The past several months of life have felt like being strapped in a rocket during a countdown to blastoff.

My family now is the final numbers in our countdown as we prepare for a transition out of Pittsburg and into a new ministry setting.

While every transition — this one being no exception — brings a tremendous amount of excitement with new adventures and opportunities, we’ve also got a couple tough weeks of endings ahead.

One thing hitting me particularly hard today is the conclusion of my blessed six months of borrowed time at The Morning Sun this week. (For real this time — unless somehow life’s twists and turns bring us back to Pittsburg at some other point in the future.)

Thank you to everyone I’ve gotten to work with throughout the past few years. There are so many of your names and faces who travel through my mind each time I think about the Pittsburg community and the fun I’ve had telling its stories.

This community also has been a wonderful place for us to live, raise our children and grow in so many ways, and as we leave I pray the community will carry on the work my family was sent here to do.

Both Josh and I were extremely involved in campus ministry board service through the United Methodist Church in Northeast Kansas prior to our arrival in Pittsburg. I believe that is chief among the reasons he was sent to do campus ministry, in addition to pastoring a church, in Pittsburg.

It’s tough when we can’t tally our efforts up to a success, and even tougher when we can’t pass the baton, which is the case in this situation.

Our denomination’s leaders hope to continue mainline campus ministry at Pittsburg State University through the efforts of volunteers, but will not send a staff successor.

A number of other campus ministers do an amazing job on campus, but I believe it is critical to have as much of a presence as possible dedicated to mentoring and discipling students throughout their formative collegiate years.

It is my hope and prayer for the community to carry forward the work we’ve done, investing in the lives and faith development of students at Pittsburg State.

I also hope relationships and connections continue.

I have no doubt we’ll return for occasional visits and I also look forward to keeping up with the community’s happenings.

While I won’t get to be the storyteller, I’m so excited to see what the future holds for Pittsburg and Southeast Kansas.

Over and over again, I’ve felt so fortunate to be here at this point in time, when great things are happening in the community and at Pittsburg State University despite the odds. It’s been my privilege to get to know so many people in this community and to learn from some of the best of the best along the way.

I hate saying “goodbye” so instead, I’ll say “see you later, and thank you so much for the memories.”

— Sarah Gooding is a staff writer for The Morning Sun and can be contacted at sgooding@morningsun.net