United World Mission
Dear Friends and Family,
Everyone is moaning about how winter is dragging on (as one does in February), but I'm realizing that this is the last cold winter I am going to experience for a very long time. It rather makes you treasure the winter a bit more, at least until you are spending a Saturday morning watching your kid's football (soccer) match while the snow falls around you and your toes go numb.
The saga of my limping laptop has continued, as this month it underwent its fifth and sixth rounds of repairs, but once again, the kink in my productivity has proven a rich asset spiritually. I've been spending a great deal of time praying and reflecting on the love of God, which has been a lovely way to prepare for the mission field. Contemplating God's love has been a great joy; it helps calm my anxieties about the work that needs to be done before we deploy. In addition, I have grown more conscious of what this missionary move will entail for my academic career and my intellectual life, and an increased apprehension of God's love has gently assuaged my more fleshly ambitions.
We held the first of our UK-based fundraising events in Oxford this month, and have begun setting up further conversations about supporting our ministry. In addition, I submitted an application to Wheaton for a scholarship that would pay off my remaining student debt from my Wheaton degrees. Since this comprises 2/3rds of our outstanding debt, the scholarship would be a wonderful gift to us; we'd be grateful for your prayers regarding the outcome of the application!
Over the past few years, in tandem with a colleague from Wheaton (Dr. Christopher Ansberry) I have been working on editing and writing a book about historical biblical criticism, which will appear in June (see here
). I've been wonderfully heartened this month by the preliminary enthusiasm the book has generated (for example, see here
). We are lining up interviews about the book now, and I have also been asked to speak on the subject of historical biblical criticism to Christian graduate students here at Oxford, at the Developing a Christian Mind conference
. We are praying that this line of research proves fruitful for the health of the Church and Christians in the academy. Of course, it would be wonderful if the book provided additional exposure for our missionary work as well!
Peace be with you all,
Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays