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Update from Alex and Maggie Halbert - November 2016

alex1Greetings from the Halbert family! We pray you are doing well and hope you enjoy our most recent update.

Family Update
In our last update we asked you to pray about the visits of both Maggie’s and Alex’s parents. We are grateful for you prayers. Both families were able to make the long journey smoothy and jump right into getting to know their grandkids face to face. It was the first time they had met William and only the 3rd time that each of them had seen Emma Kate in person. What a joy it was to have them here with us. Our home is in a busy stage right now. It seems that someone is always needing something and it was great to have the extra hands here to help. We were even able to have a few evenings free while the grandparents took over the evening duties of bathing and putting the kids to bed. The hardest part about grandparents coming is having to say goodbye.

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Emma Kate is at a really fun age. She is a joyful child who loves people. We pray that God allows her to keep her joyful spirit and He uses her in a mighty way to care for and love other people. She very much loves her little brother. She loves to make him laugh and give him hugs and kisses. We have to keep an eye on her as we have caught her trying to feed him multiple times. We found evidence of that in the form of a craisin one day when changing his diaper. Potty training and a regular bed are on the horizon for Emma Kate. We just hope we are up for the challenge.

Will is growing and changing everyday. He loves to laugh at his sister, is starting to roll over and really wants to sit up but just doesn’t have the control yet. Much like Alex was, he tends to be a little more weary of new people than EK was but is all smiles once he gets good and warmed up.

Over the past couple of months, at least one of us has been a little sick. Emma Kate and Maggie have struggled the most. They have both been dealing with a cough and congestion for over 4 weeks now. We think it has to do with allergies. It is spring here and we have been told that the fumigation of the vineyards during this time seems to create a lot of issues for people. We have also been dealing with some mold issues in Emma Kate’s room, but are hopeful that the dry summer will help.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. We are planning on celebrating with the East Mountain community on Friday rather than Thursday as it isn’t a holiday here. East Mountain always has a talent show, an American football game and great food. We are excited about sharing this time with our South African friends.

Ministry Update
Over the past year Alex has been mentoring a young man named Luthando (said Lutando). The whole family has grown very close to Luthando. We love him dearly. Much of his time with our family is spent laughing and holding the kids. He will be finishing his time at East Mountain this coming December and we are not looking forward to saying goodbye. Good news is he will be staying in the area as he goes to the University of Stellenbosch to study music. He is currently working on figuring out housing arrangements as he wants to keep working in the church where we placed him this past year and school and work aren’t very close.

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One of our pastors from Westminster Presbyterian Church, Erik Veerman, came and visited a couple of weeks ago. What a blessing it was for us to have him with us. He came with the support of the church to encourage us in our ministry. The most encouraging time came one evening when the kids had gone to bed and he sat with us and spend a good chunk of time praying with us. We are very grateful to Westminster for sending him and to his family for allowing him to come.

Alex has been very busy helping East Mountain plan for 2017. His biggest role next year will be working with several different short-term projects that need to be planned and organized, most significantly, Summit 2017. This is East Mountain’s 6 week internship. He has already interviewed several candidates and is beginning to work out how we can make it an even better experience this year.

Financial Update
God has been extremely gracious to us. Since we moved here 20 months ago, we have not had to mention finances in any of our updates. We originally came here a bit underfunded, but with enough one time support to make it 2 years. Our prayer is that we would be able to make it to Fall of 2017 before we have to return on Home Ministry Assignment. We would like to ask that you pray with us that the Lord would provide in a tremendous way over the final weeks in 2016, securing our stay here in South Africa through Summit 2017.

Praise
Praise the Lord, we asked you to pray for the safe travel of our family and God answered abundantly.

We also asked you to pray about getting all of Will’s documents. What an answer to prayer we received. In exchange for a chance to hold Will while she worked on our documents, they allowed us to move to the front of the line, making what could have been a 3 hour process only 30 minutes. They also felt bad for us as the room was extremely hot, we were nearing feeding time for Will and nap time for Emma Kate. William is now fully legal with a Birth Certificate, Certificate of Birth Abroad, Passport, Visa, and Social Security Card. We just got the Social Security Card about a week ago.

Prayer
Pray for the health of our family. We would love to enter the holiday season with everyone healthy. Even as we write this, Alex is feeling achy.

Pray for Luthando and his adjustment out of East Mountain and into full-time school. Pray for wisdom as he figures out what his living situation will be next year. Pray that we would be able to continue our deep relationship with him.

Pray for East Mountain as it plans and schedules for 2017. Pray that God would get great glory from what East Mountain is doing and the time and effort it is being put into the planning process.