She was born at home in the midst of a snowstorm almost 90 years ago. Her father, a wheat farmer, had rushed from the family home to fetch the doctor, who was stuck on the icy road halfway to the house. The men arrived by horse and wagon just in time to deliver a baby girl at the modest home in Lincoln County, Kan., 35 miles northwest of Salina.
Carol McCormick, (known to those who love her as Miss Carol), was born March 18, 1924, to a God-fearing mother and father and went to a community church with her mother when weather, time and work allowed, she said.
“My mother trusted in the Lord,” she said. “My mother was a good mother. I respected her. She was my best friend. Some mothers are decent mothers, but mine was a really good mother and friend. I trusted Christ because of my mother.”
Each day, Miss Carol and her mother, would listen to the Baptist Bible Radio Network — specifically the syndicated broadcast “Back to the Bible” by radio evangelist Theodore Epps — and went about their work in the small rural home.
“Listening to those radio shows really made an impact on me,” Miss Carol said. “I just knew that the Lord Christ could offer us Salvation and take us at any time to be with him. One day when I came home from school, I couldn’t find my mother anywhere in the house. The car was there, but she wasn’t.
“I just knew the Lord had taken her,” she continued with a laugh. “Turns out, she was in the chicken house and couldn’t hear me calling for her. But it taught me that I needed to trust Christ, and I always did.”
Miss Carol graduated high school at the age of 17, and after passing the state-required teacher’s test, began teaching in a one-room school house in her hometown.
“My father was determined that my sister and I get an education, so going to school became very important in our lives,” she said. “My mother was also a school teacher. At 17, I taught five grades my first year in one room. I did that for six years before the Lord called me away from there.”
Miss Carol’s faith led her from the school house to the college campus, where she attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago from 1947 until her graduation in 1949. After graduation, Miss Carol planned to go abroad to spread the word of God, but he had other plans for her, she says.
“I was always interested in the Central American countries,” she said. “But the Lord didn’t see fit to send me there. I couldn’t hear very well, so I wouldn’t have been able to really learn the language and understand what they were saying. So, the Lord led me to come to Northwest Arkansas, to the American inland.”
Miss Carol’s work began in the fall of 1949 in Lowell, when she came to the area as a faith missionary — a missionary who trusts in God to provide all living needs, including money for housing and food. Nor are these missionaries supported financially by a church. At the time, Miss Carol had no idea where she would get money to pay for her small apartment in rural Lowell, that she described as a “bedroom with kitchen privileges.”
“The Lord has provided for me all the way,” she said. “The Lord is sufficient. One woman gave me $5 every month, which was a lot at that time. I’ve always found the money. I’ve never been in debt. My house is paid for. The Lord has always provided for my needs.”
One year after moving to Northwest Arkansas, Miss Carol was joined by another faith missionary, Jewel Horton, also a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Together, the women taught Bible classes in area schools — such as Mayfield, Spring Creek, Silent Grove, the Steele community and Burkshed — and Sunday school classes. These Sunday school classes later became Springdale churches like Peaceful Valley Bible Church and Thomas Lakeview Bible Church.
Before the Supreme Court ruling banned religious teaching and prayer in public schools in 1962, the women tirelessly traveled around Washington County, bringing the Gospel to students who otherwise would not have access to these teachings.
“According to everyone who ever had them, the kids thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Springdale resident Beverly Carter, long-time friend and former student of Miss Carol. “It was music, and sometimes the only music they would have in school. The women made it a fun time and the kids really learned.”
After the formal separation of Bible studies from area schools, the women continued teaching area children through Sunday school, summer programs and by driving some local children from their rural, farm homes to church services every Sunday.
“She and her partner Jewel would come once a week and in the summer,” Johnny Stamps, former student of Miss Carol, said. “They would come and collect my siblings and I at the farm and take us to church. I’ve been taking classes and going to church with Miss Carol on and off since 1950.”
“If you grew up in rural Northwest Arkansas, you knew the Bible ladies,” Miss Carol said with a laugh. “It was important for these children to learn about the Gospel and to learn about the Lord. These people, these kids, didn’t have any other place to go, so we made one for them. None of them had trusted in Christ, so they came to know the Lord. We just wanted to lead them to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The impact of Miss Carol and Miss Jewel’s teachings — including song and the popular flannelgraph stories — has changed the lives of their child students.
“I would say that she made a major, positive impact on my children’s lives, she and Jewel, for all of the children they taught,” Carter said. “They have a better understanding of Salvation and the Gospel, in and of itself, and bringing together why we need Jesus Christ. The way she taught was so practical. She had a truly positive impact on their lives and has helped make them who they are. I think she’s been such a blessing to me and my family. She’s so unique.”
“So much of how she got us kids involved was through teaching with song,” Stamps said. “It just grounded my children about Jesus. She taught them the importance of obedience and Salvation. She taught important concepts through singing and Bible stories. She was deeply committed in her faith and to these children.”
The last 65 years have been very full for Miss Carol. Although Miss Jewel died in 1998, Miss Carol has continued the Lord’s work as a faith missionary in Springdale, only recently slowing down and giving up teaching children’s classes.
“The Lord has just given me the strength to keep on going,” Miss Carol said. “I eat well and walk 30 minutes everyday. I garden when the weather is nice. This is the first year I haven’t worked with children, but I still teach four Women’s Bible study classes every week.”
In addition to leading these Bible studies and remaining very active in her home church, Fellowship Bible Church in Springdale, Miss Carol makes bi-weekly visits to area nursing homes, such as Springdale Health and Rehabilitation, greatly brightening the resident’s days.
“Our residents very much appreciate the people who come visit them,” said Cheryl Rounds, social services director at the facility. “Especially people with faith. They really enjoy people coming to pray with them. Anyone who shares their faith is very important to their lives. I imagine Miss Carol is a great joy to them.”
“I just believe it is important to do what you say you are going to do,” Miss Carol said, adding that the Lord’s love is worth more than any earthly good. “If you were given $10,000 to go to church every Sunday, wouldn’t you go? I hope people do not glorify me. Nothing good I have done would have been possible without the Lord’s will.”
Link to the article can be found here.