People have asked me how it feels to be leaving Kingsville after 16 years. My answer is, “I’m feeling all of the emotions.” It will be sad to leave so many friends behind; happy to be moving back home and closer to family (we moved away from the Hamilton area in 1993); anxious about our uncertain future; thankful to be able to enjoy a time of refreshment; regrets over things that didn’t get done, or that we were not able to change; joy for the lives we helped to draw closer to Jesus. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1, where the Teacher declares:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.”
In our time here in Kingsville, we have experienced a number of seasons in many of your lives. Children were born and some (including our own) grew up and moved out and into the world. We have made some great friends who will always be a part of our lives, and had to say goodbye to some too: from John Ediger in our first year to John Driedger in our last, and many more in between. We have been here long enough that when I performed a funeral, I was truly grieving along with you.
We have also stayed long enough for you to know who we really are, and for you to hear all of my stories (most of them more than once!). I have been especially blessed during those times when we all worked together: preparing meals for the community, or putting on an incredible VBS, or enjoying a soup night to raise funds for youth ministry. I often found myself bragging about you! The experiences we had and the bonds we formed while on the three mission trips to Bolivia were truly life-changing; I wish everyone could have gone with us!
Our plans are to be in Hamilton for the next year or two; focusing on school and family (all of our children and grandchildren will live just over 2 km from us), and discovering what God has in store for our next adventure with Him. While my time as your pastor has drawn to a close, I know that the CBOQ world is a small one, and I will most certainly see many of you again in the years to come; perhaps you will even invite me to come back to speak someday!
Until we meet again, know that it has been our joy to serve you and point you to Jesus, and that our hope is that you continue to grow in your faith:
“Committed to becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus, and inviting others to do the same.”
Grace and peace to you all,
Jim & Tracey Bagley
PS – After this letter was sent, Jim received a date for his surgery of November 17th. Please keep Jim and Tracey in your prayers.