7.21.2012

Bontrager Family Reunion Recap

On June 6th, all of our Bontrager extended family gathered at Heits Point Retreat Center in Missouri for our reunion. 
The following was the attendance roll, gathered together from six different states:
::one grandmother::
::her eight children::
::their eight spouses::
::the nineteen granddaughters::
::the nineteen granddsons::
::four grandchildren's spouses::
::three great-granddaughters::
::three great-grandsons::
::one grandson's girlfriend::
total: A LOT OF PEOPLE!!
(smile)
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
It takes a lot to feed our clan. 
No worries though...food is what the Bontragers do best. 
(although we did cheat and buy pizza one night)
My grandma is a cook like none other and she's passed it on to her daughters.
 Somehow the sons missed missed the cooking gene but the daughter-in-laws all have it, so its okay. =) 
We have yummy reunions!
About four years ago we started the tradition of having a reunion every time one the Bontrager siblings turn fifty. This year it was Aunt Karen's birthday, so one day we all gathered to "interview" Karen (she answered questions such as what was the hardest experience in her life, when she came to know the Lord, etc.)
Then anyone who wanted to had an opportunity to share something about Karen that they appreciated, or wanted to thank/bless her for.
my father talking...obviously a funny memory since everyone is laughing. =)
Grandma sharing things she appreciates about Karen.
One night a bunch of us stayed up late and sat in the hallway talking.
Conversation started by adding up everyones weight and then averaging it out...
...and ended with sharing dreams the Lord had placed on our hearts.
Cousin Will preached an inspiring message on Sunday morning about dreaming big and abandoning all to follow Jesus.
It was an awesome time of hearing from God and being reminded that He CAN do the impossible!


 Our Sunday morning service included a childrens class for the children.
{honestly, I think the adults enjoyed it as much the kids!}


Dutch Blitz is a signature Bontrager favorite


Grandma with the thirty-eight grandchildren
Grandma with her three daughters & five sons
The "Original Eight"
{no comment needed}
the brothers...
...and the sisters
Pretty sure those bunny ears came from a brother...
A kissing photo =)
The Whole Gang
This reunion just again caused me to reflect on the blessing of a godly heritage. 
And also the blessing of children and how thankful I am that my grandpa & grandma believed that children were a blessing.
The other day, we had my grandma over to our home to celebrate her 78th birthday. As we were sitting around talking after dinner, she made a comment that I had never heard before.
She said "you know, my pregnancies were hard and after Karen (the third child) was born, the doctors told us we should quit and not have anymore."
My sister and I were talking about it later and she commented that the statement grandma made sent chills down her spine.
And mine too, because if they had listened to the doctors, I wouldn't be here, nor would any of my siblings, or my father.
Actually, if grandpa & grandma had decided to "quit" after child #3, there would only have been twenty-six in attendance at our reunion.
Twenty-four...instead of sixty-six!!
That is quite a difference.
Just think...of all those lives that wouldn't have been, if they would've made that choice to "quit".
Quite sobering..
I'll close this post with just a little thought from me today, blog readers.
 Something that is very important to me.
 that is this:
"Choosing LIFE is not just saying you're pro-life."
"Choosing LIFE is not just being anti-abortion."
"Choosing LIFE is not just believing that "a certain amount" of children are a blessing."
No...
"Choosing LIFE is believing that every child that the Lord  gives...
 IS A BLESSING."
I am thankful for the blessing of godly grandparents who believed children were a blessing.
And I'm thankful for the many many cousins and memories and life I enjoy today because they believed that.

8 comments:

  1. love how you're so faithful at documenting everything, Chels! ;) and I couldn't agree more about what you said at the end.

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  2. Such fun, fun, fun memories!! :) And you did such a great job capturing expressions and personalities!

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  3. Sounds like fun. looks like fun too. So nice to have Godly fellowship, especially with your own relatives.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures!

    Rebecca K.

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  4. Such a fun weekend!! you did a great job capturing memories. :) Love you all!!

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  5. It was so fun to 'remember' the weekend again. Thanks for your photo skills!;)

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  6. this looks like a great family reunion!

    may I ask a more or less theological question? I noticed that a lot of the women in your family a wearing a headcovering, but you didn't decide to do that? did you decide that as a family?

    I hope Iam not too curious.

    Be blessed!

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  7. Hi!
    I just found your blog a few weeks ago and have been following you and have also listened to your songs. You have such a beautiful family!! It's easy to see your love for God's work and your love for each other! May the Lord bless you greatly as you continue to work for Him!

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  8. I know this is "off topic" but I wanted to let you know about "Chic-Fil-A-Day" this coming Wednesday. You might have heard, but recently Chic-Fil-A made a statement saying they supported the Biblical view of marriage. (No homosexuals, etc)Immediately they received a lot of flack for that, including companies such as the Muppets (or something like that) refusing to support them, etc. Governor Huckabee then said that all who support the Biblical view of marriage should show their support by going to Chic-Fil-A On Wednesday. I just figured you might like to know, or let others know. Back "on topic" that looks SO fun. Some of my favorite memories are of having my extended family over for Bible studies, get-togethers, etc. Wonderful memories!

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