The seminary celebrates its 70th anniversary and Christopher unintentionally shines the classroom floor with the seat of his trousers. 

Dear Friends and Family,

I fell on my backside in class today. Not figuratively, mind you, but literally. The reason for my indecorous descent was that I leaped in the air in an expression of great enthusiasm at my students' performance on a recent assignment. This assignment, similar in design to one which had laid the whole class low 6 weeks ago, had generated high marks from nearly all the students; they are making great strides. Hence the leap; I'll blame the fall on my slippery dress shoes. I may have torn my trousers too...

This past week was dedicated to a celebration of the seminary's 70th anniversary. So the campus has been flooded with graduates as well as with a great many older North American faces (former presidents, professors, and children of the missionaries who founded the seminary). 

The faculty and board of directors went on a retreat this weekend as well. It was a moving time for me, witnessing the exceptional people who comprise our board and having extended time to pray together, laugh uproariously, and dream about the future of our seminary. I left feeling far more a part of the team than I did when I arrived, and in many ways with a clearer sense of the exquisite uniqueness of the godly, dedicated, and talented team of colleagues.

There is a strong sense among all the leaders of the seminary that we are turning the corner into a new chapter of the school's history, that we are poised to rise to new heights as an institution for the South American church. Our embryonic graduate program should (God willing) be a part of that. Which makes me hope and pray that, interspersed with all the hard work ahead, there will be a great many more occasions for me to fall on my tail in front of class.

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

At times it is easy to feel that my life here in Colombia only consists of completing mundane "Mom" tasks over and over. However, if it were possible to take an X-ray view of my days it would reveal that meaningful things are also happening. My Spanish abilities are steadily improving and I am able to beginning to hear and understand bits of people's stories. For example, occasionally I have chatted with a friendly couple at the school gates because they have a son in Judah's class.  Last night this boy's father shared his testimony in a gathering at the seminary and I had the privilege of sitting in. I learned that the man with whom I have been chatting used to lead a very dangerous and difficult life, heavily involved with the drug cartel of Pablo Escobar. He recounted story after incredible story, first about how he became a Christian in prison and then how God used him to bring the gospel to a great many people (even including the man who murdered his brother). While in prison, he taught himself woodworking after God prompted him to do so through a dream. He still goes back to the prison to continue to share the gospel and to teach prisoners woodworking so they will have an honest way of making money when they are released. (See the praying hands below that he carved at the seminary out of a tree stump.) I expect it is going to be many months still before I feel "at home" in a new culture, but as I inch closer to being able to connect with others in Spanish and hear about what God is doing in their lives I am greatly encouraged. 

Carving of praying hands on the seminary campus

(see story in 'From Michelle' section)

Praise God!

  • For the legacy of faith and faithfulness in this seminary.
  • For our tremendous board of directors.
  • For the spiritual peace and encouragement I received during our faculty retreat.
  • For the fruit of my students' hard work.
  • For a new supporter and a much-appreciated pair of generous donations to our ministry.

Please Pray

  • For fruitful labor in finishing a pair of projects left over from my time in Europe. I am looking forward to getting a couple of things off my plate so that I can focus more fully on my work here.
  • For God to continue to raise up new financial partners so that we can finally become fully funded.
  • For wisdom and insight as we throw ourselves into the development of our new Master's program. 

Student Profile

Over the past couple of months we have had the joy of "adopting" Sheila Liñan as our seminary niece. Sheila is a nineteen year old sophomore from the northern coast of Colombia. The daughter of pastors, she came to the seminary after a gap-year doing missions. She has a passion for justice and mercy, and she recognizes the crucial role of robust and biblical theology in the development of a Christian response to Colombia's many pressing social needs. It's been a joy having her in class and having her at our table every week, where she has captured Zoe's affections (and is steadily winning over our boys as well)!
Copyright © 2014 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.
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