United World Mission

Dear Friends and Family,

I am very pleased to announce that, after my trip to South America this month, we have decided on the seminary at which we would like to work.  God willing, at the end of my fellowship here in Oxford, we will be moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to work at the Instituto Superior Evangélico de Estudios Teológicos, also known as ISEDET. 

After visiting the campus and having a panel-interview with the Department of Biblical Studies, I felt convinced that ISEDET would be the best place for us to pursue our vocation to train Latino theologians and pastors.  In turn, I received word from ISEDET that the Department of Biblical Studies would be pleased to endorse my candidacy to the governing board of ISEDET, if I did indeed want to join the faculty.  So, after Michelle and I talked and prayed about the decision, sought the advice of our mentors, and received the blessing of the president of UWM, we wrote to ISEDET to accept their offer, to say that we are eager to join their work in South America. 

Here are the features of ISEDET that have convinced Michelle and I that it is the ideal context for our missionary work.  ISEDET draws on a 125-year history of training pastors and scholars in Buenos Aires, and is academically the premier Protestant seminary in all of Latin America.  It is a seminary for the historic denominations (incl. Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Reformed, Presbyterian et al.) and includes a singificant number of Neo-Pentecostal students as well; in this diverse but confessional environment, ISEDET trains undergraduates with their four-year bachelor program and pastors with their six year  "licenciatura" program (BA+MDiv combination).

In addition to being a great place to equip pastors, ISEDET is unique among Latin American institutions in having rigorous accredited MA and PhD programs in Biblical Studies.  It is this feature that makes ISEDET a strategic location for our own vision to train theological leaders for Central and South America.  With a strong library and a well-credentialed faculty the students will be enabled to conduct serious research and receive an excellent education without leaving South America for the US or UK (for after doing doctoral studies in the North, painfully few Latino students return to their home countries to educate pastors in their own seminaries). 

It still remains for the governing board of ISEDET to approve the Department of Biblical Studies' recommendation that I be added to their faculty, but I have been assured by the rector (i.e. president) of ISEDET that this is little more than a formality, since the the governing board is largely comprised by the rector himself and the other members fo the Department of Biblical Studies.  So, barring a freak occurence, the recomendation of the faculty should be ratified in the next couple of months. 

I know that I haven't yet shared about my experiences teaching in Peru and Colombia.  I learned a great deal during my time at the seminaries in Lima and Medellín, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you, but considering the length of this email, I think I'll have to wait until next month to regale you all with the details.

We are so excited to share this great news with you all.  It is thrilling to think that in a couple of years we should be packing up to head to Buenos Aires in order to put these many years of education to good use in training under-priviledged pastors and theologians to lead their own churches and seminaries in a way that honors God and makes him known through preaching and practicing forgiveness, justice, and love in their own communities.

Peace be with you all,

Christopher, Michelle, Judah, and Asher Hays

From Michelle:

First of all, I wanted to to say thanks for your prayers during the time that Chris was away.  Though there were of course times when Chris was particularly missed, the boys actually surprised me with how well they did.  The beautiful spring weather allowed them to run free outside quite a bit and all three of us stayed healthy (what an answer to prayer).

Secondly, Chris has shared why Buenos Aires is a good fit for the work he wants to do training pastors, but I would also like to share some encouraging aspects as far as what it might be like to raise a family there.  Through Chris' contacts at ISEDET we have learned that there is a very good bilingual school that the boys could attend and they would be eligible for a large scholarship as missionary kids.  We will have the opportunity to live somewhere safe and, in contrast to other cities we were considering, it looks like the boys and I will be able to go most places without worry.  Since we have made the decision to accept ISEDET's offer, I have been searching the internet for information on Buenos Aires.  Here are some interesting preliminary things I'm learning:
  • Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as "the city of books" (due to high number of libraries/bookstores) and "the Paris of South America" (because it is largely influenced by European culture and certain buildings resemble Parisian architecture).
  • It is a city of three million people.
  • Judah is pleased to hear that football is VERY big there.
  • It looks like it has good public transportation, though apparently it can be quite crowded.
  • There seem to be lots of parks and green spaces to explore.
  • It is home to the tango.
Obviously we have so much to learn, but I can't tell you how good it feels to know where we are headed so we can get started.  As I think about our move to Argentina,  I feel peace knowing that God has provided a good educational option for the boys and that safety concerns will not be as pressing as they might have been in other locations.  We hope you share our excitement as God leads us forward!       

Contact Us:

sasaginnigak@hotmail.com (Michelle)

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Office: +44(1865)272770

Skype: christopher.hays.oxford

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United Kingdom