War and peace, religion and science, and some blogging along the way.

Dear Friends and Family,

Nobody expects government bureaucracy to move smoothly (especially not in the Majority World!), but the Ministry of Education of Colombia has kept FUSBC's application for "High Quality Accreditation" in limbo for nine months, without even beginning the evaluation. To my relief, this month the governmental gears began to grind, and we received the first of two visits from Ministry representatives. We are grateful that this process has begun, though now we must wait for many more months before the second visit, which will be the crucial one for the evaluation of our application. But at least the wheels are in motion!

The month has been hectic with teaching, working on the displacement project, and research. However, I made some time to blog a bit about our work at the seminary, and in particular the stellar students we have the FUSBC; check out the post here.

Also, my buddy/co-author Casey Strine and I wrote a few blog posts about our new book (written with a few other friends from Oxford) When the Son of Man Didn't Come. You can see the first of three posts here

Please be praying for Colombia. These are crucial weeks. After four years of negotiations, the Colombian just signed a landmark peace agreement with the guerrilla group the FARC, ending 52 years of war; for a one minute introduction to the armed conflict, check out this video. BUT this agreement has to be confirmed by a national popular vote (to take place on October 2), and right now the nation is divided on the topic (for reasons why, see here). We ask that you would pray for the nation right now, that it would vote for peace instead of destroying years of work and reigniting the war with the FARC? Thank you. 

I'd be massively grateful for your prayers as I tackle the month of October, which will be both exciting and tremendously demanding for me. We are fortunate to have Justin Barrett from Fuller Theological Seminary visit us for two weeks to talk about science and religion (thanks to a grant we received from Oxford University and the John Templeton Foundation). Justin and I will travel together to Bogotá for a week, and we have lots of meetings and events. The next week I will be giving a paper on science and religion at a conference in Bogotá.

But the biggest event, at the end of the month, is the first intensive research session of the theology and displacement project. This event will involve 25 scholars from North America, South America, Europe, and Africa, span research on six different fields of knowledge, and obviously entails a massive amount of logistical and intellectual effort for me (since I am both the project director and leader of the economics team, and since I need to give three presentations). Please pray for me to have stamina and productivity over the coming weeks, and that the event would indeed generate great insights that would benefit the Church.

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

Over the last three years we have come to love the community of the seminary where we live. I never feel that my descriptions in our updates do it justice, and so I would LOVE for you to watch this short video that our missions agency (United World Mission) recently made about the seminary where we live and work (FUSBC). The video includes some lovely shots of the seminary campus and interviews with our president, with a current student, and with Christopher. We hope it gives you more of a glimpse of what this fantastic community is like. (Plus, Zoe makes some cameos!) 

Student Profile

Rudolph Gordon Britton is from the tiny island of San Andrés (population of over 100,000 people in only 26 square kilometers), part of a Carribean archipelago which was first colonized by the British. In Rudolph's words, "It is a beautiful island, known around the world for its seven-colored sea and its white sands. There we preserve our English and African roots, and the foundation of our faith (which is Baptist, since those were the first English missionaries that arrived at our islands with the gospel and education)."

Rudolph explains, "I came to the seminary with the goal of preparing myself for the mission that God gave me when I was 16 years old, which is to proclaim the Good News of Christ. I decided to come to FUSBC because it is known as one of the best in Latin America."

"The ministry I currently exercise is that of an evangelist. In this capacity I go out to the streets with a team to preach the gospel, especially to young people. We use tools such a urban music, dramas, and obviously preaching the Word, with the goal of reaching souls for Jesus. When I leave the seminary, I hope to work in the mission field, planting churches in Colombia and elsewhere in the world, in order to spread the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth." 

A fascinating student whose emotional language is Creole, yet who reads and speaks both English and Spanish, Rudolph exemplifies the multiplying impact of the theological education for the expansion of the Kingdom.
 

Praise God!

  • For the first visit from the Ministry of Education, beginning the evaluation process of our application for High Quality Accreditation.
  • For the signing of the peace treaty between the Colombian government and the FARC.
  • That the boys' hard academic work (not to mention Michelle's) paid off as they received very good grades on their third-period reports.

Please Pray

  • For increased financial support for our ministry. Over the last year, our monthly support has dwindled and the exchange rate has dropped; plus, Zoe begins school soon and we will need to begin paying her tuition. Please pray that God would bring us new monthly supporters to help us recover what was lost and prepare for the new year.
  • For the popular vote (October 2nd) to confirm the peace treaty with the FARC.
  • For Justin Barrett's visit (October 3-16) and our travels to Bogota.
  • For my paper on faith and science at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (October 26th).
  • For the displacement project's intensive collaboration session (October 29-31): that all members would arrive safely, that I would be able to prepare all that is needed, and that we would benefit greatly from this time of collaboration. 
  • For our visas: our family´s visas expire in October, and we are encountering difficulties with the Ministry of the Exterior. While these are problems of bureaucratic inefficiency, please pray that they be resolved quickly and without further investment of time and frustration. 

 

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