Travels all over Colombia, researching other seminaries, and our first visit from a family member!

Dear Friends and Family,

The Medellín airport is beginning to feel like my home away from home! This month included a very hectic week of travel, as I bounced from Medellin to the city of Cali in the south of Colombia, to the capital, Bogotá, in the center of the country, and then all the way to city of Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast. Lamentably, I was not visiting beaches or salsa dancing. I was, however, doing research on the state of Protestant theology in Latin America. I conducted interviews at four of the top Protestant seminaries in Colombia and learned an enormous amount (some very positive things, other worrisome things). I also learned that Colombians who don't know me assume that I am from Europe. (After seven years there, that seems sensible enough.) Many of them also commented "I imagined that you would be more of an adult." (As you can imagine, this made me feel rather insecure!) I have a handful of other interviews to do, and then I will start writing up my findings (to be presented in Wittenburg, Germany, at a conference celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation). 

Tomorrow marks the official beginning of FUSBC's major new research initiative on forced displacement in Colombia, aiming to help the Church minister to Colombians who have become refugees within their own borders owing to the armed conflict here. It has been a busy month of hiring and contract writing and communication between diverse parties, and I am excited that the official start has arrived. This is a massive undertaking, and we do covet your prayers for cooperation between team-members, for wise leadership (especially for me), and that God would help us build relationships with the right key communities of displaced people. But, manifold responsibilities notwithstanding, we are also very excited!

This weekend (July 2 and 3) I will be giving a series of workshops at the annual Campus Crusade for Christ conference, this year held here in Medellin. Since I will be talking about faith and modern science, please pray that the students who come along are open-minded and walk away feeling both stretched and encouraged. 

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, Asher, and Zoe Hays

From Michelle

At least for the kids and me, June has had a more relaxed pace. We are enjoying a break from our normal early school mornings and after school homework. The students of the seminary are also on break, which means that things are a bit quieter around here. Our kids and their friends spend their time going between our house and the park, playing, laughing, and generally creating happy messes. The highlight of our month was that my mom came to visit and we had the opportunity to show her around Medellín. It was a wonderful week of taking her to all our favorite places. I was sad to see her go, but I am thankful that she had the chance to come and that she will now have a better picture of what I mean when I relate stores to her about the challenges we face and the blessings we experience here. 

A Visit from Grandma!

Enjoying Nature in Colombia

The boys are on a three week break from school, which means we have some time to explore and be outside. We love the beautiful birds, flowers, and insects we find in Colombia, many of them so different from anything we have seen in any other country. We visited a bug museum last week and I got a kick out of the fact that the biologist who runs the museum knows Zoe by name. Our last visit was quite a while ago, but he remembered her as the girl who loves to hold stick bugs and giant cockroaches (on Judah´s wrist in the photo above), just like her curious bug loving brothers.

Praise God!

  • For the ceasefire between the Colombian government and the FARC!
  • For safe travels and productive research visits to other Colombian seminaries. 
  • For a visit from Michelle's mother, and a few days away as a family.
  • For the chance to give a series of workshops on faith and science at the big Campus Crusade for Christ conference (July 2 and 3).

Please Pray

  • For all members of the displacement project to feel excited about the work!
  • For the team leaders to plan strategically and to communicate well with their research teams.
  • For the identification of the final pilot communities with which we will work, as well as for the co-researchers from the IDP communities.
  • For the beginning of the new academic term (in particular, that I would not allow this research project to dampen my energy and zeal for teaching and training students).

Student Profile

Guzman de Jesús Perez Contreras is a student in his 8th semester at FUSBC. He is from the city of Sincelejo and I have had the pleasure of being his professor on three different occasions over the course of my time here (most recently in my Faith and Science class).

"I came to the seminary to prepare myself theologically, since my dream is serve the Lord in the pastorate. I want to highlight that this seminary is a place where God prepares men and women for his work, not only academically, but holistically. That is to say, in this place God prepares his servants cognitively, spiritually, and emotionally, and above all prepares our hearts so that we might honor him."

"While I study, I also minister at a local Church, the Comunidad Cristiana de la Roca, where I preach and serve as an elder. I am delighted to be preparing myself further for ministry, since it's my desire to pastor the flock of God. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to have professors who are highly trained so that I can receive the best level of preparation."
Copyright © 2016 Christopher and Michelle Hays, United World Mission, All rights reserved.
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