'The children need to know God loves them'

Coral’s story | Teaching Scripture for 45 years

“I was born and raised in Broken Hill. I went to church there and all that. But it became real for me in 1949, when I was 15. Back then Broken Hill used to have a Christian mission once a year – an open-air meeting on the street near the shops. An evangelist came from Sydney and gave a Gospel message. He preached the cross of Jesus. I was really moved by it. I just realised Jesus did it for me, he died for me.

I was quite shy before that. But after I prayed the prayer of commitment to Jesus I slowly came out of my shell. After school I decided to go to teacher’s college in Bathurst and after that I thought I would be a missionary in Africa.

In my first years of teaching in Bathurst, I met my future husband at the social club at church. Ross was a farmer. I told him I was planning to be a missionary in Africa and he said, “I feel God has given me this farm.”

The farm was 730 acres, south of Bathurst. It had 500 sheep and they were producing fine wool, as well as vegetables that sold at the markets.

I had to sort that out. Over the next three months, I prayed to God about it. During that time I saw a gospel film about a boy whose parents wanted him to be a minister, but he felt God wanted him to fix cars, so he was a missionary at the local garage.

I wrote to Ross (there were no phones in those days) and I said, “I think I’ve got my answer.” He came to see me in Broken Hill and we got engaged. My parents loved him. My dad came into my bedroom early the next morning and said, “He’s a man in a million – marry him.”

We got engaged in 1957. Ross started making bricks straight away. He wanted to build me a new house on the farm. After we got married, we were both involved in the church. I didn’t do any paid teaching, but we had four children and I was very involved in the local school. Then, when our youngest was in high school, I offered to take on Scripture at two schools.

“[The children] need to know that God loves them.”

I’ve been teaching Scripture at Perthville Public School for 45 years now. I really enjoy it. I like telling stories, and I like the singing. It’s rewarding when I meet some boy down the street, and he says, “You used to be my Scripture teacher.”

I thought I might retire at 60, but I still enjoyed it, so I kept going. I’m 89 now. People don’t take their children to church anymore, and they don’t know who God is. They need to know that God loves them and he’s still in control of the world, and that they can trust him.

It’s not always easy, of course. Ross got dementia in 2014. We celebrated his 90th birthday and then he died peacefully at home in 2017. Then, two years ago, I was diagnosed with macular degeneration, which got worse. I couldn’t see well enough to drive, so a friend helped me and drove me to Scripture classes. I kept teaching and the children prayed for me. I was able to have injections and my eyes slowly got better. One of the little boys said, “Jesus can still heal today!”

Now I can see again and drive again. I’m still living in the house Ross built for me on the farm. I’m still teaching Scripture! One of my favourite verses is from Isaiah 40:31. I hold on to it whenever I get tired. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…”

It’s true! I didn’t get a chance to go to Africa, but I know God has a plan for our lives. It might be different to what we think, but it’s always good … I’d like to keep teaching Scripture for as long as I can…”

Coral’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

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