Back right before we left for our April tour, our church hosted their annual OurTime youth conference
We six oldest were all involved helping in various ways, and dad was an usher. We especially enjoyed this year since for the first time we were able to stay for the whole thing and didn’t have to leave early, as we’ve had to the past two years.

our pastor believes very strongly in doing things with excellence and going all out for God, which we love! This conference was no exception!
Dad, trying to pack everyone in. =)
pre-conference smiles from Allison and one of our dear church friends.

the speaker lineup
the opening song, “This is Our Time”, sung by a group of young people from our church.
I photographed the conference, which I loved doing. =) The following are a few of my pictures.
We heard amazing messages that were very convicting and inspiring. The two younger boys got to sit in on part of the conference; the rest of us were running around doing things and heard bits and pieces of the messages.
Dr. Bobby Robberson (pictured above) preached a message about how we have an adversary of the flesh, of discouragement, of jealousy, and ultimately the devil, seeking to destroy our lives.
Pastor Sam Epley (our pastor’s wife’s brother) preached a message entitled “What Voice Are You Listening To?” There are two voices: the voice of the world, and the voice of God.
Brother Caleb Garraway (who attends our church) preached about how God needs a voice in this world today, and we are ones who must rise up and answer the call to be A VOICE for Jesus.
These are just a few of the messages that were preached. All of them were so good but it would take too long to go into a recap here of each one. 
Our church believes strongly in preaching the truth and having the emphasis on the Word of God.
But they also believe that Christians should have a good time. 
Hence, the above game crew. =)
three of my brothers were part of this gang and it was highly amusing to watch them go all out in getting into character. =)
prepping for the next game, backstage
part of their job was getting the audience excited about whatever game was coming next. So they did a lot of yelling and clapping and all of that. 
the game pictured above? well, lets just say that only at Marion Avenue Baptist would live goats be brought on stage for a game.  =)
as you can see, this involved drinking fresh goats milk. Literally fresh…the goats were milked right there on stage.
{now, this doesn’t seem strange or gross to me, but apparently most people have a huge aversion to goats milk, and then with most of these people being city slickers, I suppose they never stopped to consider that their milk does actually come from an animal. So seeing the goats milked right in front of them, and then having to drink that warm milk, was almost more than they could handle}
another game involved two of the smallest guys present being passed around the auditorium on air mattresses.
this is what it looked like most of the time. =)
but some of the time it looked like this.
this little guy’s expression says it all. =)
our pastor
all of the speakers sang a song together on Friday night
there was a lot of prayer, and repentance, and a call to get right with God and go all out for Him and His work.
worshipping the Lord together in song
more special music
One of my favorite parts of the conference was Thursday night when we all went out to our Pastor’s place afterwards for a cookout, music, and fireworks.
it was so beautiful! And praise the Lord-after rain and cold for this night the past number of years, this year the weather was great-chilly, but not windy or unpleasant. 
grilling for the multitude!
We six oldest had a blast doing the music. At first we weren’t sure that we were going to be able to, because even though it wasn’t freezing…still it was very chilly, and cold temperatures don’t typically do well in producing flying fingers. =) But after we got started our fingers warmed up a bit and it ended up going great and being so much fun. We had no song list to limit us and we played all sorts of new ones for the first time. Nearing the end of a song one of us would suggest the next song and we would go right on into it hardly stopping. It was definitely quite the party!
{pictures by a family member of mine who hadn’t used my camera before and I wasn’t there to instruct… so please pardon the fuzziness of the photos}
After we had played for about half an hour or so, all of the OurTime speakers came up and each shared one thing that they loved about being an American. Next Allison sang the national anthem. I about got chills while she was singing-it was incredible! And immediately as she ended, all the lights went out and the fireworks started across the pond. The timing of it all had been all planned out and it went perfectly and was super neat!
On Friday morning there were music and preaching competitions for all the teenagers who wished to participate.
Carson (18), Josh (17), Denver (14), & Taylor (12) 
performed a toe-tapping arrangement of “I’ll Fly Away”.
We were all so proud of them when it was announced that evening that
“the Bontrager Brothers, from Marion Avenue Baptist Church” had won First Place in the instrumental group catagory!
Go here to read the story about how the conference got started. It is an incredible testimony!
As always, when the conference ended I felt like I was the one that was blessed, challenged, and encouraged. (read more about it over on my blog here
And watch the conference recap video here!
To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
{posted by chelsy}


family, mabc

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Leave a Reply
  1. Love the post, Chelsea! Can't wait to see you all again! Please tell your family Hello for us. 🙂
    Love, Callie Koenig for the Koenig Family 😀

  2. Sounds neat. But, sadly, the church has become more of an entertainment center than what it really, truly should be. Personally, I prefer churches that are more traditional to God's word.

  3. Man that looks like a ton of fun! Alli, that scarf looks strangely familiar. 😀 You wear it well my darling!


  4. Hello Anymous,

    You are right in that many churches have become more focused on entertaining than preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every church should be firmly grounded on God's Word. I am so thankful to attend a church that does just that- puts God's Word and the Gospel first. I also love that my church is very creative in having fun without compromising our dedication to obedience to Christ and His Word.


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