Engaged: Isaac Botkin and Heidi Roach!


One of our favorite things about having so many brothers… is all the wonderful new sisters we keep getting! As of last week, another of our dearest friends is about to become family: Our brother Isaac just became engaged to Heidi Roach. Heidi has been a real inspiration to us over the years as an example of how a woman can be uncommonly strong, capable, sensible — one of those women who can cook for a hundred or organize a 4000-person event without breaking a sweat and then run help deliver a baby or two in the middle of the night — while also being uncommonly humble, meek, tenderhearted, funny, selfless, genuine, and sacrificial. “A virtuous woman,” says Proverbs 12:4, “is a crown to her husband,” and God has given Isaac a virtuous woman and crown indeed.

We’re so happy for you, Isaac and Heidi, and can’t wait to see what amazing things God has in store for you two!

Botkin Life

David and Nadia’s Wedding


On May 14, 2011, our brother David was wed to our dear friend Nadia Noor, in one of the most blessed days of our family’s lives. (more…)

Botkin Life

Announcing… Yet Another Botkin Girl!

Twelve years ago, a young man in New Zealand began praying for a godly wife. About four years later, a young girl in New Jersey began praying for a godly husband. Over a few years of tests, changes, and international and cross-country moves, God brought the paths of these two very remarkable people together. This week, they became engaged to be married.


Rejoice with us, as we celebrate the engagement of our dear brother David to our beloved friend Nadia Noor! The Lord has brought our brother his perfect match and complement, his “good thing,” and “helper suitable.” Seeing the Lord’s hand in preparing these two for each other, and leading them to each other, has been an overwhelming reminder of the perfection of His sovereign plan and His wonderful lovingkindness.

David, Nawelle, Nadia, and Anna Sofia butchering chickens. It shouldn’t normally take four people.

This was a relationship forged through blood, sweat, and tears (sometimes literally…) Nadia had become like a sister to us since her family moved to Tennessee last year, and she and David had the opportunity to work on a number of projects together over the last year (see one of them here)


It wasn’t long after David met Nadia that he was struck by her fear of the Lord, her gentle and quiet spirit, her bold and fearless shepherd’s heart, and her devotion to her family. She stood out to him as a woman of unusual thoughtfulness, wisdom, and intelligence, tempered with humility. Most importantly, he saw in Nadia a heart wholly the Lord’s — a hunger and thirst for righteousness, a passion for the Word, and a desire for God that matched the deepest desires of his own heart.


“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 19:14)


“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:22)


Right after she said yes — Dad, David, and Anna Sofia give thanks to the Lord.


Ben, Audri, and Elizabeth doing the same.


It is a beautiful thing to see a couple fully united in their mutual love of the Lord and His law, their humility, and their tender hearts before God — and in their resolute stands in the battle. We can’t wait to see where God takes this dynamic couple. Our prayers are with them as they prepare to serve Him with the rest of their lives together.


Botkin Life

Coming Soon… A New Botkin Girl

As the only two girls in our family, surrounded by five extremely manly brothers, we always dreamed of having another sister. On June 11th, 2010, our prayers were answered: our younger brother Benjamin became engaged to be married to Miss Audri Vernier. At 20 and 19 years of age, respectively, they are making big plans for all that they want to accomplish for the Lord during the rest of their lives together.

Ben and Audri are one of the most inspiring couples we know. Though their abundant talents have opened up many tempting opportunities to them, they’re both passionate about surrendering everything to “seek first the kingdom of God.” They’re united by a desire to lose their lives in order to find them. Ferociously devoted to the Word, they fell in love with the fear of the Lord that they saw in each other.

As we were getting to know Audri, the two things that struck Ben (and us) most deeply were her humility and fear of the Lord, which shone so brightly that they actually outshone the qualities closer to the surface — her exceptional musical talent, her mature intelligence, and her delightfully sincere personality. You can hear the moving testimony of the Lord’s work in her life in our recent documentary “Homeschool Dropouts.”

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You can hear their musical talents coming together in this “Pavanne for Cello,” composed by Ben and performed by Audri.

Join us in praising the Lord for this union!

Botkin Life

Resurrecting Two Great Queens

We think it is important for us to study the great women of the past — to be inspired by their examples, to learn from their mistakes, to study how God uses people for His glory.

For the Reformation 500 Celebration in Boston two weeks ago, we were given the opportunity to come as historical reenactors — a new experience for both of us, but one we’re very grateful for.

Anne Boleyn

I [Elizabeth] chose to portray Anne Boleyn, surely one of the most maligned and misrepresented women in history, for the chance to tell her true story.

Anne Boleyn was not only the catalyst for England’s break with Rome but one of the most active and influential reformers in England during her three years as queen. As a child, Anne was diligent to cultivate her mind and abilities, so that she became exceptionally well prepared for the role God had in store for her:

“Certain this was, that for the rare and singular gifts of her mind, so well instructed, and given toward God, with such a fervent desire unto the truth and setting forth of sincere religion, joined with like gentleness, modesty, and pity toward all men, there have not many such queens before her borne the crown of England. Principally this one commendation she left behind her, that during her life, the religion of Christ most happily flourished, and had a right prosperous course.” – John Foxe, author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

During her years of education in France, through exposure to men such as Jacques LeFevre and Guillaume Farel, Anne’s love for the pure gospel was fanned into flame, and she returned to England an ardent reformer during a time when England was violently persecuting its Protestants.

Upon being crowned queen, Anne used her position to promote and defend reformers such as William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Matthew Parker, and Miles Coverdale, to encourage the translation and dissemination of Scripture into English, and to make England a refuge for persecuted Protestants from around Europe. The martyrologist John Foxe called Anne “a special comforter and aider of all the professors of Christ’s gospel… What a zealous defender she was of Christ’s gospel all the world doth know, and her acts do and will declare to the world’s end.”

Brought down by a conspiracy of her papist enemies, who called her “the principle cause of the spread of Lutheranism in this country,” Anne was beheaded on false charges of adultery, incest, witchcraft, and “high treason against the King’s person.”

The power of reenacting took me by surprise. I felt overwhelmed as as one small boy suddenly realized that his religious freedom he was describing to me was due to “people like you!” …as I watched children’s eyes grow large as they realize the implications of “losing their lives for His sake;” …as young ladies told me they had been inspired to begin studying the world-changing works of the reformers… as I watched people’s eyes fill with tears as they heard my character’s own words of her courage and joy in the face of death.

As Anne Boleyn, I could look these children in the eye and tell them what it means to sacrifice your life for Christ, living or dying, and challenge them to consider how much they are willing to sacrifice for Him. I could tell them how I watched a small group of my contemporaries challenge the world’s strongest religious bureaucracy and turn the world upside-down for the Kingdom. I pray that those children who met Anne Boleyn will be inspired by her urging to pick up the work “we” had begun, where we left off, and continue the world-wide reformation that was never finished.


“But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my death, but an infamous slander must bring you the joying of your desired happiness, then I desire of God that he will pardon your great sin herein, and likewise my enemies, the instruments thereof; and that he will not call you to a strait account for your unprincely and cruel usage of me at his general judgment-seat, where both you and myself must shortly appear; and in whose just judgment, I doubt not (Whatsoever the world may think of me), mine innocency shall be openly known and sufficiently cleared.”

– From the last letter Anne wrote to her husband Henry VIII, while imprisoned in the Tower. This letter was recently found among the personal papers of Thomas Cromwell, likely to have never reached Henry.

Jeanne D’Albret

“We have come to the determination to die, all of us, rather than abandon our God, and our religion, the which we cannot maintain unless permitted to worship publicly, any more than a human body can live without meat or drink… “ ~From a letter by Jeanne to Catherine De Medici dated 1570 (two years before the St. Batholomew’s Day Massacre)

I [Anna Sofia] was excited to play the part of the brave Huguenot queen Jeanne D’Albret, whose incredible royal life was characterized by sacrifice, self denial and extreme hardship — themes that stand in stark contrast to modern notions of royalty and privilege and the glittery pink princess culture of Disney.

Jeanne D’ Albret was born a princess, the only child of Henri and Marguerite of Navarre, and was raised in all the luxury and grandeur of the French court by her uncle Francis I, from whom she received the nickname “La Mignonne des Rois” (the darling of the king).

In 1560 she surrendered her famously strong will to Christ and took action to manifest His reign over her entire kingdom of Navarre. Thanks to the efforts of Jeanne’s devout mother, Queen Marguerite, Navarre had become known all over Europe as a safe harbor for reformers, but Jeanne took her mother’s work a step further by reforming its legal system, abolishing Catholic ritual, commissioning a translation of the New Testament into Basque and Bearnese, and strengthening its borders against its vehemently Catholic neighbors, France and Spain.


Many of her contemporaries made special note of her strength through adversity; she defied popes, kings and queens to defend the faith and protect her people, and the threats of assassination, kidnapping and invasion were constant, but perhaps the most painful was the sting of betrayal and slander by childhood friends, family members and even her husband.

In a peace treaty that was meant to unite the kingdoms of France and Navarre and end the persecution of the Huguenots, Jeanne betrothed her son Henri to Catherine de Medici’s daughter Marguerite de Valois. Jeanne died mysteriously in Paris during the heat of the marriage negotiations with Catherine and did not live to see the conclusion of the wedding plans — now remembered as the St. Batholomew’s Day Massacre, in which an estimated 50,000 Huguenots were brutally slaughtered.

Upon her conversion, John Calvin sent her a letter of warm congratulations and a charge to take even more seriously her position as queen.

“Having then received so great and inestimable a benefit, you have reason to be so much the more zealous to dedicate yourself (as you do) entirely to Him, who has bound you so closely to Himself. And whereas kings and princes would often wish to be exempted from subjection to Jesus Christ, and are accustomed to make a buckler of their privileges under pretense of their greatness, being ashamed even to belong to the fold of this great Shepherd, do you, madame, bethink you that the dignity and grandeur in which this God of goodness has brought you up, should be in you esteem a double tie to bind you to obedience to Him, seeing that it is from Him that you hold everything, and that according to the measure which each one has received, he shall have to render a stricter account.”

~John Calvin Geneva, 16th January, 1561

I was very grateful for the opportunity to “resurrect” one of those heroines of the Reformation who sacrificed all for a generation of people she would never know and that has all but forgotten her. I was very humbled to portray a woman who was no doubt watching me from the cloud of witnesses, and also honored to be able to (in a sense) bring together two generations who will never meet on this earth. It gave me new realization of the huge debt of gratitude I owe to the past which has caused me to further consider the part I will play in history, and the sacrifices I will make for the future.


One of the most humbling things we see in history is how God chooses to work through imperfect people and the mistakes they make. Though they were both greater women than we, Anne Boleyn and Jeanne D’Albret were flawed — as are we — and we pray that God will use us for His purposes as He did them, imperfect though we are.

Botkin LifeBotkin Projects

Happy Birthday, David!

We are so grateful to God for our big brother David. From the beginning, David was a rough-and-tumble manly man who had great tenderness and affection for his sisters. He always had a lot of respect for the capabilities of the female mind, and started early introducing us to the wonderful world of military history, just war theory, economics, computer technology, biblical law, jungle snafus and self-defense, and how to tie our shoes. He gave us a great appreciation for manliness and the world of men, always encouraging our participation in his adventures. We are so grateful for another year of working together, studying together, and fighting the good fight together.

David and Anna Sofia on an international trip the two of them took together.

Botkin LifeFamily Relationships

Crossroads 09 — Conference Recap

Our family is praising the Lord for a wonderful “Christians at the Crossroads” conference. 700 people came from around the country — some from as far away as Washington state and the Bronx — to join us for this symposium on family relationships in tumultuous times.

Conference HQ was the Historic Columbus Ironworks, the Confederates’ largest manufacturer of naval machinery.

One cannon still held at the Ironworks was named the “Ladies’ Defender,” cast from brass collected by the city’s women.

The most popular (and most fun) talk of the conference was a panel with all seven of us siblings on Brother-Sister Relationships.

Coordinating our remarks.

Noah, 13, brought the house down trying to think of benefits to being the youngest.

Enjoying talking with girls afterward.

Our wonderful mother, Victoria Botkin, speaking from her 28 years of experience mothering and homeschooling.

Answering questions afterward.

Luke, 15, takes a turn manning the Western Conservatory table, beside our friend Martin Selbrede, representing Chalcedon.

We steal into a back corner to work on our upcoming speech.

The title of our talk was “Dominion Oriented Femininity — Ten Attributes of a Young Dominion Woman.”

Here our brothers speak on “The Difference Between a Playground and a Battleground and Why Young Men Must Live for Spiritual Warfare.”

The little girls are often the most fun to talk to.

Another panel discussion, this time on the 5th commandment, by the five eldest Botkins.

Candid camera: Caught taking a breather as the conference draws to an end.

Botkin LifeBotkin Projects

A Tribute to a Great Woman

On Anna Sofia’s 21st birthday, she read aloud this tribute to our mother, a true dominion woman:

I would like to take this opportunity to call to your attention the ones that really deserve the credit for my 21 years of life. I had very little hand in it, I can assure you.

First, My Heavenly Father, Who is the author of my existence and my future – my Sustainer and the Giver of Eternal Life.

And My earthly father, my God-ordained authority and protector.

And the woman that I call “blessed.” A woman who lost her life for His sake and found it, who made her husband great, and was subordinate to him in everything, though inferior to him in nothing.

My mother was God’s instrument to teach me what it meant to be a virtuous woman. Partly through her verbal instruction, but mostly through the silent example of her actions and deeds. Most of all, through the way she executed her duty to complement and complete my father. She is his perfect match and the secret to his greatness. She delights him with her company and conversation, sustains him with her strength, stimulates and sharpens him with her wisdom and intelligence, emboldens him with her praise, bolsters him with her cheerfulness, comforts him with her love, and heartens him with her courage.

Maybe the most significant way that she contributed to his success was by instilling his vision into his children. The things she chose for us to study, the things she taught us were important, the projects she encouraged us to pursue, were all in perfect harmony with his objective for our family.

She is uniquely suited to be the teacher of his children because the qualities that our father wants his family to be known for – dominion focus, ingenuity, creativity, entrepreneurialism, love of learning, a pioneer spirit – are all qualities that our mother models in every thing that she does.

The most important things I learned come from observing her two greatest strengths. First of all, her Humility.

I see her humility in her willingness to be overshadowed by Dad. She prefers to bask in his shadow than to chase after the fame and adulation that could so easily and rightly be hers. I’ve never known a woman who cared about personal glory less, or who deserved it more. She will be remembered with more respect than her contemporaries, who fought with religious zeal for recognition and prestige, and now have no one to rise up and call them “blessed.”

The other strength I would mention is her Courage.

Like a true pioneer, Mother was never affected by the fact that she was often standing alone, being “the only one” faithful in an entire country, and doing things no one else was doing. She never even considered the wave of disapproval that came from all sides for her decision to follow Scripture instead of modern culture.

At the altar, Mother promised to go wherever our father went, and to gratefully share in whatever Providence had in store for him, sometimes respect and appreciation, sometimes persecution and rejection, sometimes a high station, sometimes a low one. It’s her calm and unquenchable energy, her willingness to forego comfort and stability, her ability to adapt gracefully to any situation, that allows my father’s heart to safely trust in her. When a man’s heart can safely trust in his wife, it allows him to be a visionary, an entrepreneur, who can live boldly and dare to do great things.

He knew, as I did, that whenever times were the toughest, that’s when Mother is the strongest. That’s why, seven years ago, Dad was not nervous about asking her to leave her country that she loved, to follow him to the ends of the earth.

Last but not least, I appreciate her courage to go through painful labor to bring me into the world. The fact that I’m here to stand before you now is a testimony to that courage. It’s that courage that I especially would like to honor today.

Botkin Life