Aaron and Rachel Halbert - May 2019
Dear Christ Covenant Family and Friends:
A little while back my Dad gave my wife and I a book he loves to use for his morning devotions called Voices From the Past. The book is made up of helpful excerpts from different puritans with each one covering different topics. One of the writings that has stuck with me is one by William Cooper on thanksgiving. In the excerpt he writes:
The Spirit of God teaches the souls of believers this lesson of thankfulness. David’s heart was tuned to the praises of God, and it is important that thankfulness is encouraged and practised under the gospel also. Thanksgiving demonstrates a spiritual and noble frame of the soul in the highest pitch of grace. The Lord Jesus taught us thankfulness both by pattern and precept, and he thanked God frequently and fervently. Even when he was to eat common bread he gave thanks (Mark 8:6). The nine lepers were reproved for their unthankfulness (Luke 17:17-18). Thankfulness is the worship we owe God for all the we have and are (1 Corinthians 15:10).
In light of the excerpt, I began to think about the past few months and year here in Honduras. We truly have so much to be thankful for. The Lord has granted us a wonderful church family at Gracia Soberana. We have a wonderful support network of churches and individuals who encourage us and pray for us. We have gotten to watch the church grow not only in number, but depth over these past months. Most of all, each week we get to gather to hear the old and always relevant story of our God who sent His Son to save the likes of us. Oh that I, that we, would be more thankful as we reflect on all that we have and are. With that in mind, I would like to expand a little more on the things the Lord is doing here and how we are thankful for that reality. Before I do so, if you would like to see pictures from the last few months there is a link at the bottom.
New members and Church’s 2nd anniversary
One of the greatest joys of these past few months was receiving our first members and administering the sacrament of baptism. It was also a great joy and delight to baptize new believers and covenant children on the same day as we received our first members. It was a historic moment for us as a church and for the presbyterian church in Honduras. We are currently working through our second new members class and hope to receive more new members during the summer months.
Another exciting moment that happened in the life of our church was the celebration of our church anniversary. I know it is only our 2nd anniversary, but it is always a joy to have the opportunity to look back over the past year and see how faithful the Lord has been to our church plant. It was a delight to worship together and then have time eating together during our monthly dinner on the grounds. I know it is always an encouragement to me and I believe to our church to bless the Lord together for His graciousness to us.
Josue ordination process
It has been a great joy to watch this process advance over the past couple of months. In February, we were able to have some conversations with the Presbytery of the Mississippi Valley and it looks like Josue will be taking his written and oral exams this fall. Our hope is that he would be received by the presbytery in November. This would be a very important step for us in Honduras as we seek to establish a denomination and look towards future church plants. There are still details that we are working through and some steps that need to be completed in order for this to happen. We would appreciate your prayers as we strive to get everything in order for this process. Please pray specifically for Josué as he studies and prepares for his exams. We are thankful to the Lord for how far He has brought us in this process and bless His name for His kindness to us.
It has been one of our hopes and prayers since the beginning of planting the church that our people would love to fellowship together and be marked by hospitality. In God’s kindness it has been a joy to watch our people really buy into this idea since the beginning of the year. The ways that I have been encouraged is by hearing that our people are having each other into their homes and spending time together during the week. There seems to be genuine desire to press each other to love and good works and grow together as believers.
It has also been encouraging to watch our people enjoy each other’s company. One of my favorite things about our Sunday night gathering at church is that every Sunday night after our evening study whoever attends comes to our house to eat dinner. It is some of the sweetest times of fellowship our church family shares. We started it as a way to continue conversation after our Sunday night gatherings. On Sunday nights we are intentionally teaching reformed doctrines or topics that may be controversial or cause questions for the people who come. We wanted to be faithful to the time we had each night, but also not cut people off from continuing to work through some of these issues. What has grown out of this Sunday night post study fellowship is an encouragement to my soul and a cause of great thanksgiving to God for His kindness in giving us this time together. Josué continues to tell me that our Sunday night meetings to study doctrine and then eat together has been one of the main sources of growth in our church both in number and depth. It has been an encouragement to see something so simple be such an encouragement to so many. We would ask you to continue to pray for these get togethers and that our people would continue to enjoy each other’s fellowship.
Please be in prayer for Josue’s upcoming exams. This is something that we have been praying for and looking forward to for a while. But, it doesn’t come without much study and preparation. Pray he would study hard, use his time well, and that the Lord would be honored through this process.
Please pray for our second annual conference, Doctrinas para la Vida. We will be focusing on the Ordo Salutis this year and Dr. Guy Waters from RTS in Jackson will be preaching the conference. It will take place the second week of June and be a three night conference. Last year we had about 65 people come and we are hoping that we will have between 80 and 100 this year. Dr. Waters will also be teaching a class on Presbyterian church government for a group of about 15 to 20 pastors. Please pray that the Lord would richly bless our preparations and our time together.
We would ask you to please pray for Josue’s father in law who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer this week. The last couple of weeks have been very difficult and just this week they were able to get more clarity on what stage of cancer he has. Please pray for wisdom for the family and for the doctors and for his father in law. His name is Oscar and it is with great joy that I can say that this man loves the Lord and knows that no matter what happens his future in secure in Christ!
Finally, please pray for wisdom for us. We have, by the grace of God, grown again and are reaching the point of needing more space. We are hoping to use our current space and expand, but we don’t know what that would look like as we are renting the location. We bless the Lord for this development, but want to be discerning about what is the wisest next step for us.
Just as a final note, Josue, Rudy(elder candidate), and I will be attending General Assembly in Dallas. If you are going to be there we would love the chance to catch up with you. Please feel free to contact me so we can set up a time for us to grab a coffee or a meal!
We hope this finds you doing well and looking forward to the summer months! As I mentioned above, if you would like to see pictures you can click here.
Yours in Christ,
Aaron, Rachel, Ford, Catherine
Ryley, Whitley, Anne Waverly