Ministry Spot Light!
Written by Thomas Van Hart
Associate Pastor Don Hay and his wife Darlena oversee the Children’s Ministry at East Mountain Vineyard Church. This is by no means unfamiliar territory for the Hays, as children have been at the core of their ministry for as long as they’ve been ministering. They have three children, the oldest of which is 17 (and is seen regularly operating the sound board and overheads for Sunday’s service).
Don was associated with the Church of God in the early days of his ministry and was actively involved with the Church of God Youth Board. After being named to the board, Don and Darlena made the Church of God Summer Camp their home away from home for several years. They both speak fondly of the youngsters they keep in their memories. The Church of God Camp is a place where the children go for a week or two of safe, educational, and nutritious living. For many of the kids, it is the only exposure to Jesus they get all year.
When asked, Don and Darlena agree that the hardest part of the whole COG Camp experience was on final day when the kids left for home. Their empathy is obvious when they talk about how those kids, some who had met Jesus at the camp, were required to go back to their families and friends. They know it is indeed difficult to return to what could very well be an environment not ‘God Enriched’ like the camp.
As a ministering team, the Hays have been most recently in Santa Rosa, NM, where their children’s ministry gave relief to the town’s children. “It was a relaxed environment for the children,” says Darlena. Indeed, the children loved going to the Hays on Wednesdays…when it didn’t interfere with their Catholic duties.
This Assembly of God ministry team had been demonized by some of the folks at the Catholic Church in Santa Rosa. But that made little difference to the youngsters running around their yard on Wednesday evening. The bar of expectations and behavior must be set higher than we are accustomed; how else will we see these kids excel?
They both firmly believe that treating the children with respect while caring for them because they are important is essential; each child is loved for who they are by the Hays. In like manner, Jesus loves each unique person, individually.
And this is what plants a seed for redemption in the young hearts. And this is what makes that seed grow.
The Hays are hoping to get more volunteers for the Children’s Ministry on Sunday morning. Helpers are sorely needed and teachers are needed, too. Please pray and ask God if this is where he’d have you give of yourself for the benefit of the body. If you’d like more information or feel led to volunteer, contact Don or Darlena Hay.