Getting to know: Pastor enlists in ministry after service

Donald Hay is a pastor at Church of God in Portales.

Background: Pastor Donald Hay and his family first came to Portales in 1982. He was born in Florida, but his father worked in construction and the family moved around a lot.

Hay served a 27-year career in the U.S. Air Force as an avionics specialist and was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base during much of his career. He was overseas during the Gulf War and was also deployed to Korea for one year. He was also stationed in Las Vegas, Nev., from 1986-89.

Hay has been a pastor in Delaware, Illinois, Nevada and New Mexico. He and his wife, Daris, have eight children and nine grandchildren.

How long in ministry: 34 years

How were you called, or how did you decide on the ministry? “I’d just started going to a little church in Illinois when I gave my heart to the Lord, and that’s when I knew I wanted to go into the ministry,” Hay said. “It’s kind of a strange path I’ve taken over the years. I went back into the military and was at bi-vocational churches (which have unpaid pastors) mostly.”

Training and education: Hay graduated from the Free Gospel Bible College in Export, Penn., in 1978 and received his Bachelors of Theology from Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo. He also holds a special education certificate from Eastern New Mexico University and has completed course work for his Masters in Education there. He hopes to complete that degree in the near future.

“I think education is very important,” Hay said. “We even host homeschoolers here at our church.”

Favorite verse or lesson to teach: “If you give someone who is thirsty food or water you won’t lose your reward.” — Luke 4:18.

“Our ministry is about touching lives,” Hay said. He points out the phrases hung in the foyer: “Attempt great things for God” and “Expect great things from God.”

Favorite memory: “Watching the kids grow up in the church and become productive adults.”