Wrapping up a new book, lecturing in London, and accelerating in our translation work.

Dear Friends and Family,

The month of June is the time when Colombian schools have their equivalent to a 'Winter Break', as schools let out for a month. (It's also a month in which there are three public holidays, meaning lots of long weekends with noisy parties!) So halfway through the month, we took advantage of this break to travel north and give lectures, meet with supporters, and celebrate my brother's wedding.

Travels notwithstanding, June has been productive. I am delighted to report that I submitted a book manuscript to Fortress Press this month; the book, collaboratively authored with four friends from Oxford, is called When the Son of Man Didn't Come, and it tackles the problem of the delay in Christ's return. Since we've been working on this book for over four years, I am thrilled to have it in the publisher's hands.

Our different projects in the seminary continue to gather steam, the holiday notwithstanding. The team translating the BibleMesh Biblical Languages program into Spanish has now grown to 13, which is very exciting. We've also rolled up our sleeves and been working on the process of getting our undergraduate program "high quality accreditation", so that we can once again submit a proposal and (God willing, this time) receive accreditation for our master's degree. 

Halfway through June, the Hays family loaded itself onto a plane and returned to the US, to celebrate my brother's wedding (which was a wonderful event). But before the nuptials, Michelle and I left our kids in the generous care of my family, and traveled as a pair back to London, when I gave a lecture for a think-tank called the "Centre for Enterprise, Markets, and Ethics". (I've been a fellow of the think-tank since we lived in the UK, and it's been a great way to keep developing my research and indeed to showcase what we're doing in Colombia before an impressive array of UK academics and executives). 

We took advantage of the trip to London by visiting friends and supporters in Oxford and in Bonn. It was such a blessing and a joy to see the friends that have been partnering with our ministry for a long time, many of whom Michelle has not seen in years. After time with friends and some lovely long walks on the Thames and the Rhine, we returned home to see the many members of our extended family who gathered for the wedding. I gave a homily and then got to sit back and watch my brother marry a fantastic woman (whose name is also Michelle, thus ensuring that our family gatherings be henceforth mired in miscommunication and confusion about which Michelle Hays is being addressed!)

Tomorrow, we load the kids and our baggage back onto a plane, and it's off to Medellin to begin a new semester!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

We are just about to head to the airport again after spending three amazing weeks in California. After our prolonged stay with grandparents and family, the suitcases are open on the bed and our teary kids are mixed-up bundles of emotions saying things like:"Why does God's plan for our family mean that we live far away?" and "Sometimes I just want to be a normal kid, Mom."

Yesterday, I was feeling short on patience and a bit emotional myself, until Asher, Zoe, and I went to see a movie called Inside Out. I expected it to just be a fun way to spend an afternoon, but it turned out to be a helpful tool in processing our feelings about our comings and goings between Colombia, the US, and Europe. The movie is about the emotions inside an 11-year-old girl named Riley as she experiences the stresses and losses that go along with moving. Characters like Joy, Sadness, Fury, Disgust, and Fear take turns driving the controls in her brain.

One of the things I found particularly interesting was the fact that Sadness was initially not allowed to touch any of the memories or use the controls, because everything she touched was "ruined." However, as time went on, it became essential that Sadness take a more central role so that Riley could grieve what she had lost. I also really liked that near the end of the movie they portrayed some of the memories as being a mixture of several emotions, implying that the same memory can hold both joy and sadness at the same time. Similarly, the movie also implied that the way you experience a memory can change over time depending on your perspective.  

I cried in the theater while the kids ate their popcorn because I was thinking about my visit to Oxford and Bonn and picturing my experiences like the stored memory-marbles from the movie, swirled in joy and sadness at the same time: glowing yellow on one side representing the joy and thankfulness for all of the friends and experiences God has blessed us with in different parts of the world, but deep blue on the other side representing the sadness I feel when I leave one of these places and a bit of my heart is left behind. Please pray for us as the kids and I continue to process the emotions of our coming and goings and as we transition into a new semester of life and ministry in Colombia.       

Participating in VBS 

The timing of our June visit to California allowed Judah and Asher to participate in the Vacation Bible School program at a church where Chris' sister is the youth pastor. The whole week was science themed, so the experience seemed tailor made for our two boys, who both love inventions and seeing things fizzle, bubble, and explode. Here is a picture with Judah and two of his new friends making mini robots during their field trip to a science museum in Berkeley. It was an awesome time for our boys to learn about God in English, have a lot of fun, and make some new friends.    

Praise God!

  • That Michelle and I had time to reconnect as a couple in some places that mean a great deal to us.
  • For the opportunity to witness my brother's marriage and to enjoy lots of conversations with family and old friends.
  • For a generous pair of dentist supporters, who learned that I'm suffering from TMD (temporal mandibular disorder) and promptly made me a mouth-guard to relieve the pain!
  • For the submission of When the Son of Man Didn't Come to our publisher (though the indexing will no doubt be an occasion for prayer and weeping!)
  • For the big team of translators working to prepare the BibleMesh program for a Spanish-speaking audience. 

Please Pray

  • For a new supporting church and/or several new supporters. There is a wonderful foundation in the UK that pledged to help get us set up in Colombia by providing about 15% of our annual support from 2013-2015. We are tremendously grateful for the foundation's generosity, but now their commitment has come to a conclusion, and so we are praying for God to replace those funds by expanding our donor base (and/or by moving some current supporters to increase their monthly commitment). We have seen God provide for us repeatedly over this past few years, and we rest in the knowledge of his care.
  • For wisdom, energy, and enthusiasm as we kick off a new semester at FUSBC!
  • This month we expect to receive the result of a grant application made to the British Academy for the purpose of helping fund some of our research on the crisis of forced internal displacement in Colombia. Please pray for a positive result to the application, and for our diligence in drafting another, larger grant application as well.

Student Profile

Iván Felipe Páez ִis a twenty-year old student from Bogotá. A sophomore at FUSBC, I've gotten to know him in my classes this past year and in the advanced Greek reading group that I run. Iván says, "I came to the seminary in 2014, sent by my mission agency, the Wesleyan Church of the North. I came because, during my time working in youth ministry in Bogotá, God placed in my heart the desire to be better prepared for His service, and then confirmed my calling to the pastorate through various other people. God was faithful and prepared everything I needed so that I could come to the seminary and be trained for service in the Church and for ministry with young people."

"At present, my ministry work focuses on the leadership of teens and young adults; in addition, my church has allowed me to share what I have learned in seminary in our larger congregational settings. Upon completing my seminary studies, I hope to be able to serve my community faithfully, to join a pastoral team, and to bear to my congregation all that I learned in seminary." In this way, Iván exemplifies how your partnership with seminary education has an immediate impact on the ministries in which the students presently serve, as well as preparing them for a larger, more fruitful, and long-term ministry in churches all around Colombia.

Copyright © 2015 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.

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