Canadian Trevor Baker in Concert!

We are very excited to announce an upcoming concert here in Kalona by Canadian singer/songwriter Trevor Baker! 
While we were on tour in Canada this past summer, several different people asked us if we had heard of him. Each person went on to say how powerful his songs are, and how we should sing some of his music. One night in Saskatchewan, someone gave us one of his cds. We listened to it and were SO encouraged and inspired by the very relevant message he writes and sings to America. 
The last song on our latest cd is "Will America Pray". It was written by Mr. Baker and is sung (on our cd) by our new teenage boys' trio.  It is my personal favorite song on our cd---loaded to the brim with truth. Plus it is sung by my favorite guys, and it doesn't get better than that. 
If you haven't already heard it, then you'll either need to attend the concert this Friday night to hear him sing it, or order the cd from our website and hear our guys sing it.
OR....you could always do both. =)

posted by chelsy


Thanksgiving Day Memories

Thanksgiving~a time to remember all the blessings God has given us and all those ways He has worked in our lives.
We took time after dinner for everyone to share one thing he/she was thankful for.
Thanksgiving Dinner with our whole family and a friend, Ruth Hoppe
Getting into a good game of Risk
Dad & Hudson sharing an afternoon snooze


New Cd!

We are excited to announce the completion and release of our latest recording project, Salt&Light!
Listen to the title track below, and then head on over to our online store to check into adding Salt&Light to your music library! =)

Here are the Bontragers.....

...wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving Day!
"Praise ye the Lord. O give THANKS unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord."
Psalm 106:1&48


A Few Photos from the Week...

 As most of you know, our family has been somewhat scattered over the country this last week. With Mom & Elizabeth in NY the beginning of the week....and Mitchell & Carson gone from Monday til yesterday....and Dad, Joshua, & Taylor leaving Wednesday and meeting Mom & Elizabeth in Nashville for the National Bible Bee Competitions...this house has been a quiet place this week. The above photo was a "typical" breakfast scene-small & quiet. 
In other words....NOT typical, compared to the normal. 
We had a wonderful time together with our "mini" family, but were thrilled to have Mitchell & Carson return home yesterday. We are preparing a celebration for tomorrow night when the rest of the family will arrive home from Nashville....and we will once more be the noisy, rowdy, and sizable Bontrager gang!
What a week! 
 Hudson helping me make biscuits for breakfast this morning.
Denver with his catch of the year, a big, bushy, beautiful red fox. He was smiling all day. Way to go, Denver!!


Congratulations, Joshua, on winning 4th place at the 2011 National Bible Bee Competition in Nashville, TN!!!!!
All of us remaining here at home are so proud of you, and wish we were there to give you our hugs and love! =)
Note: Joshua recited all of his verses in the final five rounds word perfectly. (each contestant recited one passage of up to sixteen verses, per round) After two of the seven contestants were knocked out for mistakes, the remaining five were judged by/according to their previous Sword Study written test scores)
To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Bible Bee Junior Finals Are Now Live!!

Watch Joshua & six others compete here  in the Junior Bible Bee Finals, now streaming live from Nashville!!

He's In, Again!!!

Saturday morning, 7:30 am:  A little girl floats around the house, brown hair bobbing, still wearing her long ruffly nightgown.  She is saying, "I will remember to thank God tonight for answering my prayers."  A minute later, she bubbles over with excitement, yelling,  "Yippee-i-o!"   
You guessed it..... it's the Bontrager house and my daring sis Rebecca I  speak of above.  For some reason we're all really excited right now.  As in,  r e a l  l y     e x c i t e d.  You see, we got a call this morning.  Actually, it was "THE CALL".........Joshua is advancing to the finals in the National Bible Bee!   After hours and hours of suspense, we're so happy to be praying for our little "big" brother once again.  
Go to the Bible Bee website (www.biblebee.org) to watch the contest live today around 1pm Central Time.   Of course, keep watching the blog for news!  

Thank you for all the prayers.  Whether or not Joshua wins, our desire is that God be glorified!  For it is all about Him.  


Semi-Finals, Here He Comes!!!!!

If you had been a mouse in our home just five minutes ago, you would have heard Allison & I screaming at the top of our lungs (into the phone),
"He's in?? Oh my word! He's in??Dad, are you serious?!? Oh my goodness!!!! HE'S IN!!"

Yes, that is right! After the beginning rounds today, Joshua placed in the top 15 out of the 100 in his division and is now advancing to the Bible Bee semi-finals. To say we are excited beyond measure is an understatement!
Thank-you all so much for your prayers! Please continue to pray for clearness of mind for Joshua  as he enters the semi-finals round tomorrow. By tomorrow night, only 5 of the 15 semi-finalists will be left and those 5 will advance to the finals on Saturday. Excitement is high around here tonight. =) I don't think we'll be sleeping for awhile. =)


Headed to Nationals!

Early this morning, Joshua and a convoy from the Bontrager household left for Nashville, TN. Beginning tomorrow morning, Joshua will be competing at the National Bible Bee. Back in September, he competed in the local competitions and ranked 69th of the several thousand juniors who competed across the US. Now, along with the other 99 winners in the junior division, and 100 winners each in the senior and primary division, he is advancing to the finals!
You can read what he has to say about the Bible Bee and his experience on his bio here, or read the article printed in our local newspaper here.
Please join us in praying for Joshua tomorrow morning as he begins bright and early at 8:00am with the junior oral and written test rounds. Also please pray for our cousin, Thomas Youngmanand our friend from church, Marie Morris, who have also made it to Nationals and will be  competing in the senior division.
We are SO excited for you, Joshua, and proud of all your hard work and love for God's Word! We're praying for you!
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."
Psalm 119:11


These pictures are just a few from the Stoltzfus (mom's side) family reunion we attended in PA the second week of June this summer. 
Thanks to all the other granddaughter photographers for contributing your photos!
We've said it before, so we wouldn't have to say it again, but.....we love our cousins, aunts, uncles, & grandparents. They are our best friends, and the memories we make with them every time we're together are priceless.
To the fourteen cousins/uncles/aunts who weren't able to make it-ya'll were missed!

 The original Stotlzfus siblings sharing memories from their growing up years
Delicious meals planned by two of my dear aunts. They are such amazing cooks-we ate really well, as you can see by the caramel cheesecake pictured above. =)
kitchen cleanup crew

charming little Bryson getting a bath
You can only imagine the party with these eight little ladies! left to right: Courtney, Sarah, Elizabeth, Bekah, Breanna, Elise, Victoria, & Rebecca
As of eight years ago, the Stoltzfus grandsons outnumbered the grand-daughters....most of my uncles & aunts have more sons than daughters. So we were all so surpirsed and thrilled when the four youngest Stoltzfus daughters (mom and three of her sisters) got pregnant within 1/2 a year of each other and all had girls! They named them...Rebekah Elise, Elise Raquele, Elizabeth Caress, & Sarah Elizabeth. (see how they share names? sisters think alike =))

Love these women....what wild times we have when we're together! Talking til the wee hours, laughing our heads off at nothing in particular, and trashing the guy cousins' "dorm".... among other things. =)
Sunday morning service
Hudson & Marissa share a snuggle...

Everyone shared a blessing/prayer for grandpa & grandma

Brad & Jason catching up on sleep
treasure hunt for the younger ones
Aunt Barb holding with her precious little grand-daughter, Elianna Mercy.
Uncle John & cousin Lester grilling for supper
 The retreat where we stayed was in the middle of the woods and had lots of beautiful hiking 

Grandpa & grandma gave out pens to everyone. 
Some of the boys were a little desperate to try them out right away. =)
smiles from the food line
proud new daddy. =)

Grandpa & Grandma with seven of their nine children and their children's spouses
In order of age....
 The dearly loved ones who started it all....
 Grandpa & Grandma with the grandchildren
after ???? minutes of standing patiently, everyone was getting a little hyper.
Even so, when I gave them the go-ahead to do whatever they felt inclined to do, I wasn't quite expecting this!
I realize more and more, the older I get, what a blessing it is to have such a godly heritage. I'm so thankful for grandparents who had a vision for their children and for the future....for aunts and uncles who believe in God's Word and follow it....and for cousins who love Jesus and desire to live for Him. Truly, there's nothing more precious than that. 
And I love these people. =)

posted by chels