3.17.2016

Winter Tour 2015//February in Review

As you may be gathering from the title of this post, we are going to be switching things up a little with our post schedule while on tour!

Normally, we try to do a post for each week of our tour. However, due to this tour being a little different from normal (what is normal, anyway? Is there even normal?) with several new projects and experiences that we have been involved in, we have been posting updates a little less than usual.

For now, here is a glimpse of the month of February, out on tour, in random order.

We had concerts almost every evening, and two on Sundays, all throughout February. We met thousands of people and saw God working in mighty ways. So many stories of His goodness! Seeing the lost saved and the saved revived never grows old!
Throughout our travels over the years, we have had the privilege to become close friends with some of the most precious people you could imagine.
Above, we got to meet up with dear friends one day as we were driving through Tennessee. We are always inspired and rejuvenated when we are with this sweet family!
Josh making lunch on the bus!

During the prison crusade we were parked at a local church for several days, and took advantage of the church's large and beautiful kitchen to do many cooking and baking projects.

Hard at work!
Prisons still are, and probably will always be, our very favorite place to sing. I think it really is true that prison ministry gets in your blood; at least it has for us! We were so thankful for the opportunity to minister in three prisons in South Carolina. It was the highlight of our month to be able to go in and share Jesus with those behind bars. 
The brotherhood never ceases to inspire and amaze me with their diligence in physical fitness and personal training. They work out everywhere. (literally. we have stories. =))
This weight bench has been all over the USA, Canada, and Mexico, and it makes its appearance in some parking lot or another, almost daily. =)
Josh has been extremely diligent with his studies. He is the first one of us Bontragers to pursue a college degree, and doing this while on tour, in addition to campaigning and concerts, is not for the faint of heart! He studies everywhere and has been taking CLEP tests at several colleges along the way.
Getting a little Florida sun while eating lunch on the curb one day.
Banjo practice for Taylor.
And dobro practice for Josh in a church library.
We've added a new instrument to the band! (just kidding!) 
Quite honestly though, Denver has pretty decent rhythm. But he's not for hire. 
He and Taylor attempted a few duets. It was great for about two minutes...at which point we BEGGED them to stop. Denver needs to learn a bit more, ahem, technique, before he goes full-time with this new gig. =)
The littles have discovered a new game called "Jungle Speed". They attempted to teach a few of us older ones and things got quite violent. =) This game can really drive you crazy! Kids seem to be best at it for some reason.
Before a concert one night...
Debate watching in a church, after a concert one night.
Florida sunset one night before a concert.
The church we sang at on Valentines Day evening made a delicious meal for our family and decorated the tables so beautifully.
We got to spend a morning with one of our favorite missionary couples, while we were in Florida. We met these friends at our church's annual missions conference last year, and we have been so inspired by their incredible work for the Lord all over the world. They have been a strong example and encouragement to our family to continue in spreading the light of Jesus wherever we go!
We hardly ever go out to eat, but a sweet lady at one of our concerts gave us some money to do something special, and one of the first places that came to our minds was this favorite southern restaurant of ours, The Sweet Tomato + Soup Plantation. We highly recommend it for large families and really anyone, actually!

The instruction board at the beginning of the salad bar (see above) seemed to have been written specifically for our family, I believe. (hehe!) Some of us have a rather bad habit of tasting nearly everything as we go.

Sure enough, look what little rabbit I found right in front of me, making her salad whilst nibbling on cucumbers!
Lunch + fellowship with friends.
Post-concert jam time!
More practice. 
As you can maybe tell, we practice everywhere and anywhere. 
The motto is "find a quiet place, will take it." Sometimes the trailer is what is available! 
We love Sarasota and how we always get to meet up with friends and relatives from all over there! A highlight was an amazing brunch and morning spent at these dear friends' home.
Another blessing of traveling so much is that us children have had the opportunity to get to know our great aunts and uncles and see some of them on a regular (yearly) basis. Above, we enjoyed some time with mom's uncle and aunt.
Enjoying Great Aunt Hannah's delicious warm chocolate chip cookies in Sarasota! They were SO good!
The little girls, practicing a new violin duet that they are preparing for a new set.
Family meeting! We fondly call these our "vision casting sessions" because they are, well, just that. =)  We have these from time to time in our family, and they are always quite memorable! Whether it is planning ahead for new ventures, or "dividing + conquering" on certain projects, we have found that when we all take and do our part in whatever we are pursuing, the results add up very quickly!
Costco is our best friend. We really should buy stock there. =) Here mom and the girls are pictured after a stock-up trip one morning!
A late-night basketball game with all the guys, after our concert and after everyone else had gone home.
Thanks to the initiative and prompting of Elizabeth, we once again had our own little family Valentines celebration, where two weeks before Valentines Day everyone drew names and then did special things for their person leading up to Valentines. For our celebration, we had a special meal and then everyone "revealed" their person and gave that person a gift!
Allison + I with these sweet friends of ours after a barn concert/party one night.
Shoutout to our "maple friends" in Michigan for their incredible maple products!
Above is my cup of tea with just a touch of Maple Sugar-SO good!
Spending time with some of our favorite people, in one of our favorite states...Georgia!
We always have such encouraging + uplifting times with them, and several of my brothers are a part of the discipleship group that the father started.
Liz, lovin' on baby Lucy! =)
When one has so many instruments on board, that means there is a lot of instrument maintenance involved! The brotherhood do a great job keeping strings changed and in good order.
Some brilliant sibling had the idea to start a pushup contest amongst the siblings. Everyone participating signed up for a certain amount of pushups per day, and then if they miss their amount, they have to pay a "fine" towards "the pile", which will go to purchase some new workout equipment!
The main challenge seems to be finding a good spot to get one's pushups in. The bus is really quite small when it's time for something like this!
Above, Josh and Rebecca double up in the bunk room to get their pushups done. Rebs also loves to jump on the older boys' backs while they do theirs. She gets a free ride, and they get an extra challenge. =)
Taylor always seems to end up with a crowd around him after our concerts! He loves to connect with people and take interest in their lives.

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"....and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, 
wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee."
-Deuteronomy 12:7b

4 comments:

  1. Loved this post! Aww, I had SO much fun getting to see y'all last month! Hope it won't be too long before we get to do it again. :)
    Love y'all!
    Olivia
    Phil. 4:13

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for the update! I love hearing about everything about your family when you're on tour!! It's so fun to read your blog! =)

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  3. You guys need to have a tv show! I love following along with your journeys!

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  4. What a fun blog post I just ur guys tour post their so fun it like a fun sprise in a box u never know what to expect hoping to see u guys June 9th I mention to comment a few days ago but I kept forgetting about it so yea thou hugs lov u guys an God bless u guys :)

    ReplyDelete

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