new outreach effort in Hays, Kansas, is moving forward with surprising speed. When Pastor Mitch Elrod moved to Kansas to pastor the La Crosse and Bazine churches, he knew the members wanted to reach out to the Hays community.

Hays has a population of about 21,000 and is home to Fort Hays State University, with an enrollment of almost 15,000. For many years students from FHSU have attended La Crosse Church. Several students have been baptized as a result of the care and support of the La Crosse members, and because of their conviction the members started an Adventist school in Hays.

When Elrod and his wife Bev moved to the area, they ended up living in Hays. Elrod began attending the local ministerial meetings and Bev started a weekly women’s tea to connect with the local community. They also began contacting former Adventists in the Hays area.

While sitting on his deck, Pastor Elrod noticed a vacant storefront. He contacted the owner about using it as a church. The owner was moved by the idea of a chapel in his building and offered a lower rent. The church boards met and voted to finance a one-year lease. They had their first meeting Sabbath afternoon, Sept. 29, and 48 people attended, including guests from the community.

The Hays group continues to meet every Sabbath afternoon for a warm and spirited worship service. Pastor Elrod and Bev continue to look for opportunities to forge new relationships and invite people to the growing work. Thank you for praying for the La Crosse and Bazine congregations and their new work in Hays.

Virgil Covel is ministerial director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.

Photo: Courtesy of Kansas-Nebraska Conference