Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heading Out!

We're headed to South Africa! We'll be flying all night tonight with a layover in London, then flying another night. Thank you for praying for us as we travel!

I have another couple of requests to ask of you. A few months ago, I mentioned that a friend of ours, Katherine Aulin, was near death. Later that week, she rallied and was able to go home. We saw her at family camp just a few weeks ago. Her health had continued to fail, but she was cheerful and praising the Lord anyway. This past Sunday, we received word that Katherine had passed away during the night. We're sad to lose a friend here, but we rejoice in the promise of Heaven. She had lost both legs and had very limited sight, suffered from kidney failure with dialysis treatments, and had just recently been diagnosed with MS. All of that is over now, praise the Lord! She is walking and rejoicing with the Lord today! Please do pray for her family, though. They are saved, and have the same blessed hope, but the coming days will be hard for them. Her funeral is Thursday.

Another request: A friend of mine has a 5-year-old great-niece named Taylor. Last week, doctors found cancer in her right kidney. Yesterday, she had a CT scan which revealed cancer in several other places in her body. She was admitted to the hospital immediately to begin treatments to manage the cancer in her kidney and will go from there. The doctor said she needs a miracle. Please pray for that miracle for Taylor! She and her mother live in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and she is in hospital in Calgary, Alberta. There's a Facebook page for Taylor here, if you'd like to join and follow her progress. It's a closed group, so you might mention that you're a blog reader of mine as you request to join the page.

I'll update our trip as often as possible. See you in a month!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trip of a Lifetime!

I told you yesterday that I'd have exciting news today. I can barely believe we are doing this, but it's all come together, and Lord willing, next Tuesday we'll be on our way to our next adventure . . .

Wes and I are taking a mission trip to 
South Africa!

We have two sponsored missionaries out of our church, one in Williams Lake, BC, and the other in Clewer, South Africa (northeast of Johannesburg, east of Pretoria). Almost two years ago, Bro. Jeremy Johnson in South Africa asked Wes to come and see his field and work. They began to work on the details, and now it's almost time to go!

We'll be flying from Vancouver to London, layover for about 6 hours, then another 11-hour flight to Johannesburg. From there we'll visit with Bro. Johnson and his family, which includes three little boys, with a little girl due in a couple of months. Wes will be teaching some Bible institute classes and I'll get to teach a couple of classes to the young ladies. We'll also get to know the young people in the Bible institute as well as help with some of the other work of the ministry. I'll be helping Rebekah, Bro. Johnson's wife, with much of the housework and cooking while we're there too.

Bro. Johnson also has plans to take us to Kruger National Park, a wildlife preserve that is part of the South African National Parks system. I don't know what to expect here. From what I understand, you drive through the park as the animals roam free. We've heard of an elephant attacking a small car of people, but the people were honking their horn at the elephant to try to get it to move. So he did! I don't expect we'll have such a problem, as I'm sure Bro. Johnson will do nothing to endanger us!

There will also be a national holiday while we're in South Africa, so we'll get to celebrate with the Johnsons and the people of their church. Wes and I are getting pretty excited about all we'll get to see and do while we visit a country I never dreamed I'd get to visit!

But that's not all . . .

October 12th is our 30th wedding anniversary. On our way back home, we'll have another layover in London, and . . . 

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn on Flickr
 Wes has planned for us to spend two more weeks in London and Paris for our anniversary! 

We will be in Paris on our anniversary! When we married 30 years ago, I never dreamed we'd ever visit Europe, let alone be in Paris on our 30th anniversary!

So that's our exciting news! We'll be gone for a month (several preachers and the men in our church are filling in for Wes while we're gone), and after that, we'll be finished traveling for a while. Please pray for our safety as we travel - we aren't ignorant of the world situations right now! And pray that we'll be a blessing to our missionary and his people in South Africa.

We will have limited internet access in South Africa, so I probably won't be able to update you from there, but I will do what I can when I can. We should have internet at our hotels in London and France. I will be most likely to post to my Instagram feed most often, so please feel free to follow me there.

Have you ever been to South Africa, London, or Paris? Any tips for us? Do you know any missionaries in London or Paris that we might visit?

South Africa Photo Credit: TagDeon Used with permission of Creative Commons license from panaramio.com  Copyright 2011

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Summer in a Nutshell

Summer is over already! I can't believe it. It's been a super busy time for us, as indicated by
my absence on the blog. I hope you had a great summer and are back in the routine of things for fall.

I wanted to share a few pictures with you from our summer. Hopefully they will tell the story well, since a picture is supposed to be worth 1,000 words, right?!

When I last posted, I had set the blog to auto-post the entries about my sister's courtship (here and here) and wedding. I hope you enjoyed those. I saw her last week (more on that in a minute), and she and Travis are doing well. Marriage suits them both! ;)

Our Canada Day (July 1) church picnic

I also showed you some pictures from our trip to Lancaster, CA, to attend the Spiritual Leadership Conference at Lancaster Baptist Church, where our children have all gone to college. The week after we returned, I went away to a Canadian pastors' wives retreat, where I was able to enjoy several days of fellowship with some of my best friends here in Canada on the shores of Kootenay Lake. It was a refreshing time for all of us as we learned and laughed . . . and ate! The pastor's wife who coordinates the retreat also does our cooking - it's all "girl food" and we love it!

This is the view at the camp where we have the pastors' wives retreat and family camp. I always relax here like no other place!
At the beginning of July, Sam and Juliana were in a nearby town as chaperons of one of the WCBC summer tour groups. We took our teens to the meeting, and then enjoyed breakfast with Sam, Juliana, and their team the next morning at our favorite restaurant, Cora's. It was so great to see them! We don't get to see our kids often enough at all.

Sam & Juliana and their tour group having breakfast with us at Cora's. This picture was copied from my husband's Instagram feed.
In July, we hosted our second Youth Conference at a boy scout camp just outside of town and invited several other churches within a few hours' radius to join us. We had about 20 teens and their pastors or youth pastors, and Pastor Tim Ruhl from Chico, CA, was our main speaker. We had one split session for boys and girls, and I had the joy - and so much fun - of speaking to the girls. I taught them a short lesson on being a leader in the youth group. Our girls actually told our youth pastor that I could preach! LOL I have NO idea where that came from.

I made this quilt and tote bag for a friend who had a surprise baby! Her daughter is 21, but the Lord blessed them with a sweet little boy at the end of May. They are missionaries in BC, sponsored by our church, so we had a baby shower for her when she came to visit.

We also had a Day Camp for our church children in July. This was three days of classes, games, and activities from 10:00-3:00 each day. I taught a missionary story about Amy Carmichael, Wes taught on the importance of obedience, and we played several relay-type games with them each morning. In the afternoons, we went to a petting zoo, bowling, and swimming. The kids seemed to have a great time, and Wes and I enjoyed it too. We love to build relationships with our church's children!

Wes teaching the kids during Day Camp

One of our afternoon activities: visiting a petting zoo. I loved this alpaca - she is so soft and pretty - but her attitude was definitely not pretty. Neither was the pig's.

In July and August, we conducted two Wednesday night Community Carnivals. We rented ball fields, set up carnival-type games, had free water, lemonade, popcorn, and freezies, and invited the entire community to come. We had around 200 people come for each carnival! Our entire church family participated in each one, and Wes and I were able to mingle among the people and get to meet quite a few families from the community. We've had several visitors come to church as a result of the carnivals, which was our goal in having them. Please pray as we follow up on people who are interested in either learning more about our church or having a one-on-one Bible study.

Beth came home in August for 3 weeks. She likes to drive when she's home, so I had a personal chauffeur. For what that's worth. Here, we were going to Vancouver for one of her friends' wedding. Those weddings are becoming all too frequent among our children's friends! ;)

Also in August, we attended our annual Family Camp, which is held in the same facility as the pastors' wives retreat on the shore of Kootenay Lake. This is the highlight of our year, when we get together with other like-minded churches and just relax together. We have games and plenty of free time during the day, devotions together every morning, prayer time after lunch, and a church service each evening. This year I did a lot of relaxing and reading, which was a blessing after such a busy summer! We also had a team from Bearing Precious Seed Mobile with us, and we worked together to assemble 16,000 John & Romans for distribution in The Philippines! That was exciting! The teens challenged the adults to a contest to see who could do the most books in one hour. I'm pleased to say the adults won; we did 2,200 books compared to their 1,600 - all in good fun while accomplishing the goal.

Finally, at the end of August, Wes and I took a 12-day trip to the southeast US to visit family. August 23rd was his parents' 50th wedding anniversary, so he and his siblings assembled a reception to honor their parents on the 30th. I think this was the first time we've all been together in at least 10 years, probably more (we did miss one sister-in-law who had to work!). About 50 people came to the reception, and we had a wonderful time fellowshipping with family and friends. Wes' parents have five children and eight grandchildren and have served the Lord for over 40 years, 30 of those as missionaries. All of their children and grandchildren are in church and serving the Lord in some capacity. God has blessed us above measure in the Hutchens family!

Wes' parents in the middle with all the family around. Our three children weren't able to be there and one sister-in-law couldn't come. The four sons are lined up across the back, and the one daughter is in the plaid dress with her arms around her little girl's neck.
We also took time to visit my brother, Jason, and his family in Perry, FL. He is the pastor of Charity Baptist Church there, and we'd never seen his work. It was such a joy to sit with my sister-in-law and just chat together, and to love on my nieces and nephews! We also presented our ministry to a supporting church in Valdosta, GA. On Sunday, the 31st, we were in church with my parents at Pleasant View Baptist Church in Taylors, SC. They were welcoming their new pastor that day, who just happens to be the husband of my dearest, oldest friend! We were so happy to be present on their first Sunday! We also got to visit with Travis and Rebekah, as well as spend time with my parents and my brother, Ben.

My dearest and best friend in the world, Deborah, and me. It was a huge treat to get to be with her on her husband's first day as the new pastor of my parents' church.

Before we headed back to Canada, we flew to Oklahoma to visit our former pastor and his wife. They have a vibrant and growing church, Ada Baptist Temple, in Ada, OK. We had a great time with them for a couple of days!

Our pastor and his wife, Mickey and JoAnn Hollars. We've known them for 24 years and worked with them firsthand for 8 of those years. Besides our parents, these two have had the most influence in our lives. Much of who we are in the ministry is because of them. We love them dearly!

Over the course of our 12-day trip, we took 5 flights, drove over 1,600 miles in 2 rental cars, visited 3 churches, slept in 8 different hotel rooms in 6 states . . . you get the picture! It was a jam-packed trip!

So that's our summer in a rather large nutshell. Thanks for your patience over the summer! We're still busy, but hopefully by mid-October we will be settling back in for an enjoyable fall. I'll be back tomorrow with news of what's next for us - it's exciting news! What have you been doing this summer?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Sister's Wedding: Video Clips

Although my sister's wedding was more than two months ago now, I thought you might like to see a video from the day . . . because I know I'm always ready to look at wedding pictures!

This video is compiled of clips from the wedding and reception. I've so enjoyed going back through and reliving some of the beautiful moments, as well as some of the funnier ones. This video was edited by Kaitlyn Unruh, a friend of Rebekah's.

This next video is the slide show presented during the wedding. It's a bit longer than the preceding video. This one will let you learn a little more about both Travis and Rebekah. I love it because not only does it chronicle Rebekah's life, it has many pictures of loved ones over the years, some who have gone on to Heaven. There's even a picture of a much-younger Susan in there!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Sister's Courtship, Part 2

Yesterday, I posted the first part of my sister's testimony of waiting for the right man to come along. Read on for part 2 - the actual courtship!

"So, after all those years on the mission field, we finally came home and one night in November of 2011, my family and I were at a revival meeting at a nearby church. I saw Travis and immediately recognized him. I don't know how. It had been almost 20 years! I remember thinking "WOW! He grew up into a FINE looking man!!" He was big, muscular, black headed, had on a suit, and I made up my mind that I was going to speak to him that night, but he left before I got up my nerve.

"I sent him a friend request on Facebook and explained who I was. He accepted but I got no response.
Almost 2 years passed. I watched his Facebook profile all the time and even though I had other male interests off and on, I could never get over wanting to know more about him. I figured he didn't like me and wasn't interested. I later found out he had a girlfriend. But I quit seeing anything about her on Facebook after a while. That excited me! hahaha No more girlfriend! 

"I tried to comment on his photos and get a conversation started but he never would talk. I just kinda gave up after a while. But right after I gave that other situation to God, I got a strong urge to speak to Travis first, just come right out and say "Hey, how are you?" and start and conversation. I didn't want it to just be the loneliness in me so I thought about it a lot and sought counsel from several people. But when I finally asked a mutual friend about him, she confirmed that then would be the perfect time, and all the things she told me about him were everything I wanted. I think I knew from right then that he was the one!

"So, I started "plotting." hahaha Mom had a great idea. She was also friends with him on Facebook. She said, "Let me invite him over for supper!" She did, and she also told him she had someone who wanted to meet him. He said, "Let me check my schedule." I took that as a maybe, and I was okay with maybe. It was progress! Two days later he said hello to me in a private message! That was July 14th, 2013, and we have been inseparable ever since. 

"Travis is absolutely everything I ever asked God for! He is even the same age as me. We got to celebrate our 29th birthdays together while we were dating. Travis loves God, loves his mother and treats her like a queen, knows how to dress, loves to sing and play guitar, loves the outdoors, is super caring and giving, loves children and animals, funny, makes me laugh all the time. He even loves broccoli and Cheerwine as much as I do! Our similarities are so many that it's crazy! Yet, we're different enough that we balance each other out.

"God is SO good! I cannot even tell you how thankful I am to Him and thankful that I waited! Travis proposed at Dollywood on the bridge under all the Christmas lights on Dec. 23rd, 2013. We set our wedding date a couple of weeks later and were married on March 28th, 2014. It was a fast courtship, but we knew we were meant to be together and we had both waited quite a while.

"Married life is the best! We can't wait to see what God has in store for our future! Thank you to all who participated in our wedding. Everyone was such a BIG help! I couldn't have done it without you! It was a fairy tale wedding!!!

"Oh, Daddy gave Travis the key to my heart at our wedding. That was SO special! It had not been out of the safe in all those years and Travis opened the envelope and read the message I had written on it on the way to our honeymoon destination. That was a very emotional and sentimental part of our ceremony that I will forever cherish!

"Another thing is that, after joining Pleasant View (Baptist Church) in 2007, we drove past Travis's church every time we went to church. We passed his parents almost every Sunday morning, waved at them and then talked about them and their family as we went on to church. Sometimes I even talked about Travis and how I wanted to meet him. What we didn't realize was that we were passing Travis too, we just didn't know it because we didn't know what kind of car he drove. So for the past 7 years I had been passing the one God had for me three times a week and never knew it! That baffles my mind."

I'd like to thank my sister, Rebekah, for being willing to share her story with you. Come back tomorrow, when I will share a compilation of video clips from the wedding!



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