Paul Cull is originally from the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. After graduating from high school, he studied computer programming at the Christchurch Polytechnic and worked for a number of years as a computer programmer/analyst and system administrator.
After completing an Evangelism Action Training School at Lifeway Ministries in North Auckland, Paul began a ministry with teens at an Auckland church. In 1992 he participated in a short-term missions trips to Brazil where he was introduced to projects working with at-risk children and teenagers on the streets and in the favelas (slums).
Sensing a call to work with at-risk young people, Paul returned to the city of Belo Horizonte in March 1994 where he completed the Rescue and Restoration (Children at Risk) school with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). He then volunteered with several YWAM projects in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, before moving to the city of Nova Friburgo, in the mountainous region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, in late 1995 where he assisted a YWAM partner ministry.
Following the closure of the half-way house where he had been volunteering, Paul began an outreach in mid-1996 in the morro (hillside community) of Cordoeira, which was one of the most violent suburbs in the city at that time. This work later became the House of Hope Project, ministering to local children and young people through a number of activities, including computer and English lessons, Bible studies, and small group discipleship.
After meeting with Heidi and Rolland Baker, leaders of Iris Ministries (now Iris Global), Paul brought the House of Hope Project into the Iris family in early 2002. He then led the Nova Friburgo Iris base and pastored the associated Partners in Harvest church until 2009, when he moved to the city of São Paulo to facilitate his itinerant ministry to Brazilian churches. At this stage he was travelling extensively throughout Brazil, ministering primarily to children and teenagers and their leaders, and teaching about the move of the Holy Spirit among young people.
An unusually severe rainstorm in January 2011, centred on the city of Nova Friburgo, provoked serious flooding and landslides and resulted in an official death-toll of over 900 fatalities, although unofficial estimates run into the thousands. As a result, Paul returned to Friburgo, where he worked with young people whom he had previously trained as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
In the aftermath of the disaster, further opportunities opened up for Paul to take the CERT training to other groups and communities, and into schools in the region, and he moved back to the city of Friburgo and the suburb of Cordoeira. Since then, Paul has also worked closely with Crisis Response International, a Christian disaster relief ministry with whom he also trained and responded in the US and Israel, and taken the CERT training to Iris Global bases in Mozambique and the United States. He also trained as a CERT Instructor and Program Manager at the US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute, achieved the Associate Emergency Manager qualification from the International Association of Emergency Managers, and completed a Graduate Diploma in Emergency Management through Massey University in New Zealand.
Paul is currently leading a ministry to teenagers in the Morro of Cordoeira and working in the area of disaster response missions, both locally and internationally.