Kya Sands Catastrophe

kya little girlFollowing God’s path for our lives has led Rich and me across a 9,000-mile journey from Crestwood, Kentucky, to Johannesburg, South Africa … an amazing and beautiful country in which we daily encounter the faces of those living in desperate conditions.  Since moving here last January, I have had the great privilege of working in a special ministry alongside exceptional women from our church, Bryanston Bible Church (BBC).  We meet weekly with small children, ages approximately 3-8, in Kya Sands squatter’s camp (a slum area).  These children live in extreme poverty in crudely constructed shacks made of tin and other discarded building materials that provide only meager shelter.  Our deep desire is to be in some small way, the hands and feet of Jesus … providing lots of love and hugs, food, physical activity to increase hand/eye coordination and basic language instruction.

The "classroom" under the tree
The “classroom” under the tree

The children eagerly meet us each Tuesday morning in a small open area at the edge of the camp in our outdoor “classroom under the tree”.  An open sewage ditch about 5 feet deep is a major obstacle for the small children to cross as they come to our “classroom” among the piles of rubbish and debris.  A large burned out area of grass off to the side is the bathroom … open for all to see … no privacy … no proper toilet facilities.

Ben Wright helps a child across the ditch
Ben Wright helps a child across the ditch
The "bathroom"
The “bathroom”
Miss Sue singing "Jesus Loves Me" with 4-year-old Kenny
Miss Sue singing “Jesus Loves Me” with 4-year-old Kenny
The tragic Kya Sands fire
The tragic Kya Sands fire

As if life was not hard enough for these precious children and their families, a few weeks ago a tragic fire roared through parts of Kya where many of our children live.  Over 750 shacks were destroyed and more than 3,500 people were left homeless, having lost everything.  NHIM has joined with some of my former colleagues at Crestwood Elementary (Oldham County, Kentucky) and donors from BBC to provide much needed assistance.  When I asked the ladies what they needed, the response was just 3 simple items … a small kerosene stove to cook on, a pot to make pap in (the staple starch in South Africa – think thick grits) and a large bucket with a lid, as the ladies must carry water a considerable distance.  While these items seem simple to us, they represent life to these families.  In addition to these desperately needed items, we have also been able to provide plastic plates and cups, silverware, blankets, towels, clothing and toiletries.

Fire victims and donated relief supplies
Fire victims and donated relief supplies

Even though the fire has long since been extinguished, the emotional scars on an already disenfranchised people will take time, prayers and the loving kindness of Christian people to heal. Please, pray and help as you can … you can be a part of the healing process.  “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:40 (ESV) 

~ Lori Lauter Wright, NHIM Board Member

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Revival on Shoemaker Ridge (Or, How New Hope Became the Proud Owner of a Horse Trough)

The little church that NHIM helped to plant on Shoemaker Ridge in Lee County, Kentucky, has experienced its ups and downs since it was dedicated on Easter Sunday two years ago.  The ridge is a tough place to minister – poverty, alcoholism, and drugs have plagued the community for years.  A revival meeting was scheduled for September 17-21, and the Holy Spirit moved in a special way in the little church on the ridge.  After more than 90 people crammed into the tiny sanctuary on Sunday night, the revival meetings were extended for another night, then extended again to Tuesday and Wednesday.  Many spiritual victories were won at the altar.  On Wednesday night, the last night of the revival, three believers were baptized in a horse-watering trough purchased by New Hope to serve as a baptistry.  We thank God for the moving of His Spirit on Shoemaker Ridge and ask that you would join us in prayer for the ministry of Ridge Chapel and for the believers, some young and some old, who have begun a new walk with the Lord.

Here are some pictures and videos from Wednesday night’s closing service:

A simple purchase with a profound purpose
A simple purchase with a profound purpose

Pastor David leads the congregation in singing

matt
NHIM Board Chairman Matt Kinnell sings during the service

More congregational singing

One of the baptisms that took place on Wednesday evening
One of the baptisms that took place on Wednesday evening

Samburu Update

kenya flagLast week I heard from Michael Lolwerikoi in Samburu, Kenya. There had been a recent robbery attempt on him as he traveled north into the region where we have drilled wells. Highwaymen shot the rear tires on his Land Cruiser. He kept driving on shredded rubber and the rims reaching safety when a group of vehicles headed south came to his aid. Michael is safe, but suffered the loss of very expensive tires. Since NHIM helped with the first water well in the area, Michael reports that there are 16 wells now in operation. We are thankful that a couple of other like-minded missions have taken up the cause.

The Minister of Parliament in the Samburu region was shot recently. He was a friend of NHIM’s work in that region. I met with him the last time I was it the area. I do not have an update on his condition.  Pray for the Lord’s protection as Michael ministers in this unstable and dangerous area.

With the help of Sam Powdrill and Tenwek Hospital, NHIM sponsored the first eye clinic in the region. Sixty-five people who were blind due to cataracts and/or trachoma received their sight. Now more than a year later, the Tenwek team has taken two more clinics to Samburu. Approximately two hundred and fifty people can now see. Praise the Lord!

Catherine, Michael’s niece who graduated from Asbury University in 2012, will receive her Master’s Degree in May. Her degree in the area of Community Development in Third World Countries will be invaluable as she works among her  people in Samburu.

~ Brother Roy

They’re Out There

Daniel_Boone_National_Forest_Tater_KnobOur church planting ministry in eastern Kentucky is experiencing amazing success. A frequently asked question keeps coming up, “Where are you going to find pastors for all the new churches?” I respond with a story David Spencer shared with me about a missionary who was working with an unreached people group:  An old missionary was serving in an area that had never heard the Gospel. The Lord was richly blessing and new congregations were popping up everywhere. In this region with an unreached population, friends started asking, “Where do you think you are going to find preachers for all these new churches?” The old missionary simply replied, “Oh, they are out there! They’ve just not been saved yet.”

The wisdom in that little story seems to be coming true for us. We now have several young men and women who have been ‘called’ to join us in this ministry. We are providing mentoring, teaching sessions, and reading material for them. Training sessions have been occurring over recent months. Early morning prayer meetings are held on a weekly basis with members of our new ministry team. David is overseeing sermon and devotional preparation. Initially, they all have had an opportunity to preach trial sermons before the group and be evaluated. Now, many of them are regularly filling pulpits where needed. We are also working with Kentucky Mountain Bible College to develop strong practical programs that will be tailored to the needs of working people. In-service and on-the-job training is essential. It will be necessary for our start-up churches to have bi-vocational pastors. We are thankful for the enthusiasm and commitment of these men and women. Without them we would not be able to continue expanding our ministry.

Let me share two specific examples of the Lord’s provisions for this ministry:

  1. After Malaga Community Church joined our ministry, Mark England, a student and part time employee of Kentucky Mountain Bible College, expressed interest in participating of our ministry. As Mark preached a few Sundays for us at Malaga, a strong bond developed between Mark’s family and the community. Mark is now the pastor of the church and doing very well.
  2. When Faith Community Church in Baxter, Kentucky, became a part of our ministry, we mainly filled the pulpit with our new preachers in training. After a few months, Freddie Finley, an elementary teacher at Mt. Carmel Elementary School, felt the call to pastoral ministry and preached several times for us at Faith Community Church. Within a few weeks, the congregation had adopted Freddie and his family. Freddie is now the pastor at Faith Community Church and will be moving into the community when this school year is finished.

2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (NKJ).    Are you one of those on whose behalf the Lord wants to show Himself strong? Our Church Planting Ministry needs people who are committed to helping fulfill the “Great Commission”. Will you pray for us and support us as the Lord may direct? Contact us at New Hope International for ways you can be involved.

~ Brother Roy

Exceedingly – Abundantly

Green Mountain
Green Hill Community Church

“Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”  Ephesians 3:20 NKJ.  That scripture came to mind on March 14, 2014, as David Spencer and I stood in the County Court Clerk’s Office in Harlan, Kentucky. We were there to record the deed for the Green Hill Community Church. In a rapidly moving sequence of events, our Church Planting Ministry in Eastern Kentucky had added another church. Through contacts that David had established earlier, a request came to us to assume responsibility and spiritual leadership for the Green Hill Church at the foot of Pine Mountain in Harlan County.

It is amazing that in an area where many, if not most, have preached the funeral of Church Planting, Church Growth, and Revival in Eastern Kentucky, the Lord is breathing life into a sleeping giant. Malaga Community Church in Wolfe County, Faith Community Church in Harlan County, and now Green Hill Community Church have all become part of our church planting and revival vision. New Hope International is partnering with the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association in the belief that ‘together we can’! We can see revival sweep through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. We also believe that the fire of God-sent revival in the mountains can move across borders and boundaries like it did in the early days of the New Testament Church.

Green Mountain - inside
Inside the Green Hill church

A recent survey has revealed that approximately 670, 000 precious souls in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky are ‘unchurched’. We are on the move to remedy that situation. Ridge Chapel in Lee County opened a little less than two years ago, and now in a matter of seven or eight months three other churches have been activated in the cause of winning the lost and building Christ’s church. Each time a new church has opened with us, God has provided for ministry. New people have felt the ‘call’ and joined in to help us fill the pulpits. We are mentoring and teaching and these new folks are growing rapidly and assuming responsibility.

Rejoice with us! On April 6, we will have our ‘official’ Opening Day at Green Hill Community Church. Join with us in person if possible. If not, please pray and any financial help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

~ Brother Roy

Malaga Minute

Malaga Community Church

Malaga Community Church is one of the newest partners in our church planting / revival ministries in Eastern Kentucky. When they affiliated with our ministry in August, they had not had a pastor for approximately two years. We have sent several ministers to fill in until we could secure a regular pastor. Mark England has preached at Malaga for the last few weeks. The congregation loved Mark and his family. Mark fell in love with the Malaga Church and community. David Spencer and I met with the Board of Elders on January 11th to discuss Mark and his possible appointment. Last Sunday, January 12th, the Board unanimously recommended Mark to the congregation. The church wholeheartedly agreed to call Mark as their pastor.

We praise the Lord for answered prayers that have brought Mark and Malaga Community Church together.

More of What’s Happening in Eastern Kentucky

Daniel_Boone_National_Forest_Tater_KnobI am approximately half-way through my cancer treatments at M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas. My scripture verses during these days are Psalm 121:1-2:I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” The Lord certainly has been my help during these trying days, and I give Him praise. But, oh, how I long to see the hills of Eastern Kentucky. The fall colors must be beautiful about now. As great as autumn in the hills may be, that’s not the beauty my heart longs for. It is the people: David and Nora, the men and women in our lay ministers class, friends at Bear Pen and Shoemaker Churches, the new congregations at Malaga and Baxter that I’ve scarcely met, and a host of others who are part of our ministry. These folks stay in my mind and on my heart. There is so much going on in Eastern Kentucky. Our ministry is growing at such a rapid rate that our Ministry Team is greatly overworked. I am so sad that I am temporarily unable to take my place in this church-planting ministry.

I want to add some recent events to update the last Eastern Kentucky post on the NHIM website. I filed it just before coming to Texas for my cancer treatments:

  • Pastor David Spencer and Kenny Childers, one of our new preachers in training, just made a flying trip to Jackson, Mississippi. David was invited to give the Invocation Prayer at the Installation of Dr. John Neihof as President of Wesley Biblical Seminary. Before moving to Jackson, Dr. Neihof was active in Bear Pen Community Church where David is the pastor. Because of  ministry responsibilities, David and Kenny drove all night to get to Jackson for the Installation Service and then returned home the next morning.
  • The Mississippi trip was made possible thanks to the support of the McFaddin Family. They recently provided funding for a dependable vehicle for David to use in ministry. Their support also allowed us to purchase a used 15 passenger van to transport people to church on Shoemaker Ridge.
  • Several people have been saved in the last few weeks through the ministry. Pastor Mike Spencer reports new converts at Wide Creek Church. There have been new converts at Ridge Chapel on Shoemaker Ridge. Several new believers have been added at the Bear Pen Church. The latest new convert was on October 10th in a home visit by David. With God’s help, there will be more new believers added to our ministry by the time you read this report.
  • A nine day Revival began yesterday with three nights of revival services at each of the following churches: Malaga Community Church, Bear Pen Community Worship Center, and Ridge Chapel. Members from each church will be supporting revival services in the other churches.
  • Members of our New Preachers Team are growing in the nurture and wisdom of the Lord. Several have already stepped up to lead Bible studies and are being counted on to fill pulpits almost every Sunday. A new team member, Mark England, has joined the group. He is an older student at Kentucky Mountain Bible College (KMBC) and has demonstrated strong preaching skills.
  • Paula Smith, David’s daughter, is a member of our New Preachers Team. She worked with my wife Sue in planning and directing our women’s retreat. Paula is doing a Bible study in her home each week. One of the ladies who attends is now leading a Bible study at our new Malaga Church. This lady is so excited about being involved in ministry that she is taking a night class at KMBC.
  • Eugene Spencer, David’s son, is a graduate of KMBC. He is a construction worker and also serves as adult Sunday School teacher and song leader at the Bear Pen Church. Eugene is taking a major role in filling pulpits, especially at our new church in Baxter, Kentucky (a two hour drive from his home). Eugene and his wife recently adopted two little girls from the Congo.
  • Our greatly needed Storage Facility has been completed. We are now looking for industrial shelving for the facility. If you have any leads, please contact me. We are building an office in the corner of the facility to serve as the central office for the many ministries. Any help in this endeavor will be greatly appreciated.
  • We have several new Prayer Band members joining us to pray for our Church Planting Ministry and revival in Eastern Kentucky. Thank you, Elaine Long, for helping this ministry get started in the Milton, Kentucky, area. Thank you, Sue Wells, for your support of our Prayer Band ministry in the Morehead, Kentucky, area.

Miss Sue and I are staying involved in ministry during our stay here in Houston.  We have a chance daily to share with the staff and residents here at the Salvation Army Resident Shelter for Homeless Women, where we are staying.  I will be speaking soon at The Salvation Army’s Homeless Shelter for Men here in Houston.  I am scheduled to share about our ministry with two Methodist Churches in the Houston area.  I am also going to get a chance to share with the CEO of the Living Water Foundation about our Water Well Project in the Samburu desert of Kenya, East Africa.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support of the ministries of New Hope International.

~ Brother Roy