Kids' birthdays, Michelle's recovery, and preparation for numerous opportunities in the coming months.

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a month of blessed calm between the drama of Michelle's back surgery and the flurry of finals, lectures, and travels to come in November and December.

We have been grateful to see Michelle recover steadily over the previous weeks. She was able to go to church on Sunday and she is moving around much more comfortably, even though she has a long way to go in recovering her strength and full mobility. 

These past couple of weeks my students have been preparing for their final papers, which means that for the moment my grading load is lighter and I have had time to start preparing a conference paper and some lectures from my travels in November and December. I am very much enjoying the chance to write and do research again!

I received an exciting bit of news last week when the Dean asked me to teach a course on faith and science for our undergrads next semester. This is a course that I had proposed as an elective for the master's program, so it's great to be able to start the course development now, with our fourth-year undergrads. The ideas being explored are SO exciting and important and I am thrilled that I'll be able to dedicate a whole semester to engaging them with my students. 

Next month will be crazy again as the semester wraps up, students turn in their final papers, and our family travels back to the US. But for one more week I have some peace and normalcy. Thank God!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

Thank you, everyone, for your continued prayers and well wishes as I recover from my back surgery. I have been greatly encouraged that as each week passes I can do a little more. The surgeon is happy with my progress and my physical therapy sessions at the hospital are going well. Our community here at the seminary continues to bless us with their care for our family. It will be some time still before I can carry things, but I am grateful to be feeling so much better and to be pain-free. These last six weeks or so have forced me to really slow down, to make caring for myself a priority amidst all that has to be done, and to learn to receive from others (not easy lessons!). 

Student Profile

Jair Grisales Quintero is my class clown; his antics always have the group in stitches. (The day after he wrote the text below for me, he came to class enthusiastically saying, "Make me famous, Profe. Tell them about me in America and in Europe!") But notwithstanding his penchant for levity, Jair is both committed to his studies and passionate for the Church. I'll let him introduce himself to you in his own words (OK, my translation of his own words).

Hello, I'm Jair Grisales Quintero, and I was born in the music capital of Colombia: the city of Ibagué. I come from a Presbyterian church called Casa de Vida (House of Life). The desire to get trained at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia arose for me when I was just 17, but I was held back from that goal for nine years due to my family's scarce economic resources.

I grew up in a dysfunctional home, along with an older sister and the courage of a mother who desired that her children would lack nothing...but that was not enough to pay for a university education. God intervened, however, so that my church came to help sponsor my studies; finally, I entered FUSBC at the age of 26, and I am currently in my fourth semester. 

During that time I met a beautiful girl, who captured my heart; we fell in love and got married. She is a psychologist and I can say with all certainty that she completes my life. [Translators note: Jair is actually MORE sappy than this...I toned it down!]

Here in Medellín, I support a Baptist church called El Redil (The Sheepfold). I lead worship there as well as teaching in the community's youth group. Upon departing from FUSBC I hope to train the lay leaders and worship teams of my home church in Ibagué, both spiritually and biblically.

Jair exemplifies the enthusiasm, energy, and commitment of our student body. He waited nine years before being able to enter the seminary! In his desire to return to his home town and train lay leaders, he shows a strong awareness of how fortunate he is to receive a seminary education, and also reminds me of what strategic work FUSBC is doing in Colombia. 

Praise God!

  • For an end-of-year support gift from Triangle Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina. Even though I had never met the church (beyond a friend who mentioned our ministry to them), they gave a generous gift to support our work here in Colombia!
  • For Michelle's continued recovery. Please pray especially that her back would be protected when she flies back to the US on November 19th. 
  • For good scholar friends in the North who have sent me numerous essays and chapters to help me out as I draft a new academic presentation and publication. Bibliography is like oxygen to a scholar and I don't know what I would do without all this help!
  • For 11 years with Judah and 3 years with Zoe, both of whom had birthdays this month.
  • Many of you have been praying for Asher to be admitted into the school Judah has attended this past year (Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola). We were delighted to find out that he was indeed accepted, to begin studies there in January.

Please Pray

  • For progress in the process of applying for "high quality accreditation" for our undergrad program. Accreditation is a complex undertaking and it requires the collaboration of a big team. Please pray that we would all make good progress in our application, which is a hurdle that needs to be cleared before we can submit our application for the new Master's program. 
  • For a strong conclusion to the academic year, both for my students here at FUSBC and for Judah and Asher. 
  • For new monthly supporters. The commitment of a fixed term donor came to a conclusion this summer, and we still need to increase the number of supporters (be they individuals or churches) that partner with our work.

October 2004

Eleven years ago Judah was born and we became parents! As we celebrated with Judah this year, I remembered the first evening of his life. I continue to feel amazed at how God surprises us all with plans that are far better than anything we could dream up for ourselves. 
Copyright © 2015 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.
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