Preparing to provide transformational theological education to Latin American pastors and scholars
United World Mission
Dear Friends and Family,
June was an insanely busy month for us, as church ministry, academic work, and missions fund-raising overflowed my schedule and left little time to breath. It was, nonetheless, a fruitful month, about which I'd like to share a bit with you.
Two weeks ago I spent the weekend back in Bonn, with our church family in the American Protestant Church. It was great to reconnect with our friends and supporters there, enjoying bratwurst, "Kaffee und Kuchen" and other features of German life (and cuisine) that we've come to miss. I had a few opportunties to share about our work with different audience, including in the Sunday sermon, and we were blessed by some further members of the congregation who commited to supporting us.
Still, the most poignant part of the trip was the way in which the community welcomed me back to Bonn and encouraged me in our calling to Argentina. I boarded the plane back to Oxford with a marked sense of the way in which our ministry is growing, more vibrant and potent, because of the people who have joined with us as we prepare to head to Buenos Aires.
My great weekend in Germany was contrasted by a weekend trip I took to London, where I attended an event (sponsored by prominent Christian organizations and schools) on "Wealth Creation and Human Flourishing". The promotional materials for this event promised discussion of economics and social justice, but in reality, most of the dialogue revealed a marked indifference towards the poor (both domestic and foreign) and an anemic understanding of Christian responsibility for the vulnerable. While saddening, this experience reinforced my sense of the urgent need for more robust biblical and Christian teaching on wealth, for me to progress in my own academic work and to take more intentional steps to publish at a more popular level.
Next week I'm off again to London for the Society of Biblical Literature International Conference. Please pray for Michelle and the boys as I am away yet again. We would also be grateful for your prayers as we prepare for a trip back to the US in August, specifically as we hope to talk to a couple of churches about supporting our mission, and as we attempt to arrange meetings with small groups from those churches, inviting them to join our team of supporters. Thank you for your continued intercession and encouragement.
Peace be with you all,
Christopher, Michelle, Judah, and Asher Hays
Last month I mentioned that I have started a list in which I am cataloging all of God's gifts to us . . . with the goal of reaching 1000. Here are a few entries from this month: Thank you God for . . . the smell of lavender just inside our garden gate, the echoing of church bells, a chance to explore Oxford's natural places as a family, a time to laugh with friends until my sides hurt, an old church near our house whose cold stone interior was filled with a holy silence on a hot day, and the boys' absolute delight while playing in the splash park with their friends. Adding to my list has kept me mindful of the fact that God is pouring love over us. When I look back over June's events, there was one evening in particular that stood out as a special gift. Our church hosted an evening event for parents titled "Parenting Children for a Life of Faith." Rachel Turner, who has written a book by the same title, gave us some practical tips on how to teach children to have an interactive relationship with God. Her talk was full of amazing stories of children who are able to hear God's voice and develop a relationship with God even at a young age. Chris and I came away from it hugely encouraged and with a number of promising ideas. (If any of you are also interested, her book is available on the US, UK, and German Amazon sites.) On a similar note, I am reading another book that is exploring how a mom with young kids can practice spiritual disciplines. It is full of practical helps too, but most of all I have been so encouraged by the author's continual affirmation that even in this stage life (as a mom with little time to myself) I CAN find ways to spend regular time with God, to grow in the area of prayer, and to make meditating on Scripture a part of my day. I am thankful for these opportunities to keep learning about how to parent our kids and grow as a mom. Lastly, I feel like I have to add that if Judah could write this post, he would say "I have my first wobbly tooth!" (in bold and all caps probably). Asher would add (brimming with pride) "Did you know that I am nearly 3! This is big news!"