Travels to Germany and the US, and new questions about God's short-term plans for our ministry.
Hays Missions Update
Preparing to Provide Transformational Theological Education to Latin American Pastors and Theologians

United World Mission

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from Minneapolis! This has been an intense month, both academically, but more important, missionally. On an academic front, I had a chance to present papers on a variety of subjects, in Nottingham, Chicago, and Oxford. They were all warmly received, and I felt heartened about the progress and shape of my research and writing.  Even more exciting, I delivered a couple of lectures to a tremendous bunch of students at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (part of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).

What is more significant, our month was largely occupied with mission-oriented travel. The whole family took a weekend-trip back to Bonn, where we reconnected with many old friends and supporters and spoke a bit in our German home-church. It was massively encouraging to see so many friends who support our ministry enthusiatically, and who clearly love us and care about our kids. 

At present, I'm in the US; I flew into Chicago to give a paper at the North American Patristics Society conference, and then had a chance to spend the weekend with friends in Wheaton, before heading up north. I stopped in Baraboo to visit Expeditions Unlimited, the Christian wilderness-guiding ministry I worked with for several years, and then drove up to Minneapolis, where I'm visiting old friends from both Wheaton and St Andrews. More than just being a fruitful time for fund-raising, this trip has reminded me of God's profound faithfulness to us in the twelve years since I first left home and went to college in Wheaton. I've had a deep sense of the way that God has used this long season of study to make me more fit for the ministry he has prepared for us in South America, a calling of which I couldn't conceive when I was an undergraduate.  

This month has also taught me a great deal about the rich gift that it is to have a support team.  I've felt really worn down and brittle over the past couple months, and I've worried about cracking under the various pressures of work, family, ministry, and fund-raising. But spending so much time this month with supporters has been a huge blessing to me, as I have been surrounded by people who love and minister to us, advising, encouraging, and edifying me, renewing my energy and my confidence in God's sovereignty over this process of fund-raising and, indeed, our lives more broadly. 

This process of reflection on God's gracious guidance of our life has been especially poignant for us this month as we have reflected on the state of our fund-raising efforts; at the beginning of the month our total regular committments amounted to 33% of what we will need to live from year to year in Argentina. We only have a little more than a year left to do fund-raising before my current contract at Oxford expires, which has left us praying and thinking about what we would do if my contract ended and we hadn't yet raised sufficient funds to deploy. As a result of much reflection and seeking the counsel of many of you, it has seemed wise to at least apply for a couple of teaching positions in the UK, which would give me a stable salary while we continued fund-raising. We would be able to leave either post whenever we suceeded in raising all the funds we need to go to Argentina.  Our goal and heart's desire is still to get to Latin America as soon as possible to be in involved in theological education.   So in the light of these reflections, last week I applied for two jobs, and I just got an invitation to interview for one of them, a lectureship at the University of Oxford. 

We don't have any idea whether this is what God wants us to do with the intervening months between now and the end of our fund-raising; we are trying to be both prudent and sensitive to his leading. So we will see if, while we raise funds to go to Argentina, God might want to continue to prepare us for Latin America by having me develop as a teacher. We'd be exceedingly grateful for your prayers, wisdom, and advice this month as I interview and we seek the Lord's guidance!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah and Asher Hays

From Michelle

This month I got to be at two separate Sunday church services focused on missions: one at our home church in Bonn, Germany, and another here at our home church in Oxford. Both were really meaningful to me in different ways. We visited Bonn in mid-May and it was the first time I had been back since we moved away. Our friends and supporters at APC in Bonn encouraged us so much during our short visit! It was so wonderful to reconnect with everyone at APC and hear about all God has been doing in the church since we left. On the following Sunday, we had a guest speaker at our church in Oxford who was a former missionary to China. He was there to challenge the congregation to listen for how God might be calling them to 'go', and I was among many in the room weeping over his stories of how God has moved in truly miraculous ways in the community where he ministered. During his message I felt so confirmed that we are following the right direction as we seek to follow God's leading to serve in Latin America. 

May has been full of smaller happenings as well. Most notable among them was probably Judah breaking his wrist in a fall off of his bike. He has one more week left of his cast and he will be very glad to finally get back into football, swimming, and all of the rough, boyish activities the doctor has banned. Asher visited what will be his new school next year and came home with his face glowing talking about the new friends he made and how he can't wait to go there in the fall. Summer weather has finally come to Oxford and the boys and I are attempting the great garden experiment again. I am still feeling very well in terms of the pregnancy (though I am getting increasingly worried about how a little girl could survive with two brothers!:) We are planning to find out in June whether we are going to be welcoming a new little boy or a new little girl into the Hays family. We'll keep you posted!  Thank you to each of you for taking the time to keep up to date with us and for keeping us in your prayers.   

Please Pray

  • For fruitful fund-raising events in Wheaton during the coming week, and for safe travels home to Oxford for Chris.
  • For clear divine direction as Chris interviews for the teaching post in Oxford (and perhaps for another job in Scotland): if it be God's will, may his teaching and interviewing be compelling and winsome.  If, however, God would have him continue in his current research position while we fund- raise, we ask that He would decisively close all other doors. 
  • That we would be able to release control of our current situation to God and to find peace in the midst of uncertainty about our plans for the next year. 

Praise God

  • For the wonderful ways that our support team has ministered to us over the past month. (You are a huge blessing to us!)
  • For new members to our financial support team, hailing from both Germany and the US.
  • For the past month's opportunities to teach at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

Contact Us

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

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