The Live Animal Christmas Play is a southeast Iowa Christmas tradition that is still going strong after thirty-seven years of performances.
The 2012 production will be presented Saturday, December 8th, at 11am, 2pm, & 5pm. 
It will also be presented Sunday, December 9th, at 10:30am.
The production tells the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus Christ and is unique among Christmas events, in that the play is performed INSIDE the church with the use of live animals in several scenes.
Shepherds are watching their flocks of sheep. Mary, riding a donkey, rides to Bethlehem with Joseph to be taxed. The manger scene depicts Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus in the stable amidst sheep, cows, goats, and other animals.
A camel comes right down the aisle!
Your children will love seeing a live camel and reindeer up close!
The play also features various state-of-the-art theater technologies. in addition to full artificial stage lighting, the crowd will be awed by special effects such as fog, confetti blasts, and a live flying angel hovering over the crowd.
Last year, thousands of people came to the town of Washington, Iowa to make this event their Christmas tradition.
Members of the Marion Avenue Baptist Church comprise the cast and crew; they spend hundreds of hours to plan, prepare, and perform the play each year. 
We invite you to attend any or all of the free performances. Seating is on a first come first served basis. Come early to get a good seat!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: THIS YEAR'S TV COMMERCIAL :::::::::::::::::::::: LAST YEAR'S PLAY "HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO CLIP" :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Our family has attended this incredible performance for years. This is our first year to be involved as cast & crew and we are SO excited to be joining in the production to tell thousands of people the TRUE meaning of Christmas! Please join us for one or all of the performances, and invite your friends! Also be sure to watch the video clip above from last years' play. contact us with any questions! info@bontragerfamilysingers.com


Thanksgiving Day

 Our family spent Thanksgiving Day with my dads side of the family, at my grandmas home.
It was a wonderful day and a full house with 40 Bontragers. =)
{we missed the 25 others that live out of state and were unable to join us}
"O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever."
Psalm 107:1


November Life

November thus far has been a whirlwind of activity on the Bontrager Farm!
Different members of our family have done quite a variety of projects....including
farm work/chores
the ever-present laundry
Hudson loosing his two top teeth...the same day
replacing our old kitchen sink
music practice
Bible Bee (practice, competition,etc)
celebrating Carson's 17th birthday
chasing & finally catching a very rambunctious calf
cleaning garden produce
making homemade pizza
there is always time for a little play and brotherly love...
above, a bonus scene I caught one day on my way in from the barn. =)


From The National Bible Bee...

Taylor on main stage...
The primary division 2nd place winner 
 signing autographs for people @ the National Bible Bee.

2nd Place Winner!!!!

We are very excited to announce that Taylor won 2nd place this morning in the Primary Division of the National Bible Bee!!
Below are a few more screenshots a friend sent from earlier this morning, during the competition.
The five finalists, waiting to be called upon to recite.
Taylor reciting!
(focused and serious as always =))
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments. 
They Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee. 
Blessed art Thou, O Lord: teach my Thy statutes. 
With my lips have I declared all Thy judgements of Thy mouth. 
I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 
I will meditate in Thy precepts and have respect unto Thy ways.
 I will delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy Word."
Psalm 119:9-16


Announcing our FINALIST!!!!!!!

(Taylor is 2nd from left on the stage)
Excitement is high! Taylor competed this morning in the primary semi-final round and made it to finals!!
After two rounds four of the fifteen contestants got knocked out.
Five more rounds and the remaining eleven were word perfect every time...so the judges used the contestants written test scores from Thursday to determine the top five to advance. Taylor, along with four others, had the highest test scores so he and the other four will be advancing to finals tomorrow morning!
Watch the Bible bee primary finals competition tomorrow morning @ 8am CST.
For more details visit the website.
(thanks SO MUCH to Elizabeth A. for sending us pictures from the scene of action! =))


Taylor to Semi-Finals!!

We are very proud and excited to announce that we just got a text informing us that Taylor, along with 14 others in the primary division, has made it to semi-finals!!
A friend who is also there was so kind as to send the above picture taken just minutes ago. Taylor is in the front row with the primary division.
Please pray for Taylor tomorrow morning as he competes for one of the  five spots in the finals!


Veterans Day Banquet

(Allison & I at church on Friday, marinating the steaks)
This past Sunday, Veterans Day, our church had a special service to honor veterans. Everyone at our church was encouraged to invite veterans to come to church that day. 
Our family was privileged to help others in our church with preparing & serving a steak dinner to the veterans and their families/friends.
Mitchell & Carson got home from Des Moines early Sunday morning after having been gone the entire previous week. We really enjoyed having them back & working together as a family on Sunday!
 The kitchen was quite a sight on Saturday.
 Mixing the bread dough in our trusty Bosch mixer
From this (times 5).....
 ...to this! (240 dinner rolls)
 Party Potatoes
(easy recipe: potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, salt, & pepper)
 In the church kitchen, Sunday morning. From L to R: Joshua cutting apples, mom & Allison washing lettuce, & Denver slicing pears
Denver & his ever-present smile. =)
 Mom with her salad crew of Liz & Hudson, preparing individual salad plates for each person.
yummy winter garden salad
 The assembly line: Carson put on steak, I added potatoes, & dad finished with the green beans. 
(bread & salad were already on the tables)
We had a great time working together with friends from church.
Dad, Mitchell, Carson, & Joshua-serving & talking to people
 Allison made the cheesecakes and they were INCREDIBLE. 
Brownie-bottom chocolate & blueberry almond
Everything---from seeing the color guard, to reciting together the Pledge of Allegiance, to singing the national anthem with the choir---combined with the special opportunity to honor our veterans, reminded us again how thankful we are for the countless men & women who have given so much for our freedom. We are so grateful for their service to our country and it was a blessing to spend Sunday honoring them in just a small way, to say thank-you.
{For more photos of the day, visit the album taken by our church photographer, Mrs. Hoffert.}