FUSBC's enrollment continues to climb, a new church partners with our ministry, and Christmas cards finally arrive from the US. 

Dear Friends and Family,

One of the bonuses of February in Colombia is that it's the month when all of your Christmas cards arrive. It's fun, a month after having left the US and having become re-accustomed to the tropical weather, to get pictures from the North and decorate our fridge with photos of friends in sweaters and snow! 

Life at FUSBC is progressing smoothly. I just got word that our student enrollment continues to climb. When we got here in 2013, the student body was 120 strong; we are now up to 150! This is very exciting news at a time when most seminaries in Latin America are shrinking or closing up shop. Clearly, FUSBC is doing something right.

I am greatly enjoying my Faith and Science class. The students are well engaged and seem fascinated by the content, and I am having a ball doing the research for my lectures. I also preached in chapel this month, which went smoothly, and continue to work on a variety of writing projects (including a new piece on cultural evolution that I'm co-authoring with a buddy in Scotland...obviously, this dovetails nicely with my class on faith and science). 

We still have not heard the result of our grant application for working with displaced persons in Colombia. The board was supposed to meet in February, so we are expecting news any day now. Please do pray for a positive result (and for my emotions, no matter what the result!)

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

During the month of February, if you happened to walk past our house around dinner time, more often than not you would have seen a group of people gathered around our table and overheard bits of shared conversation and laughter drifting through our dining room windows. It has been a month filled with the blessing of welcoming special guests.
In addition to the students who normally eat with us every week, we have had the chance to welcome visiting professors and their spouses and to host families who are considering coming to the seminary as missionaries. Another dinner was bittersweet, as we had to say goodbye to one student and his family who have just finished their time at the seminary and have planted a church in another part of the city. One Saturday evening we enjoyed a full living room of students from Chris' Greek reading group who shared desserts with us and spent most of the evening laughing together.
On the one hand, this has translated to a lot of time in the kitchen for me, but my cooking this month has been done with much love because hosting guests this February has been another experience of being part of the incredible community of FUSBC.      

Advance Greek Reading Group

I have mentioned in the past that I teach more advanced Greek to a small group the seminary students, so I thought I'd show you a picture of 6 out of 9 of them! We get together once a week at 6 am to read harder Greek than is otherwise available at the seminary and to learn advanced syntax. I started the group in preparation for our master's program, which will be a rigorously academic program focusing on biblical interpretation. The idea is to give some of the seminary's brightest students a leg up, knowing that they will end up being professors in just a few short years (indeed, some of them already do teach in the seminary's extension division)!

Praise God!

  • For Triangle Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina. This community has joined our support team, which is such an honor and a joy! We also were blessed to have a few new individual supporters join our team. I am delighted to report that, as a result of their kindness and the spike in the value of the US dollar, we are nearly back at 100% funding, having recovered after the conclusion of a commitment by a major donor. This is a wonderful encouragement to us. Thank you all for your partnership in this ministry.
  • For the continued growth of FUSBC's student body.
  • For a pretty positive first month for Asher at the Colegio San Ignacio. His teachers report that he is fitting in well. 

Please Pray

  • For a positive result to FUSBC's grant application for work with displaced persons in Colombia. 
  • This month, I will be traveling to a different region of Colombia to give 12 hours of lectures at a conference for over 100 pastors from the Evangelical Alliance in Colombia. Please pray for energy and effectiveness for me, as the vast majority of these pastors have never had formal training for ministry and thus look to this as a unique opportunity. 
  • In March I need to take Judah to Bogotá for a couple of days to get his passport renewed, and I want to take advantage of the trip to do some special things one-on-one with him. Please pray that this would be a special and memorable time for our relationship.
  • At this end of this month, Asher's school will evaluate whether he can remain in his third grade class. Because he was home-schooled for second grade, and because he is 1-2 years younger than his classmates, the school has been hesitant about his third-grade enrollment. Naturally, he also has to overcome a linguistic disadvantage. Please pray for his grades and sociability to be strong and for the school to elect to keep him in third grade, rather than changing his class after he's become settled and made friends.

Student Profile

Giovanny Restrepo Duque is one of the students in my Faith and Science class, but he was also a student in my first class at FUSBC. He is smart, creative, critical and inquisitive. He's been living, studying, and working at the seminary for seven years, studying at a slower rate as he fights an uphill battle to find tuition and to raise his son, Jose Daniel, as a single father. 

"I grew up here in Medellín, in the barrio Castilla, one of the neighborhoods that was struck most gravely by the violence in the times of Pablo Escobar. I worked briefly as a pastor in Rionegro (a town outside Medellín), under the conviction that God had called me to the service of his Church, and then came to the seminary to study (initially on a scholarship from a Christian mission, which ended after my first year). So my continued studies have owed to the providential care of God, who has always generated resources to sustain me and my son (I have been a widower for 8 years)."

"For the past three years I have been working a pastor in the municipality of Bello [part of the greater Medellín metropolitan area]. In our church of 60 members we focus especially on training and pastoring leaders who themselves want to evangelize and teach new believers. I also serve as a teacher in the Instituto Carcelario de Formación Integral [Prison Institute for Integral Formation] in the Bellavista Prison, which was once considered one of the most violent prisons in the world. There we teach biblical principles in a program that looks for redemption from condemnation and the extension of the Kingdom of God." 

"Upon completing my undergraduate studies in the seminary I hope to continue pastoring within the church. I also aim to continue my formal studies so that I can work as a teacher in Instituto Ministerial de Medellín [the Medellin Ministerial Institute], which is an extension program of the seminary [for hundreds of pastors who are unable to take part in full-time, university level education]."

Giovanny is yet another example of how the ministry of FUSBC has a strategic impact in the lives of Colombian believers. The seminary welcomes many students from hard and even tragic backgrounds, and helps nurture them into people who pastor in underprivileged neighborhoods, minister to convicts in dangerous prisons, and indeed share their insight with the thousands of Colombian pastors who will never be able to undertake formal seminary training. 
Copyright © 2016 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp