Lewis Culpepper, Tuckaleechee UMC, Tennessee

July 8, 2015
This Week’s Storyteller is…
Lewis Culpepper, Tuckaleechee UMC, Tennessee
When I was 10 or 12 years old, my neighborhood friends and I used to build huts in the backyard.  We actually, one time, built a little church. It lasted a few weeks, and I was "the preacher" to my congregation of 4 or 5 friends. 
I actually think we were all saved during these make believe services, but I made it official by going down front as a junior high school student in the Presbyterian church (my public profession).  During the next 40 plus years through college and a banking career I felt prone to wander, but the hook in my jaw was always pulling me back.
Upon retirement three years ago, my wife and I started doing our morning prayers and devotions together.  My prayer was often that God would use me in some way in His service during retirement years.  True-fully, we don't always expect a direct answer, do we? 
A short time after this theme of prayers, I received an email one day from a church that had no reason or way to have my email address.  Instead of deleting I actually read it.  They were offering a course:  SHARING HOPE IN TIME OF CRISIS by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  For only a God reason, I decided to pay $80 and sign up.  A month or so later the day came.  Reluctantly I went because I did not want to waste my $80.  It was an amazing course, and at the end we had an opportunity to apply to be a BGEA Rapid Response Team Chaplain.  I applied, took the other required courses and was accepted.
My wife and I both were thinking:  What is he doing? This is so far from my normal confront zone.  Even on my first deployment driving to LaCombe, Louisiana, after hurricane Isaac, I am thinking "what am I doing?”  A longer story, but on the way God allowed me to minister to a family as somewhat of a trial run to give me confidence of what He had in store for me.
Now seven deployments later and an opportunity to present the Gospel to many people, a number of which accepted Christ as their savior, I continue to be amazed at how this all started when God sent me an email!
P.S.  I am a member of Tuckaleechee United Methodist Church in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Up Next Week…
Genise Austin-Holliday, First Lakeland
A participant in this past year’s Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM), the disciple shares her memories of growing up and being mentored in the church.

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