The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Monday, August 30, 2010

To offer you some help, with humor, in gaining some 'international' perspective.

A friend posted this the other day and honestly....I wish *I* had written it, it's so hilarious.

I used to have a very warped, one sided view of missionaries and now that we've been international ones and are transitioning into stateside ones...well...I'm finding myself battling between my preconceived notions and reality...back to notions of what this whole 'thing' should look like now. Shoot.

I offer this to you today...some of it explains where we've been...some of it explains where we are, and hopefully you'll laugh with me, although I don't mind horribly if you're laughing at me either...


Spotting a missionary. (& Caption this photo)

Aug 13th by Jon
#833. ShareThis

(In the Stuff Christians Like book, a book that declares and fulfills on the promise that God will make you rich if you buy it, I have a chapter about the danger of complaining around missionaries. You can’t whine about the amount of cinnamon in your coffee because most missionaries have a spider story that will trump your caffeinated woes. But how do you spot a missionary? Great question and one that Malin, a dentist missionary in Kenya answers in an awesome way. The photo of the family is the funniest thing I have seen in months. I love this post and hope you do too.)

8 ways to identify a missionary.

1. Missionaries wear funny clothing.

I never intended to where bright-striped Kikoi shirts with tassels. I don’t think my wife Sara imagined herself in Kanga dresses with large shoulder pads. But I’m telling you as my shirts begin to look like I was worked over in a rugby game. And as all of Sara’s dresses have strangely faded to the same shade of gray, those Kikoi shirts and Kanga dresses become really tempting. So at your next church mission conference if you see a missionary dressed like a banana, cut them a little fashion slack.

2. Missionaries throw car safety rules out the window.

My first week at Kijabe I see 8 missionary kids hanging off the roof rack of a Toyota Land Cruiser bumping down the road. The next day I see a baby girl in mommy’s lap cupping the steering wheel rounding the corner Britney Spears style. (I think the baby honked at me too?) Last week I see four teenagers perched on the doors of a Landrover like they are windsurfing. I don’t pretend to understand this recklessness, but on the other hand I think the car seat Nazis back in America have gone too far (8 years old and/or 80 pounds)? By this standard, once my small daughter Amelia reaches 16 years of age she may have to take her drivers test sitting in a Graco Snug Ride.

3. Missionaries can’t dance.

It’s a strange thing to live on a continent where tribal dancing is about as natural and common as breastfeeding in public; and not be able to dance. Go to a mixed church in Kenya and watch the congregation during the praise time. The Kenyans fall into a comfortable, beautiful, African rhythm. Then look over at the missionary. He wants to dance to fit in, but he’s really terrified inside. But he’s smart; he looks to the left to see how they are dancing. Then he jumps in. Clapping on the offbeat, shuffling his hips a little but not too much, and bouncing his neck like a bobble-head. Then the internal debate begins, “do I dance with elbows pinned to my waist or elbows out like wings?”

4. Missionaries seem to always be on “Furlough.”

What is Furlough? It is the time when a missionary leaves the field to come home. According to Webster’s Dictionary Furlough has 3 definitions:

1) A leave of absence or VACATION. (that doesn’t look good to your sponsors)

2) A temporary layoff from work. (It’s not a good thing to be laid off when the Big Guy is your boss).

3)A leave of absence from a prison for a prisoner (Did the missionary break-out from the compound or dutifully serve his full sentence?).

The connotations of furlough proved to be about as positive for the missionary as the former mascot “The Crusader” was for the Wheaton College student. Just like the Crusader; Furlough has also been discarded. So what is the current preferred term? A missionary now takes a “Home Assignment;” implying a task, a duty, a post or a position. Much more dignified!

5. Missionaries are longwinded.

I know when I meet someone and they start talking about their trip to China and all the cultures, towns, language, and people they met. Well, if the story is longer than a few seconds my eyes glaze over as all I can think of is, “But did you get to walk on The Great Wall?” So if I start talking about the Meru tribe, on the NE slope of Mt. Kenya, in Eastern Africa and their Bantu origin and your eyes glaze over…I’ll understand. You just want to know if I saw a lion on safari?

6. All missionaries have a prayer card and we never look that good in real life.

You know what I am talking about those cards with photos of the missionary family smiling, a snappy phrase up above, and always an “if you would like to partner in our ministry” that we all have sent out or given to you. We really do wonder…,do they make it on anyone’s fridge?

7. Missionaries sound different.

If I were to say to my patient, “How can I help you? What’s going on with your tooth?” it would elicit a blank stare from my Kenyan patients (I know my Swahili should be better). But if I were to say, “Tell me where the pain is biting you. Are your teeth shaking? Do you have potholes in your teeth? Do you want your tooth upended?” I’d be understood. We adapt to be understood.

8. Missionaries have big families.

More Kids means More Money. It’s true. Missionaries may be the only occupation I know of who earn an instant raise the moment they have another child. Almost all mission agencies (appropriately so) set a monthly stipend for their missionaries based upon the size of their family. Little Johnny is born and Bam… up goes their salary. I always though the Duggar family with 19 kids and counting (featured on TLC network) would be a great missionary family (I don’t think Jon and Kate and their 8 would still make the cut). Why would the Duggars be great missionaries? The Duggars are Christian. They built their own house. They homeschool. Because of their publicity as reality TV stars I think they could easily raise support. And my rough calculations show that with 19 children the Duggars would be living comfortably at a 200 K plus stipend per year, and their family is just getting started. And can you imagine sitting between the Duggar kids on a 12 hour plane ride to Amsterdam?


Fun wasn't it?

Where I am right now is that 'We adapt to be understood.' line. I'll keep you posted on how that's going. I'm sure it will be hilarious.



Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hayes Landing

Alan and Duncan have made it to Mitla. They had a really long day yesterday but made it there safe and sound. :) No problems that day to speak of so that is a huge praise!!

Thanks for your prayers!!! I'll be emailing for the trip back...that's going to be the one where we ask you to pray for invisibility super powers. :)


Faith for the zoo...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trip Diary

Praying family...

Many, many thanks to those of you who are continuing to love and support us through your ministry of prayer during this time of transition. Our prayer is that we are able to finish strong in our time of international service and to be ready for the next steps...whatever those may be. For the next couple of is to clear out our Mexico house and finish all those loose ends.

In case you hadn't heard Alan is making that trip without the kids and I...BLESS his heart.


Alan has made it to San Antonio. The truck is working okay and the travel time is considerably less without the monkeys (our children) in the back seat.

Prayer requests:

The cross over to Mexico is tomorrow morning (Friday the 27th). There are three full days of driving along with the border crossing, checkpoints, and other adventures that are part of the 'package deal' of driving internationally with our life packed into the back of the vehicle. Our prayer is that the traveling will be uneventful and safe with a timely arrival into Mitla to pack up our house. Praise God a friend is with him and offering his time and service in order for Alan to have an extra hand.

Prayers for energy, alertness, wisdom, health and a good sense of humor are necessary. Another element is the emotional...we're done there. In the big picture we are fine with God's allowances here...on another level, it's still shocking that our time there is over. Prayers for him as he finishes would be appreciated.

I won't hear from him as regularly once he is south of the border but I will be updating you as I can.


Faith for the Hayes zoo...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Due to the truck not being ready, my departure for Denver and parts south has been delayed until Tuesday the 24th.

Patience is a virtue ....

- Alan

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We are a plannin'.

Planning to return to Mexico to get our things that is. Yes, we still have our household down there. Now, when I say household it's basically a truck (full size) load + a small utility trailer (tools ya know...), but still.

Alan will be leaving here (WA) next Tuesday to make the journey 3500 miles, one way, to finish our duties there. I am so thankful that he's willing/able/going to do that himself and let the kids and I stay here and not make that trip. We are beyond grateful that a friend has volunteered to drive from the border down to Mitla and back with Alan.

We would appreciate a huge covering of prayer for that whole process if you wouldn't mind.

One downside? We'll be separated for 3 weeks. I'm finding this a huge drawback. With all the turmoil and chaos that has been our lives for the past 3 months - this is stressin' me out. The trip, the driving, the separation, the funds, the finishing there, the starting over here...ack.

Then - I don't know what to do with this place. It will no longer be international ministry. It will no longer be international. It will no longer be interesting....Just keepin' it real.

Thanks for hanging in there with us as we find the new ground God wants us to bloom in.


PS: We have new, permanent phone numbers for Alan and I listed in our 'Contact Us' page, if you'd like to contact us. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

paradigm shift

One day in one of my writing classes in college the professor brought in a picture for everyone to look at. It was an odd-looking, black and white, splotchy arrangement of a woman. After showing copies of the picture to everyone for a minute, she took the pictures away and then led a discussion on what we had seen. Was the woman old or young? Was she looking toward the viewer, or away? As the class discussed the answers to the questions, we found that our perceptions of the picture varied drastically; some had answers to the questions that completely astounded others in the class, because what they had seen in the same picture was completely different. The picture was designed to illustrate a paradigm shift - two quite separate pictures integrated into one, where the perception of the viewer can be quite different, depending on which picture they pick up on first.

Another example of a paradigm shift is the computer-generated pictures of what seems at first complete randomness of colors, but which settle into a startling, 3-dimensional outlines full of details when you look at them just right. Some people can see the outlines relatively easily; others are perpetually frustrated by their inability to see what other people are so excited by. All their friends are astounded by these stupid pictures, but, try as they might, they can never get anything out of it but a mish-mash of chaos, no matter how intently they stare at it.

Our spiritual walk in this life is full of paradigm shifts. Whether we see them or not, there is much more there than most of us realize, and so much of our perception of life really comes down to how we are looking at things. At some point the clouds will be removed, some invisible switch will close, and we will suddenly see, not only what we couldn't see before, but also the reason for it all. Paul tells us that 'now we see as through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now we know in part; but then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known'. For now, even though it's all there, right in front of us, we very often perceive only part; it's important to remember that. We can often and so easily entangle ourselves and find ourselves incredibly hurt or frustrated because we assume that what we see is all there is, when in fact what there is is so much more than what we see.

Faith's gramma Rita passed beyond this life recently. Though we are sure that, in her case, absence from the body is to be present with the Lord, still we miss her and wish she were still here with us. It also opens the opportunity for us to second-guess, to ask 'why?'. Why now? Now, when we'd just returned from living internationally, when our kids are just able to spend time with their great-grandma, when we're back in the area again and able to get together again regularly, why does this have to happen? It really seems like God dropped the ball on this one. Is he really looking out for us, providing for us, if, as soon as we return home something like this has to happen?? And so it goes; people's faith in a good God are often shaken by such trains of thought.

But the woman in the picture is not only old; she not only looks toward the viewer. There is another perspective as well; though we don't always see them, all the pieces are in full view. I can't answer why Rita's time came when it did; my faith in God tells me he is still good, and His reasons are just. And, in view of that, I can see wonderful provision from Him in that we were here when it happened. God brought us back to the area in time to spend a couple months with her before she went; our kids were able to see her and get to know her better during her last days on this earth, and she them; and they are all the better for it.

We could take this a step further. I don't understand why we're not returning to the mission field; while the most obvious reason is financial, perhaps some of the answers involve us spending time with family back home in the US. I do know that my perspective on life can be incredibly distorted by the assumption that I am the center of the picture, where, in fact, we are all only details - a part of the backdrop of a much more deep and elaborate picture that Paul tells me I now only see in part. Someday I will see fully.

- Alan