Jane Cox’s mission lives on

Jane Cox was a woman whose life made a difference.

With her love of children, Cox created the youth program at Columbiana United Methodist Church.

“She saw a need and stepped up. She, single- mindedly, changed the kids program at CUMC,” said friend Sharon Bentley.

A mission trip to Honduras was a turning point in Cox’s life in 2000. She met a small child, Jormany, who was malnourished and separated from her family.

“When my mother came home from that trip, she told me she left half of her heart in Honduras. She became determined to help the people of that country,” said daughter Allison. Husband Keith and Cox personally adopted Jormany’s family to provide shelter and education for the children.

Cox began fundraising to lead trips from CUMC. The Honduras mission was born.

In 10 years, woodworking, sewing and trade schools have been established. Thousands of people have received medical care from the medical teams who donate their time.

Babies have been delivered and are named for these devoted volunteers: Jane (Cox), Corley (Ellis), Sharon (Bentley), Peggy (Polhemus) and Melissa Suzanne (Messer).

On the 2008 trip, Cox was coughing and unwell. After she returned home, she learned she had cancer.

Shane Armstrong, a member of CUMC who works at Shelby Baptist, went on his first trip in 2006. Over the years, Cox began placing more responsibility on Armstrong. As Elijah passed the mantle of leadership to Elisha, Cox chose Armstrong to lead the first trip she could not attend because of her illness in 2009.

Cox died shortly later in November 2009 with her family, Armstrong, Polhemus and Bentley surrounding her.

Shelby Baptist has partnered to help support employees who give their time for mission work.

Shelby is donating the medical supplies, and its 20/20 Foundation is providing scholarships to employees Armstrong, Allen Blanks and Polhemus.

CUMC continues to financially support the trip along with the UMVIM mission department of the United Methodist Church.

Armstrong will lead a 10-person medical team to Honduras July 29-August 2010 with an angel watching over them.

Cox was called a “salty saint” in her eulogy. She lived her faith by being a “doer of the word and not a hearer only.” The people of Honduras and her church have been forever changed by this woman who had a heart of love and the determination of steel to make a difference.