Exciting prospects for loan retirement and for a forthcoming book!
Hays Missions Update
Preparing to Provide Transformational Theological Education to Latin American Pastors and Theologians

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 and 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

From Michelle

Judah's big excitement for the month of February was the chance to go to dinner at Keble with Chris. Once a year, Chris' college offers the chance for the fellows to bring their children with them to dine at High Table. Judah was thrilled to be dressing up in a coat and tie and heading out into the night with Dad. I hear that Judah managed to go through the entire dinner with excellent manners, successfully using seven pieces of silverware and drinking (raspberry juice) from a wine glass. For those of you who are Americans struggling to envision what High Table at Oxford is like, it is not far off from the scenes in Harry Potter with the magical food and floating candlesticks. The fellows sit at a separate table on raised flooring and are served by butlers. The undergraduate students sit in long wooden tables that run the length of the hall and cannot begin eating until the prayer (in Latin) has ended and the warden has struck the gavel. Judah returned home bursting with happy stories from his fancy evening and delighted to have stayed up so far past his normal bedtime.
Asher, who was a bit young to attend this evening, dressed up for his own "Asher-Daddy time" and went out to enjoy treats with Chris at a little French bakery on a different day. Apparently a complete stranger asked to take his picture because Asher was so handsome in his little suit jacket. Since Zoe has been born, Asher is experiencing the loss of his spot as the littlest and I think this time with Chris went a long way to helping him feel special and valued.
Zoe is four months now and is ever improving in terms of eating and sleeping well. We all find so much joy in watching her grow and develop her personality. What a gift she is to us! It seemed very fitting that Zoe gave Asher her first laugh since he is so affectionate with her and entertains her with little games. My favorite Asher quote of this month (spoken while snuggling with Zoe in the early morning): "I love each person in our family with all of my heart."

Praise God

  • For spiritual growth and deeply encouraging time in God's presence.
  • For the encouraging reaction to my forthcoming book, and for the opportunities to begin talking about it.
  • For exciting opportunities to continue to pay off our loans.

Please Pray

  • For new contacts and new supporters to join our funding team in the next month.
  • For even more friends to respond to the matching grant that was put up to help relieve us of our remaining Oxford debt before we deploy. (If anyone is interested in chipping into this, just drop me an email and I'll be only too happy to share the details).
  • For productivity in preparing for March's speaking engagements, and for my laptop drama finally to come to an end.
  • For the success of our application to the Bennett Missionary Service Fund, which exists to pay off the student debt of Wheaton alumni heading to the mission field!

Contact Us


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

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