When Ngaire Callaghan was invited to be a Salvo ‘Honoured Friends’* representative she followed in the footsteps of her parents.
Ngaire and her father
Professionally I feel like Dad passed a baton to me. I am a qualified TAFE teacher and joined TAFE at Granville (NSW) in 1989, the same year Dad retired as principal of Gosford TAFE. But I also believe my parents passed on a spiritual baton.
We moved all over NSW as Dad was transferred with TAFE and over those years as a family we attended a lot of Salvation Army corps (churches), as well as many other churches.
My oldest brother is a Salvation Army Lieut-Colonel, currently serving in London. My cousin is a Salvation Army officer (minister) and I believe I am a fourth-generation member of The Salvation Army.
I gave my life to God at the age of eight and have been a member of the Gosford Salvation Army for 34 years. Presently I worship with my dad at a local Presbyterian church. (After Mum passed away three years ago, there were just too many memories at the Salvos for Dad.)
Mum and Dad used to do everything together. They faithfully did regular hospital visits for many years and then took on the role of caring for ‘Honoured Friends’. My mum was very creative and used to make Christmas stockings and beautiful
handmade cards with Bible verses to give as gifts.
I remember Dad saying to me that especially some of the older people they visited would say “You are the church to us”. That thought always stayed with me.
While I have always volunteered, as well as worked, to support young people in education, I believe pastoral care to be very important, especially for people who may be more isolated as they grow older.
For me, the loss of Mum in 2015 was very hard. There were so many losses and grief at that same time, it ultimately took a huge toll and I eventually put myself into hospital.
I was quite broken. But throughout it, I still had God. He was the foundation and the rock I could rebuild on.
I see life differently now and take time to enjoy such things as singing lessons and even performing. I have a caring husband and two lovely sons who have lovely partners and through that we have an ‘instant’ grandson, who has brought incredible joy into our lives.
Really, all I want to do in my life now by giving to others is to glorify God. It is my greatest prayer.
*‘Honoured Friends’ are a group of Salvation Army supporters who have pledged a bequest to further the work of The Salvation Army. For more information visit salvos.org.au/donate/wills-and-bequests
As told to Naomi Singlehurst