Preparing to provide transformational theological education to Latin American pastors and scholars
United World Mission
Dear Friends and Family,
The leaves in Oxford are changing now, giving the college gardens one last flash of beauty before the winter grey sets in; term is in full swing and things are going well in the Hays household. We are very happy to be back at St Aldate's church, and I've been blessed to find a new spiritual director (mentor) in Simon Ponsonby, our Pastor of Theology. (The poor man has his work cut for him, trying to mold my stubborn soul!) My research is going well, and I've had the chance to start up an exciting inter-disciplinary research group that's investigating an aspect of eschatology. We're trying to make the most of our time here in Oxford, and are grateful for all the opportunities available to us.
This month I had a video conference with the directors of UWM's Theological Education Initiative. This was an exciting event, as we began to develop our vision for this fledgling initiative, to talk about the institutions world-wide with which we hope to partner, and to develop our policies. It's rather surreal to be part of forming up this new ministry, and I can't wait to see how things come together.
For the second half of November, as I mentioned before, I'll be traveling to the Americas to attend a conference in the States and then visit prospective seminaries in Latin America. I'll be meeting with the leaders of three Latin-American seminaries and trying to discern which would be the best fit for us and how many of them would be viable partners for the Theological Education Initiative. Would you pray for us to have a clear sense of God's leading to one of these schools, that we would develop clarity about where our long-anticipated ministry in Latin America will finally take place? I'd also appreciate your prayers for my language abilties, as I still find German creeping in whenever I try to practice Spanish, and am struggling to regain fluency in the language at which I used to be most adept.
We are also excited to have our first major installment of missions support arrive from Germany. (Thank you, American Protestant Church in Bonn!) It's heartening to see fund-raising get off the ground as I fly to Latin America to concretize our long-term plans.
I'm looking forward, in my next report (early December), to regaling you all with stories from my travels in Latin America.
The peace of the Lord be with you all,
Christopher, Michelle, Judah, and Asher Hays
One of the most memorable days of this month was Judah's 6th birthday on October 17th. He invited a small group of his new school friends to our house for a superhero-themed party (check out our album on Facebook). Though it took a lot of work and energy on the parent end of things, Judah and his friends seemed to have an absolutely marvellous time. Each child received a superhero cape with his/her initial and made a superhero mask. At one point during the party, the doorbell rang and we received a mysterious note from "the Black Caped Villian" daring us to try to stop his evil plan to steal the birthday cake and presents. I armed the children with cans of silly string and they used every last bit of it to defeat the vilian (Chris in black academic robes and a red, felt mask). For Halloween we visited a farm/orchard just outside of Oxford that had Halloween events for kids. Judah's favorite part was a cornfield maze in which the kids were tasked to help a friendly scarecrow find and chase out stinky witches who were hiding there. The witches bit was a little too fierce for Asher (who really thought Judah was going to be captured and made into child-stew). Asher much preferred getting to see and touch real owls in another part of the farm. All in all, October has been full of activity and special happenings for the boys.