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Jun22MonFishing for souls is a family affair. June 22, 2020 by Captain Nyree Bond
(Above) From left, Cpts David and Nyree Bond, Oren Cole, Lts Chad and Lisa Cole, Glenda Cole, Carla and Graham Holmes
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Our family has been steeped in Salvation Army tradition for five generations. My great-grandparents became officers in the early 1900s, followed by my grandparents, who were commissioned in 1931, and ministered across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador until their retirement. My father, Oren Cole, considered officership at a young age, yet continued to work in other areas until God firmly called my parents later in life to serve full time in The Salvation Army.
I was dedicated to God under the Army flag at seven days old. When I was growing up, my father was the corps secretary and was regularly called to the platform to speak. He would share an encouraging short story or poem that he had written. I was always so proud of his eloquence. As he got older, he seemed more sentimental and would sometimes shed a tear during his prayers. It wasn’t usual for me to see my father cry when I was a child, so it was moving to me as a young adult. His passion for ministry was evident.
He was a devoted member of the corps, while balancing the demands of work and family life. He was often at the corps, tending to business administration, doing property maintenance, leading the songsters or cooking a gourmet dinner for the whole church. He visited seniors during the week and every Sunday he greeted the elderly with a hug or handshake. I always wondered how my dad knew everyone, but as I got older, I realized it was because of his love for others and his church.
In 2009, when my parents were considering retirement, the Lord had other plans and called my parents into full-time ministry. They became corps leaders. I was elated. It might be surprising for most people to begin a new career at that age, but not for them. When the news was announced, everyone was thrilled and agreed they were made for ministry leadership—proof that it is never too late to do what you are meant to do.
My husband, David, and I were commissioned in the Prayer Warriors Session in 2010 and have served as corps officers in four different appointments. My brother and his wife were commissioned in 2017, and were appointed to High River, Alta., ironically also our first appointment.
The Army heritage of officership is woven throughout our families, and there are 24 officers on both sides. David’s parents, Majors Eric and Donna Bond, continue to inspire and encourage us in our own ministry. We are so grateful for our many aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents, including our beloved cousin General Linda Bond (Rtd), who was influential in my own calling to officership. All these people have made a great impact on our lives and influenced our leadership. We are grateful for their legacy.
It is a privilege of ministry to journey with others on their spiritual walk, to offer support, encouragement and guidance when those we care for need our help. We are proud to serve as officers in The Salvation Army and perhaps one day God will call one of our children to carry on this legacy of faith.
Captain Nyree Bond is the corps officer and community ministries officer in St. Thomas, Ont.