Home Sweet Home!

 Thank you for all of your prayers during this seven week summer tour! God's faithfulness was evident in so many ways during the tour. When we came home though, our eyes met weedy gardens, dusty surfaces, mounds of laundry, stacks of mail, spider webs, and.... a dead mouse. (There was an active mouse sighted which hasn't been afraid to leave evidence of it's existence all over the house!!:):)) But with lots of hard work (and mouse traps!) we should be able to get this place back in order!
In case you didn't believe me, there actually WAS quite a lot of mail!!!

 On the first evening of our arrival home, we enjoyed a lovely supper with most of the family.
So many of hugs and kisses and snuggles with the babies we had missed so much!
Lots of fresh produce awaited us!
With some effort, this garden got cleared!!
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23


Cousins Turn 1!!!

I remember the first time holding these precious babies in my arms; they were so tiny and innocent. Now, these little people are crawling (and in the case of Wallace, walking!!!), jabbering in all sorts of baby language, and discovering new toys, people, and places. Time surely flies, reminding us to cherish every moment with every person. Now, be delighted by these pictures of what I think (no bias here, haha!) are two of the cutest babies on planet earth!!!
The newborn babies.

Jubilee, you bring joy and sunshine to all of our lives!
This smile!!! Need I say more? This guy is dynamic!
One word: charming!

Chillin' with Daddy!
Jubilee's expressions are simply priceless!

Quick Question....
1.Who do you think Wallace and Jubilee look like?


First Five Weeks Of Tour

Wow, this summer is flying! Anyone else feel that way??? We've been able to minister in many different venues including gyms, churches, Hutterite colonies and community halls! But we are so thankful that God can still be glorified in it all. Here is a little view into the last month and a half.
We enjoyed spending time with our friends at a Hutterite colony in Canada.

Concert time in Tabor, Alberta.
Physical exercise is made a priority in the Bontrager bus.
In the middle of concerts, music practice, and schoolwork, we make time for intense games of foosball!
Basketball after an evening concert.
We cannot complain! We've been fed very well on this tour!
Backstage craziness!!!
Picture time during a hike.
We enjoyed lovely views during our multiple hikes in BC, Canada!

"I will mention the lovingkindnessess of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnessess."
Isaiah 63:7


Meet Joe!

If you've been to one of our concerts this summer, or watched any of the videos we have posted, you may have noticed a new guy that's not a Bontrager.

Joe Xiques is a friend of ours from Miami, Florida. We met Joe and his family years ago through the National Bible Bee, and our families have become good friends over the years. When Joshua and Cassidy needed to take a break from touring with us over the time of Wallace's birth ( last summer ) , Joe agreed to join us to fill in for Joshua. With Wallace at a very active stage, Joshua and Cassidy made the decision to not travel this summer, and once again, Joe is traveling with us. 

Joe plays guitar for us, as well as singing lead and tenor vocals, helping with setup and tear down for the concerts, and generally joining in for all the work and adventures that road life entails.

We are very grateful for Joe's love for Jesus and people, and his incredible musical abilities!

concert time!
Quick selfie after a game of football!

"sing unto the Lord a new song!"


Spring on the farm

Enjoy these pictures of life on the farm! 
After about an hour of searching, the little brown calf was found!  
Granola making time!
Sometimes there is just a LITTLE trash to take out! 
Garden work is never ending! 
A special evening with Josh, Cass, and Wallace, enjoying dinner out on the porch.

"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish though the work of our hands upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."     Psalm 90:17


Why We Won't Be Hosting the "Turning Hearts Celebration" This Year

So many good memories!

A few of you have asked us about Turning Hearts Celebration. 

After 16 years, we’re not doing it in 2019. And, for at least the time being, we won't be doing it again. 

We started our Turning Hearts Celebration back in 2002 because.....

The Birth of a Vision

In 2002, Dad was making a good living selling dairy and agricultural supplies across the Midwest. Yet something was horribly wrong. His heart was not turned towards his family. In a solitary hotel room, God convicted him that he was more passionate about making money than discipling his family. In 2002, we began the Turning Hearts Celebration, as a way of putting a stake in the ground, so that we would never forget the goodness of God. 

Over the years hundreds of people and families have been encouraged by the event. The singing, speaking, hay rides, and festivities have become an annual tradition for many. 

So, why did we decide to quit?

One of the many enjoyable hay rides.

Sometimes God Redirects 

Five years after beginning Turning Hearts, we started a Family Camp in Northeast Iowa to encourage families. This year will be the 13th year. With the camp bursting at the seams, we added an extra week long camp last year, so more families could experience this encouraging and challenging opportunity. 

Family Camp and Turning Hearts became too much to do at once.  We recognize that we can do only so many things at once. So, in order to more fully focus on Family Camp, we will no longer be hosting Turning Hearts. 

God is still allowing us to fulfill the original vision, just in a different way. Ultimately, it’s not about the name or type of event; it’s about the message. 

Family Camp provides a deeper level of discipleship and fellowship than Turning Hearts. If you’ve only been to Turning Hearts, you've just scratched the surface of learning about family discipleship. Come to Family Camp to experience a whole week of encouraging fellowship and life-changing sessions!

Throughout the course of history, God has used families to change the world. From the family of Noah, to David, Jonadab the son of Rechab, and Abraham, families have been a means by which God has fulfilled His master plan. At Family Camp 2019, you’ll discover how you can instill and implement a multi-generational vision, while also gaining a rare opportunity to fellowship with like-minded families from all across the United States and Canada. 

“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


Prayer Request/Concert Cancellation/New Concerts

Good-morning from northern Alberta.  Please join us in prayer to ask God for peace and wisdom and grace  for the people of La Crete who have been evacuated due to the forest fires in their area, for safety and perseverance and strength for those fighting the fires, and for God to send an abundance of rain to aid in fighting the fires.  Most of all, let us pray that many will turn to Christ for salvation and that God will send a revival in this area and all across our land. 
 I don't think we can even imagine the force and devastation of such a large forest fire.
Because of the present danger to the entire area of La Crete, the North Country Gospel Fest in La Crete has been cancelled.  Pray for the board members who have been working for the past year on the many details that have to be put into place for such an event.

We have scheduled two new events over the weekend because of the Gospel Fest cancellation:

  1. June 23, 10:30 a.m. Peace River Christian Fellowship, Peace River, Alberta
  2. June 23, 7:00 p.m. Lake View Evangelical Church, Slave Lake, Alberta

Lamentations 3:22-27

"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord."


Family Pictures

For Mother's and Father's day, all of the children went together and surprised mother and father with a professional photo shoot! Here are a few of the pictures for you to enjoy!
The whole tribe!
The girls
The guys
John, Chelsy and Axotn (four months)
Joshua, Cassidy, and Wallace (ten and a half months)
Mitchell, Bryn and Micah (two and a half months)
Carson, Carolina and Jubilee (ten and a half months)
Grandpa and Grandma with all the grand-babies!!
"Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee....."
Psalm 31:19


Announcing An Exciting Opportunity!

 Join us this summer for the 2019 National Bible Bee Competition!

-What the Bible Bee is     
     The National Bible Bee Competition equips families to study and memorize God’s Word. Starting in June, participants, ages 7-18, join together in studying a book or passage of the Bible. There is a study guide, called the Discovery Journal, that aids in studying and applying God’s Word. The Discovery Journal includes key word studies, cross-references, and historical context of the study passage. Each week, you will be given several memory passages that correlate to the study passage. At the end of the summer, there is an online test based on study material from the summer program. Those with the top 120 test scores have the opportunity to advance to the Nationals, which are held in Kentucky in the fall. 

-How to do the Bible Bee     
     Study for the Bible Bee can be done as an individual or together with your family. Younger children may need help from parents, while older children can probably complete the study on their own. Some families memorize and study as a family, while other families choose to do it mostly on an individual level. The key is to find what works best for your family. Either way, I encourage each family to share what they have been learning with other family members. 
     The Discovery Journal can be completed by studying approximately 30 minutes per day. Some areas have a local host group that connects families with other families who are studying for the Bible Bee. (To see if their is a local host group near your go to https://biblebee.org/summer-study/ and click on “2019 host locations”.) While it is helpful to be part of a local host group, if there is not one in your area you can still connect with other Bible Bee famlies by going to https://app.biblebee.org/ and joining the online Bible Bee Community.

-Why I encourage you to do the Bible Bee
   There are five main reasons why I would challenge you to participate in the Bible Bee. 
     First, the Bible Bee is centered around the Word of God. God’s Word is relevant to every day of life and hiding it in our hearts equips us to navigate through life. The Word of God that I have memorized has both encouraged me and guided me in making decisions. What could be better for young people than to build their lives upon the firm foundation of God’s Word!
     Second, the Bible Bee equips individuals to study the Bible for themselves. Through the Bible Bee, I have learned how to take a book or passage of the Bible and study it in depth. Though I no longer participate in the Bible Bee, I have kept studying God’s Word using the skills that I learned from the Bible Bee.
     Third, the Bible Bee strengthens family relationships. As I have studied God’s Word with my siblings, my relationships with them have been strengthened. While studying, we often share with each other what we have been learning.
      Fourth, the Bible Bee is a great network for meeting other godly families. Since our family has done the Bible Bee, we have gained many close friends from all across the country. 
      Last, the Bible Bee teaches young people to be disciplined. The Bible Bee has taught me to discipline myself to study and memorize God’s Word even when I do not feel like it. The discipline that I learned from doing the Bible Bee has benefited me in many other areas of life.

-How you can get involved today!
     You can sign up today by going to http://biblebee.org!