A list of things you never knew about Michelle, desserts with new students, and bucket loads of good work.

Dear Friends and Family,

It's been a great month of teaching here at FUSBC. I've been playing around with lots of different pedagogical strategies, and I have had a lot of fun finding new things that work well (and the occasional dud!). As I teach "Introduction to the New Testament" (a class which is often the bane of the New Testament scholar's existence!), I am really having a ball. This owes a lot to the great bunch of students I have, who work extremely hard and are making great strides.

One fun tradition that Michelle and I have developed is to invite small groups of my students over for dessert at the beginning of the academic year. That's how we spent a couple of Saturday nights this month: enjoying coffee and Michelle's smashing desserts as each student shared about how God brought them to the seminary. Hearing the stories of their sacrifices, their vision, and of the many years lots of them had to wait before finally being able to come study, was inspiring and sobering. Their commitment to being here is exceptional, as are their passions to serve the Church and the world.

This month has also been one for making good progress on lots of different big projects: starting the next stage of our work responding to internal displacement in Colombia, submitting a grant application with a buddy in the UK, running a pilot evaluation of an exciting virtual program for teaching Greek and Hebrew, and putting in the bureaucratic legwork for another big shipment of books. I also gave a wee presentation at a faculty seminar on historical criticism, and continue to run my advanced Greek reading group, which has just received a fresh infusion of talented students. So it's been a productive four weeks!

The month has also been crazy hectic for MIchelle, as Judah has begun his rigorous new school, and as she and Asher have waded into homeschooling together. Michelle has been an absolute champion, and the gains we are seeing in the kids' education are already heartening! But boy, are we knackered!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

This month my downstairs neighbor invited the women of the seminary (that included students, students’ wives, professors, professors’ wives and staff) to her house for a community event. We played several games that involved finding out what we had in common with everyone in the room (approx. 30 women from all different regions of Colombia and a few from the US) and what was unique about each one of us. My sides hurt from laughing by the time I left and I was touched by the realization that just in bringing each of us women to live and work at this seminary, God has connected more than 30 women's strikingly different stories. It got me thinking about the fact that some people in my new community know only a little of my story. To fill in some of the gaps for my new friends in Medellín and for those of you who live farther away, here are a few things that I have not told anyone in a while. I don't think I have mentioned that once I beat ten men in a pie-eating contest at a church picnic. I am exceptionally terrified of mice but I will hold most bugs that my adventurous boys bring to me. I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve never told anyone here that I once canoed down the Rio Grande without showering for six weeks. Someday I want to visit New Zealand and I want to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow with precision like Robin Hood. I can drink through my nose. When I was younger, I was a ballet dancer who also competed in track & field throwing discus. The smell of crushed lavender or the sound of rain on my windowpane at night can cure almost any trouble that has happened in my day. And at the end of this particular day, I am feeling very thankful that God has brought me to Medellín, mixing my own story with the other unique stories of the remarkable students, faculty and staff at FUSBC.

Student Profile

Yaily Gambín Quiñonez is a sharp student in my class "Introduction to the New Testament". She is from Montería-Córdoba, on the coast of Colombia.

Yaily has a real knack for languages. Before coming to the seminary she studied English and speaks it very well; she is also a member of my advanced Greek reading group, and she was one of the students who helped us do the pilot evaluation of the biblical languages software I mentioned above (in that evaluation, she worked through the Hebrew curriculum).

Yaily says, "I came to the seminary to be prepared to serve God and the Church with excellence, since I love to teach others and help them grow in the love of God and in their relationship with Him. I also want to enrich my understanding of the many people who form the body of Christ."

Alongside her studies, Yaily is beginning to work in a parachurch organization here in Medellin, teaching children and youth from underprivileged backgrounds. Additionally, during her vacations, Yaily returns to her home city to teach in the church, to disciple youth, and to train children's teachers.

"What I hope to do after my undergrad at the seminary," she says, "is to continue my studies so that I can teach, whether academically or in the Church or in whatever place God permits. That may mean training pastors in my denomination in Montería, who have great needs, since most of them are from rural areas and have no opportunities to be educated in theology." Yaily is young, bright, and talented, precisely the sort of student I hoped to to teach when we were planning to come here. Thank you for partnering with us in preparing her for ministry. 

Praise God!

  • For the progress I am making as a teacher.
  • For the new support that we gained this month. We keep getting closer to our funding goal, and that's very encouraging!
  • For Michelle's excellent start at homeschooling.

Please Pray

  • Last month we asked you to pray for a one year-old in our community named Ester. Her father, Wilcar, is my research assistant and her mother Marjorie is also a dear member of the FUSBC community. Ester recently had surgery to reconstruct her esophagus and continues to be hospitalized with complications. Please pray for a miraculous recovery for Ester and for emotional and physical stamina for her parents. 
  • For energy and rest. I get up at 4am every day, and Michelle and Judah wake up at 4:30, which means that by the end of the day everyone is really spent. The early mornings are a matter of necessity (Judah gets on the bus at 5:30 and my first class starts at 7am), but the family gets pretty run down by the end of the week. 
  • Next week I am preaching my first sermon here in Colombia (on Thursday the 5th). At this point, I am not feeling terribly confident, since the last time I preached in Spanish the sermon was a real flop!
  • For our newest shipment of books from the US. Hopefully the books will be sent next week, and by the next time you hear from me, they'll be in port in Cartagena. 
  • For wisdom in making decisions about the various commitments our family has, especially regarding Judah's school schedule.
  • I have a LOT of writing that I need to do in the coming couple of months. I'm kind of overwhelmed. So please do pray for me to be productive, energetic, and passionate. 

Growing up

 Zoe is very keen to make sure that everyone knows that she is no longer a tiny baby. She announces throughout the day "Me big!" and loves to bring up February's achievements which include learning to sit in the dentist's chair, staying with babysitters willingly and happily, sleeping in her own bed all night, and going to her Sunday school class on her own.
Copyright © 2015 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.

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