8.16.2018

Join Us On September 3!



The 16th Annual Turning Hearts Celebration is right around the corner! We would be honored if you and your family would join us at our farm in 2 1/2 weeks, on Labor Day, September 3.


This year's celebration is one your family will not want to miss!


On September 3rd, you can partake in fellowship with like-minded families from across the U.S, experience our Iowa farm, enjoy hay rides in the country, play football and volleyball, listen to toe-tapping bluegrass, and be inspired to live out the truth.


Flip Benham baptizing Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade

Speaker

Our speaker, Flip Benham, is the father of dynamic duo Jason and David Benham, two battle-tried warriors who continue to stand strong in the face of adversity. 

Mr. Benham is the founder of Operation Save America. His passion can be summed up in the following words:

Operation Save America unashamedly takes up the cause of preborn children in the name of Jesus Christ. We employ only biblical principles. The Bible is our foundation, the Cross of Christ our strategy and the repentance of the Church of Jesus Christ our goal. As the Church changes her heart toward unborn children, God Himself will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and bring healing to our land.  

We believe that Jesus Christ is the only answer to the multiple maladies savaging our nation. It is upon our active repentance in the streets of our cities that the Gospel is visibly lived out. We become to the church, to our city, and to our nation living parables rightly representing God’s heart toward His helpless children. Abortion is preeminently a Gospel issue. The cross of Christ the only solution.

Topics

In his first session, at 1:30pm, "Raising Daniels in Today's Lion's Den," you will hear how he raised his sons Jason and David to be courageous warriors in today's culture. 

In his second session, at 6:45pm, "Leading Jane Roe to Christ," you will hear how he led Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, to the Lord.


Football on the field


Hay Rides


At Turning Hearts Celebration, everyone from the oldest to youngest can learn something!

Make sure to bring your entire family on Labor Day, September 3rd, to be 
uplifted, challenged, inspired, and equipped.

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." --Malachi 4:6

8.14.2018

Summer Tour Week 8

Week 8 of the Summer Tour was stocked with concerts, fellowship, and family memories from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and finally to home in Iowa!
We enjoyed touring the Museum of the Bible and singing a few songs while there.
Reconnecting with old friends is always a treat.
Rebecca manages to hone her horticultural skills, even while on tour. She acquired these 
plants on the trip, and then watered and cared for them.

Fine conversation always tastes best when savored in the context of food and often 
continues to nourish after the physical sustenance has departed. 
The smiling sisters.
And finally, these two cherubs waited anxiously for their uncles, aunts, and grandparents to return. Or rather, should we say, their uncles, aunts, and grandparents couldn't wait to see them?!

8.09.2018

Home Sweet Home!

Hello friends! This is Chelsy blogging for the family today! I am currently on the home farm spending the week with my family-my husband had a trip on which I was unable to go, and so instead I came to Iowa and quite literally jumped out + surprised my family when they arrived home on Monday. =) It was a very fun "operation surprise" and  completely successful!

I've been enjoying helping with the typical "coming home" craze, and participating in the various family activities. Everyone is THRILLED to be home on the farm again! 

First on the list of priorities for the family was SEEING AND HOLDING THOSE GRANDBABIES! Monday night found everyone here (including Grandma + Joe) gathered up at Joshua + Cassidy's for a grand welcome home party. Cassidy served "breakfast for dinner" and it was such a lovely evening of yummy food, tour stories, and various music highlight videos. Joe recorded several of the family's concerts while he was with them and apparently one night Hudson got the hiccups during "Jesus Paid It All". Joe cut out everyone else's vocals and played for us a "Hudson Hiccup Solo" that had us absolutely in stitches!! 
Seeing my parents as GRANDPARENTS is beyond incredible! 
Above, Dad + Mom meeting Jubilee. What an angel girl!
Such a cherub!
(Wallace, not Denver. Haha!)
These siblings arrived "first" at Josh + Cassidy's so they wouldn't have to share Wallace with as many people.
I was privileged to be enlisted to make the biscuits + gravy for the gang. So fun to cook up an exorbitant amount for all these farm kids! 
The tribe.
The Spread
Love this so much!
I'd say grandparenthood is looking really good on these two!
Sleeping darlings...
Game time! One of our family favorites is "Take One". We are very serious and studious when we play this, as you can tell by the expressions in this photo. =)
Tuesday evening found the fam out at our campsite enjoying a relaxed evening + cookout. 
Such special times with the sisters!
Dad's latest project is rebuilding this old bridge on some of our land.
It is going to be beautiful when it is completed! 
And of course...the days are filled with all those things we are too busy to photograph, such as farm work, daily chores, gathering in garden produce, music lessons + practice, errands, canning, and all those "home" things. 
As always, it is so good to be back on the farm, getting sweaty + dirty and enjoying the country life!

8.06.2018

John + Chelsy's Love Story

Hello friends! Today John and I (Chelsy) are here on the family blog to share with y'all a *very* abbreviated version of our love story! It is really hard to know how to condense this down into one post, because our story has a lot of twists + turns + all sorts of details that we are skipping today, due to time. This is what we'll call the "simplified" version, and I’ll be sharing the more in-depth story in a series over on my personal blog, in the future.
{one of our first pictures together, a late night selfie at the 2016 National Bible Bee}

Chelsy: I first met John in April of 2016 when he + some of his siblings attended my family’s concert at a nearby town to where they lived in Kansas. I made a point to make sure I met each of them, but only because they had invited us to their house previously (it hadn’t worked out) and I wanted to be friendly. I was familiar with who they were mostly just from their family name; we had a couple mutual friends, my little sisters loved the book series that John's sister had written, and my mom had used John's mom's scheduling series when I was very young. As far as noticing John that night, though, I definitely didn't. I had just ended a relationship with another guy and couldn’t have been less interested in John or anyone!

John: My siblings and I loved the concert; watching the interactions between their family reminded us of when we did music together as siblings. It was fun to catch little moments that most people wouldn’t think about, like silent instruction from older to younger siblings or grimaces over mistakes. I ended up mostly talking to Mr Bontrager afterwards since we were discussing some bus repair issues. I actually don’t remember meeting Chelsy at all, although she says we did meet briefly!
{one of our first formal dates, in which we almost got "snowed/iced out" in town}

Chelsy: John and his siblings came and visited our family in May. The timing wasn’t that great because we were just preparing to leave for a trip. But through an hilarious misunderstanding, after a mutual campaign trip fell through, we thought they were really wanting to come visit and they thought we were really wanting them to come visit. In all honesty, while we weren’t opposed to it, both of our families were really currently too busy to swing a visit. But, due to the miscommunication, we both felt obligated to make it happen. (we didn’t find all this out until months later…=))

John: It was definitely a misunderstanding. We thought they were inviting us since the campaign trip hadn’t worked out; they thought we really wanted to come visit. But we came, and had a very short but great visit. Chelsy and I didn’t talk a whole lot; her mom and several siblings were gone that wkend so she was running the house and didn’t hang out a lot with the rest of us. She and I did have one conversation about speeding tickets, in which we discovered a certain mutual heavy foot kindred spirit! But that was it. 
{a picture John's sister took for us one Sunday after church}

Chelsy: John and his siblings left and I still couldn’t have been further from interested. My siblings were teasing me briefly since they were all pretty sure he was going to ask me out. I told them they were crazy and there was no way, and that they should just forget it. =)

John: On the drive to their house, I realized that Chelsy and I were the same age and that she could possibly be an option for me. After that weekend, though, it was very strange-I distinctly felt God tell me that I was not supposed to ask her. One of my sisters even asked me, on the way home, if I was interested in her, and I told her that I might've been, except that I felt super clearly that I wasn’t supposed to pursue her. So that was the end of that.
{exploring Nashville together}

Chelsy: The entire summer went by. I didn’t have any contact with John, and honestly didn’t think about him at all. God was doing a deep work in my heart, though, in preparing me to move on and be open to another relationship. It was a really good couple of months and definitely a growing and healing time for me. 

John: I didn’t think anymore about Chelsy, either, and was very much keeping my eyes open for a girlfriend. I met lots of girls that summer but no one I felt I was supposed to pursue. 
{cooking dinner together}

Chelsy: September came and with it my family’s annual Turning Hearts Celebration. John’s family came and he and I ended up talking in the ice cream line together at 10pm that night. Two hours later….I was pretty intrigued with this guy! I distinctly remember being quite impressed on a few of his very strong opinions that I figured would be quite different from what they were. We agreed on a number of issues that really surprised me, and I was more and more impressed the longer we talked. 

John: My family decided to attend the Bontragers Turning Hearts Celebration that they have every year. I didn’t talk to Chelsy at all (she was super busy) until late that night as we were standing in line for ice cream. Our conversation continued after we got our ice cream until Chelsy asked if I wanted to sit down. She said her legs were tired from running all day.  We had a great conversation and I was really impressed with her. I still wasn’t thinking of her as an option, but really did enjoy chatting with her. 
{Bontrager family vacation March 2017}

Chelsy: After Labor Day, I felt the Lord telling me I was supposed to pray about John. I really didn’t want to, but still felt a strong urging that I should. So, I put out a fleece of sorts, and prayed that if he was interested, and if I was supposed to say yes, he would ask on a very specific date. To condense the story greatly…that timing was exactly when John ended up calling and asking. I had so much peace knowing that Jesus was in this! Even though there were a lot of unknowns, I knew we should move ahead.

John: About a week after Labor Day, I was my way home from the airport one day when I felt the Lord put Chelsy on my heart. I thought it was very odd because I had already prayed about her and received a clear NO from the Lord, that spring! But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to pursue her. I ended up calling her dad and getting the green light from him, and planning a first visit.
{at our extended Bontrager family reunion in April 2017}

Chelsy: To make a very long story a little shorter…we officially started our relationship the beginning of November! The week after that was the National Bible Bee so we got to officially announce our relationship there and that was really fun. (especially because we both had a lot of friends there that had no idea anything was going on with the two of us!)

John: November 9th was the beginning of our relationship! The following week I drove down to Texas with part of their family for the National Bible Bee. I got to take the late night shift and drive the bus from 8pm-midnight. It flew by in a flash because Chelsy sat up front and talked with me the whole time. Such a fun night! 
{a very special Sunday afternoon drive after John surprised me at one of our concerts in Oklahoma}

Chelsy: The next ten months were full of countless visits, dates, and memories! We had lots of ups and a few downs and learned a lot about life, love, and each other! With many visits back and forth, we were privileged to be able to spend so much time together, and that was such a great foundation for us. We had both waited a long time and we found that it was so worth the wait!

John: We were truly blessed with an amazing time getting to know each other. God taught us both a lot during our relationship and it was such a great experience. We tell people that we didn’t fall in love, but rather we “walked” into love.
{we had lots of walks and talks out in the country and down by the bridge near our farm}

Chelsy: On August 28th, 2017, John picked me up for a date. I had been previously a little suspicious that it was going to be “the night”, but as the day wore on I kind of forgot about my thoughts of a proposal! As the date began though, I started to wonder…=) John had arranged so many perfect little details to make every part of the proposal so special. 

John: We ended up back on one of her dad’s hay fields, where I had gone previously to set up a swing that I built for her. We walked to the top of the hill together and then sat down on the swing and I shared with her a number of things that were special to me about her. Then I got down on one knee and popped the question. And she said yes!
{John totally surprised me by posing as a hitchhiker along a highway, while my family and I were on tour. It was one of the biggest surprises of my life!}
{horseback riding together!}
John + Chelsy: We had a four month engagement and were married on December 30th, 2017. (to read all about our wedding, visit here and click on the OUR WEDDING tab on the left hand side) Our engagement was amazing and our wedding was so incredible. It was the day of all days for us!
Now, we are seven months into married life and couldn’t love it more! Life is a grand adventure and we count it as such a gift to be privileged to live the rest of ours together! 
"He hath made everything beautiful in His time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11