Jenny Huntington is a teacher at Brisbane Christian College. She began with the sobering reminder that suicide is the leading cause of death for young Australians.

She said, “Today we are seeing a rise in teen mental health issues – in particular, depression and anxiety. This is why it falls on schools to provide more than just academic instruction, but teachers who live out a faith that offers love and a hope for the future.”

She illustrated the power of this care by sharing the story of a student who tried to take his life and received support from Christian teachers “who could pray with him and his family and share hope that was ahead of him.” Today, this young man is planning a career in healthcare where he can help others.

Bernie Coleman is a school counsellor at Tyndale Christian School. She grew up in a family that had no Christian faith that was disrupted by relational breakdown, mental illness, alcohol addiction and constant moving. She first heard about Jesus when she was 13 and arrived at Tyndale after attending 16 other schools across NSW.

She reflected on the impact of the lives of staff, sharing, “I will always remember seeing the groundsmen (also named Bernie!) singing and praising God whilst hosing the road in the middle of winter wearing shorts! I thought to myself, ‘that’s who I want to be in this world – someone who spreads love and joy in everything I do and does it for Jesus!’”

It was at school that Bernie says she learnt “what it meant to serve and love others because God loves us!” and today Bernie is not only a school counsellor, she also works with young people throughout the region.

Josiah Wells is a student at Chairo Christian College. He is studying Physics, Specialist Maths and Maths Methods and emphasised the value of his teachers’ faith even in these subject areas.

He said, “My maths teacher gets me enthusiastic about my learning by demonstrating and explaining how maths is written into the very fabric of God’s world.”

He summarised the all-encompassing impact of faith, explaining, “At my school, we understand all disciplines as ways of discovering God’s universe, ways of describing God’s creation, and ways of pursuing breakthroughs in knowledge that can serve humanity.”

Nicole is a teacher at Groves Christian College. Abandoned by her father when she was just 4 years old, she always questioned the reality of God’s love.

She said, “If my earthly father didn’t love me then why would God?” After a long journey supported by the teachers and staff at her school, she was finally able to forgive her father.

She has now returned to teach at the same school she attended as a child, explaining: “This is my way of giving back to the same community that nurtured my brother and I, to see the same fruit and blessings flow.

Victor is a teacher at Waverley Christian College. After a traumatic childhood that spiralled into a destructive path of anger, hate and violence, his life was transformed following a desperate prayer and an invitation from a stranger to church.

He shared, “I believe if I had people who had shown me God’s love at that age I would have avoided a lot of pain and anguish. And so that became my life goal, to impact, influence, love and care for as many young people as I could.” Being free to share his faith is central to Victor now achieving this mission.

I want to teach at a Christian school. My faith is who I am, the driving force of my life and I wanted to be in a place where my faith is appreciated, encouraged and developed. A place where I can impact students just as Christ impacted me.”

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