Back to the US to begin cross-cultural training
Hays Missions Update
Preparing to Provide Transformational Theological Education to Latin American Pastors and Theologians

United World Mission

Dear Friends and Family,

So ... "reverse culture shock" is totally a real thing. "Culture shock", as you'll know, is the traumatic experience you get after you have lived abroad for a spell and then suddenly realize how deeply different you are from your new culture. Reverse culture shock is what you get when you come home and you realize that you're not the same anymore either. A simple shopping trip to Walmart nearly sent me running to huddle in the nearest dark corner I could find, and learning to negotiate the US insurance-system has been a special kind of misery. I can't stop saying "cheers" (which I know makes me sound like a pretentious dweeb in the US) and everyone keeps commenting on my kids' accents. It's actually been a lot harder than I expected, I think largely because it underscores the reality that we once again don't really have a home. 

Nonetheless, this has not been a melancholic month. We spent two weeks with Michelle's family in Illinois, where the boys had a blast with their grandparents and extended family. Michelle and I even got to slip away for a weekend so that we could drive up to Wheaton and explore our old haunts. It was a lovely break, and a wonderfully poignant reminder of how far God has brought us these past 10+ years.  

Then we packed up the suitcases again and hopped on a plane to North Carolina. We are spending a month in the sticks east of Asheville at the Center for Intercultural Training. These weeks are part of our pre-deployment preparation, helping us reflect on our plans for missions, the cross-cultural challenges we'll experience (and are experiencing now!), and how we'll work together as a family to thrive when we arrive in Colombia. The boys have made lots of friends and are really loving their time here, which is a delight to us.

Oh, and another piece of good news I just received: we've gotten the green-light from our missions agency to purchase our plane tickets. Looks like we'll be taking off for Medellín at the end of November! This is a real joy. Still, we got this permission because we've reached the bare minimum that we'll need to make it in Colombia. We are grateful to have made this mark, since we don't want to delay our deployment at all. Nonetheless, for us to be able to do this work the right way and to stay in Medellín long-term, we'll need to continue to grow our support team.  Many of you who read these letters are already part of our team. And we know that some of you who share our vision and sense of excitement about the work to which God's called us. So we'd like to ask you all to consider the possibility of joining our support team, and partnering with us financially over the coming years. We'd be honored if you'd pray over this subject, and would be only too happy to answer any questions you might have! 

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

September has begun our three month period of living out of suitcases and being in this strange place of in-between: in between our old home in Oxford and our new one in Colombia. All of our hearts have had a difficult time saying goodbye to Oxford in part because we experienced such rich friendships and community and so many memories were made there. We came to love certain bits of English culture (and dark chocolate Hobnobs, my not-so-secret vice) and those things became part of us so that when we returned to the US, we didn't feel that we "fit" here in the same way anymore. During our month-long missionary training in North Carolina, we are learning a lot as a family about how culture shapes us and how we can be ready to enter into Colombian culture in November. Judah and Asher have really enjoyed cooking Colombian food, doing activities with maps, exploring in the beautiful woods here, learning songs in Spanish and memorizing Bible verses about God's faithfulness to us wherever we go. We as parents are already seeing the benefits of interacting with teachers who have served abroad with their children and with other missionary families who can help us understand what we are about to experience. We have also been greatly encouraged as we hear through the stories of fellow participants how God is raising up people to go all over the world to tell about His great love for us in Jesus. We have two more weeks here to soak up the teaching and learn from this community of fellow missionaries. If God brings our family to mind in the coming days, please pray for all of our upcoming travels around the US and for God to continue to shape us as we prepare to serve Him in Colombia. Thank you all for your continued love and support!    

Praise God

  • For permission to buy our plane tickets!
  • For safe travels back to the US and on to North Carolina.
  • For a wonderful community of fellow future-missionaries here at CIT.

Please Pray

  • For health for us all. Michelle and I have come down with strep throat, and it looks like the boys may be joining us!
  • For the emotional elasticity to re-adjust for this brief season back in the US.
  • For God to bring us the final funding we need to be well-provisioned for our long-term ministry in Colombia.

Contact Us

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

Copyright © 2013 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.