Headed To Nationals!!!!!

 We are in a huge state of excitement over here at the Bontrager home, as we have just lately learned that Joshua & Taylor have qualified (made it to the top 100 in their divisions)
 and will be headed to Tennessee in November for the
  National Bible Bee Competition!!!
Please join us in congratulating them by leaving a comment?!

Also please keep Josh & Taylor in your prayers as they have their work cut out for them for the next 2 1/2 months. 
They will both need to continue reviewing their 100 passages that they memorized for locals.
They will need to extensively study 1st & 2nd Timothy, in addition to preparing for the intense written tests.
With being in the senior division, Josh will need to memorize an additional 600 verses, & Taylor, in the primary division, will memorize an additional 300.
We love you guys! We're SO proud of your hard work!
"Whoso despiseth the Word shall be destroyed, but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded." 
Proverbs 13:13

Coming Up!!!

If you can't already tell by all everything we've been posting...we are really excited about this coming Labor Day! And with that...
I want to take a minute to introduce you to the Bates Family, Americas largest family! 
(tied at 19 children with the Duggars)
All twenty-one of them are coming from their home near Knoxville, TN, to speak & sing at the 
11th Annual Turning Hearts Celebration!
We also want to invite all our blog readers to our church this Sunday evening, Sept. 2nd, at 6:30pm 
The Bates Family will be there with us. Erin will play the piano, Mr. Bates will preach from the Word, & all twenty-one of them will be performing in song.
Please come! We'd love to see you here at the farm on Monday, 
and also at Marion Avenue Baptist (215, S. Marion Avenue, Washington, IA) on Sunday!
And lastly, just as a reminder, the schedule for Monday is as follows:
12:00pm......Family Picnic on the lawn
(bring your own picnic lunches/chairs/blankets & enjoy fellowshipping with other families)
1:30pm....family music & message by the Bates Family
2:30pm....Hayrides, games, & family fellowship time
(meal, drinks, & table service provided. suggested donation of $4 per person, max $35 per family)
6:30pm....Welcome & Music
6:45pm...Music by the Bates Family
7:00pm......Message by Mr. Gil Bates
8:00pm...Music by the Bontrager Family
8:30pm...Volleyball (for teenagers & all young at heart) 
Everyone is welcome to stay as late as they choose!
There is no official ending time. =)


Labor Day Updates & News

To all who are planning to attend the 11th Annual Turning Hearts Celebration this Monday, Sept 3rd, there are a few things you'll need to know.
Road Construction News....
For those coming from/through Des Moines...we just heard today that there is a bridge out somewhere near North English/Williamsburg, so just so you're aware of that and can plan a little extra time to take the detour.
And then our road (Johnson Washington Road) is currently in the middle of being redone. 
No, not the best timing...with 600 people driving it on Monday!
But our road has been so bad for so long that we are grateful that its finally getting redone, even if it is a not-so-good time with all the traffic there will be on Monday)
We're not sure exactly what area the road crews will be working on, so at this point I would just ask you all to allow some extra time for slight detours. =) Check back on the blog on Saturday as I will update with the progress and directions if they need to change. 
Also, we are looking for bakers, young & old, who would be willing to bake cookies for us to serve with the meal Monday evening. If you're interested in helping out in this way please send me (Chels) an email and let me know how many dozen you would be willing to bring!
Any other questions...please call 319-325-4974
Hope to see many of you Monday!

Why I Love the Bible Bee

  • First, I love the Bible Bee because it motivates our children to memorize large portions of God's Word (the goal this summer was to memorize 100 verses although not all of them accomplished that). 
  • Second, the Bible Bee has taught our children to do what they don't always feel like doing.  "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  But I keep under my body, and bring it unto subjection:  lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."               I Corinthians 9:24-27  Memory work is mostly just that....hard work.  It is good for each of us to do that which we don't want/feel like doing at times.  There is a joy that comes from hard work that can't be found in play/pleasure.  There was a growth of character in each of these 4 children that was directly related to the time and effort they put into their Bible Bee studies.
  • Last, and most important, was the love for God's Word that I saw in our children as they studied and memorized the Bible.  It is our desire that these Scriptures will guide them throughout their lives.

The Bible Bee Local competition was held on Saturday.  Joshua got second in the Senior Division, Denver got third in the Junior Division, and Taylor got second in the Primary Division.  Now we are anxiously waiting to hear if any of them made it to the finals.  To add to the anticipation, 2 of their cousins placed first in their respective local competitions (NY and GA).  Stay tuned for the results which we will be posting tomorrow evening..........
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.....  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."  Psalm 119:9 and 11
(posted by Becky)



....the release of our BRAND-NEW childrens cd!
~a collection of all childrens songs & scriptures by
the five little Bontrager Family Singers!
{Denver(12), Taylor(10), Elizabeth(8), Hudson(6), & Rebecca(4)
Head on over to to our website to order your copy today!


Home Again!

Yes, we're HOME!
Yes, its wonderful.
Yes, the gardens are full of lots of weeds. =(
(and lots of yummy veggies! There's a bright side to everything!)
Yes, we tripped over each other in our eagerness to get
And yes...there are no pictures to describe the pandemonium. 
You'll just have to imagine it folks. =)
Tomorrow we begin life for the next month, which will include planning, shopping, cooking, & cleaning in preparation for 
family camp a week later....
and lots of company throughout.
We've experienced the blessing of hospitality from so many people this summer as we traveled, and are looking forward to actually being home so we can "return the blessing" and host family, friends, and new "friends to be".
And after living on the bus a lot this summer, we are all excited to spread out and work hard on the farm for the next month! 
We have lots of workers, and, as they say, 
"many hands make light work"! 


Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sibling Memories & Fun at the Falls

In Concert

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
~Colossians 3:16



{enjoying a family picnic together during an off day} 
Our blog has been strangely silent these last 2 weeks as we've been traveling throughout northern Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, & Michigan.
A host of things have happened but most of the time my camera hasn't been with me and I'm not one to blog unless I have pictures to accompany my ramblings. =)
Our time has been filled with intense Bible Bee practice & school work for the younger ones, with help & tutoring by the older ones....
 large quantities of music practice & lessons for all...
meeting new friends and spending time with old ones....
singing at churches and a family music festival....
and attending the Majesty Music MusiCollege.
All in all its been a very full and busy time which has been flying by so quickly.
We drove through Michigan last night and the Lord answered our prayers this morning with an incredible 1-minute border check before crossing into Canada!
 We'll be here for the next four days...and maybe a few updates will hit the web during that time. =)