HCRN first came to Northern California to serve the town of Middletown, after the Valley Fire of 2015. In that time, we built a dormitory to house all of our volunteers and AmeriCorps teams as they make their way through camp. To keep everything running smoothly, our Hope City team does a fantastic job coordinating with teams while they stay in Lake County. Today, we’re excited for you to meet our newest team members, Tra and Kristan Hay, who run our dormitory and serve our volunteers.
You learned a little about Kristan in this article about Bill and Wendy. Her heart has been steered toward ministry and in particular work in Asia. She’s served in Thailand and Cambodia where she ministered for the first time in 2011. It was during this three month service that she met Tra. They started out as friends and became so much more than that. Together, Kristan and Tra started a ministry where they focused on young adults from the rural parts of Cambodia as they came to the urban centers. The two of them worked at teaching this group life skills, led them in discipleship and even helped with job placement. “The culture tends to be very focused on the now and not the future,” so Tra and Kristan worked at showing these young adults that they did indeed have a future to work towards.
Tra grew up in a village and didn’t use to like being around people very much. One of his friends invited him to a small Sunday school run by a local church member. Tra’s greatest reason for going was the snacks, “Snacks, oh I do love snacks.” But as the weeks kept going by, he found himself enjoying being around other children. “I kept thinking it was just about the snacks, but I started remembering the verses, enjoying the Sunday school, I kept looking forward to being there.” There was a lesson on why Jesus died on the cross and it really stuck with him. There was a night where Tra’s heart kept stirring and he knew, “It is True,” why He came for us. Tra said, “That night he talked to me, ‘I love you.’”
In addition to running their ministry serving young adults, Kristan and Tra decided they wanted to start their own family. Their daughter, Bella, was born and has been a blessing to everyone who has met her at our Lake County base. Having a child while doing such in depth service, “It adds difficulty but it doesn’t make things hard. It’s more getting other people to recognize that she’s part of the package,” said Kristan. She and Tra work very hard at raising her, to impart onto her a heart for what they do, and because of that, they want her to see how they interact with others.
In that spirit, we asked they Hays what they were hoping to accomplish while here in Hope City. Their hearts are constantly on service. Kristan said, “[We want to]serve with excellence to serve the community with excellence. We’re brand new here so people don’t really know us.” They hope to bring a tangible love to the community. “Hope City is the only one left here in town. [We want to] Show them we’re not gonna give up on them.” We’re so happy to welcome Tra, Kristan and Bella onto our team, and we know you’ll love them, too.
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