I had the great opportunity to be in Ely, NV, last Saturday, Monday and Tuesday to be some assistance in our beloved Wally Higgins’ efforts to hold evangelistic meetings in that small town. The current population of Ely is about 4000 people. The demographic of Ely is mostly Caucasian (about 89%) with some Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Hispanics rounding out the figures. Ely is a Nevada boom town with Kennecott copper mine first having success there. When the copper market crashed in the1970’s, Ely suffered like most boom towns. In 2005 there was a resurgence of copper and mining boomed again. Gold mining also plays an important part of Ely’s economy. Like most Nevada towns, religion is not the “main thing.” The Mormons, Catholics, Methodists, and even a small group of Baptists have a presence in Ely.
My observation of this small Nevada town is not that much different than most “boom” towns. There is a wide divergence between the classes of people in the town. As we were walking the neighborhoods passing out fliers to the meetings, I noticed that the “run-down” areas of town were very dilapidated, while just down the street you had very well-manicured and wealthy homes. But the most striking feature of any Nevada boom town is the overwhelming presence of “night life.” Coming out from our gospel meetings Tuesday night, I looked down the street and the casinos, clubs, and bars were lit up and packed with patrons. This is what people do, this is their life. We had a few people in the meetings hearing the preaching of the gospel, while Satan has lured many souls bedazzled with the pleasures of sin for a season. While in Utah, we realize the bondage of religion, but we cannot ignore the bondage of the entertainment/casino industry of our neighbor state to the West. A comment my father made as we drove out of town resonated with me. He said, “I wish there was some way to preach Acts 16 (the content of his message) to all those people in the casinos.”
Pray that God would deliver souls from the bondage of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and immorality in these little boom towns in the West.