God’s Work In Café Madrid
For the past 3 months, our new church plant (just 5 months old), has sponsored an outreach ministry for children in an outskirt community of our city of Bucaramanga, called Café Madrid. I am amazed to see the impact God is making through us in this short time, both in families from the community and in our church people.
Changed Lives — Changed Destinies
These Children are thrilled to see us each time we show up, bringing their chairs to the local park, with smiles on their faces, ready to sing, say their memory verses, do a craft, eat a snack and hear a Bible lesson. Many of these do not know, or have been separated from their parents. Many of these would end up in jail, in gangs or dead within 5-10 years. Many of these might be lucky to eat one meal a day. Many of these have never understood or known the love of Jesus and his people. That is, until now. Children and adults are accepting Christ and experiencing a life and hope that is above circumstances.
Physical vs. Spiritual Food
We understand that giving physical help (humanitarian assistance) without the spiritual (real missions) is empty and non-profitable in the long-term. However, we also remember God’s words in Proverbs 28:27, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.” (See also Proverbs 3:27-28; 14:31; 19:17; 22:9; 31:20; Isaiah 58:10; Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 20:35; Romans 12:20; James 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).
Big Hearts, Big Plans
With that in mind, we are planning a big Christmas event this weekend. 157 children have registered (who have already been coming to our Bible Club), and many of them are bringing whatever family they have around. A small choir will sing songs they have been practicing, I’ll share a Christmas salvation message, we’re making traditional Christmas food for everyone, and we’ll give away special gifts to each of these kids. In a special box, we’ll put a few small toys (according to the child’s age and gender), a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap, a book of Bible stories, a children’s gospel tract and a personalized letter from somebody in our church. That’s the most thrilling part for me. Our church folks have really jumped on board with this program and are working day and night as a team to see it come to pass. It’s really going to be a great day!
Your Part — Help us be a blessing!
If you want to be a part of blessing a Colombian child this Christmas, there is still time to give. You can sponsor a child’s Christmas this year for $5! You can donate through our mission agency, Macedonia World Baptist Missions, who will then forward the funds to us. They’ve made it easy to give online through Paypal, or you can send a check to: P.O. Box 519, Braselton, GA 30517 (make it out to MWBM, Inc. and put “Aaron Vance – Special Project” in the memo). All contributions are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt. Any extra funds that come in will be used toward this ministry for future projects and events.
And above all, please pray. Pray that everything goes smoothly. Pray that we can be a blessing to these families. Pray more precious souls accept God’s perfect gift of salvation. That is, after all, the real reason we celebrate CHRISTmas!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17 –
Enjoy this slideshow of a few pictures we have taken over the last couple months.
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?
As a young person, there was nothing I wanted more than to know what I was supposed to do with my life and how to do it. It was always something that was somewhat mystifying to me. Will I get a vision? Will I start shaking? Will I see a light? … The list goes on. Little did I know that God’s will isn’t some distant, hard-to-understand object to be desired, rather, it is something we can know, we can grasp, and we can live.
I think there are many people out there today that would claim to be Christian, but they still haven’t figured out the purpose God has for their lives. Maybe that’s you. Maybe you long to know how to be right in the middle of God’s will, but you’re not sure where to start. Over the next few days, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned in this area. I think this series of posts will be a help to you.
Be Sure You’re In The Family!
It is amazing to me how many people are religious but still “lost” according to the Bible. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
You see, there are many things done in the “name of Jesus” by people who don’t even know Him! As one preacher put it, this is the hard way to Hell. Religion is hard work, but religion isn’t enough! So, just how can you know you’re saved? How can you be in the family?
1. Know Your Sinful Condition
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3: 23
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20
If we never see ourselves as sinners, we’ll never need to be saved. You must admit that you need a Savior before Jesus can save you. The truth is, all of us have done wrong.
2. Know the Consequence of Sin
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
So, the payment for sins, contrary to popular belief, isn’t works. Most believe that if they do more good than bad that God will let them into heaven. But the payment for sin, according to God’s word, is death. This “death” is also known as the second death, or Hell. That is what we deserve. To make sure you’re in the family of God, you MUST KNOW THIS! If you were to die today, and stand before God, would you be found innocent or guilty? Have you broken His law? The payment for breaking his law is death. Somebody has to pay this penalty.
3. Know that Christ died in your place
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Galatians 3:13
“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Christ is our only hope. You may have heard that he died on the cross, but why? He did it for you and me. He did it because it was the only way. Somebody had to die, and through his death, all of our sins were paid for. And now, through his resurrection we have victory over sin, hell and the grave. Only through Christ do we have a chance of Heaven, because HE is the only way, the truth and the life! (See John 14:6).
4. Repent and Believe on Christ
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
So friend, you may have been playing a game all of your life… that all changes now. Make sure you’re in the family! Don’t put it off! Don’t let pride stop you! Repent and Believe on Christ. What does it mean to repent? It means a change of mind, or in other words, you turn from believing in your own goodness and works, your religion, a religious act, your church or your family, and you turn COMPLETELY to Christ. Believe on him. Don’t just believe IN him (that’s knowing about him), but believe ON him (that’s putting all of your confidence in him)!
What are you trusting in to get to you to Heaven? Be sure you’re in the family! Call on Christ today, accept Him as your only Savior, and he will adopt you into the family!
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12
Once you’re “born again” (John 3:3-7), you can have complete peace that you’re in the family of God. We can be secure in our salvation, because it doesn’t depend on us to keep us saved. It depends completely on Jesus Christ and what he has already done for us! (See John 10:27-30). Once we’re in, we’re in. (See 1 John 5:13).
Are you in the Family? Are you saved? That is the first step to knowing God’s will.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.
Celebration of Independence
Yesterday, July 20th, Colombia celebrated 202 years of independence from Spain. Colombians all around the country demonstrated their patriotic loyalty much like we do for our 4th of July celebrations in the USA. They enjoyed a day off from work, parades, time with family, massive feasts, and giving thanks for their freedom.
The story of their independence is a rather interesting one, revolving around a Venezuelan-born man named Simon Bolivar (who spent most of his time in Colombia and liberated 6 countries from Spain), and more interestingly, a conflict about a flower vase. Yes, a flower vase! You can read about that story here.
The battle for freedom in Colombia wages on.
I’m not talking about simply freedom from oppression from rebel groups, violence and political uprisings. Yes, that is what many focus on, but I’m talking about the freedom that Jesus speaks of in the Bible.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
You see, Colombia, just like the rest of the world, has a root need for eternal freedom. If you look at the entire passage there in John 8, Jesus was speaking to the Jews who were religious. They had the right family heritage, being sons of Abraham. They had the law. They had the right customs and practices and they didn’t see their need for being made free.
But Jesus saw that they were indeed servants and slaves to sin, and of their father the Devil.
Pretty harsh words, aren’t they?
Set Free or Made Free?
No matter how hard we try, in our own effort, the best we can do is to be “set free” from sin. There’s a difference between that and what Jesus actually said. He said he would make us free!
Here’s a good way to picture it… If you were in prison paying for a crime that you committed and I came by with a bomb and blew the wall off to let you out, I would have set you free. The problem with that is, eventually they are going to come looking for you (and me) again to throw us both back behind bars. It would be a temporary fix.
But, what if I go and pay your penalty for you. I can then walk in the front doors with the warden, who reaches for his keys and lets you out, now a free person. You’ve been made free. There is a great difference! Because, now, there is no more condemnation (See Romans 8:1).
How are we made free? By Jesus Christ! He paid our penalty 100%. As long as we try to work our way to God, the best we can do is break free for a little bit. We can’t get completely free from sin, and we can’t get completely free from eternal condemnation.
But, thanks be to Jesus, he has already paid the price and offers to MAKE us free! The Bible calls that Justification. My record is cleaned. God’s books show that I am free. There is no more punishment for my sin. No condemnation.
Do you see the difference? That’s what Colombia (and the rest of the world) need to hear.
What about you?
Have you let Jesus make you free or are you still struggling along, trying to make it on your own. If you were to die today, would you spend eternity with God, or would you be found guilty. It all goes back to what you’re depending on. Are you depending on your works? Your religion? Your effort? Your family?
Jesus Christ died on the cross to buy your freedom. Why don’t you believe in that today? Don’t just believe that it happened, but put all your faith in what He has done and repent of your own effort. He said he’d make you free.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
If you need help or if you have questions about salvation and being made free, I and my family would love to help you and answer your questions. Leave a comment, send me a message or give me a call. I promise to respond because Jesus loves you, and I do too.
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
2 Timothy 4:12
Christian Junior camp was always special to me. From the time I was 8 years old I’ve been able to enjoy at least one week a year of lots of preaching, fun games, new friends, Bible memory and lasting decisions for Christ. In fact, it was at a Junior camp when I was 11 that God called me to be a missionary!
Today was the last day of my church’s annual Junior Camp and they invited me in to preach the morning service. It was wonderful to sit in a room with 80 children and quite a few sleep-deprived teens and adults, all eager to hear the Word of God. They’ve already seen several saved this week and many make decisions for God. There were two more young men that acknowledged their need of salvation this morning. Will you pray with me that they settle that soon? The Holy Spirit was moving in their heart! Also, after I preached on Josiah this morning, over 30 kids and teens made decisions to step out and make a difference for God, to go against the world’s norm, and to surrender their life to Him. Hallelujah! Pray that these decisions will last and that God really will use them for His eternal Glory.
I often wondered as a child, “what can I do, being so young?” This has always brought me back to 1 Timothy 4:12. You see, being young isn’t the issue. Just as being tall, short, fat, skinny, black, white, ugly or pretty isn’t the issue. The issue is a perfect heart toward God. He can use anybody that’s willing to be used. And we, as Christians, need to realize that it’s not about us. It’s all about HIM! He can take the smallest tool and create a masterpiece. And when it comes down to it, that’s all we are–His tools. And it sure feels good to be a tool in the Master’s hand!
Let’s not discredit our young people. They are today’s harvest and tomorrows leaders.
Also, please pray for the Faith Factor Teen Camp my church hosts every year. This is for Middle and High school age young people and will take place in less than two weeks. We’re praying that God saves many, calls many to Christian service and works on all of our hearts in a special way. Check out the video that was put together for the camp here: