Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Halseth Family!

We pray your 2011 was blessed! Here are a few Halseth family highlights of 2011:

Rachel Rose is much loved by all.  We love cuddling Rachel and enjoy watching her giggle! At 9 months, she is thriving. Her weight has tripled since we met her! She started at 6.5 pounds in July and is now 19 pounds!  She does something new each day. We are so grateful to God for giving our family the gift of Rachel.

Joshua started pre-school this fall. He is filled with curiosity, and maybe a little mischief :) Joshua is very energetic, and loves to help Dad “work” by moving dirt piles or stacking fire-wood! He wears a superhero costume half the time. If he could actually be a super-hero it would be a cross between Batman and Spiderman!

Abby is a sweet first grader. Her teacher says Abby loves to learn & received the “Most Helpful” award. She is in dance, soccer, basketball & Awana. She is artistic & can’t wait for her next play-date. Abby enjoys dancing around the house to worship music.

Nathan is a third grader involved with scouts, basketball, football, soccer and Awana. Nathan is an avid sports fan. He must be growing up because instead of toys, he wants professional sports game tickets & jerseys! We esp. appreciate his sense of humor.

Matt loves leading a student Bible study, serving on our church board and working on the new Royal Servants Training Camp. Matt has adapted his hobbies to include four active young children… in other words, he loves doing what they love doing! :-)

Jenni is very very happy with the family God has blessed us with, and maybe a little tired w/a baby still awake many nights. :) Jenni esp. loves watching the older kids adore Rachel. Her goal is to keep all four clothed, fed & to the places they need to go!

As is already obvious, our most exciting news of 2011 has been receiving our precious adopted Ethiopian daughter. God is so faithful. Rachel Rose’s story continues to amaze us. We look forward to all that God has in store for her and for us as a family. Praying your Christmas shines brightly with many of His blessings!

Love, The Halseth Family

Friday, November 25, 2011


Dana served as a student in India this past summer. She attends one of our supporting churches, where Matt has been speaking and recruiting students for many years. We want to share Dana’s story with you.

“We took a rickshaw ride through the Redlight District of New Dehli. There are tons of fake storefronts. But inside the “stores,” you can see the staircases leading up to hidden rooms. You can’t see the rooms and you can’t see behind the walls. But when you saw a man with a little girl, you just knew. It broke my heart. 

I have a heart to see sex trafficking ended. I remember those children and women who have, and are going through it. I want to be a part of bringing hope for their future. I am currently studying Bible and Psychology at Bethel University. If God should so lead, I am interested in serving internationally in a safe home for those recovering from the sex trade. Going on Royal Servants was definitely one of the MOST LIFE CHANGING things I have ever done. After going, I KNOW for a fact that overseas missions is what I was meant for. I love it so much.” 

It is because of students like Dana that we are committed to serving with Royal Servants. God is at work transforming and calling students into ministry around the world.

Royal Servants 2012 mission teams will serve in: China, Costa Rica, England, Ethiopia, Europe, India, Ireland, Israel, and Sierra Leone. Our work throughout the calendar year is also very intentional to empower the whole of all the teams. We are committed to see each of the 300+ students grow, in Christ and in sharing Christ. Matt will be leading one of the Africa teams in 2012.

You are a vital part of our ability to follow His calling to serve. We continue to be grateful for your partnership in bringing the message of hope all over the world!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

I (Matt) just returned from an exciting three day ministry training in Chicago. This is the fourth time in a year and a half that I have joined this small group of youth ministry professionals. Why? Simply to study the life of Jesus and to learn how to create disciple making movements as He did. The ministry training is called, LIVE 2:6 (from 1 John 2:6).

What is a LIVE 2:6 group?
LIVE 2:6 groups are learning communities of 3-12 ministry leaders who study, train, and evaluate the life of Christ using a strategy developed by SONLIFE. Over 40 organizations globally (including Reign Ministries) and 750,000 ministry leaders have been through ministry training by SONLIFE.

I have loved being challenged and encouraged by my LIVE 2:6 group as I have learned to “walk as Jesus walked.” My ministry skills have been sharpened and I know that will translate to more students coming to know the Savior!

Thank you for your commitment to our ministry and the walk Jesus has called us to!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


May 11 – We accept the referral for our daughter.

July 19 – We meet Rachel Rose at the foster home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

July 20 – We admit her to the hospital in Ethiopia where she is diagnosed with failure to thrive, severe pneumonia and severe malnutrition. She is given a feeding tube, IV antibiotics and nasal Oxygen. Rachel is in critical medical condition. We send emails and facebook messages around the world asking for prayer for Rachel Rose to recover. We are on our knees in prayer often.

July 22 – We pass Ethiopian adoption court

July 23 – Rachel Rose turns a corner medically and starts to clearly recover. PRAISE GOD!

July 30 – Rachel Rose is discharged from the hospital. She still needs nasal oxygen supplementation. We rent an oxygen tank and administer it to her ourselves from the guesthouse.

August 3 – The US Embassy in Ethiopia approves our adoption.

August 6 - We fly standby and arrive home to MN. Rachel Rose meets her new forever family.


In the first two days we were with our daughter we noticed her Ethiopian name spelled four different ways on different types of paperwork. Above her bed, on her hospital papers, her adoption paperwork, at the clinic – everyone had a slightly different spelling. We saw her Ethiopian name spelled Nebet, Nabat, Nebadie and Nebat. I was struck by how despite the fact that there were kindhearted people in her life who wanted good things for her, no one really knew her name. I kept thinking, “She just needs someone who knows her name.” She just needed someone to make sure she ate enough, that she got medical care and medicine as needed. Simple reasonable things. How many children out there don’t have anyone who knows their name? In the Bible God talks about knowing us by name (Exodus 33:17), and how our names are written in the book of life. We are so thankful to be able to give our beautiful daughter her new name, Rachel Rose Halseth.


God rescues Rachel Rose by allowing us to arrive in time to admit her to a missionary hospital in the country. We are told by several medical and orphanage staff that she may not have been able to make it much longer. Prior to meeting her, we had no idea she was even ill.

After five days, Rachel Rose responds to the medical care and makes a turn around. Praise God for the faithful Korean Missionaries who went to Ethiopia and built this Mission Hospital in 2002!

The beurocratic adoption process is expedited due to medical reasons and we bring Rachel Rose home in 3 weeks. The typical timing would have been 2-5 months.

Numerous missionaries living in Ethiopia reach out to us. Our Ethiopian friends we have known for 10 years reach out to us. We have nothing to offer them, but they generously serve us, pray with us and offer hospitality to us.

A friend of a friend connects us with their American friends living in Addis Ababa. She is a Pastor and her husband is the Ethiopia Director of USAID. They generously bring us meals, pray with us and take us to dinner. They have a diplomatic vehicle and driver which they let us use. We are given excellent transportation in a safe vehicle as we travel with Rachel from the guesthouse to the hospital, to the US Embassy, to medical appointments, etc. We feel cared for in a foreign land.

The day before Rachel Rose is discharged from the hospital, an American short-term missionary moves into the room next to us. Her name is Kristyn and she is a pediatric nurse. She generously offers her expertise to us as we care for Rachel the rest of our time in Ethiopia. Total blessing.

We are able to rent an oxygen tank in order to give Rachel Rose the nasal oxygen supplementation she needs while we stay in the guesthouse. On the oxygen she is able to eat and breathe normally. Off the oxygen her color is not good and she becomes too lethargic to be able to eat.

God leads us to fly home despite our ongoing concerns with Rachel’s oxygen issues. As they oxegynate the plane for pre-trip flight preparation, Rachel’s color improves dramatically. She has not had another oxygen concern since! Praise God!

We have to fly standby and all the flights are booked for a week. God miraculously gets us seats on a full flight, and we are the last three passengers onto the plane! We even got a seat with the infant bassinet!

Here in MN, we have taken Rachel to multiple Dr. appointments and she is declared healthy, healthy, healthy!

When we met Rachel on 7/19/11 she was 4 months old and 6.5 pounds, the same weight she was on 3/30/11. Now at 6.5 months of age, she weighs 14.5 lbs— a 130% increase!

Jenni’s 1st interest in adoption was at age 14 in a Haitian orphanage. While we were dating we discussed our mutual interest in adoption. 25 years later God gives us our precious adopted daughter. “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” Proverbs 13:19

Join us in celebrating! We are confident and filled with hope because we know that the Lord has a plan for Rachel Rose’s life. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Isaiah 29:11

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Dearest sweetest Rachel Rose,

For many years we prayed for you.  Would it be possible that some day the Lord would bring us a child to adopt into our forever family? Several times we almost started the adoption process, but sensed God asking us to wait.  And then during the actual adoption process there were tears over the numerous paperwork delays. Your big brothers and sister felt like they were waiting “forever” for a baby sister! 

And now as we hold you in our arms, we are so thankful for each and every single delay that happened.  Because of those delays - we were the family who got to be assigned to receive YOU.  YOU were the exact child God had picked out for our family.  Since before time began, it was in His plan that YOU, Rachel Rose, would be born in Ethiopia and then adopted into our Halseth family.  How did we get to be so blessed?  The word “thankful” hardly begins to describe the depth of our gratitude to have YOU as our daughter.

The Hebrew meaning of RACHEL is “God’s Gentle Little Lamb, Innocent before God.” Here is one verse associated the name Rachel:

“He tends his flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs in his arms, and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.”   Isaiah 40:11

The last two letters of Rachel also have meaning. "EL" is another name used for God in the Bible, meaning "mighty, strong, prominent." A ROSE is seen as a symbol of love and beauty.  Rose is also the past tense of 'rise'.  When we met you, you were living in the city of Addis Ababa which means, “New Flower.” The Bible talks of the Rose of Sharon, and so you are also a namesake to your Grandma Sharon. 

Rachel, you are our sweet, gentle little lamb.  You are innocent before God.  You are definitely lovely and beautiful.  When we met you Rachel, you were in a critical medical condition.  God rescued you and breathed new life into you.  He has a plan and a purpose for your life. We know this full well. May your heart stay soft and tender before the God who loves us all, more than we can know or imagine. May He be mighty and prominent in your life as you arise in His strength.

 Love, Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, July 10, 2011


PRAISE GOD! We are SO thrilled to share our exciting news! Matt and Jenni fly to Ethiopia July 17th!!! Our future adopted daughter is 4 months old and her name will be Rachel Rose.

We need to pass two more levels before we can bring our Rachel Rose home to the USA:

Ethiopian Federal Court- pray we pass on 7/22/11.
US Embassy in Ethiopia - pray we pass by 8/15/11.

As soon as we pass ET Fed. court, we are able to take custody of Rachel within Ethiopia; while we await passing US Embassy. Matt returns 8/2. Jenni has an open-ended ticket and is going to try to stay in Ethiopia long enough to be able to bring Rachel home for good, without putting her back in the orphanage. Otherwise Jenni will need to make a second ET trip to bring Rachel home.

Passing through the adoption process quickly/smoothly.
Rachel to be healthy and loved-on in the orphanage; also for protection against malnutrition, parasites, etc.
Nathan, Abby and Joshua as we are separated from them.
Safety in our international and in-country transport and accommodations. Also protection for our health.
Praise God for provision for our adoption expenses.  

Matt loved leading the Barnabas team at training camp in June! We are excited about progress on the new training camp building project Matt is overseeing – the building shell is now complete! Pray for the 9 Royal Servants teams serving around the globe.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


“God places the lonely in families...” Psalm 68:6

We have our long awaited referral for a beautiful Ethiopian baby girl!  Rachel Rose is two months old. Join us in praying:

For loving care at her Ethiopian orphanage.
For favor to quickly pass through both the Ethiopian court system and the US Embassy in Ethiopia.  
That we can travel to Ethiopia by August 1.

Wow, we are so excited! Praise God! We’re thankful for how we have been blessed through donations, fundraisers, and a grant. More than half of our adoption financial need has been provided.  We are praying God will provide the remaining $13,000 needed.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011


The past few months have been very busy for us as we have been working out all our plans for the summer. However, we have learned long ago that “our plans” are not always “Gods plans,” and that His plan is always best! The verse that comes to mind is: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  (Prov. 16:9 NLT)

 Please be in prayer for our work on the development of the new Training Camp, for our role as the Barnabas team leader and for our Ethiopia adoption. We know God has our best in mind as He determines our steps for this summer. We are grateful to serve Him and can’t wait to see all His plans unfold!


Because the new Wisconsin training camp site is not yet available this summer, Royal Servants will hold training camp one last summer in Lewistown, Illinois. In addition to managing the Building Project in Wisconsin, I will also be leading the “Barnabas Team” in Illinois for most of June.

One of the things that speaks volumes to me about Royal Servants is how many alumni students we have that come back year after year. The Barnabas Team is one of our student alumni teams which serves at Training Camp only.  The Barnabas team members help facilitate the smooth operation of training camp for all our international mission teams that prepare for overseas ministry.

We are very excited to be serving our student missionaries and alumni students by leading the Barnabas team at Training Camp this summer!


As you know, for the past several months I have been the Building Project Manager on the new training and administrative building Royal Servants is putting up at the new missions training camp, in Wisconsin. Last week our director asked me to remain in the US this summer in order to continue overseeing this WI building project. Another experienced team leader has been re-assigned to take my place as the Italy mission team leader.

 We had hoped to have the building completed enough to use by June 1st this year for training camp.  However, unexpected delays (especially the wet weather) have pushed construction back.  As a result, there is a huge need for someone to be here in the US (and not have all the staff overseas) while the building project progresses.  So this summer I will be spending a fair amount of time in WI in order to continue overseeing construction.

 I am definitely going to miss leading an international missions team this summer.  At the same time, I sense a specific calling this summer.  It is an exciting opportunity to be able to use my construction skills and education to strategically serve our ministry in the development of the long-term permanent missions training camp site.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I have the opportunity to put my Architectural / Construction education and work experience (prior to ministry career) to work on a new project this spring – 2011. Our Director has asked me to be the Project Manager for building the new Administrative/Training Facility at our new Royal Servants Training Camp in Portage, Wisconsin. What does that mean? I will be drawing up plans, putting together specs on materials, organizing work crews, and collecting bids from sub contractors. This will save the ministry thousands of dollars from hiring a general contractor. I am excited about using these gifts and skills to advance God’s Kingdom. Our goal is to break ground this spring but there is much to do! Please pray for me as I diligently take on this huge project over the coming months.


If you have a minute, click on the link below and check out the new Reign Ministries website; I’ve worked hard with our web developer over the last few months on designing a website pleasing to the eye and to the needs of our students. We made some big changes like; new mega-menus, featured content, more visible staff, personalization of pages, improved search, fast access to social networking, and super-easy commenting! We are very pleased by the results. Students and parents love the new site!


I’ve completed the new 2011 Royal Servants Brochure. This new brochure has gone out to our staff and into the hands of thousands of students across the US and Canada. Even with the internet, we still find that a visually appealing brochure in the hands of a student goes a long way to our recruiting efforts. A brochure can give the opportunity for God to work on the hearts of those he is calling to the mission field. Please pray God would use this brochure to accomplish his purposes. Also, please help us out by giving it to a teenager or college student you know!


We will be in the Phoneix area for several days in mid-February meeting with ministry partners and churches to share more about our work with Reign Ministries. If you recall, Jenni lived in Phoenix and served with Food for the Hungry before we met and married. We haven’t been there in 10 years and are looking forward to visiting and reconnecting with friends and ministry partners.


I have been assigned to lead the Royal Servants mission trip to Italy this summer! Italy is a team I can hand off to a new team leader more easily should we need to change plans and travel to Ethiopia if we receive a referral for our adoption. So instead of returning to Sierra Leone, we will be on our way to Italy! Why Italy? One, Italy is much more predictable should my family decide to join us over the summer. Two, Italy is much less expensive (we will be camping it!) And three, Italians need Jesus just as much as Sierra Leoneans do! In addition, we have missionary partners working outside of Rome. We are all excited about serving them with a Royal Servants team. We will share more about this exciting opportunity later, please pray!


Jenni continues to love working with mom’s and children. The “Moms-In-depth” ministry that she helped start in North Branch is still active and growing with new moms and leaders each year. In December, a former Royal Servants student invited Jenni to speak at a women’s outreach event in Cokato, MN with 150 women. Her topic was on “JOY.” It was an amazing opportunity for Jenni to share from her life experiences and her call in missions. Since this was also an outreach event, Jenni had the blessed opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ – our true source of Joy!


We are still waiting for our referral of either twins or an infant girl from Ethiopia. It has been over a year since we began the process to adopt internationally. We remain excited as we continue to wait on the Lord. Please pray for our patience in the Lord’s perfect timing as we continue to trust in Him through this whole process. Also, Thank you so much to the many of you who gave specifically towards our adoption need at the 2010 year-end! We have a total need of approximately $20,000 to complete our adoption. So far, we have raised HALF of our total need. Praise God! He has blessed us in so many ways, through your generousity! Jenni is holding an adoption fundraiser “winter garage sale” in March. Please pray this will be a profitable fundraiser. If you still want to give towards our adoption through “Lifesong for Orphans” its not too late. You can contact us, or give online at and follow the “Donate” link. Also, be sure to follow our blog for the latest postings and prayer requests!