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?


  1. Wow! SUCH a bust summer! And we thought things would "settle down" when the nest was empty! :-)

    We've been mainly getting to know a new grandson and dealing with our pastor's cancer - he just diagnosed in June and passed away last week. Highs and lows, to be sure.

    1. Barbara, I have watched your blog and Facebook all summer and knew of both your little grandson's improvement and your pastor's cancer diagnosis and his passing away. Highs and lows for sure! I've been praying for you and your church, even though I hadn't left any comments. And about that empty nest . . . I think we get busier because there are no children to take care of at home! It's crazy!

  2. Susan, it's SO good to see this post! You surely have been busy and I can see why you haven't posted in so long. I pray for you and Wes every Tuesday ... so good to read about the great outreaches (like the carnivals) that you've had into the community. And that camp on the lake shore .... how I envy you a place like that! We have a favorite lake up north which I find to be the most relaxing place on earth, and will be going up there for 3 days near the end of October, though.

    1. Hi, Mrs. T!!! It's so good to see you! I've read your blog through the summer, but haven't taken time to comment. Thank you so much for your continued prayer each week! We appreciate it and would love it if you'd continue to pray for us. What a treat you'll have in getting to go to your favorite lake! I hope you'll have a wonderful fall season!


Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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