News of an exciting matching grant, flooding in Oxford, and, yes, a picture of Zoe.
Hays Missions Update
Preparing to Provide Transformational Theological Education to Latin American Pastors and Theologians

United World Mission

Dear Friends and Family,

I am so excited that Thanksgiving occurred early in November this year, so that I could get some extra days enjoying guilty pleasures of the Christmas season (e.g. cookies, mulled wine, and the 1983 Amy Grant Christmas album). That is not to say that I wanted to hasten by Thanksgiving this year, for we are especially aware this month that we have a lot to be thankful for. Zoe rather tops the list, as you might imagine, but we have also made some exciting progress in our fund-raising!

I am delighted to announce a major break-through for us: a charitable foundation has put up a wildly generous matching grant which aims to help us pay-off my remaining student debt so that we can get to the mission field. This $17,000 grant will match gifts made with a view towards paying off our student debt. Two other donors have already responded to this grant, and we've seen God wipe out $12,000 of our debt; in other words, they paid off the debt from the second year of my PhD! This has given us such a marvelous reminder of God's provision for our needs and his committment to getting us to Latin America. If any of the rest of you would like to get in on this grant, we'd love to tell you how to do so. For the purposes of this grant, we're using a different 501(c)3 (not UWM, but "Helping Hands Ministries"), so if you'd like to know how to give, drop me an email and I'll send you all the details!

This past month I traveled back to the US to attend the Society of Biblical Literature conference in Chicago, and this allowed me to visit a bunch of old friends in Wheaton, to speak to some pastors and churches about potentially joining our team. As always, visiting these friends was a rich delight, and I walked away feeling so ministered to and cared for. I feel like I have entered a place of real trust, being able to rest in God's provision for our needs and in his desire to get us to Latin America, and that has made an enormous difference to my joy and peace in the process of fund-raising.

You may remember from our last email that we needed to obtain pledges for 60% of our total operating budget before we could sign up for the two-month cross-cultural training course that UWM requires for all out-going missionaries. I just crunched our numbers, and we now have commitments for 58% of our operating budget; with just a couple more donors, we'll be able to sign up for the course. That will represent another major benchmark in our progress, and we are thrilled that achievement of that goal is so close at hand.

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah and Asher Hays

From Michelle

So, to be completely honest, I normally dread November because it means that Chris will be attending an annual Bible conference and I will be on my own for close to two weeks, including for Thanksgiving.  This year I felt really blessed, not only because Chris planned his trip to be shorter, but also because my mom and sister flew to Oxford to help me with the three kids. Our family has also been so loved and cared for by our Oxford friends, who have been occasionally making meals for us, babysitting, and helping with the kids' drop-offs and pick-ups for various activities. I am thankful for the way that God has sustained all five of us over the last few weeks. In addition to the lack of sleep that a newborn brings, there has been a lot of illness in our house (during the last three weeks there has always been at least one of us unwell) and we have faced some challenging situations relating to the flooding that our neighborhood is experiencing (see photo of the end of our street!). As we cope with a bit of additional stress, we are reminding ourselves of all of the ways God has been faithful to us in the past. I am trying to consciously direct my thoughts toward an attitude of thankfulness even amidst sleep deprivation and other challenges. My heart is above all grateful for each of our children and for Chris. I thank God for the visit I had with family this month and for the gift of community. I am grateful for each of you who read these updates, are interested in our lives, and want to encourage us in what God is preparing us for in Latin America. Lots of love to all of you!        

Please Pray

  • For God to awaken enthusiastic response to the new matching grant!
  • For new supporters to help us cross 60% threshold and be allowed to sign up for pre-field cross-cultural training.
  • For a book proposal currently under consideration by a very exciting publisher. 
  • For wisdom and patience dealing with Judah's strong will and quick temper.

Praise God

  • For the outpouring of generosity that we have received from long-time and new supporters.
  • For a month with a daughter; she is a tremendous gift and we are so delighted to have her in our lives.
  • For a deep sense of peace about God's control over our future.

Contact Us

cmhays@gmail.com
christopher.hays@theology.ox.ac.uk
michelle.lee.hays@gmail.com
 (Michelle)

Phone: +44(1865)435 057
Skype: christopher.hays.oxford


Copyright © 2012 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.