Dear Friends and Family,
Today, one year ago, we left Oxford. Over coffee this morning, Michelle and I reflected on all that's transpired in the intervening orbit around the sun. We went through cross-cultural training, raised sufficient funds to get us here, and saw the retirement of all our student debt. We crisscrossed the country repeatedly and then flew to Colombia. We spent our first Christmas in South America, figured out the logistics of government bureaucracy (well, sort of!), grocery stores, and banks. The boys have completed 3/4ths of a school year in Spanish, and I've become a teacher. I've finished a couple writing projects, and now we're diving into some of our most ambitious collaborations yet.
Last week we welcomed a handful of scholars from Fuller Theological Seminary, who joined us for a conference on internal displacement in Colombia (and how the Church should respond to this humanitarian crisis). The conference was very well attended, the papers were very good, and the students were very engaged. Perhaps most heartening, there is a strong desire to continue this line of work, and to see how we can elaborate practical resources to help the Church pastor and accompany the psychological, economic, and spiritual recovery of displaced persons.
At the time of this conference we also received a lovely visit from my friend and colleague, Dr. Seth Tarrer. Seth is an Old Testament missionary-scholar who spent the last two years working in Buenos Aires and is now discerning where God would call him (and his wonderful wife and four children) next. We are praying for God to put Seth in a place that his gifts could be optimally used, and would be thrilled if they ended up feeling called to contribute in some capacity to our seminary here in Medellín.
This month has also been stuffed with earnest and rapid work developing our new master's degree in theology. It's been a little bit of a dizzying challenge to try to imagine what the first graduate degree for our seminary should look like, but the dean and president have given me tons of encouragement and support, and I'm pretty excited to see how this is shaping up. Please pray for the next month of meetings as we fashion syllabi for the new courses that will comprise this degree, courses that we pray will be key resources for a lifetime of service for church leaders and a new generation of theologians.
My horizons this month have also been dominated by book donations. While in England in July I was able to meet with four different donors (three Oxford Colleges: Exeter, Linacre, and Mansfield, as well as a wonderful Catholic priest in London) who together will be donating around 1700 volumes to our library! Their generosity is wonderful, and in order to honor that generosity I have been scrambling to attend to the logistics of international shipping and customs bureaucracy.
So, one year since we left Oxford, I feel like we can see God's plans unfolding quickly. And that is great. Hopefully in another year we'll see much of this coming to fruition. And I also hope that, in another year, this will feel like home.
Peace be with you all,
Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays