Tuesday, December 22, 2009
“Good Christian men, rejoice,
with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened the heavenly door,
and man is blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this!”
We trust and pray that you are have had a blessed 2009! Here are a few Halseth family highlights of 2009:
Joshua is two, and charms all our hearts. Every day he has a new word. He loves to run, skip and jump. Trains are his favorite toy and he loves to read his books. Joshua is SO cute when he gets a cookie and he calls them “kikies.” Mommy remains amazed by how fast two year olds can transition from giggles to tears to giggles!
Abby is five and her sweet nurturing personality is a treasure. She loves to mother whoever lets her and always has at least one baby doll with her. Abby enjoys attending pre-school two days a week, and is VERY disappointed if she has to miss church, “My friends will miss me Mom!” she says. Abby played on Nathan’s soccer team, but she had more fun holding hands with her friend on the soccer field - rather then trying to score a goal! J
Nathan is seven and in first grade. This is the first year he rides the bus and he attends school all day every day. At first he thought it was too much work and not enough play! Academics seem to come fairly easily to Nathan. He is very verbal and loves to read. Nathan particularly likes to play with light sabers. He LOVED soccer this summer and just started basketball.
Matt continues to love working with students and leading mission teams. His team in 2010 will be going to Sierra Leone! He also enjoys his men's Bible study. This fall Matt built the best kids tree house ever out of scrap lumber from Grandpa Halseth.
Jenni still enjoys leading a Mom’s Bible study and had an awesome time going to the “Hearts at Home” conference in Nov. We all had fun in August camping on the North Shore and at Bear Head State Park.
Our most exciting news is that we have begun the process to adopt an Ethiopian baby girl. We hope to be able to bring her home by the end of 2010!
Praying your Christmas shines brightly with many of His blessings!
Love, The Halseth Family
Friday, November 6, 2009
Preparing for Royal Servants Mission Teams—2010
By Matt Halseth
In our 4 years leading mission teams with Royal Servants, I have completed different levels of training. My experience level has now reached the point of being able to pursue a wide variety of team locations. This is very exciting!
Next summer, I will be leading a missions team to Sierra Leone, Africa! Sierra Leone is located in West Africa and has huge physical and spiritual needs. About 70% of the people are Muslim and it is the 7th poorest country in the world (out of 194 countries). We are honored and humbled to be able to minister to those in deep spiritual and physical poverty.
Though Jenni and I have been to Africa several times, Sierra Leone will be a place that holds new challenges, and tons of awesome ministry opportunities! This February, I’m planning to take a research/vision trip to Sierra Leone in order to secure the team ministry and logistical details. Please pray for us as we recruit a team of students/ staff and prepare for this new exciting location!
Adopting a Baby Girl From Ethiopia!
By Matt Halseth
“God is a father to the fatherless… He sets the lonely in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell.” Psalms 68:5-6
Over 10 years ago I was deeply impacted by an article I read on adopting orphans. The article was titled, “A Father to the Fatherless.”
Though I did not know it at the time, God was planting the seed in my heart—to one day adopt an orphan baby. That article and title have always stuck with me as I have had the opportunity to minister amongst orphans around the word.
Jenni first remembers the desire to adopt while serving in a Haitian orphanage at the young age of 14. For the next several years Jenni served on numerous mission trips having many opportunities to serve in orphanages and among children living on the streets.
Together we have come to believe that God is indeed calling us to provide a loving home for one of these precious children. And we are thrilled how God is opening the doors for us to adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia!
Please join with us in prayer as we are in the process of finalizing the paperwork.
By Jenni Halseth
This year, God has been working in particularly dramatic ways in our lives. We practically just stand back in amazement and watch to see what He will do next! He is an awesome God who is filled with mystery, wisdom and power. He owes us nothing, yet He gives us everything we need.
There was the day we received notice about discontinued financial support from a significant long standing church donor. Then there was the day we realized God was calling us to look into becoming missionaries in the UK. And then came the day He made it clear we are not now to move to the UK, but instead to be found faithful right exactly where He has us. Mixed in with it all has been our heart to start an adoption and how all these things have played into that decision. It has by no means been a dull year of ministry for the Halseth family! We want to end by sharing a quote we recently read from Desiring God Ministries which has spoken to us:
“Much of the Christian life is spent trusting Jesus now and understanding him later. Jesus typically does not feel it necessary to explain on the front-end why he is doing something the way he is doing it… Our understanding his purposes in a particular providence tends to be not as important to God as our trust in his character. So together let’s continue to “trust in the Lord with all our heart, and… not lean on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5). Because one day we will understand. And we will, with great joy, proclaim, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” (Psalms 145:17)
Thanks for praying and hanging in there with us through thick and thin. We are so incredibly grateful for all your love and encouragement!
After much prayer it has become clear that at this point in time, God is not leading us to serve in the UK. We definitely had excitement about the possibility to serve full-time overseas. However, we are EVEN MORE excited about the way the Lord has CLEARLY answered us!
He has shown us and given us a heart to continue WHOLE-HEARTEDLY in the ministry He already has us in! For a long time it was not a clear or simple choice; we feel it really could have gone either way. But eventually God was so faithful to make it clear that He wants us right where we are.
We are not moving overseas right now, but we do know that God had his purposes in our pursuit of this possibility. He has revealed to us on a deeper level the heart He has for ALL the peoples on the earth. We are also more deeply united as a couple in our continued growing desire to serve in whatever role He calls us to – here or anywhere.
Moving overseas at a future date is not out of the question, but not in the immediate future. Our vision to reach the world for Christ through our current position with Royal Servants has been confirmed and affirmed via friends, colleagues and prayer partners. Thank you so much for praying for us as we considered this move!
Thanks for praying for us as we considered a move overseas. We are thankful for a clear answer from the Lord—to remain faithful where he has us in MN!
Pray for us as we are finalizing adoption paperwork. Pray God would meet us throughout the process this next year.
CHURCH SUPPORT—Thank you to many of you who have been praying for us in regards to a major supporting church who discontinued their support due to some changes in the church. While we are still official missionaries receiving prayer support, we currently do not receive financial support from them. Please pray as you feel led, and also join us in trusting prayer to see God re-raise up these funds.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
"Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38
I confess! I love my job!
This summer, 53 students and staff left family and familiarity to embark on a 5 to 6 week, life-changing journey to central Illinois, Northern Ireland and England. Though I have been in missions now for 10 years, I never tire of:
* Seeing the raw faith and enthusiasm of young people on the mission field
* Helping them grow in truth and deeping their calling through Gods word
* Giving them opportunities to live out their faith through actively reaching others for Christ
One of my most encouraging times of the year is to read about “changed-lives” in the student reports from my team. Here are a few quotes I wanted to share with you:
“I have had the time of my life on Royal Servants this summer. From the teachings we received, to learning about God in our Quiet times to the many successes our team experienced in planting so many seeds in peoples’ hearts. I stopped worrying about rejection and I saw that God was faithful. Learning to have faith in God has been a huge step forward in my walk with him and I couldn’t have learned it in such a powerful and permanent way without having dedicated this past 5 weeks to a Royal Servants mission trip!” Ashley Shellenberger
“The theme of this summer for me was, “Learning to live and serve fully for others benefit and completely for God’s glory.” God helped me to see that I can’t do it all and that he uses each member of the body of Christ. I learned to love and appreciate the body of Christ so much more through seeing God work through others on this trip. He has developed in me an ever more selfless attitude in leading others to glorify Him. It has been a great summer and a brilliant first step into foreign missions.” Andrew Zulker
“This summer has impacted me in so many ways. But now that the mission trip is over, that doesn’t mean that the ministry or the growing stops. I plan to continue memorizing scripture, and re-igniting my youth group with a passion for Christ. I am going to live out my faith boldly and have Christ be at the center of everything I do!” Kaila Yim
“My mission trip with Royal Servants to Ireland and England has opened my eyes so much to the world’s need for Christ. I am so grateful to God for all the many blessings we received, and for the people we planted seeds in and led to Christ. This summer has been the most impacting and amazing summer of my life!” Austin Carlin
Now many students like Ashley, Andrew, Kaila and Austin are back home actively involved in ministry through their local church and reaching others for Christ in their own schools and communities. Our desire is to see these disciples sent out into his harvest fields, whether in their own communities or around the world. Please pray!
And now, thanks to you. We could not be in this ministry without the encouragement of praying friends and praying financial partners. We are grateful.
Matt & Jenni
Saturday, August 1, 2009
“O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are MIGHTY… and your faithfulness surrounds you.” Psalm 89:8
Hey Friends… After a long and rewarding summer Matt is finally home from leading a Royal Servants team of 50 students/staff to Ireland and London! Next month we’ll share a more detailed report on the summer but for now we wanted to send out a quick report to rejoice over what our mighty God has done through our team:
* 7 local church services we were involved in leading
* 45 street performances or creative outreach teams
* 80+ children involved in the Holiday Bible Club (VBS)
* 34 Bible study and team teaching sessions
* 36 Bible verses memorized by each individual
* Hundreds of individuals hearing the gospel message
Wow! We praise God for his faithfulness and mighty hand in all that our team accomplished this summer. Thanks for being a part through your prayers and gifts to our ministry!
Matt, Jenni, Nathan, Abby & Josh
Monday, June 1, 2009
Matt Leading a Team of 50 Students to Impact Ireland and England
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. – Acts 16:9-10
Do you believe God can still give people visions today? I believe God is still alive and active among his church today and he is still calling people to come join him in ways just as he did during the early church.
A couple of months ago I picked up a book titled “St. Patrick: Pioneer Missionary to Ireland.” And can you believe that the Lord gave Patrick a vision to go to Ireland similar to the one Paul received to go to Macedonia in the book of Acts?
Yes, that is right! Several months after Patrick had escaped his slave life in Ireland he had a vision in the night that changed his life… “I saw a man named Victoricus, coming from Ireland with countless letters. He gave me one of them, and I read the opening words which were: ‘The voice of the Irish…’ I thought at the same moment I heard their voice: ‘We beg you holy youth, come and walk among us once more.’”
From that time on Patrick prepared for the ministry and eventually made it back to Ireland to fulfill Gods call in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to Ireland!
Ok, so I did not receive a specific vision from the Lord to go to Northern Ireland or England this summer, but I have received several emails from our Irish and British brothers and sisters in Christ to “Come over and help us!”
The need for the gospel to be proclaimed in Northern Ireland and England today is just as great as it was when St. Patrick received his call. So we have responded to their cry for help!
Please pray for Matt in July as he leads a team of 50 students and staff to serve and partner with churches in Londonderry, Northern Ireland and Tottenham, England for the sake of the gospel. Thank you for coming alongside us and helping us in the work he has called us to!
Last month Matt and I went to England for a week to visit with our Reign UK staff team and to explore the possibilities of a long-term UK missions/ministry position.
Here are some highlights:
We sensed the power of people praying for us - throughout the trip. On four different occasions we had British ministry leaders express to us a specific prayer, word, verse, or vision that God put on their heart specifically regarding us.
We were encouraged by how many open doors were shown to us regarding how He has specifically equipped us in the ministry to train up new youth and youth leaders to reach the UK.
We sensed continuous confirmation along the way that He is leading us to be exploring this possibility.
We were able to clearly see the great need and unique circumstances that make reaching youth in the UK especially strategic.
We were excited to see the heart of the ministry which our colleagues there are involved with – to reach teens in the UK for Christ. There is an entire generation missing from the local church and less than 1% of teens attend church.
What now? We are taking several months to “soak in prayer” the decision of whether the Lord is in fact leading our whole family to move to another continent!!
Please join us in praying for this rather large decision. Pray we will be really in tune with Him. Pray we will be able to hear clearly and consistently if this is His will for our family. Please pray also that if we are to go that placement details would become more clear.
We hope to make a decision sometime this fall. Before leaving we would have to raise additional financial support. Should we move, it would be sometime in 2010 or 2011.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
This year I am celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a bit different. Well to be honest with you, I have not done much to celebrate it in the past other than eat something green. But never the less, this year is different for me. Why? Well, even though this will be my second year leading the Royal Servants Ireland team (and third time to Ireland), I’m a bit embarrassed to say this but I knew very little about the real St. Patrick. Then again, I bet you or your friends can’t tell me too much about him either!
So here is the quiz!... Who was St. Patrick?
a. An Irishman who really liked the color green
b. The cartoon figure on a box of lucky charms
c. A legend about a Leprechaun with a pot of gold
d. A guy who loved God and was called to bring the gospel to Ireland
Ok, hopefully I made that easy for you… if you picked “d” you passed the quiz!
About a month ago I picked up a book titled “St. Patrick: Pioneer Missionary to Ireland.” While reading this book I have been totally encouraged and inspired by this man of God who left everything comfortable and risked his life to bring the gospel to the people of Ireland.
The amazing thing about his story is that his first journey to Ireland was not even as a Christian but as a 16 year old British slave to Irish raiders! At that time Ireland was a place of unspeakable demonic stronghold. Druid priests made child sacrifices to their gods and the people worshiped false idols. Patrick was sold as a slave into the service of a local Irish king. As a slave tending pigs and sheep he met the Lord and his faith was nurtured through prayer and fasting over several months and years.
He described his prayer life as a slave in this way: “Many times a day I prayed. The love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. In a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night. I used to get up for prayer before daylight whatever the weather – snow, frost, rain – without suffering any ill effects. The spirit within me was fervent.”
For six years Patrick had lived under harsh extremes as a slave. When he had the opportunity he spoke to his captors about the love of Christ but they did not respond. In all his years of captivity, pain and rejection, he did not loose his faith and trust in Christ but clung to him all the more. Then one night he heard a voice: “Soon you will go to your own country.” The voice came again. “See, your ship is ready.”
Patrick left in the middle of the night with little supplies and walked for 200 miles before finding a ship on the coast making ready for sail. Through some miraculous events and answered prayer he was able to board the ship and escape his slave life in Ireland.
After a serious of event on his journey Patrick finally reached home in Britain. He settled in with his parents and began living a normal comfortable life. Though he desired to stay with his parents and take over the family farm one day it was not to be. Late one night he had a vision that changed his life: “I saw a man named Victoricus, coming from Ireland with countless letters. He gave me on of them, and I read the opening words which were: ‘The voice of the Irish…’ I thought at the same moment I heard their voice: ‘We beg you holy youth, come and walk among us once more.’” From that time on Patrick prepared for the ministry and eventually made it back to Ireland to fulfill Gods call on his life.
For thirty years Patrick faced the strongholds in Ireland and continued to preach the gospel from village to village, seeing many come to faith in Christ. By the time of his death he had baptized tens of thousands and helped establish hundreds of churches throughout the land. Within a century this once pagan land became predominately Christian, and began sending out missionaries into Europe.
St. Patrick died in his beloved Ireland, March 17th about 460 A.D. The land which once enslaved him, he had set free!
The true St. Patrick has quickly become one of my hero’s of the Christian faith. In many ways, he was like the apostle Paul. He preached the good news of Jesus to a pagan people who worshiped false gods and false idols, was imprisoned for months at a time, was faced with many trials and hardships and planted churches through out his missionary journeys.
I believe we can learn a lot from St. Patrick’s life in how we to can live our lives for Jesus. You may wonder how you can even relate to such a man of God. After all, I’m sure most of you did not receive a dramatic vision from the Lord telling you to leave your friends and country for the sake of the gospel. However, God has put a deep desire in the hearts of our students to do just that, and they have responded in faith!
I know the Lord has big plans for us this summer, not only in Northern Ireland but also in London. I just read a staggering statistic saying that less than 1% of teenagers go to church in the United Kingdom. And you can only imagine how few teenagers in that 1% who even have a real relationship with Christ.
May our hearts be broken for those in N. Ireland and London, who do not yet know the God who created them, the God who loves them and the God who gave his life for them!
I pray that you too will be able to celebrate St. Patrick’s day in a different way this year as you remember the God who transformed his life and called him to leave his comfortable life. May Jesus also do a work in you as you live your life for Him and for His glory!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments. --Matthew 22:37-40
Our goal this year is to put together a family mission statement that includes this verse. Please pray that we will not only memorize this important verse but that we will live it out in loving God and others in ALL that we do.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” --Psalms 1:1,2
Unless we spend time daily with the Lord in prayer and meditating on his word, the pressures of this life can overpower His voice. Please pray we would not neglect our time with God. Pray that we would hunger and thirst for righteousness. Pray also that God would meet us, fill us and satisfy us through His Spirit and by His Word.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” --Colossians 3:12
As we approach our 8th Anniversary we remain thankful for the gift of our marriage. Please join with us in praying that we continue to give our marriage the healthy priority we want it to have. We don’t want to take each other for granted. We want to continue to “spur each other on” in whatever God has. Pray we won’t allow pride to get in the way.
“…These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” –Deuteronomy 6:6,7
DADDY: Sometimes it is easier to make time for ministry outside the home then inside the home. Please pray that I would develop the discipline to “Impress” the truths of God on our children now. Pray that I would continue to make them a priority!
MOMMY: Ohhh – they are SO Cute! How can I NOT treasure every minute with these precious little charges?!! Yet somehow I can become discouraged by the endless dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, and sibling disputes. Pray that I will keep my vision above the daily mundane tasks to honor the calling, and the privilege to be a Mommy to Nathan, Abby and Joshua.
Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.” –James 1:27
Over the past year we have had many mixed emotions about pursuing another pregnancy. In light of our past medical problems and our hearts desire for adoption, we sense God is now leading us to pursue adoption! Pray that God would direct us and lead us throughout the process. Pray also for us to have patience. Pray that we are connected to the right adoption organization (international or domestic) or the right person who knows someone. And pray that God provides for the finances to adopt.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. –James 5:16
In a culture that values independence, pray we will pursue opportunities to be held accountable in our pursuit of personal spiritual growth. We have witnessed a few close friends in ministry struggle in their integrity. Pray for the Lord to protect us and keep us accountable through a few specific authentic and transparent friendships. Pray we would value a prayer partner and/or a mentor.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:19
MEDICAL: In the last month, we have been to the ER or the doctor maybe a dozen times! (Josh-croupe, RSV, pneumonia; Abby-pneumonia, ear infection, tooth ache; Jenni-stitches, optical migraine.) Please pray for health for our family. Pray also for us to identify a more economical health insurance strategy for our family—as this is something we pay for entirely out-of-pocket.
FINANCIAL: With the economy as it is, we have found ourselves in a place where we need to focus on building up our support base. In recent months our regular monthly giving has been down at least 20%. Though this could be burdensome, amazingly—our call to long-term ministry seems to be strengthening
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. –Ephesians 2:10
Believe me when I say there has been numerous times when we have thought about leaving ministry, getting regular jobs and having a “normal” life. But whenever we entertain that thought there is never a peace about leaving but instead a constant drive from the Holy Spirit to “stay the course.” Pray that God would continue to lead us and direct us in our calling in ministry. Pray that we would continuing to pursue the “good works” he has prepared in advance for us to do.
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. –Ephesians 5:15-16
In order to continue to build my focus, pray for wisdom as I periodically set defined, measurable goals in my work. Also pray against a tendency for “my task” to become more important than my focus on the one who called me to it. I pray my focus is first and foremost fixed on Jesus, as my top priority. And then secondly, the task He is calling me to. Pray for discernment to dive into the tasks He calls me to, and also the self-control to not over-commit myself.
“...May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” –John 17:23b
If our relationships with co-workers and those on the mission field become strained we need to be honest and open with each other, show real repentance, and allow God to break our stubborn pride. It is NO easier for us to admit we are wrong than for anyone else! Pray that we will surrender “our” plans to God, be unified with our fellow Christian workers with agape love and seek the highest good rather than claiming our rights.
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. –Ephesians 6:19-20
Some of you may think that people in ministry don’t fear sharing the gospel. But even the apostle Paul, bold as he was, still struggled with fear in proclaiming the gospel. That should not only encourage us to know that we are not alone in our fear but to pray that we too would follow in Paul’s example and be a bold witness for Jesus. I want to be like Paul, please pray that God would give me the boldness to open my mouth and proclaim his message fearlessly!
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. –1 Corinthians 15: 57
Though there is not much talk these days about Satan, he is very real and desires to destroy us and our work for the living God! Please pray that we would have victory over his schemes. Pray also that we would personally have victory over our own worldly and sinful desires. And pray that we would be in a constant state of thankfulness for our Victor, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” –Matthew 9:37-38
Ultimately our work is to disciple the next generation of missionaries. Some may ask, “Are short-terms missions worth it?” And my response is always, YES! Statistics show that MANY, MANY missionaries receive their calling to missions or ministry through a short-term mission trip (including Jenni and I.) Please fervently pray with us that God would do a mighty work among the next generation and send forth workers into his harvest field!
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the father will give you whatever you ask in my name. –John 15:16I believe it is impossible for Christians to mature in their walk with Christ if they are not willing to speak for him. Unless we share our faith with others, we may never see any lasting fruit in our lives or in the lives of others. This is a top priority for our Royal Servants team as we travel abroad and the reason we are seeing lasting fruit in the lives of the students and in the lives we serve overseas. Please pray that we will continue to make this our “top priority” in the work he has called us to. Pray that God will continue to work through us to “bear fruit” and “fruit that will last!”