Legacy Crosses an Ocean - Ellena Hay


…create a generational echo that could span oceans.

 In 1973, Donna Nelson was shopping on main street in Tonasket, Washington. With all four children in tow she proceeded to check off her usual list until she came across a flyer for one of those pop-up revival tent meetings taking place just on the outskirts of town. Feeling drawn to go, but not sure how she would manage that around the kids, husband and so many chores… she headed toward the tent right that minute! As quickly as possible, due to the list of things still to be done that day, she located a preacher at the tent and insisted he come for dinner at her home that very night.

Later that evening in a dimly lit lounge while sipping tea, Donna Nelson heard the word of salvation for the first time. She knew immediately that this was not only for her, but for her whole family. She did not know then what it would really mean for generations to come but within a week, one after another of her children and then finally her husband Martin Nelson, found the love of Jesus for themselves. From that week onward, she would sit every evening in her rocking chair on the old wooden floor, reading her Bible and praying for her children, grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren.

In 2002, Donna’s eldest son, James Nelson, moved himself and his daughter to a nearby small town and began serving in a local, little white church on a hill. James insisted on his daughter serving in their church, although she was not very happy to do it. His servanthood spirit began teaching Ellena Hay (Nelson) to lead kids’ worship, serve afternoon tea, and help with a small group. Neither Donna, nor James could have ever guessed how each decision they made from responding to salvations call to acting with a faithful servanthood spirit, would create a generational echo that could span oceans.

Forward years later to 2019 and across an ocean to an island nation of New Zealand, Ellena Hay (Nelson) stood at the back of a room. The room was filled with over 300 kids. Each child encountering God in a new and tangible way. Ellena Hay, a now Children’s Pastor having spent months preparing for this day of revival at Adventure Kids Conference, heard the worship of a world-changing generation and witnessed the echo of her Grandmother’s decision back in 1973. No one could have guessed that Ellena would hear the call to ministry in a small white church on the hill where her father initially ‘voluntold’ her to serve. Donna Nelson may not have lived to see the outcome of those faithful nights of prayer, but nonetheless she has a legacy. Hundreds of future leaders with fresh seeds of God’s word planted in their hearts every Sunday at LIFE and for three incredible days during Adventure Kids Conference will continue that legacy by creating a generational echo to reach thousands.

Ellena Hay
South Adventure Kids Pastor

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