The Cheeto Man

Cheeto ManAcross my 52 years of ministry, I’ve been called many things: Pastor Roy, Brother Roy, Dr. Lauter, Professor Lauter, Prof, ‘Pope Roy of New Hope”, and Rev. Lauter to name just a few. The list could go on. Perhaps some other titles would not be appropriate for a Christian website.

One of the most endearing titles I have been given is “Cheeto Man”.  A wonderful little boy named Stuart gave this name to me. The occasion was Shiloh Camp Meeting in Carroll County, Georgia. After the evening services, Stuart’s family and friends would gather on the front porch of the “Preacher’s Tent” to share food and fellowship.  Stuart and I enjoyed sharing a favorite snack – “Cheetos”.  Thus, 4 year old Stuart tagged me as the “Cheeto Man”. Stuart was becoming a part of a fellowship routine I had enjoyed throughout 40 years of preaching on a rotating basis at this camp.

In the early years, I knew Stuart’s great-grandparents. His grandparents are still treasured Christian friends, as are his great aunts and uncles. I still remember Stuart’s parents and their cousins, when they were small children, begging to stay overnight on the campgrounds with the ‘big’ kids.  Now, there is Stuart.

The Psalmist shares this wonderful truth, “ Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord.” (Ps. 127:3) The words of Proverbs 17:6 provide this interesting insight, “Old people are proud of their grandchildren, and children are proud of their parents.”  Stuart represents a fading tradition across our great country.  In the past, it was the norm for families to worship together and share food and fellowship with neighbors.  The Bible and church were the centers from which family values, moral instruction, and wholesome social relationships were drawn.  We were better people then because God was at the heart of our families and communities.

Children learn from such times of interaction. In Exodus 20, the Lord warns that the iniquity of the fathers would be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations.  But praise His Holy Name the corollary is also true. The Lord’s mercy is even more abundantly given to the descendants of righteous people. The lingering effects of righteousness will last on through succeeding generations.

As I shared Cheetos and fellowship with Stuart, I could not help but think of the scripture in James 4:14, “ What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”  I have shared the gospel across forty years with the families of Shiloh. “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendents begging bread. He is ever merciful and lends; and his descendants are blessed.”(Psalm 37:25/26)  Stuart has a bright future because of the faithfulness of a Christian family and community through the years. I am grateful to be a part of Stuart’s heritage. I’m glad to be called the Cheeto Man.

~ Brother Roy


The Legacy of Prayer Bands in Eastern Kentucky

prayer (1)When NHIM President Roy Lauter had the idea to create prayer bands for Eastern Kentucky, he knew it was not a new concept.  He had experience with prayer bands going back to his time as Chairman of the Board for World Gospel Mission, and the tradition extends even further back.  It is a concept that is particularly important to the history of ministry in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

In the early days of Asbury College, a group of students formed the Mountain Mission Society, which was a prayer group that met regularly to pray for the people of Eastern Kentucky.  Members of the society also ministered in the mountains during school breaks.  In the 1923-24 school year, the senior class chaplain, a 40-year-old student named Lela McConnell, challenged her classmates and society members to pray that God would call Asbury students to go as missionaries to Eastern Kentucky.

Lela McConnell
Lela McConnell

McConnell’s schoolmates soon convinced her that she was the one God was calling, and she went on to establish the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association, an extensive ministry that includes Mt. Carmel High School and Elementary, Kentucky Mountain Bible College, WMTC radio, Mt. Carmel Holiness Campmeeting, a farm, and churches scattered across the mountain counties.  One of those churches founded under McConnell’s ministry happened to be Bear Pen Community Church, which has become the launching point for New Hope’s partnership in church planting, evangelism, and humanitarian outreach in Eastern Kentucky.  (Read more about Lela McConnell here.)

So, you see, the prayer band has been an integral part of ministry in Eastern Kentucky, and it continues to be an important opportunity for those who want to be a part of what God is doing in this region.  You can read about how to be a part of an Eastern Kentucky Prayer Band here, and who knows – maybe this will be the start of a new level of involvement in ministry that God has for you in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.  Please join us!

Matt Kinnell, NHIM Board Chairman

More Ground Breaking News

In the April 3rd post on the NHIM site, I shared about the ground breaking for the urgently-needed storage building at Bear Pen. At the time of the report, we had enough money to pay the dozer operator and a little extra. Within days after the decision to proceed in faith, a $5,000 gift came.  It was enough to buy the forming material, order the gravel for the base, and purchase the concrete.

The next mountain to climb was the cost of the steel building itself. The manufacturer needed a $5,000 deposit to order the structure. In the April 3rd. post, I noted, “The money for the steel building is still in the hands of those whom we trust the Lord will nudge to help us.”  The word ‘is’ may now be changed to ‘was’! I had the privilege of meeting with the pastors of the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association to discuss the need for the facility. In spite of the fact that the economy in Eastern Kentucky is terrible and many of the churches are struggling financially, they wanted to be a part of the church-planting ministry. They provided much more than verbal support. In a miraculous show of faith, they voted to contribute $10,000 toward the building cost. You could hear me shouting and praising the Lord all the way from the mountains to my home in Wilmore.

The money from the Association plus other money that came in is enough to purchase the building. Just a little more to pay for labor, and the new facility will be raised to the glory of God – debt free. “Thank you” to all our friends. Some have prayed, some have given financially, some are planning to give, and others are volunteering labor.


Our Samburu Daughter

samburu catherine At 6:17 a.m., I watched the big Delta jet land at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. Within minutes, I would see Catherine for the first time in a year. Our Samburu ‘daughter’ has been in Seattle, Washington, working on her Master’s Degree since last summer. On May 13th, 2012, with great pride and admiration, we watched Catherine walk across the platform and receive her B.A. from Asbury University. Her graduation marked a major milestone in her preparation to return to Kenya and work among the women in her tribe. We are fortunate to have Catherine as a part of our New Hope International Ministries family.

Catherine is now halfway through her Master’s Degree in Community Development for Third World Countries. This degree will be another step in her preparation here in the States. She can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Catherine is eager to return home to the area in the desert communities of Samburu in Northern Kenya.

A Samburu woman and her children dig for water in a dry riverbed 7 miles from their home.
A Samburu woman and her children dig for water in a dry riverbed 7 miles from their home.

It seems only yesterday that Catherine was a young girl walking barefoot through the arid bush. She, like most of the other children of her tribe, was on a never-ending search for water and graze for her father’s goats and camels. She never dreamed of anything other than a desperate struggle each day to survive. But the Lord had another plan for her. In the spirit, the Lord spoke to her, “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11).

Catherine is no longer a child physically or spiritually. She is a beautiful young woman who is mature in the Lord and highly trained to work among her people. She longs for the day when she can return home to share “hope and a future”.

A Word from Catherine:

I am called to be His hands and feet, to represent the God of justice and grace in action and in spoken words among the Samburu people. I am fortunate to be loved by a God who is mighty, and I am overwhelmed by His neverending blessings and provision. He has provided throughout my life, and He does so by putting people in my life, people who are supportive, encouraging, and, more so, people who inspire me in so many ways. One of the gifts He has put in my heart is to love people, to see them the way He does. This desire to love and serve the Samburu community, my people, is God’s gracious gift to me. It comes from no inherent goodness or cleverness of my own.  I live only by the grace of the one true, sovereign and merciful God, whom I rejoice to call my Father. I seek to please Him and only Him in all that I do.

samburu catherine globePlease pray for Catherine and for New Hope as we continue with this journey of bringing life – physical and spiritual – to the Samburu people.  Prayers and any financial support you may be able to provide can help us help her finish her preparation debt free.

~ Brother Roy