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Alex and Maggie Halbert - June 2017

Alex&Maggie

Dear Christ Covenant,
We pray this update finds you doing well.  We are excited to share with you all that has been going on here in South Africa over the past several months.

Our six week internship, Summit, starts in just few days.  Alex along with one of our second year residents, Nimo, has been working hard to recruit Americans and South Africans, creating a well thought through schedule, and working on all the logistics in order to make this year’s Summit a success.  This year we have 12 participants from across the US and South Africa and have invited a campus minister from Reformed University Fellowship to come and teach the Bible portion of Summit.  Many of the participants are still getting some last minute funds raised and preparing to make the journey to East Mountain.  This will prove to be an extremely busy time for all the Halberts as Maggie will also have a big role with Summit, mentoring one of the girls, helping with meals, and helping with the debrief sessions, all while ensuring the kids are taken care of.  We are excited for Maggie’s larger role this year.  The previous years her involvement was limited because she had either just had a baby or was due the day after Summit ended.  We are looking forward to the joy of getting to work on something together.

Alex’s time with Steve is going very well. We are pressing deeper into his story and Alex is learning much about Steve’s culture.  Alex often feels inadequate to mentor Steve, but is grateful for the relationship he has with him.  We have also enjoyed getting to know him as a family.  He loves our kids well and at times allows Emma Kate to participate in a few of the drills at soccer practice.  (See the picture below)  He is starting to think about what next year will be like for him and where/how the Lord might want to use him.  He is currently taking on a larger role at his church and implementing much of what he is learning at East Mountain in a practical way. 

AlexJun17 (1)

We are excited to share that we will be returning to the US to raise funds and visit supporters in October.  We plan on being in the US for several months prior to returning back to South Africa to continue our work with East Mountain. We are looking forward to visiting as many people as possible, catching up on what the Lord has been doing in your lives, as well as sharing about our time here in South Africa.  This will be William’s first time to the US and Emma Kate should be at an age where she will get to enjoy meeting family and friends.  We are looking forward to being back in our home culture and are curious as to what we will have to readjust to, such as driving on the right side of the road.  While we are not excited about coming out of winter here only to go into winter in the US, we are excited about spending the holidays with family.  Because Alex grew up as a missionary kid, he has very fond memories of the excitement of visiting the US that we hope our kids end up having as well.  Alex also has some difficult memories of always being on display and in a different home every few days, that we realize is a part of support raising and pray the Lord is gracious with our children during this necessary process.  After Summit we will take some time to plan out what our time in the US will look like and we will keep you posted with our plans.  If we are in your area and you are able, we would like to meet with you.

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Family life is keeping us busy, but we are enjoying this stage of each of the kids lives.  Emma Kate just celebrated her second birthday and Will’s first birthday is coming up later this month.  Emma Kate talks all the time and loves to sing, mostly “If you're happy and you know it” and “Deep and Wide”.  She also considers herself a full-time interpreter for William.  We have noticed that she knows a few Afrikaans words and will sub them when appropriate.  For example she may say Dankie to someone rather than thank you.  She has an obsession with planes (she probably got this from her father) and can hardly see or hear one without announcing to everyone around that she sees or hears it.  On Tuesdays she goes to a 2 year old tumbling class called Monkeynastics and loves it.  Almost everyday we hear “I go monkeynastics?”.  William is crawling all over the place and wants to be doing everything Emma Kate is doing.  He is starting to talk a bit.  He says ba for his bear, baba for baby (which is the Afrikaans word for baby), uh oh when something falls, and dada for Alex.  We are working on getting him to say mama, but haven’t had success yet.  William is a great eater.  We skipped right over pureed foods because he was so interested in what we were eating.  He is much busier than Emma Kate was at this age and loves to dump out all the toys in the toy box, knock over the blocks, and take all the books of the book shelf.  He has a very sweet side too and is always up for a cuddle and has started giving kisses.

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We will celebrate 9 years of marriage later this month.  We are going away this weekend and leaving the kids with friends since our anniversary falls in the middle of Summit.  It is hard to believe that it has been 9 years since we got married.  We are grateful for the 9 years the Lord has given us and look forward to many more.  We are hopeful for a relaxing weekend prior to the craziness of Summit.

Praise
  • Praise the Lord for William’s health.  He was having a difficult time earlier this week and we found out he had tonsillitis.  We have gotten him on medicine and he is almost back to normal.
  • Praise the Lord with us for all that has come together for Summit.  This year has had a few extra challenges with housing and transportation, but those difficulties have been settled and we are grateful for the way the Lord has answered prayer.
  • We are grateful for friends who are willing and able to watch the kids for a weekend.  We rejoice for the gift that this is to us. 
Prayer
  • Please pray for Summit.  It is going to be a busy time for the participants as well as the family.  Pray that the Lord would use this time for His glory and our benefit.
  • Pray about all that needs to happen in order for us to return to the US.  We would ask that you would pray about our time in the US and that the Lord, as He did before, would bring in the necessary funds we need to return to South Africa.

Here are a few pictures from the past few months:
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A group of us who went to watch a soccer game for one of the Resident's birthdays
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What happens when Daddy gets a little too close to the sea wall
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Will's first train ride
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Emma Kate and Keke warming up for soccer practice
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Will, Steve, and Emma Kate singing at our weekly braai
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Emma Kate's 2nd birthday
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Maggie and Emma Kate getting ready to use EK's new apron she got for her birthday
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William laughing with Megan
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Being this close to a sea lion is really cool until you have to walk within inches to get off the pier 
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Hanging out in old wine barrels