Concluding a successful semester in Colombia, heartening reviews of a major grant application, and a lovely moment of respite in the US before travelling onto London. 

Dear Friends and Family,

Right now I'm sitting in a cozy, oak-paneled, one-room library, staring out a window overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The trees on the opposite side of the cove are changing color and the waters are still under a clear autumn sky. Everything is quiet.

I'm on a five-day writing retreat in Maryland at the Trinity Forum Academy, finishing up a book that's due in the publisher's hands by Christmas. I'm told that Os Guinness wrote The Secret in this very room, so I am hoping that augurs well for the quality of the present book (*ha!*). My friends (and our supporters) Syman and Mimi Stevens direct the Trinity Forum Academy, and since I was coming out to give their fellows some lectures, they offered me the chance to lengthen my trip in order to have a time of solitude and productivity. It's been absolutely lovely. 

At the beginning of this month, I was still in Medellín; we wrapped up another good term and my students did smashingly on their final papers. Judah finished his academic year and Michelle breathed a sigh of relief upon concluding this year of homeschooling with Asher.

I also received some promising news about the grant proposal I submitted to help fund the seminary's work with displaced persons in Colombia. The expert reviewers (whose advice significantly informs the decision of the grant-making body) submitted their reports on my 100+ page proposal, and hearteningly they all recommended that the project be funded!  We will still wait until February to hear the final result of the application, but this is very good news. Indeed, because my colleagues and I visited a local displaced community (a settlement of 22,000 people on the outskirts of Medellín) this month, we feel ever-more the gravity of this project. 

Following the conclusion of classes, we packed our bags and boarded planes to the US. I flew with Michelle and the kids as far as Miami, and then put them on a plane to Chicago before boarding my own connection to Georgia. Michelle's back held up on the trip (thanks to a brace and the help of the boys), which was a relief to me as I attended the annual Society of Biblical Literature conference in Atlanta. The conference was, as ever, a great joy to me, as I connected with friends and supporters, met with publishers, and presided over a session on Paul's impact in the second century (part of a consultation I co-chair). I also had the chance to spend time with key partners in global theological education: the leaders of the Theological Book Network and of the Langham Partnership.

Then it was off to Maryland, where I'm grateful for a spot of respite before resuming travels next month (London, California, Minnesota, Illinois!). God willing, the next time I write you, I'll be in the Midwest, reunited with Michelle and the kids, with one more book into the publishers and a couple more stamps in my passport. Thanks for continuing to pray for our safety as we travel and for my productivity too.

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers for my back on our travel day! I made it to Illinois without any problems and the kids and I are spending some time relaxing time with my family (we're decorating the Christmas tree with my mom in photo above; Asher's baking with my brother-in-law Jamie in photo to the right). Judah and Asher were hoping for snow sometime during our trip to Illinois and God granted their wish on our second morning. By 6 a.m. that morning Judah and Asher were out in my mom's front yard attacking each other with snowballs. Asher lasted surprising long in the snow battle considering that he was out in the snow in socks and sandals (which are definitely more suited to Medellin weather!). At the end of this month, I think all of us are incredibly thankful for the gift that it is to be able to spend some time with friends and family in the US and to rest before we start up a new year of ministry in Colombia.

Hurray for our graduates!

At the end of this November we are rejoicing with the seminary's graduates. Though we could not be with them in person this year at graduation, we want to wholeheartedly congratulate them for all of the dedication, sacrifice, and hard work they poured into their studies at the seminary. We know that they are leaving the seminary having learned a lot both from their studies and from the experience of living in the amazing community of faith that is the Biblical Seminary of Colombia. We are so thankful to see how God has used the seminary to equip each of them to serve God in churches in our city and all around Colombia. 

Praise God!

  • For such positive expert reviews of our grant application (intended to support the seminary's work with displaced persons on Colombia).
  • For Judah's successful completion of his first year at the Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola (the kid really did work like a dog all year!).
  • For my student's excellent performance this semester. 
  • For the protection of Michelle's back while she traveled.
  • For a writing retreat in a quiet, peaceful place.

Please Pray

  • For safe travels to and from the UK, and around the US.
  • For my presentation in London, on the subject of Poverty and Politics. My paper has been paired with that of a Member of Parliament, for an audience of people working in poverty and international aid; I am praying that some of what is said can be genuinely and concretely useful. 
  • That the time in the US might result in a new church joining our support team.
  • For wisdom as I write constructive responses to the reports made by the expert reviewers of my grant application. 
  • That our family would have some special, warm, and renewing times together as we celebrate Christmas and our wedding anniversary (Dec. 21). 

Student Profile

Every term I give an award to the student who has most distinguished him or herself in my class, and this term that award went to Sara Arrieta Gómez. Sara is a 19-year old sophomore, and although she was born in Colombia, she lived in Cameroon, Africa, for several years before she returned to Colombia to study at FUSBC.

Sara says "I came to seminary with the desire to prepare to serve the Lord and the Church as a pastor and a missionary. Within my own local congregation, I currently sing on the praise team and I also contribute to the teaching ministry, especially with children and young people. After I finish my studies at FUSBC, I hope to study further in missiology and to serve as a missionary in Latin America and in Africa."

In addition to being a talented and conscientious student and serving in her local church, Sara also stepped in to minister to our family when Michelle had her surgery. In spite of being so busy, Sara would come to our house every week to help Judah with his homework! It's exciting to think that, in a few years, Sara might return to Africa as a missionary, extending the impact of FUSBC onto another continent.
Copyright © 2015 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.
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