Severn family taking on a mission 2 weeks now may turn Coles into full-time missionaries later

June 25, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Spending two weeks on the grounds of a restored 18th century manor house in the historic Irish countryside may sound like the makings for a great vacation. But for the Cole family of Severn, the trip will be a labor of love.

David and Nancy Cole and son Charles will leave for County Meath, Ireland, tomorrow to begin two weeks of volunteer work at a Christian youth camp.

They have raised donations to cover their $2,580 air fare, and will pay $70 each to live at Drewstown House and work 14-hour days as counselors and, for Nancy Cole, doing administrative tasks. The campers, ages 8 to 11, will get a mix of activities designed to introduce them to the Christian message of salvation.

"We don't take this lightly," Nancy Cole said. "This is something that's very important to the Lord."

It's important to the Coles, as well, as they consider becoming full-time missionaries when David Cole, 47, a museum curator with the Army, retires.

"This is kind of a way to prepare ourselves for when the time comes," said Nancy Cole, 47, a homemaker. "Most of the missionaries go on the field when they're young and haven't settled in. But there are opportunities everywhere to serve in ministries all over the world." She said they could work in guest houses that serve other missionaries or become teachers.

Members of the Cole family have been abroad twice on mission trips with their church, Faith Community Church in Gambrills, and the congregation is helping to sponsor their venture this year. Their time in Ireland will give the three a taste of what mission work would be like on their own. The Coles' 23-year-old daughter is, so far, not interested in pursuing missionary work, Nancy Cole said.

David and son Charles, 19, both were counselors for boys at Drewstown House last summer, rising at 6 a.m. and spending the entire day with the campers.

"They seem when they get there, not too keen on what they had to do," Charles Cole said of the campers. "But by the end of the week, a lot of the kids had turned around totally and didn't want to leave."

David Cole, a historian and descendant of Irish immigrants, said he found the trip more meaningful than his mission trip to Belgium.

"It just felt that I was more intimately involved in the whole thing," he said.

If the Coles do venture into full-time missionary work, those church-organized trips will have accomplished their purpose, said Steve Bond, assistant pastor at Faith Community Church.

"Every year, it is our goal to send people out to experience missions with the hope that some of them will want to return," Bond said. "Our goal is to send out people from within our congregation. That's why we are very excited about the Coles."

Pub Date: 6/25/96

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