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