Michelle has back surgery, Christopher loses a lot of sleep, and the FUSBC community comes to the rescue.

Dear Friends and Family,

I ain't gonna' lie. This month was rough! But amidst the tough stuff, there was a lot of beauty as well. 

The first half of the month was great. Classes were going well. FUSBC was featured in the autumn communiqué of the Theological Book Network (see the letter here). I was getting lots of writing done and ideas were percolating well.

Then Michelle went down. She's had back and leg pain for some time now and the pain has been getting progressively worse. But this month she was laid out with debilitating pain. She was hospitalized and we found out that she had a severely herniated disc, one which went inward and was pressing on her spinal cord. She had back surgery, which was successful, and after a week she was home and on bed-rest. But suddenly I was dad and mom and professor and nurse and REALLY tired. So, it's been a hard month.

But as Michelle will tell you (below), it's been astounding to see how the community at FUSBC has rallied to our aid. The outpouring of love and support we have received is marvelous. We're now getting our feet back underneath us again (literally and figuratively speaking) and in spite of the massive upheaval this has represented, we have not dropped any of the balls we are juggling. Here's hoping that October ends up being easier!

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

I wish I had a picture here of the many, many individuals from the seminary who have helped me make it through my hospital stay and first weeks of recovery. They are never here all at once, but are constantly coming and going from our house serving us in countless ways. Multiple friends accompanied me through the days and the nights at the hospital and other friends cared for the children and provided meals. The seminary has set up a schedule of helpers for us during this month who show up to happily do things like sweep and mop our floors, entertain Zoe while I homeschool Asher, cook, help with laundry, lift things that are too heavy for me, etc. I have never been on the receiving end of this level of sacrificial love from any community we have ever lived in! It is not easy for me to be unable to do so many basic life tasks on my own, but I feel overwhelmingly grateful to be surrounded by so many people who are caring for our family with love. 

Mock Trial

In my Synoptic Gospels class we put on a mock trial, judging whether or not to crucify Jesus. The students threw themselves into the activity with abandon, donning sheets and towels for tunics and togas, lacing up sandals and (amidst the silliness) offering a fantastic analysis of the dynamics behind Jesus' crucifixion. It was a moment when, as a teacher, you feel like what you are doing is working AND that your students are enjoying themselves. 

Praise God!

  • For the success of Michelle's surgery and her return home.
  • For the countless people at FUSBC who provided (and are providing!) us with childcare, meals, and tutoring while Michelle was hospitalized and continues to recuperate. 
  • For the on-time completion of a major grant proposal, notwithstanding the major "calendrical irregularities" we experienced this month.

Please Pray

  • For Michelle's solid recuperation. This process will take several months and it would be easy for her to grow impatient and overdo it. Please pray for peace and restraint as she regains her strength. 
  • For Asher's application to a new school. On Saturday, October 3rd, Asher will be taking entrance exams (Spanish, English, and math) in hopes of getting into the Colegio San Igancio de Loyola, where Judah attends; the admissions decisions will be made later this month. We believe that this will be a great environment for Asher (it's been wonderful for Judah) but it is very difficult to get admitted, as there are often only 1-2 free spots for a given grade. 
  • For continued productivity in writing. I need to write a conference paper within the next month, and with how limited my time is by increased responsibilities at home, I am nervous about how viable that is. 
  • For us to recover the support we lost this summer. Losing support is part of the ebb and flow of missionary life, but since I don't have extra time right now to support raising, we are praying that God would intervene on our behalf and bring us into contact with a new supporting church or two, and/or some new individual supporters.

Student Profile

Johan Leandro is one of the FUSBC's international students. Born in San José, Costa Rica, when he turned 26 he left a good job to study theology. Initially he entered the Costa Rican seminary ESEPA, a great school where a number of our friends work or have worked, and after a year Johan decided to transfer to FUSBC. So, in 2014 he got on a plane to Medellin.

In Johan's words, "This has been a great experience, and one that has involved a lot of sacrifice. Right now I am working as a youth leader in a poor church. It has not been easy work, but little by little I have been learning that the service of the Lord is not a camino color de rosa ('pink-colored path')."

"After I finish my studies, the plan is to go back to Costa Rica and to support the church that is currently supporting me. I expect to work with them and to begin a youth project at the national level of the denomination the Costa Rican Bible Churches." Johan is one example of the great many students who are training at FUSBC to serve the Church in big, strategic ways, both in Colombia and in the other nations of Latin America. 
Copyright © 2015 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.

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