Completion of a book project, profiles of my students (the national directors of Young Life)

Dear Friends and Family,

Life takes longer here. Not just in Colombia, but throughout the Majority World, daily tasks just take more time. Limited electronic services mean long lines at banks to pay utility and school bills in person. Fewer pre-packaged ingredients mean that cooking typical US dishes is a major process. Spotty collections in libraries mean that research is hard to achieve. Differing traffic practices and road conditions mean lots more congestion. And distinct standards of professionalism mean that one accustoms oneself to long lines and more cancelled appointments. These are among the things that make adjustment to life in South America a challenge.

In that light, it's a real pleasure to have a month like this where I feel like lots of things got done! I was finally able to send to the publishers a big book I have been co-editing (with formidable colleagues from Germany and South Africa) on Mission and Ethics in the New Testament and Early Christianity. The book is called Sensitivity toward Outsiders (but unless you are a professional Bible geek, don't read it; it's very long and dense!) I am glad to wrap this project up and have a little more time for other things.

This Monday my Colombian colleagues and I also had a mini-conference to share some of our work on Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia. I was excited to see the fascinating work that everyone had produced and look forward to our big conference in August. Finally, this month I also developed and delivered some special seminars on using our library's Bible software (Logos), providing one more important and powerful tool to aid our student's studies and preparation for ministry. 

All this was of course in addition to the regular weekly work of curriculum development, lecturing, and grading. So it's heartening, in spite of the fact that "life takes longer here", to see God allowing us to take so many steps forward!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

This month I have been praciticing making and receiving phone calls in Spanish (more challenging for me than face-to-face conversations) and have been navigating a slew of dentist and orthodontist appointments in Spanish. Even though I have experienced some linguistic success, I know I still have a way to go in terms of getting used to our new life here. This is evidenced by the fact that I let out shrieks when I find lizards in unexpected places (intertwined with the "clean" silverware in the dish rack for example) and that I have trouble sleeping when I know there is a cockroach unaccounted for somewhere in the house. Bit by bit I see the boys are slowly acclimatizing to the culture here too. When we first arrived, Asher really struggled with how affectionate people are with him and how much people want to touch his light hair. Yesterday during a dentist appointment, the hygienist was massaging his whole face with both her hands and making lots of clucking noises about how cute he was. I laughed when Asher's only response was to say in a calm and good-natured way, "Mom, is this part of the treatment?!" We are thankful that God is helping all of us to inch forward as we experience cultural changes like these. Other highlights of April for which we give God thanks include the chance to celebrate Easter with our friends here and the unique blessing of receiving a bunch of English books for our boys from missionaries who are moving away.

Student Profile

The Maldonado Family: Alejandro and Andrea are both sophomores at FUSBC. After years working in the business and medical fields (respectively), God called them to Christian ministry and they left their careers to join Young Life. They are now the Colombian national directors for that ministry!

In spite of their already significant impact, God called them to move their children, Samuel and Valiera, away from Bogotá in order to come study at FUSBC. "The seminary's contribution, both personally and theologically, has been invaluable," says Alejandro. "It has strengthened our faith and passion for the Gospel and obviously has influenced the ministry we lead in many areas, as well as the leadership team under our care. Our goal [at FUSBC] is to keep acquiring the tools we need to generate a relevant and lasting impact among the youth in Colombia and Latin America."

It's a humbling and thrilling thing to have students like the Maldonados, who continue to lead a nation-wide ministry even as they study. They exemplify the exponential impact theological education can have on the Church around the world. 
Medellin is so very different from Oxford but we are beginning to feel more comfortable in the city, the language, and the culture as the months go by.

Praise God!

  • For the completion of Sensitivity to Outsiders and for the privilege of working with so many talented contributors and co-editors along the way.
  • For the commitment and talents of my colleagues here at FUSBC as we all work together on the painful issue of internal displacement in Colombia.
  • For some encouraging days teaching and for the progress I am witnessing in the writing of many of my students.

Please Pray

  • For traveling mercies for our family as we travel to our UWM mission conference in Costa Rica from May 7-12.
  • For a new Advanced Greek colloquium I am starting (today!) with a handful of very talented students.
  • For my students to be diligent and successful as they write their final papers during this last month of term!
  • For the Maldonado family, especially as Alejandro has been in and out of the hospital this week with health issues. 
Speaking of things taking longer here, this month the kids and I (Michelle) made our own natural food coloring.  We had fun experimenting with things like beets, cabbage, curry, and lemon peel to create dyes for Easter eggs and cake frosting (thankfully without ruining the taste!).
Zoe is growing up these days!  She enjoys being right "in the mix" now that she is old enough to join in the boys' games.
Copyright © 2014 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.
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