feel like you’re doing more than sending empty checks and prayers out into the eternal abyss for an unknown soul. You’re interceding for and investing in a friend.
As your read the epistles from the Apostle Paul to the New Testament churches, you’ll see that there was a definite friendship between them. He knew that they were more than converts or supporters. They were brethren in Christ and “Yokefellows” in the ministry. Friends.
Get to know your missionaries.
2. Pray For Laborers!
Matthew 9:35-38 “35And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
So many times we are so preoccupied praying about our own needs, our wants, our family, and the bunion on our toe that we completely forget to pray for what Jesus Christ TOLD us to pray about.
Sure, he cares about your bunion, but do you know that one of the few, if not the only direct prayer request Christ gave us was for Laborers for the Harvest? That’s an incredible thought. He lifted up his eyes and saw the multitudes. He had compassion on them. He was moved for their necessity. And we… we are focused on ourselves.
When is the last time you took time to pray specifically that God would send more missionaries into the world? Take a map or a globe, pick a country and ask God to send laborers there. Research the need. Population. Religion. Current works. Then beg the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
But watch out.
He might send you.
3. Pray For An Open Door!
Colossians 4:2-5 “2Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
Missionaries must work hard. They must put forth an effort to study diligently, learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, reach people, train people, lead people and duplicate themselves.
But all of this is in vain unless the Holy Spirit opens up a door.
What’s an open door? It’s an opportunity. A chance to reach somebody, win them and train them. It’s an opportunity to glorify God.
So, just as Paul asked the Colossians and others to pray for an open door of utterance, pray this for your missionaries.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3!