2These past five years, I have been privileged to be in Hays.

I have been filled with opportunities for growth, moments of sadness, times of joy and, most of all, times filled with God's love as we sought together to be a community that worked to share God's love with others.

However, our time together for future moments is coming to a close. I will be leaving the community to accept a call in Tennessee. While I am excited about moving on to the new adventure to which God is calling me, I am sad to leave Hays, as my time here has been blessed.

My time at Hays has taught me a lot. I never experienced the color of ripe wheat before I moved here. It is a color that is forever burned in my memory, and it is a color that cannot be compared or described. It is special and unique. I would say that about the people here in Hays as well. You are God's beloved people, special and unique.

I have been taught to appreciate the open spaces, to appreciate a connected community, to appreciate regional specialty foods such as bierocks and green-bean dumpling soup. However, most of all I have learned that, as Kyle Ermoian frequently says, "We are better together."

When I first arrived at Hays, one of the clergy said to me, "We have been praying God would send you here." I didn't understand what he meant by that. However, I think I might now understand that statement.

I was here for a time and season to work with you to continue to proclaim God's love through the community Thanksgiving dinner, through working with Options and Jana's Campaign to establish a clothes closet for women entering and returning to the work force, to work with you as we traveled to Haiti in the Hays Helps Haiti campaign, to continue to invite you to experience God's love and acceptance for all people.

I pray you have been blessed by my presence in the community, as God has blessed me through your presence in my life and during my ministry time in Hays.

My last Sunday in Hays will be March 30. You are invited to join Trinity for worship at 10:15 a.m.

Until then, I hope we will have time to celebrate together and give thanks to God for all God has done among us these last five years while we hold each other in prayer as we part.

I leave you with prayers for God's richest blessings in your lives and prayers God might continue to present each and every one of you many opportunities to share God's love with all people.

The Rev. Lesley Radius is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hays.