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Alex and Maggie Halbert - February 2019


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Dear Christ Covenant,
Warmest greetings from South Africa.  We wanted to start this update by sharing about the passing of Alex’s grandmother Eloise Smith (Gaga).  We found out late last night (our time) that Gaga at the age of 95 passed away with Alex’s parents with her.  When we left for the field in 2015 we knew that it was a real possibility that at some point during our work here this would be a possibility .  With that in mind, we took each opportunity say our goodbyes.  It is a hard reality to not be able to return to the US to support Alex’s parents during this time.  It is especially difficult to know that this side of heaven she won’t get to meet her new grandchild.  Below is the last picture Alex has of Gaga.  It was taken in July just prior to us returning to South Africa.  We are very grateful for the memories we have and the amazing life the Lord gave her.

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Maggie is now 38 weeks and we are beyond excited to meet this child in the next couple of weeks.  Maggie’s iron is up to a normal level.  That is a huge answer to prayer.  The hospital situation has been settled.  Maggie will be delivering the baby in Cape Town and we have found that there are some huge advantages to delivering that hospital.  1. We think it is possible to get a birth certificate in the hospital.  We haven’t been able to do that with either Emma Kate or William.  This would save us going through the hassle of a 6 week plus process of going to home affairs and applying for a birth certificate.  It also speeds up the process of getting a US certificate of birth abroad and social security number. As well as the process of getting the child put on our visa status.  2. Should the child be a boy, they also do circumcisions in the hospital which hasn’t been the case at either of our other hospitals.  We ended up taking William to a Jewish doctor a few days after he was born and Alex nearly passed out.  This is an experience we would rather avoid if the child turns out to be a boy.

Be in prayer for Maggie during these last couple of weeks of pregnancy.  It is still very hot here and she has found it difficult to escape the heat given that we don’t have air-conditioning in the house.  We have found ourselves at McDonalds a couple of times because they are one of the places with the best air-conditioning and they have a playground for the kids; win-win!

In our last update we asked that you pray for our end of year donation.  We were very pleased with how the Lord provided and the generosity of so many people.  Thank you for your continued prayers for our support.  We are extremely grateful for each of you!
The past few months have been a difficult season with the ministry.  Alex and the leadership team worked hard on a ministry plan for 2019 and in January we had 3 families ran into unexpected visa problems.  Each family is either already back in the US or returning soon to reapply.  We have found the visa process here to be inconsistent, not just for East Mountain or Americans, but for most all foreigners.  We would ask that you pray for the visa issues and that the Lord would give us wisdom as we move forward. 

East Mountain’s 2019 residents arrived in January.  Both Maggie and Alex will be mentoring this year.  Alex will be working with a boy named Matt and Maggie will be working with a girl named Jordan.  We would ask that you pray for those relationships over the course of this year.  They are both very excited about their time with East Mountain and we are prayerful that the Lord uses their time with us to grow their understanding of the Bible, who they are in Christ, and give them a better understanding of how the Lord might use them for his glory and the furthering of his Kingdom.  Below is a picture of when we took the residents to one of our partner Xhosa speaking churches.

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Praise
Praise the Lord for His provision of our support.
We are so grateful for the life of Eloise Smith.  Praise the Lord with us for her and the wonderful memories the Lord has given us.
Praise the Lord that Maggie's iron levels are back up.

Prayer
Please pray for Maggie and baby jelly in these last couple of weeks of pregnancy.   We look to sending a picture of baby jelly in our next update.
Pray for Alex’s family as they greave the loss of Gaga and celebrate her life.

Alex and Maggie Halbert 
United World Missions, South Africa