Andrew and Julie Halbert - September 2017
Chris Wright Conference
Earlier in the year we asked you to pray about the conference with Dr. Chris Wright at the end of April. We are happy to say that the response to the event was very positive. Dr. Wright spoke to our faculty one afternoon and then later to the Theological Fraternity before beginning his three seminars on preaching from the Old Testament. Our attendance was at max capacity for our auditorium (150 people) for each of the three main seminars and while logistics and coordination were difficult we had excellent help from our staff and student volunteers!
We appreciate your prayers for the event! We would also ask that you continue to pray for the impact that this conference has had on God's people here in Costa Rica.
Our final evening with Dr. Wright before he left. The kids really enjoyed him though the picture doesn't show that!
ESEPA General Update
ESEPA continues to grow from semester to semester. We are up to about 210 students in our undergraduate and graduate programs and another 250+ in our certificate programs! We have nearly completed our first two-year cycle of course offerings and I have had to expand our course offerings in order to meet the demands/needs of our increasing student population. We anticipate 10 graduates this year from Associate's and Bachelor's programs!
Unfortunately, the seminary continues to struggle financially (not uncommon among education institutions). There are a number of contributing factors and I have been working closely the last couple of months with the leadership team to analyze our income and expenses. We are hopeful that our internal cost analysis will help us provide the correct balance between cost and minimum students per course to allow us to move in a positive direction financially without burdening our students with higher course costs.
REFIT® Costa Rica
I, Julie, want to thank you all for your prayers! I have really enjoyed teaching REFIT® at HomeChurch over the last month. The ladies have been so gracious & patient with me as I forget steps & struggle with Spanish…my poor brain is on overload. I feel like I’m trying to do the ‘pat yourself on the head and rub your tummy trick,’ except more complicated because surprisingly I can actually do that, HA!
I just started using a book called Devotionals for a Healthier You by Katie Farrell as a guide for our mini devotionals after class. This book speaks to the heart, mind, body and soul. I’ve been touched by the vulnerability of these ladies & look forward to growing with them in the coming months!
Recently the ladies at ESEPA approached me to see if I’d be willing to teach a class(es) on campus. Lord willing, in a few weeks I’ll begin giving a Friday afternoon class for staff and students. Gyms are very expensive here in Costa Rica and the staff at ESEPA do not make a lot of money. Their work on campus really is a labor of love. Offering REFIT® would be a small way to give back to them for all that they do!
This past weekend I had the honor of leading a REFIT® class for the Alumni Event to help raise money for ESEPA. It was an absolute blast! We have included some pictures below and more on Facebook.
The video from my training in VA is on YouTube now. If you can figure out where I am among the crowd let me know!
We would like to share with you a financial need for which we would greatly appreciate your prayers. The Lord graciously provided the majority of the money that we needed to put Ann Renee and Bryan in school this year. However, we are still lacking the funds to pay the final three months of the year. In addition to that, we found out that we must also pay a full month for each child in order to hold their spot for next year. We currently need $3,000 in order to cover the remaining school expenses for this year and put the payment down on next year.
Thank you for your faithful prayers for this request. If you or someone you know is interested in giving to help with this need, it can be done through United World Mission. Simply indicate (on a separate paper) that the money is intended for Ann Renee and Bryan's education expense.
Home Ministry Assignment
It hardly seems possible that we are due for a Home Ministry Assignment (Our last HMA was during the Fall/Winter of 2014-2015). We have started making plans to visit various churches during our time in the US and we will provide more details about our schedule in the coming weeks and months.
We want to share our general dates for our time in the States as we would love to connect with as many of you as possible. We arrive in Virginia on the 16th of November and we return to Costa Rica on the 30th of January. We still have lots of details to work out but we look forward to seeing as many of during out time together!
How you can pray this month...
That Julie's opportunities to teach REFIT would increase.
Continued growth for ESEPA (especially our San José campus)
Wisdom in planning our HMA as there are many factors to consider
Our financial needs (especially the kids' education)
Praise and Thanksgiving this month...
We are thankful that Julie has finally been able start teaching REFIT
Praise that we will have an extended time in the US this winter and will get to see many of you.
Andrew, Julie, Ann Renee and Bryan
More about us - click here for our video.