Field research on forced migration, the release of a new book (Renouncing Everything), and preaching and speaking in North Carolina, Maryland, and Texas.

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm dashing this missive off before hopping on a plane to Bogotá...indeed, this month is probably best narrated in terms of plane rides. At the beginning of November, I hussled back and forth to Bogotá to get Michelle and the kids' new visas (including Asher's! Huzzah!). Around the same time, my newest book, Renouncing Everything, came out (also huzzah!). Then I wrapped up my semester, and sent off the grades to my dean (insert snarky comment here for my teacher friends who follow a North Atlantic academic calender), and packed my bags to head to the US.

My first stop was Durham, NC, where I spent a lovely weekend with my friends, the Riedels, and preached at our newest supporting congregation, Triangle Presbyterian Church. (You can listen to the sermon, "Some Thoughts On the Slow Process of Becoming Holy", here). Getting to know that community was a joy and I feel priviledged by their partnership.

Then another plane zipped me up to Maryland where I spent five marvelous days on the Chesapeake at the Trinity Fellows Academy. I have had the pleasure of being an annual guest speaker at TFA on topics of missions and wealth ethics for the past three years, but this was the first year that the (informal evening) curriculum was expanded to include Latin dance lessons! This visit is always a high point of my year, between spending time with our friends, the Stevens, running amidst the autumn-coloured foliage, and getting to spend lots of time with a truly inspiring crew of Christian fellows. 

The next flight whisked me to San Antonio, TX, for the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. I gave a paper (co-authored with my Colombian colleague, Dr. Milton Acosta) on trauma, Scripture, and the Colombian displacement crisis, which was very well received, and spent a great deal of time catch up with much loved friends and colleagues (and over-eating!).

I hurried back home to see Michelle and the kids and to begin the field research for the seminary's project on forced migration in Colombia. Our work last week focused on a settlement of forced migrants on the outskirts of Medellín. I have already learned a great deal...and to be candid, it's an emotionally heavy task, hearing the stories of people's suffering, learning from their experiences, and trying to steward that knowledge for the good of other displaced people around the country. So, as we continue that work in Bogotá this week, and in Puerto Libertador next week, I would covet your prayers.

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

Normally this time of year in Medellin marks the beginning of a very noisy season of celebration that lasts all the way until mid-January. The festivities typically involve fireworks and loud music that go late into the night as well as impressive Christmas light displays all over the city. However, the last couple of days have been anything but festive in Medellin following the tragic plane crash that happened on Monday night killing 71 people. The plane was carrying a Brazilian soccer team on its way to play in Medellin, but it crashed into the mountains about 5 minutes before it should have landed in the Medellin airport. Last night the soccer stadium in Medellin was filled with tons of mourners wearing white and carrying flowers and candles to honor the Brazilians who died. On Tuesday morning the kids and I took a taxi across the city and the taxi driver and I were both in tears by the time we arrived at our destination after listening to the news about the crash. Please join us in praying for the families who lost loved ones and for the six people pulled from the wreckage who are now in critical condition in hospitals in Medellin. You can read more about what happened here. As we begin the Christmas season just on the heels of such a tragic event that happened so near to us, I feel mindful of the fact that the time we have on earth is a gift and I want to cherish the moments God has given me to spend with family and friends. 

Student Profile

This is Daniel Chavez, a student from Cartagena who just finished his second year at the seminary. Daniel says, "I'm studying theology at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia in Medellín because God called me to serve him in pastoral ministry in church in Cartegena. At present I serve in youth ministry in a church from my denomination here in Medellín, and when I finish my studies, I plan to serve full time in the church in my hometown." Daniel is kind, diligent, and bright, a genuine pleasure to have as a student. 

Praise God!

  • This month, on November 6th, Zoe told Michelle that she wanted to serve God with her life as a Christian! (See the picture above.)
  • That all our visas have been renewed!
  • For the beginning of our field research on forced displacement.
  • For a soul-nourishing 10 days with friends and missions partners in North Carolina, Maryland, and Texas. 
  • For the release of Renouncing Everything.
  • For Judah and Asher's successful completion of a year of school (Asher's first at the Colegio San Ignacio), with very good grades.
  • For the graduation of another class of pastors from FUSBC!
  • For the beginning of Advent (I have already fired up my 1980s Amy Grant Christmas album).

Please Pray

  • For safe travels as Christopher does field research on forced internal displacement around Colombia, and he and the family fly (in shifts) to the California for Christmas.
  • For Christopher's peace as he deals with the logistical stresses of field work and the weight of engaging with so many stories of suffering and displacement.
  • For rest for the whole family during the latter half of the month, since we are all very worn down.
  • For increased financial support for our ministry. Zoe begins school in January, and our support has not yet reached the level it needs to be to sustain that (we are looking for new support in the amount of approx. 400 USD a month).


I have been a professor at FUSBC for three years now, so this is the first graduating class that I have seen through multiple courses. As a result, I feel particularly proud of their accomplishments. But I am probably most proud of my research assistant, Wilcar Martinez (above), who was awarded the seminary's Brabon prize, given to the student who most exemplifies the seminaries values of academic rigor, Christian character, and service to the Church.
Copyright © 2016 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.
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