Reaching out to widows and orphans
Mitchell Culp stayed home from work on September 1, 1998, to celebrate the very first day of home school with his wife, Teresa, and their family. One month later, he was unexpectedly diagnosed with acute leukemia, and a mere month after that, he was gone, leaving his widow with five young children.
|The Culp family in September 2001 (left to right): Troy (7), Caleb (5), Michell (6), Teresa, Kyle (8), and Ross (3).|
Since her oldest would not be of compulsory attendance age for two more years, Teresa put her home school plans on hold while struggling to identify God's direction for her family. By early 2000, she'd had two or three job offers, and was wondering whether God intended for her to go back to work. With only Social Security and a small pension from her husband's retirement fund as the family's income, this was a tempting route.
"Then I received the Widows Curriculum scholarship check," Teresa explained, "and I said, 'No, Lord, that is not what You want me to do; You still want me to home school and follow through on that commitment that we had made as a family.' The scholarship was very important to our family-an encouragement and a confirmation that this is what we need to be doing."
Since then, the Lord has met the Culps' needs in amazing ways. For example, after a lightning strike caused $1400 worth of damage to their house, a neighbor offered to make the repairs at no cost. Two fathers from Teresa's church purchased hunting licenses for her two oldest boys and took them along on a hunting trip. They shot a deer, and the meat processor packaged the deer for free. (When this same processor later received a confiscated deer from a game warden, he packaged this meat up as well and gave it to the Culps.) Home school dads have also helped her sons with special projects, like building cars for pinewood derbies.
While some people may not know what to do or say when interacting with a widow, Teresa wishes more people would just approach her and ask how they could help. "Some of the decisions I face are just mind-boggling. They could help widows in making decisions when it comes to finances, insurance, medical issues, etc."
Another creative way people could help would be to take a widow and her family on a vacation with them. "I don't have the time to plan any trips, but I know my kids would love to do something out of the ordinary, even something as simple as camping."
|1998: The Culp family celebrates their first day of home schooling.|
Teresa's misses her husband most in his role of providing leadership for the direction of the family, but "when I'm tempted to be overwhelmed, I just open my Bible, have my prayer time, and try to keep focused on the Lord-He is my support!" She prays that as her children grow and expenses increase, she will find some kind of home business which will allow them to continue their way of life, and that she would be willing to follow God's will, no matter what His path for her.