Andrew and Julie Halbert - June 2018
Ministry Update - ESEPA
Last year ESEPA was given funding to establish a preaching chair. The chair provides for a professor to oversee, develop and teach our undergraduate Homiletics (preaching) courses. In December, at our graduation, we introduced Manrique Salazar as our Ramesh Richard Chair of Biblical Preaching and Pastoral Ministry. I am very encouraged to see this chair established because it provides one solution to the difficulties of employing national faculty.
Given the recent establishment of this chair, I thought it would be proper to “introduce” you to the professor who currently holds it. Manrique is a Costa Rican pastor with a tremendous desire to see expository preaching in more Latin American churches. Originally an engineer, he became a bivocational pastor before giving up his secular career completely for the pastorate. Over the course of the last seven years he has planted two churches and currently serves as the pastor of the second. In addition to that, Manrique teaches preaching courses through a couple of other ministries. The first is RREACH, which seeks to provide training in expository preaching to pastors around the world. The second is IBAC (Instituto Bíblico de América Central) which was established to provide theological education to pastors and church leaders across Latin America.
Manrique’s love for the Word, experience church planting and heart for teaching make him a wonderful candidate for this position. As I mentioned previously, he will oversee the design of our online and on campus Homiletics courses as well as teaching those same courses. Manrique recently enrolled in a Doctor of Ministry program at Phoenix Seminary and is one of several of our national faculty pursuing a terminal degree.
Manrique at his first DMin class at Phoenix Seminary. His coursework is modular so he is on campus for a week or two several times during the year.
Many of you have asked when we plan to return to Costa Rica. That is a fair question with a rather complex answer. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” I bring that verse up because it speaks to where we find ourselves at this point in support raising.
The word “trust” in that verse is a command. We are being commanded to trust God instead of our own understanding. God’s understanding is perfect while our own understanding is imperfect, so we are commanded to trust God and not ourselves. We find ourselves in the very midst of that battle right now because our understanding would have led us back to Costa Rica two weeks ago. Instead, we find ourselves here in the US waiting, trying to determine when we should return and feeling the weight of important decisions that cannot be made without a return date.
We are trusting that God will provide for our return to Costa Rica in his perfect timing. Until then, trusting God looks like taking one day at a time, praying for God’s provision and continuing to pursue support. As you can imagine, this is not an easy reality to live. We feel conflicted, even caught between two worlds. We desire to be back “home” in Costa Rica and yet we continue to enjoy being “home” in the US and seeing our family more than is normally possible. Sometimes that conflict produces a sense of guilt, sometimes it clouds our judgment and many times it drives us to respond by “leaning on our own understanding.”
As you pray for us this month, please pray that God would cause us to lean on him and not ourselves each day. You can also pray that God would give us a sense of peace as we pursue support over the coming days and weeks. Finally, pray that God would bring in all the support we need. We are praying that God would allow us to return as soon as possible, would you join us in praying for that as well?
Andrew, Julie, Ann Renee and Bryan
UMW Costa Rica