Coral in the Sand: A Book About North Borneo – Geoffrey T Bull (1962) (1st ed)


Coral in the Sand: A Book About North Borneo – Geoffrey T Bull (1962) (1st ed)


First edition of a book about life in North Borneo by a Christian missionary who was previously imprisoned by Communists.

Title: Coral in the Sand

Author: Geoffrey T Bull

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, 1962. First edition.

Condition: Hardcover, cloth with dust jacket. Dust jacket has some edgewear and minor closed tears, book itself is in very good condition.

Five and a half years after his release from a Chinese Communist prison, so powerfully described in When Iron Gates Yield, Geoffrey Bull returned to the Far East, to live among a small community of Chinese Christians in Jesselton, capital of British North Borneo.

These “stories and incidents of the North Borneo scene” bring to vivid life a colourful but comparatively little known country. He writes with affection of the fourteen months spent there with his wife and two small sons, and of the many friends they made.

The keynote of the book is a joyful and uncomplicated Christian faith, which overcomes in all circumstances, and triumphs still, in lives held captive by superstitious fears.

About the author (from wikipedia):

Geoffrey Taylor Bull (24 June 1921 – 11 April 1999) was an English Christian missionary and author.

Bull was born in Eltham, SE London, into a family, William and Ethel, with conservative evangelical beliefs. At 15 years old, he was baptised and received into the fellowship of a group of Christians meeting in “New Testament simplicity”. This group was of the Plymouth Brethren persuasion. His original ambition for a career was to enter banking, but by 1941 he became absorbed with missionary work in Central Asia.

It may be that Bull was inspired by the ministry of George W. Hunter, who died in 1946 after long years of isolated missionary labours in China.

After World War II, the elders in his Brethren assembly agreed to commend him to work full-time in Central Asia. In March 1947, Bull and George N. Patterson (1920-2012) went to China, travelling deep into the interior up to the border area shared with Tibet. Here, for three years, they studied Mandarin and Tibetan. Bull witnessed the last days of Tibetan independence and was imprisoned on the pretext of being a spy. At first, he was kept in solitary confinement, but later underwent a re-education and thought reform programme—his captors tried brain-washing, but he claimed that his “faith in Christ kept him from mental breakdown”. This captivity lasted for three years and two months before he was released to the British authorities in Hong Kong.

On his return, he married in June 1955, and subsequently served in North Borneo, now Sabah, in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Bull also had a worldwide Bible teaching ministry in Brethren assemblies and beyond. He died following the Breaking of Bread service in his local Church, Brisbane Evangelical Church, Largs, and was buried in Largs, Scotland. He was survived by his widow, Nan, who died in May 2009 and was buried with him, and three sons, Ross, Peter and Alister.