Saturday, February 1, 2020

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Justin and Amy Culp: Reaching the Lopit People of South Sudan

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“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes…” – Revelation 7:9

From 2010-2011, Justin spent over a year in Southern Sudan doing evangelism in some very lost areas, and helping disciple some of the local pastors.  While there, he came face to face with the great need for the gospel in many parts of this new country.  After Justin and Amy got married in 2011, they raised support and went back to South Sudan to work on church planting and discipleship.

Pioneers believes strongly in reaching unreached peoples, church planting movements and a passion for God.  Justin and Amy have been working with Pioneers to start reaching the millions of unreached people in Southern Sudan with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Their goal is to disciple local believers to be strong leaders in their local churches and to start reaching the rest of their own tribes and fellow Sudanese people.  This happens mostly through relationship and Bible Study as we seek to avoid dependency-building “platforms.”

The Lopit people live in and around the Lopa Mountains in South Sudan.  The people group is approximately 76,000 people according to the Joshua Project, with almost no Evangelical Christians.  With no Bible translation and very little church planting activity, their eternal outlook is rather bleak.

Justin and Amy plan to spend however long it takes in Sudan helping bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to these unreached, hopeless people.  We are working in the villages with a few believing people to try and spread the gospel and teach Bible stories to those who are believing.  We believe firmly that the Sudanese church can stand on its own without outside, western aid, and we fully intend to partner with the Sudanese church in a way that will empower the locals, while not being afraid to stay as long as it takes to build real disciples and see a growing, thriving, reproducing church in a tribe without their own Bible. 

Would you be willing to pray and/or financially support us as we follow God’s call in this endeavor? 


Use the link on the right side of the page to donate, or support can be sent to:



Pioneers

c/o Justin and Amy Culp - 111886
10123 William Carey Dr.
Orlando, FL  32832

January 31, 2020

We went to Westville, a living history museum in Georgia and the kids got to work with the carpenter, leathersmith and blacksmith. 



           A few days ago Amy and the kids were driving somewhere in the van and made a wrong turn.  Amy decided that she needed to go the other direction, so she pulled into a driveway to turn around.  As Amy was shifting the van into reverse, one of the kids said “Mommy, are we going to live in this house now?”  I guess our kids are getting used to the lifestyle!
 
           It’s never a dull moment with our family.  Last month I wrote the newsletter from Georgia where we went to visit Amy’s parents for Christmas.  We spent two weeks with “Damma and Bonka” and then we drove to Tampa.  We spent two weeks in Tampa for some counseling before returning to the field, and by the end of that stay everything had changed!

           If you’ve heard me speak during this home assignment, you’ve heard me talk about spiritual warfare and opposition, and how difficult it has been just trying to be in Lohutok let alone being able to effectively communicate the gospel with her people.  Plans are always fluid and delays happen, but Jesus loves the Lopit more than we do and He is never panicked or surprised.  Because of our unique challenges, we have been doing some kind of regular counseling for most of our marriage.  After meeting with the counselors in Florida they have asked us to spend six months in the USA getting some further help becoming healthy and whole for a lifetime of ministry.  There’s the expected change in plans!

           I am getting on a plane in two weeks to go back to Lohutok to close some things down, keep some commitments, and get ready to be gone for six months longer than planned, and by April will be back to start the process.  Please keep praying for us as we deal with the emotions of changed plans, look for the appropriate counselors, and settle ourselves back down for a longer stay.  When we told the kids we were staying longer, Ezekiel’s response was “What about Ofuul?”  Ofuul is the village landlord for whose salvation we have been praying and he wants to see it through, we are all feeling that urgency while trying to remember that Jesus is already on the other end and has never been panicked or impatient, and he’s a way better missionary than any of us!  Thank you for partnering with us through all of this!

Justin, Amy, Ezekiel and Caleb Culp

We were having lunch to celebrate Justin’s birthday in Georgia and the kids decided to belly up to the bar…at least they weren’t breaking anything…

Sunday, December 29, 2019

December 30, 2019

Ezekiel and Caleb...In Jail

               A couple of weeks ago we were doing family Bible time at night and we read a story about someone who repented.  The kids’ lesson that night was about what it means to repent.  Ezekiel looked frustrated and said, “I tried repenting and it doesn’t work.  I repented, asked Jesus to forgive me and help me not sin, but I JUST KEEP SINNING!”  We had a good talk that night about what it means to repent: Be sorry for sin, confess sin and leave sin.  When we turn from our sin, it doesn’t mean we stop sinning, it means that when we see our sin we hate it and depend on the Holy Spirit to help us change.  Christians are not inherently better than anybody else, the difference between us and the rest of the world is that we are trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to cover our sin.  When God looks at us in judgment He doesn’t see our failures and shortcomings, He sees the perfect obedience and righteousness of Jesus Christ that has been credited to our account.

               We’ve had a busy month!  Some good friends visited us for a couple of days before Thanksgiving, Amy’s parents came for about a week over Thanksgiving, Amy and the kids got to visit a local police station, the car we were borrowing from a friend was stolen out of the driveway, we drove to Georgia for Christmas and had to get a tow on the way because of a tensioner pulley in the van, and now we’re in Columbus, GA to visit Amy’s parents before we go back.  After a week and a half stay in Georgia, we will go to Tampa to have some meetings for a couple of weeks, and then drive back to Kansas City where we will start to pack up.  Our plane tickets are for mid-February, and we’re praying about the right way to go back.  We have an enemy that does not want us to succeed, and who wants the Lopit to stay in darkness and uncertainty.  We love you and appreciate you keeping up with and praying for us, please keep praying that God will give us what we need by way of community, medical wellness and unity as we decide how to go back in the best way possible! 

               Our fundraising is coming along nicely.  We are about $400 short of our monthly goal, and have a few more one-time gifts promised.  Our German friends are working on their house and getting their family settled in Lohutok, keep praying that this will go well and fast for them!

Thanks!

Justin, Amy, Ezekiel and Caleb

Caleb is a little bit obsessed with helicopters...



Monday, November 25, 2019

November 26, 2019


“How do you have a relationship with God??” Teresa’s cousin asked her.  Their grandmother had sent her down to our compound to hide when there was potential trouble in the village.  Most of the village goes to hide in the bush when this happens.  But Teresa and her family had no man to stay with them in the bush, and they (understandably) didn’t want to ward off the wild animals themselves. 

So their grandmother had sent down two cousins to stay with Teresa on our compound.  We were in Torit at the time, and I was praying that God would use this time of uncertainty to show people the contrast of darkness and light, and that they would be drawn to the light.  Teresa’s two cousins then asked her to teach them about the Bible. 

They began doing Bible study and I was helping Teresa prepare for it.  One day, Kemira (one of her cousins) asked her how she could have a relationship with God. 

“Our sin separates us from God,” Teresa explained, “but Jesus died as a sacrifice, to take away our sin.  Everyone who believes in him and repents is reunited with God.”  My heart is rejoicing that she is boldly sharing the Gospel among her own culture! 

Did you know that South Sudan is one of the few countries left with no running water, no power grid, no roads and very few cell phone towers?  We have to leave the country every three months to go to the doctor, get the car fixed, get medical, food, and refresh with Western friends in Uganda.



We’re enjoying the comforts of the US, as well as time with family.  My (Amy) parents are coming to Kansas City for Thanksgiving, and we’re all going to celebrate with Justin’s family.  God has faithfully provided the finances for Ezekiel to join a co-op, take roller skating lessons and art lessons!  Caleb is enjoying sweet time with friends here as well, and Justin and I are enjoying homeschooling both of them each morning.

As we prepare to return to South Sudan and enjoy life in the US, our friends in Lopit are struggling for food this year.  The rains have washed most of the gardens away, and the insects are eating what is left over.  We have been told that the road between our village and that of our teammates is now blocked by a river that is waist deep! 

Please pray that God provides food, and that these precious people recognize that their Creator is the only one who provides them with food, water and rain.  Pray that they come to know their Creator, and that they would hunger and thirst for the righteousness that God offers to all of us through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

October 30, 2019



 I took Ezekiel with me to St. Louis while Amy spent some extra time in Georgia with her parents (and Caleb).  I had to figure out how to get some work done while also having Ezekiel at home, so we became very well-acquainted with the Wentzville Chick-Fil-A.  Ezekiel goes into the playplace and immediately makes friends with the other kids, and then proceeds to lead them all in games that he has made up to play on that equipment.  One day we went for the “Comic Book Hero Night.”  I saw it on one of the signs in the playground and we couldn’t resist.  We got Ezekiel a costume (He insisted on being Optimus Prime) and got there early, he got to take pictures with “Supergirl” and “Spiderman” and the cow.  After pictures, he started fighting Spiderman with his sword, which Spiderman took in stride as he fought back.  After his fight with Spiderman, though, Ezekiel said “Daddy I’m tired of chicken, can we have some beef?”  He proceeded to go and shake hands (again) with the ChickFil-A cow, and then started to slaughter it…that cow had no idea how to respond, it was hilarious.

 We stopped in Nashville on the way up to visit some good friends, and then spent a few weeks visiting churches in the St. Louis area before returning to Kansas City.  We get to be in one place for a couple of months now!  Ezekiel had his birthday on October 23 and he got quite the royal treatment.  We had a birthday party in Wentzville, another one at a church on his actual birthday, one at our church in Lawrence on Sunday morning and then ANOTHER on Sunday afternoon at Gammy and Papa’s house!  When we were getting ready for the first party I asked him what he wanted, he wanted a cake, a piƱata, a campfire, s’mores and games, so we made it all happen…it was a lot!  The pictures in this letter are of Ezekiel and Caleb having S’mores for the first time.



 We’re in Kansas City now until Christmas.  Thank you all for praying and supporting us.  Keep praying that God would provide the rest of the monthly support we need for going back, the one-time giving we need for our return travel and other projects, and a few more opportunities to speak at churches where we have openings.

Thanks!

Justin, Amy, Ezekiel and Caleb Culp

Friday, September 27, 2019

September 27, 2019




               We have been in travel mode for the last few weeks.  After two weeks in Kansas City that was spent getting settled (vehicles, phones, clothes, etc.) we spoke at Overbrook Bible Church and then left a couple of days later for St. Louis.  A week in St. Louis, a week in Corinth, Mississippi and now we find ourselves in Columbus, GA to visit Amy’s family and celebrate mom’s birthday.  In a week we will be back on the road to St. Louis where we will spend a few weeks visiting churches and then we’re back to Kansas City for the remainder of our home assignment.

               Being back in the USA has been quite a transition for our family.  Ezekiel and Caleb are still getting used to new rules (You can’t poop here, the street is not a “fun place to play” etc.) and other unfamiliar things.  I bought a 10lb bag of chicken leg-quarters that were on sale for Labor Day, and the next day I was thawing them out in the sink.  Caleb came downstairs, looked in the sink and said “Daddy?!”  When I asked him what was wrong he said, “You killed something without me?”  Ezekiel heard Caleb’s perceived offence and came over to look, then he said “Aww man, I would have liked to see that chicken that had ten legs!”  We’re people of two worlds…

               We have had some fun along the way.  During our week in Corinth we saw some Civil War historical sites and spent a few nights at the Alcorn County Fair.  At the fair the kids got to see their first bull ride and enjoyed the carnival rides, but with all of the excitement around them they really wanted to spend all of their time in the petting zoo feeding the goats, porcupine, camel and cows!  On the way from Corinth to Columbus we stopped in Huntsville to visit the US Rocket and Space Museum…that is how missionary parents on the road celebrate a wedding anniversary (8 years!).  Ezekiel started getting sick the night before the museum, so he saw most of the museum from a stroller between cries, but at the end of the day he still said, “That was the most fun I’ve ever had!”

               Pray for us as we visit with Amy’s family, travel, speak, fundraise, and try to help our kids work through all of the changes, new people, new places, and time in the car.  It’s hard for them, even though it is good to see everyone!

Thanks for your prayers and encouraging emails!

Justin, Amy, Ezekiel and Caleb Culp