Embassy trip, sunrise hikes, library development, and lots o' writing.

Dear Friends and Family,

The semester ended last month, and it's vacation time. You would think that the end of term might mean time to catch one's breath and reflect, but that seems NOT to be the case. The busy-ness is just different ... and invigorating.

I've been writing a ton this month. Some of the writing has been for publishing projects that I've shuffled around during the semester waiting for a chance to give some sustained attention to composing thoughts in English! But my Spanish hasn't had a chance to get dusty either. Over the course of the last term I thought up lots of things I could do to to help my students study more productively (guides on time-management, for example) and to improve my teaching, and these last couple weeks have given me time to develop that material and to starting writing curriculum for next semester.

I have also had the chance to throw a lot of my energy into developing our library in preparation for the new Master's program. I've been writing up plans for major acquisitions using a grant we received this year, developing recommendations on electronic licensing, and pulling together some exciting donations from the UK (more on that in next month's update). The work is slightly out of my wheelhouse, but it's thrilling to see so much happening to get our collections ready for the future grad program.

I also have been able to enjoy some good family time. This month I was obliged to go to the US embassy in Bogota for a couple days, in order to renew Asher's passport and add new pages to mine. We decided to make the trip just to two of us (our first time traveling together as a pair) and we had a blast. Asher and I went to a planetarium and a science museum and both nights we had dinner and DVDs in our hotel room. In spite of dealing with embassy bureaucracy, we had a great couple days together exploring the capital of our new country. 

I'd better turn my attention back to writing; I'm traveling to England and Germany next week and have lots of talks for which to prepare. I'll look forward to giving you that update in a month!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

My life has become a bit busier this month as the boys are off school until July 7th.  We are very proud of them for finishing the first half of their school year so well, for making new friends, and for working hard to learn Spanish. While their "rest" is well deserved, it seems to translate pretty directly into my exhaustion! However, I have been able to spend some special time with each of them that is just not possible during the normal school schedule. One of my favorite times of this month was taking a sunrise hike with just Judah and Zoe (Asher and Chris were in Bogota). We discovered a small, beautiful nature area only a short taxi ride from our neighborhood and Judah and I had some good time to talk as we hiked up and down. We appreciated the relative solitude and quiet that we enjoyed as we watched the sun come up (in contrast with the usual noise, congestion and smog of the city).   
No matter where we are in the city, we can see the clouds in Medellin's mountains. Our striking mountain views often bring Psalm 121 to mind: "I lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Seeing the mountains towering around the edges of our new city reassures me because it reminds me that the God who is always watching over us provides the help we need.
Judah and Asher enjoying a family day out during their three-week vacation from school.
Beautiful fabrics being sold by a vendor at a local market.

Praise God!

  • For a great father-son trip to Bogotá. 
  • For exciting developments in our library. 
  • For a chance to improve my teaching for the coming semester. 

Please Pray

  • For safe travels to, from, and around Europe (July 3, 5, 7, 20). 
  • For my sermon at our home church in Germany (July 6).
  • For the filming of a lecture on social justice (July 11).
  • For my panel discussions on faith and science in Oxford (July 19, 20).
  • For a small talk on wealth ethics in London (July 16). 
  • For productive research time between these talks. 
  • For some new supporters to partner with us as a result of this trip.
  • For Michelle and the kids while I am away.
During the break from school, we had the chance to visit an insect museum. Though Zoe did not share the boys' enthusiasm for holding the cockroaches, grasshoppers, and stick bugs, she was happy to admire the view of the lake.
The streets of Medellin continue to be a sea of yellow shirts as Colombians avidly follow the World Cup. You can see Asher sporting his Colombia shirt in one of the above photos. The celebrations that follow every win go late into the night (and sometimes even into the following morning) with lively music and fireworks. 
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