Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that it set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

            The past month has been eventful!  On October 23 at 7:20 PM, after thirty-one hours of labor, Ezekiel John Culp was born by caesarian.  He was 7 pounds 14 ounces and 21.5 inches long.  As I write this he is thirteen days old, 9 pounds 2 ounces, and doing great!  The Pediatrician says that he should be growing at .5 to 2oz per day, and we’re averaging just over 2oz.
            While we were in the hospital I got an email from Peter in Sudan.  Peter is the Sudanese pastor who took over the cattle camp ministry we started around Akot.  Here is part of Peter’s email:

I went to Yirol west county cattle camp which is different with our county there I told them some stories from the Bible. The verse said we are the one brother and one sister.  I went there one time and my people stop me not to go there because they are fearing of my life  .I think justin machar know more abuot Yirol west county and Rumbek east county they are fight against each other. and I went there with no fear because I know that  God is most powerful then everything.

Praise God!  When I was in Sudan, Peter talked about going to cattle camps in the surrounding counties, even though the Dinka Agaar (Peter’s tribe) and the Dinka Atuot and Nuer (the people of Yirol West) are typically fighting and killing each other.  He told me that he would go anyways, and that God would protect him, and now he’s doing it!
             Support raising is picking back up.  We had to take a few weeks off with the baby, but we’re getting started again.  We’ve had a few people drop off in the past few months, and the goal is raised to $4500/month with new expenses for the baby.  Please pray for the following items:
- That Amy and Ezekiel will get into a good feeding routine.
- That God would provide new supporters for our team.
- That we would have clear direction through some changes that are taking place.

Philippians 1:3-4,

Justin and Amy Culp

Monday, September 24, 2012

September/October Update

You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.  But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. – Matthew 24:6-8

Many people have been asking me questions about the recent news in Sudan, so I want to use part of this month’s newsletter to set your heart at ease.  A few weeks ago, on September 11th, there was news about Islamic protests in Libya and Egypt, including the American ambassador in Libya being killed.  Shortly after this, there were reports of American embassies being evacuated and further protests in other Islamic countries, including Sudan.  Here is a quote from

In Khartoum, wider anger at Western attitudes to Islam also saw the German embassy overrun, with police doing little to stop demonstrators who raised a black Islamist flag.  Violence at the U.S. embassy followed protests against both Washington and the Sudanese government, which is broadly at odds with the West.

There is more in the article above talking about pressure on President Bashir by Islamic radicals in the country and the history of Sudan and Islamic extremists.  

That is the news about Sudan.  With all of that stuff going on now, I want to reassure our family and prayer team that these things have almost no effect on us at all.  The country of Southern Sudan became separate from Sudan (“The North”) over a year ago.  Above I posted a map of Sudan where you can see Khartoum (where these things are happening) and Kajo Keji (where we will be living), they are approximately 800 miles apart, which is virtually unreachable by Sudanese roads.  Our plans to go to Sudan haven’t changed.

Please remember our brothers from the North in prayer as the environment becomes increasingly difficult for them.  As part of the “e3 Sudan” team, we are striving to bring the gospel to the 20 million people of Sudan, twenty million souls whom God loves and for whom Christ died.  Sometimes the idea of reaching this many people is staggering, but God is powerful and is working in the Southern Sudanese church to make this goal a reality.

As I write this, Amy is 37 weeks pregnant!  We had an appointment last week where the doctor told us that she is still measuring like she should (maybe even a few millimeters smaller).  It still seems unreal that we are going to have a baby in a couple of weeks.

Support raising is still going well.  We increased the goal to $4500/month to cover extra costs from having a baby around, and with a few changes in our donor list that leaves us about $600/month short of our final goal.  The building cost is also coming in rather well.  God has provided about $16,000 of our $50,000 goal.  Thank you for praying with us about these things!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 2012 Update

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 
– Ephesians 2:4-7

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This month I had the privilege of taking the youth group from Indian Avenue Baptist Church to camp.  Before going to Sudan, I worked with the youth group off and on for about six years, so going to camp was a treat.  The camp these this year was “Identity” and focused not only on the lost students’ need to identify with Christ, but also on the Christian’s identity as a new creation in Christ.  This year each student was encouraged to consider his need for Christ, and then consider his role in the body of Christ.  On the last night of camp, the students were given blank puzzle pieces on which they wrote a way in which they could be part of their youth group, church and the overall body of Christ.  One of the boys in our group gave his life to Christ while at camp, and at least three others were challenged in various ways to live more surrendered and godly lives.

The month of July was a busy one for us.  Sometimes it is hard to find things to write about in these updates because support-raising is so much of the same thing.  This month we were blessed by a visit from Amy’s parents which was lots of fun.  I even surprised everyone (Amy and her parents) with a 4D Ultrasound, so we got to see our little Ezekiel’s face and watch him move around and play.  While we were watching he grabbed his toes and chewed his umbilical cord, we have a very active baby on the way!
            We have also been blessed this month with some very supportive churches.  For at least three weeks in a row we have left a church on Sunday morning saying “Wow, what a supportive group!” God is being very good to us as we are nearing our departure goal.  Currently we have about 87% of our monthly commitments started, and we are now working on our startup costs (of which we have about 10%).  Amy has been feeling a little better with the baby lately, she at least isn’t sick every single day anymore.  Here are some ways you can pray for us:
- Support: We’re about $600 short of our monthly goal and have about $45k to raise for the house construction.
- Amy: Safety for the baby, perseverance as she works to close out her caseload before the baby is born.
- Justin: Taking time out from working to take care of myself.  Also, preparations for a trip back to Sudan in December.

We would love to hear from you!  We try to at least call our supporters once every 3-4 months, but please email us any time!

Philippians 1:3,

Justin and Amy Culp

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 2012 Update

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.  It came about when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.
 – Nehemiah 6:15-16

Back in 2009, I (Justin) became familiar with a project called Nehemiah Teams.  Myself and two other men spent the summer bringing God’s printed word to a closed country in Southeast Asia, which was sort of a life-changing experience for me.  After being arrested and released for doing this work, we were left with no question about God’s unfailing love and provision when we are faithful in doing the work to which he has called us.  In the year following this experience, the man who (along with his wife) is in charge of Nehemiah Teams was very instrumental in getting me hooked up with the work in Sudan, which most of you know is now our calling in ministry.  While I was in Sudan I was blessed in being able to host another Nehemiah Team in Sudan, which led to experiences that most of you read about in my updates last summer.
            Last week I was in Rainsville, Alabama training yet another group from Nehemiah Teams who will spend the summer in Sudan.  The training is always exciting and fun, it is hard to explain what it is like to spend five days in a gym full of 150+ college students who are giving up their summer to do the Lord’s work.  Please pray for the seven men who will spend this summer in the Kapoeta area working to take the Word of God and the good news of Jesus Christ to areas who still have not heard the gospel.

            Although we have been extremely busy, we have been doing alright.  I’m writing this letter from Columbus, Georgia where we are visiting Amy’s parents for a few days.  We will be leaving soon to speak at some churches in Arkansas, and then head home.  Pray for us as we travel, pray that the car will keep surviving through all of the road trips we make.  Pray also for Amy and the baby (it’s a boy!), she has been quite the trooper despite all of the sickness and stress of being pregnant. 
            Our plan for now is to return to Sudan in February, after we’ve had a chance to get some vaccinations for the baby.  We have raised about 78% of the monthly partnerships we need to go back to Sudan.  Thank you to those of you who have partnered with us financially and through prayer.  We have a long way to go, with another $1000/month to raise and the startup expenses for our house (about $50k), but God has been extremely faithful in blessing us with what we need so far.  Please keep praying for us as we make the work known, and wait for God’s provision.


Justin and Amy Culp

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

War Again in Sudan?

One of our teammates posted an article on his blog today about our response to the war in Sudan (  His words and sentiments reflect our hearts as well, so I wanted to share what he wrote here:

This is a response my boss, Mike Congrove, recently sent out regarding the latest news on talk of war in Sudan. I’m sure many of you have been wondering how these things affect our work. His words represent mine so I thought you’d appreciate what he has to say…
“War Again in Sudan?
Several of you have asked about the renewed fighting in Sudan. I am not an expert, but here’s my quick take.
Yes there has been fighting over oil towns in the border region of Sudan and South Sudan. This included bombings by the Northern government. The president of the North, Omar al-Bashir even said, ““Either we end up occupying Juba or you end up occupying Khartoum but the boundaries of the old Sudan can no longer fit us together, only one of us has to remain standing.”
He also called the Southerners “insects” and threatened to teach them a lesson in “jihad.” How much is real and how much is posturing is a question beyond my expertise, but both are in the mix.
The areas where we have work have not been affected. In the far South, things are normal (for Sudan) and we’ll continue to send teams and operate as normal. All is well.
But What If?
Our call and commitment to bring the Gospel to Sudanese (Southern and Northern) who have never heard, make disciples of Jesus, and plant churches doesn’t change or waver due to circumstances.
In fact, we believe God is in control and no matter what happens, He will redeem and be glorified regardless of circumstances. If that means we alter strategy and tactics to fit a war, we’ll do it.
Nevertheless, pray for peace. And pray for our team. The North beckons with some of the most unreached, unengaged (zero missionaries) people groups on earth. We’re asking God have us do.”
Thanks again for all you do,

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Update

But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

- 2 Corinthians 10:17-18

The last few months have been kind of a whirlwind tour for Amy and me. Shortly after writing the last update, we made a trip to St. Louis to visit with some of Amy’s friends. We came home from St. Louis and were back for a few days, and then left for a trip to Warren, Arkansas where we visited some churches from the Bartholomew BaptistAssociation.

The people in Warren, AR were so hospitable and open to our ministry. We were extremely blessed to meet the brothers and sisters at Saline, Macedonia, Ebenezer, Immanuel and New Light Baptist Churches, and are looking forward to our relationships with them.

We got home from Arkansas and a few days later received news that Amy’s grandmother, Elsie Carlson, was in poor health and might not make it through the weekend. We left the next day and drove to Columbus, GA where we spent a few days visiting with grandma and Amy’s parents. We are extremely blessed with loving families, and it’s always hard to leave them behind. Elsie passed away on April 6th at about 12:30am.

Throughout these busy weeks we had a chance to see God’s hand in providing for us in some major ways. Our car had a major coolant leak from a bad timing gasket, a job we couldn’t afford to have done right away, so I was a little worried about making so many trips. We prayed that God would sustain the car for us, and although the mechanic told me I would need to stop every hour or two and check the coolant level, we literally lost no coolant for most of the trips. I went from adding a gallon of antifreeze to the car every 3 or 4 days to adding exactly half a gallon over 4,700 miles of driving in three weeks. God is good.

The car was not the only way that God provided for us. At the end of the whirlwind of trips I sat down and wrote in my journal about every time we prayed for something and had an immediate answer. It took three pages to write them all down. Amy and I have been studying 2 Corinthians lately, and Paul repeatedly says that the only way he is going to boast is in his weakness because it is through our weakness that God is powerful. It’s awesome and humbling to be so completely dependent on God and his providence to make it through each day, and to watch him actually provide when we ask him!

Amy is coming up on her thirteenth week of pregnancy. We had our first ultrasound a few weeks ago and saw our little 36.2mm baby moving around. The road trips have been difficult for Amy with the usual nausea and discomfort of being pregnant, but she has been quite the trooper!

Please pray for us as we keep going through the support raising process. We are now at 58% of our total goal. Also pray for Amy and the baby as she goes through this new world of being pregnant and all of the changes that come with it. Pray for our families, this was my grandpa’s first Easter without grandma around, and Ray and Karen as they adjust to not having grandma around after years of working very hard to take care of her.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

February Update

All the earth will worship You, and will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name. Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. – Psalm 66:4-5

Last month I shared about the opportunity we’ve found with the People Teams. Amy and I are partnering with some friends from Antioch Bible Baptist Church to try and reach out to the Sudanese people living in the Kansas City area. We found a store in town where many of the Sudanese people hang out, so we’ve been frequenting that place and visiting with the people we find there.

I (Justin) usually take my laptop with me when we go to the store so I can show people my pictures from Sudan. One day while Tim and I were sitting there talking, we came across some pictures of spearmasters (they’re like witchdoctors) and a chicken that go along with a story I told in a letter sent last July. The guys asked me about those pictures, so I began to tell them the story about how God provided rain at the right time to show his power to the people of Paloc. In the course of telling that story to the men in the store, I was able to share the good news of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, the power of God, and the need for people to repent of their sin and make Jesus their Lord. The men in the store reacted positively, and we continued to have a long, fruitful discussion about the nature of sin and the gospel. God is providing some great opportunities!

This has been a busy month for our family. We’ve been working hard at finding new people with whom we can share our ministry, and are at about 45% of our needed monthly support. A few weeks ago we went to Plano to visit the e3 offices and have some evaluations done. The day after we got back from Plano, I came home from an appointment and Amy handed me a positive pregnancy test. It’s exciting news for us, we were hoping to have our first child before we return to Sudan, and apparently God has heard our prayer! Last Sunday we went to the hospital after receiving a call about my grandmother. Grandma had been rushed to KU Medical Center for emergency surgery on Sunday afternoon, but she passed away at 10:45 on Monday. Fortunately for us she was awake and responsive for her last couple of hours on this earth, so some of us were able to pray with her and say goodbye.

Please remember my mother (Stephanie) and her siblings in prayer as they cope with the passing of their mother, and my grandpa (John) as he adjusts to life as a widower after 61 years of marriage.

We love you all!

Justin and Amy

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Old Post From Last Year

I'm re-posting a letter that I sent out last year. I'm referring to it in the latest newsletter, so I want to make it accessible:

“O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that Youa re God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” – 1 Kings 18:36-37

As we were laying in our tents that night, Peter said “You guys called for rain, now you have to lay in it!” It had been an interesting and discouraging day. We were in a village called Paloc, intent on doing some discipleship with the local church leaders who have been begging for us to come and help them, but when the time came nobody showed up. As we sat around our tents trying to decide what to do next, we noticed that about 30 feet from us there was a chicken tied to this neat little carved pole. Were they trying to keep him from running away?

We asked Peter what was going on with the chicken, and he went to find out. When Peter came back he told us that the elders were gathering with the witchdoctor to sacrifice the chicken for rain. We sat around and talked about it for a few minutes, and I prodded the guys to go and tell the elders a Bible story. As we got up and started walking toward the men, I lightheartedly said to Justin (a visiting college student from Alabama), “Are you guys ready for a power encounter?” I guess they were.

As we approached, the men were singing and making throwing gestures toward the chicken. Justin quickly asked them if we could tell them a Bible story and they agreed. The guys proceeded to tell the story from 1 Kings 18 of Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal. When the story was over, one of the elders spoke up and told us that when their ancestors were created, they crawled out from stones and ever since they’ve been trying to figure out how to reach God. He told us that since they are all uneducated, they just have to guess. Since it had been thundering and lightning every night for a week, but no rain had come to the village, they decided that they’d try sacrificing the chicken to see if rain would come.

We proceeded to tell the men a version of Creation to Christ, emphasizing that we all came from the same ancestor, Adam, and were separated at the tower of Babel. There is only one God, and that God has come to us through Jesus to show us exactly how we can come to him, and Jesus was the last sacrifice. Jesus even chose uneducated fishermen to follow him, and the only thing that made them different from everyone else was that they had surrendered their whole lives to Jesus…and he used them to change the entire world.

The men, unconvinced, told us to teach those things to the children while they kept making their sacrifices. They told us that if we prayed for rain, AND they sacrificed the chicken, then surely rain would come that night. Justin boldly replied that we were only going to pray for rain after the chicken was set free, because God wanted to show his power to them that day. As Justin said this I looked up and noted that the sky was clear and blue, the day was humid but there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

As the old men shouted their objections, a man in a soldier’s uniform got up, untied the chicken and set it free, so we started praying for rain. We prayed there with the men present, and continued to pray after the men left. Around ten o’clock we all went to bed, slightly annoyed that all we had seen was a slight sprinkle and no real rain to help the local crops. About twenty minutes after all of us fell asleep, we were woken with the realization that our tents were being blown sideways. The three guys who were staying in the other tent (not mine) even woke up realizing that their cots and tent were flooded with water. It was pouring rain…hard. For the first time in weeks, Paloc was getting rain and for the first time in their lives the people of Paloc were seeing the power of the one true God.

Pray for us as we try to bring God’s word to these people for the rest of the summer. There are some difficult things happening here and it’s getting harder to go to the places where we had planned to do ministry, but God is clearly at work!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

January Update

But you will receive power when the Holy Sprit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. – Acts 1:8

I (Justin) remember a phone conversation between Amy and me while I was still in Sudan. Amy was excited because she had just heard about a ministry called “People Teams.” People Teams is basically a bunch of people in Kansas City who, realizing that there are so many countries and ethnic groups represented right here in our neighborhoods, decided to start training people and encouraging local churches to mobilize to start reaching the nations right here in Kansas City with the good news of Jesus Christ. Antioch Bible Baptist Church, which is the church where Amy is a member, decided to get involved in this, so Amy joined the team. To make a long story short, they researched some people groups and decided that Antioch’s focus would be on the Sudanese people located in Kansas City.

Amy mentioned People Teams quite frequently when we were on the phone, and even brought it up on my ride home from the airport when I got back home. For months she’s been casually mentioning to me that we need to get involved, but with the wedding, seminary classes and support- raising, I was kind of slow to come on board. I knew that it would be fun and a worthwhile ministry, I just didn’t’ know how much more time we would have to do it.

Well, after months of waiting, adjusting, and…dragging my feet, Amy and I started going out with Tim and Vanessa from Antioch once a week just to see who we could meet. There are churched Sudanese people here and we know where to find them, but we want to have relationships with the ones who are lost, and find opportunities to share Christ with them. Will you pray that God uses us to reach Sudan in this way as we await his provision for us to return? My experiences in Sudan are a good entry point for conversations, but when we start talking about serious things like the gospel, things will get a lot more difficult.

The support raising is going better than we could have expected. In January we were able to reach our fast-track goal and were hired as “Temporary employees” for four months while we finish raising our commitments. We’re at 42% of or monthly goal, God is providing in amazing ways!

Thanks for your prayers!