Andrew and Julie Halbert - January 2018
A Change in Plans
"El hombre propone y Dios dispone" (Proverbs 16:1). In English this verse is significantly longer but the Spanish essentially says, "Man plans and God directs." We feel as if we are living that verse out! We told you in our last update that our plans were to return to the US in late November for about 3 months of support raising. However, God directed us differently than we had planned.
In late October we came to the conclusion (after seeking advice) that the condition of our support account required more than a 3 month furlough (especially during one of the busiest times of the year). We will give more details on our support needs below but we have realized that we need to expand our support base and that work will require more than 3 months. As things stand now, we returned to the US on December 14 for what will be at least a 6-month stay.
Our decision meant facing some tough decisions. One of those decisions was moving out of our house and the packing, selling and throwing away associated with that decision! Of course, this was hard on the kids as they were sad about leaving the only home they really have a memory of living in.
All of our belongings are now in storage at the seminary and we are trusting that God will provide the right home for us upon our return. The kids have mixed feelings about a new house but they are taking it well and we know they will enjoy the adventure of discovery in whatever house the Lord provides!
Details and Schedule
So why push back our return date? There were a number of contributing factors but some of the biggest were the following. First, it allowed the kids to finish out their school year, which we felt was important for closure since they won’t see their friends for a while. Second, it allowed me to finish up the semester at ESEPA. I was teaching a course, planning graduation for 109 students and planning our spring semester, so it was important to be there to deal with those details. Finally, we needed the extra time to move out of the house and store/sell our stuff, something we had not planned on doing previously.
Our plan is to be based out of Knoxville but our schedule is the following:
February 8: Palmetto Presbytery Meeting, Columbia, SC
February 22-25: Mission Conference @ Christ Covenant
February 25-March 4: Missions Conference @ Briarwood
March 9-17: New Kent, VA
Beyond that we will be visiting supporting churches in VA, SC, NC, GA, AL and TN. We are still filling out our calendar so if you would like us to visit you and/or your church, please let us know!
Our support need is something that is constantly on my mind. In fact, I am rather compulsive about checking our account each month and I am REALLY good at worrying. Over the course of our nearly 5 years of field service in Costa Rica our financial need has increased but we have not been able to meet that growing need with new support. As a result, we have fallen further behind with each passing year despite your faithful and generous giving.
Here is what we need to raise in monthly and one-time giving in order to return to the field and continue in the ministry we have been called to:
Monthly giving: $3,500
One-Time giving: $25,000-$30,000
Those are big numbers! Those numbers scare us and we honestly don't know where that money will come from. We do know that we serve a God who is bigger than those numbers and we are praying that he will lead us to the right people and churches over the course of the next 5-6 months that can help meet that need. Our desire is to be back in Costa Rica in time for the kids to start the second half of their school year (early to mid July).
If you know of churches or individuals who might be interested in hearing about what we are doing in Costa Rica we would love to meet with them. You can either put them in contact with us via email, phone or Facebook or you can put us in contact with them.
While stateside the kids have enjoyed seeing snow, eating Chick-fil-A (photo on the right below) and meeting some of their cousins for the first time (two from South Africa and one from New Kent). We enjoyed visiting Julie's family over Christmas (photo on the left below) and we are also looking forward to being with Andrew's family in a week - this is the first time we have all been together since all the grandkids were born!
We have also enjoyed catching up with great friends in New Kent, Columbia and Knoxville and we are looking forward to seeing many more of you in the upcoming months!
Andrew, Julie, Ann Renee and Bryan
How you can pray this month...
For God's provision in our support raising efforts in 2018
For a good transition into US schools for the kids
Wisdom regarding our travel schedule (who travels, when and how much)
Praise and Thanksgiving this month... 109 students graduated in December! 100 from our 1-year certificate program and 9 from our undergraduate
The opportunity to spend extended time with family
God's provision of a place to store our belongings in Costa Rica during this extended home stay