Today I will write about two gems, Commissioners Jim & Carolyn Knaggs.
I first met Jim & Carolyn when they were cadets in the USA eastern territory. Their summer appointment was to lead a divisional "gospel team" that toured about twenty corps throughout the Pendel division. Jim & Carolyn were in their early twenties and most of us on the team were in our mid to late teens. Looking back now, I don't envy them one bit. Among other things, they had to deal with an awful lot of raging teen hormones. I'm sure it wasn't easy. I'll admit that, on one occasion, I was on the receiving end of a particularly stern lecture about adhering to appropriate curfew requirements.
Jim & Carolyn strongly influenced me in two ways. First, through their lives and personalities, they showed me that one could be young, cool and Christian. I didn't really believe that combination was possible until I got to know Jim, Carolyn and the other team members. Being young and rather foolish at the time, I believed that being cool was much more important than being Christian. Over the course of the summer, Jim & Carolyn helped me reorganize my priorities.
The second way Jim & Carolyn influenced me was by the example of their marriage. It was evident to all who knew them that they were made for each other. Their love was vibrant, deep and mature. They were each other's best friends and they obviously enjoyed being together. Nevertheless, they also respected each other's individuality. This combination of passion, companionship and respect showed me the kind of relationship that I wanted to have with my husband.
When Jim & Carolyn were commissioned, their first appointment was to, once again, lead the Pendel divisional gospel team. I was thrilled, but I knew that they were somewhat disappointed. After all, they really wanted to be corps officers, like their peers. Also, Carolyn was pregnant and she did not relish the idea of spending hot summer days riding in vans, setting up sound equipment, holding open airs, etc. Nevertheless, they quickly swallowed their disappointment and wholeheartedly threw themselves into the task of leading a bunch of high energy, hormone-driven teens through yet another summer. And they never complained about it (not in front of the kids, anyway).
I have crossed paths with Jim & Carolyn several times since those hot summer days of years past. Every time we meet, the intervening years evaporate and we renew our friendships as if we had just seen each other last week. I last saw them just a few days before they left the USA to assume their new command in the Australia East Territory. I know they will serve the Lord well there, as they have in all of their appointments, and they will return with lots of slides (probably digital ones now) and memories. Even though it will probably be a few years before I see them, I'm looking forward to the time when we will once again renew our bonds.