Good time as a family, and a new partner church too!
Hays Missions Update
Preparing to Provide Transformational Theological Education to Latin American Pastors and Theologians

United World Mission

Dear Friends and Family,

January was an absolutely lovely month for us, and not only because the snowfall shrouded the ground deeply enough for successive days of snowball fights.  It was a sweet time for our family as a whole, a month of progress toward the field, and a period of growth for me personally.  

The month proved special for our family, ironically, because we were split up for two weeks! Owing to a delay in the processing of Zoe's visa, Judah and I returned to the UK two weeks ahead of Michelle, Asher, and Zoe. Although at times difficult, this interruption in our plans had some happy consequences. Because I was the only parent around for Judah, he and I spent a lot of time together, working on Spanish and math, playing games, praying and reading Scripture. It drew us closer and made Judah feel valued, which is especially poignant after the birth of a new baby, over whom all the adults invariably coo and marvel! Since we want these last months in the UK to be a bonding time for our family, those weeks with my first-born were a real gift. What's more, the separation made our reunion extra sweet, and I've been all the more grateful for the gift of my large family and especially my sweet baby girl.  

We also received good news from Illinois. Over the past year we have spoken on a number of occasions with folks at Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton. But this month we got the news that their Missions Commission has decided to support us as well. This has been a real gift and delight to us; it's such an encouragement to see God offer us relationships with new communities of faith. I'm looking forward to visiting the church again this summer!

I've also been really grateful for your prayers for my own spiritual growth these past months. I feel that my enjoyment of prayer has deepened, and I've experienced a new and more consistent experience of closeness to God. I want to continue to grow in my understanding of prayer, in my appreciation that prayer is less about me reaching out to God than it is about me being aware of and responding to God, who has always been reaching out to and working in me. I would be grateful for your intercession on this specific subject, as we recently received word that we'll need to raise more funds than anticipated, in order to account for the high cost of living in Buenos Aires. Viewed in the right light, this extra challenge in our fund-raising is an opportunity, not only for other people to join our work, but also for me to trust more significantly in God, for God to be more glorified in providing for bigger needs. Please pray that I rightly perceive God's hand in all the happenings of this month, both the daunting moments and the blessings!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

When Asher, Zoe and I returned to Oxford after 5 weeks in the US (unexpectedly long as Chris explained above!), it was interesting for me to watch Asher re-discover all of his toys and special nooks in the house. Even though Asher adored his time at Grandma and Grandpa's house and enjoyed many special things there, Asher found joy and comfort in returning to the familiarity of his own toys/routines. I have been thinking lately about what makes our house 'home' to Judah and Asher and how we can best hold onto the family traditions and certain personal possessions that help give us a feeling of stability when we move to Argentina. Chris and I have begun the process (and for now it can be a gradual one) of sorting through some of the attic boxes, giving away things we no longer need to other families at church or in our community. I think starting this early is serving us well as it has led to a number of conversations with Judah and Asher about how they are feeling about our future in Argentina and questions they have. Initially Asher was very upset to see us giving away clothes that used to be his, but he seemed very reassured once he got the chance to look through all the clothes and select his favorite shirts to give away to special friends. 
As this month comes to a close, I am most thankful for: an extra long period of rest in California with family, the chance to come home to such a wonderful community of friends here in Oxford, Zoe's improvements in the areas of feeding and sleeping, the boys' growing affection for Zoe, and Judah's excitement about his lessons at school (a marked difference from last year). If you think of our family over the course of the next month, please pray for Asher who is struggling a bit with the diminished amount of one-on-one attention that I am able to give him as I juggle the needs of three kids. I would also love prayer for me as I go through a study with the mom's group that I am a part of at church. Our study is focused on spiritual gifts this term and I am hoping to be able to hear from God anew about how I can best use my gifts in my family and current community and have Him plant hopes/dreams for how I might be able to use them in Argentina.   

Praise God

  • For bringing us together with the community at Gary United Methodist Church.
  • For some wonderful time with Judah. We've asked on a number of occasions for your prayers for Judah, and we are seeing some heartening progress in our relationship with him and in his own relationship with God.
  • For bringing Zoe, Asher, and Michelle home safely to Oxford, even after the delays with Zoe's visa.  

Please Pray

  • For continued responses to the chance to contribute to the matching grant that was put up for the retirement of our student loans. Our total student debt has been cut from $85,000 (upon my graduation from Oxford) to $27,000, which is extraordinary progress over the course of three years. This all owes to God's goodness and the generosity of many of you.
  • For me to enjoy and practice prayer more consistently throughout the day, that I might be more sensitive to and faithful with what God has for me each hour.
  • For the decisive repair of my computer. My laptop was returned to me from the repair shop earlier this month, but within a day it would no longer turn on. I've sent it back to the shop for the fourth time in the past several months, and would be grateful for it to be finally fixed so that I can return to my normal productivity.
  • On the heels of that last prayer request, I should say that NOT having a computer has helped me balance my life, work, and spirituality in a healthier way. Please pray that I can sustain and progress in that balance whenever the computer is finally fixed!

Contact Us

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

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