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Testimony from Ireland

Dear Anna-Sofia and Elizabeth,

I recently read your book ‘So Much More’ and it was instrumental in changing my views on my role as a woman of God, and I am so thankful for it.

I live in the U.K. and in September 2005 I began attending a teaching college, and I actually completed my first year there. I was a Christian, however my contact with Christian education had been very limited and it never even occurred to me as an option – in my opinion I was going to teach in the State schools and act as witness there, I could see no contradiction between being a Christian and teaching what the State required. However my brother-in-law and sister had very different convictions on education (they have 5 children and are home-schooling the oldest three) and they bought me ‘The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum’ by Rushdoony. Reading that book was the beginning of a massive change in my views of education, and I began to realise how essential it is to proclaim Christ’s authority in all things, of course once I realised that, I realised that I could not (without compromise) teach in the State schools. I began to discuss my new found convictions with my parents and although they understood and agreed with many of the things that I said, it was very much their desire that I should finish college and get a degree.

It was around this time that a friend told me of an American college called the Whitefield who offered courses by correspondance, and one of those courses was in Christian education, moreover my friend’s niece was planning on doing this course and so I would have someone to talk to about it! I was delighted, and my parents were encouraged to find that I could be trained in Christian education – however they still wanted me to finish my original degree. I felt torn as I did not want to disobey my parents, but I did not desire to spend three more years being influenced in humanisim at college. Nevertheless, I finished my first year at college and applied for the Whitefield and trusted that if it were the Lord’s will, He would give my parents a change of heart.

… I ought to explain that from the time I was very young, I had always maintained that I was not going to get married, and I felt that a mother could send her children to school and go and get a job herself. My sister’s example challenged this view, and on a previous occasion when staying with them I had read ‘Praise Her in the Gates’ – this changed my view on motherhood, and I was very keen to encourage my married cousins to remain in the home, but I still refused to apply it to myself and remained stubbornly determined that I was not going to get married. In my mind, marriage was for some people, but not for me.

About a month into a recent stay at my sister’s I read ‘So Much More’. I remember the day that it arrived my sister was looking through it and her first comment was ‘I like this book’ and then she sat and giggled to herself! I asked why, and she referred to your comments regarding singleness, and how it is not a gift for us to choose (my sister and brother-in-law greatly desired to see my views on marriage and femininity change). I began reading it, and was greatly convicted by it. I had thought that I was opposed to feminism and that I did not desire independence, but I began to see that there was much I did not know of myself! By the time I was half-way through your book I realised that my thoughts on marriage and my role were unbiblical and I repented of them (much to the delight of my sister). It also caused me to view the time that I would spend helping my sister in a different light, previously I had simply thought of it as helping my sister, but then I realised what a wonderful opportunity it was for training me in the running of a home and embraced it as such.

I spent six months with my sister and brother-in-law and it was a wonderful opportunity for me and from my sister’s example, and from practice at running a home (and even a house move!) I learnt much about my role – yet if it had not been for the change in my views, I believe that I would have lost much of the blessing that that opportunity afforded me.

I am now home, and my father has read parts of ‘So Much More’ (specifically the parts regarding college) and I believe that his own attitude has been changed by reading it. I’m now seeking to use my time to help my family and develop skills that will be useful to me as a wife and mother, and will make me a blessing to others.

Thank you so much for your book, it has been a blessing to me and I am so thankful that I read it! It has been such an encouragement for me to realise (through your book and your web-site) that although I do not necessarily know many people who share this vision, yet there are others out there who are living it out daily and God honours those who honour Him.

Thank you,
your sister in Christ
Rachel (19)

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Research on Hidden Mountain

Our family recently took a trip to the Hidden Mountain of New Mexico, doing research for an exciting new film project with our father. On mounting the summit, we discovered so many historically significant artifacts hidden in the craggy rocks and cliffs that Noah, the youngest of our five brothers, wanted to shoot an ENN report revealing our findings.

Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming project.

Botkin Projects
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Interview with the Botkin Sisters: Part 2

Q: Where did you get all your ideas about the role of daughters? What groups did you grow up around? Were you raised in a particular group of conservative homeschoolers?

A: Some Americans presume that we grew up in a very conservative, sheltered, homeschooling crowd, and were never confronted with people who believed differently than we. Actually, the opposite is true. Until two years ago, all our friends, save one, had been college girls or were/had been in the military. From the time we were little girls, many young women like these new Christians have loved coming to our home to learn from our parents. The girls we spent the most time with while writing our book were Christian girls from non-homeschooling, often non-Christian backgrounds, sometimes abusive backgrounds. Since our father has ministered to so many different kinds of people – Muslims, political leaders, college kids, military veterans, television and film professionals, journalists, non-Christian public school kids, businessmen, missionaries, refugees – these were the people we grew up around (though always supervised and overseen by our parents. We spent time with these people as a family). Until traveling to the States two years ago, one of the crowds we were most unfamiliar with was the conservative American homeschooling crowd.

We both spent our most formative years in New Zealand, an island paradise and spiritual wasteland. Militant feminism got a foothold in NZ at least a decade before it did in most Western nations, giving us a chilling picture of what America may look like in ten years. More clearly than any book, sermon, or lecture could have done, seeing feminism’s natural, devastating aftermath in a more developed stage revealed to us just how terrible are its ravages. It was obvious even to many of the secular pundits. Even many of the most liberal college girls were disgusted with the feminist “utopia” they had inherited — particularly by the men it produced. We heard “Where have all the men gone?” everywhere we went. Women had long ago charged forward to seize the authority they were not meant to bear, and led in the churches, the government, the workplace, and the family. The result was a society of families in shambles.

This is the world we grew up in, and these were the people that we ministered to. We were never able to rely on homeschooling support, like-minded friends, or ministries to help us develop our convictions. The principle of being directed by Scripture alone was something our parents had always made important to us; our circumstances made it essential. We had nothing but Scripture to tell us how to live (the foreign culture around us, to which we had no loyalties or inundation, didn’t attract us at all), and as we both approached our “graduating” years, we plunged into our personal studies of the role of daughters in earnest. Our sense of urgency to find the real answers, and share our findings, was largely fueled by our hundreds of hours of serious conversations with both college students and college faculty, both on and off campus. We became intimately familiar with the litany of issues and crises that affected girls in NZ, Australia, Britain, Europe, Asia, South Africa, and America.

We realize that “experience” is not a pre-requisite to being able to read, understand, and exposit the Word of God, but this background, coupled with the benefit of having two extremely wise parents who’ve been around the block and have the stories to prove it, helped us cement our thinking.

And after we were established in our convictions and well into our book, we were astonished to find that there were people on the other side of the world who had come to many of the same conclusions, long before we did. Guess they must have been reading from the same Bible…

If you have a question you’d like to add to the list of questions we’ll be answering, please send it to damsels (AT) visionarydaughters (DOT) com.

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Interview with the Botkin Sisters

Stacy McDonald, co-author of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God, recently conducted an interview with us about our book, So Much More, soliciting questions from women all over the blogosphere. We are pleased to be able to post the first Q&As from the interview now: it can also be read on her blog, www.yoursacredcalling.blogspot.com.

Stacy: You were very young when you wrote this book. Do you have any regrets about anything you said? Have you changed your mind on anything?

Botkin Sisters:
In the two years since So Much More was published, we have had countless emails and numerous conversations with girls all over the world. Though the majority of the response to SMM has been overwhelmingly positive, we have also been berated; we’ve been misrepresented; we’ve been challenged; we’ve been sharpened. During these past years of intense study and travel, we have become very familiar with a litany of positions, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations of Scripture concerning the role of daughters.

Our positions have not changed. They have been strengthened. Now, at ages 22 and 20, we believe more firmly than ever in the positions we took as teenage girls. However, we understand more fully the need to be very, very careful in introducing potentially explosive concepts, ensuring that our wording is theologically precise and unmistakably clear.

Our few regrets about the content in So Much More pertain to weaknesses in wording and our abilities as writers, which we are determined to improve by God’s grace and for His glory.

After almost seven years in New Zealand, we were a bit out of the loop on how some words had become loaded (e.g. patriarchy, headship) and many ideas had taken on negative connotations, and we neglected to use the additional definitions and qualifiers that may have been necessary.

So Much More, like its authors, has flaws. But God has used it in the lives of more young women than we had ever imagined, and we continue to get beautiful testimonies of repentance and renewal, of transformed lives and families. In spite of its failings, we are thankful we went to press with it when we did. Even if the book were perfect, there will always be critics who willfully misunderstand what is written and others who criticize the content without reading it.

Stacy: To some degree, I bet we can all relate to what you’ve said here. I know I’ve said and written things I wish I would have worded a bit differently. Sometimes we don’t realize how someone is going to take something we’ve said until after we’ve said it. It’s all part of the art of good communication, which takes time to master; and which also brings us to our next question.

Q. Are you, as teenage girls, setting yourselves up as teachers of parents?

Botkin Sisters: Not at all. We recognize that we are unqualified to teach those who are in a later season of life than we. Our intention was never to instruct fathers or mothers, husbands or wives, but only single young women in the same stage of life that we find ourselves. We wanted to encourage unmarried young women everywhere to honor their parents and live each day in a way that glorifies God, serves others, and advances the Kingdom.

We have tried to be very careful to not direct any of our teaching to fathers or mothers. When asked by parents for parenting advice, we either direct them to our parents, or address our advice to their daughters instead, for the parents to pass along if appropriate. In our book, we even included in the appendices an interview we conducted with our father, so that any instruction that might be helpful to parents would be coming from him, and not us.

Stacy: Are you ever concerned that by being at home you are potentially missing out on “opportunities” or other “good experiences?”

Botkin Sisters: Not a chance! Now, we should probably state that we did not choose this life based on the “experiences” and “opportunities” it would offer us. It’s bad epistemology to build our orthopraxy (the practical application of our orthodoxy) on the foundation of pragmatism. We must base our decisions on the patterns, principles and precepts we see in Scripture, rather than on how much “fun” or “self-enrichment” they will afford.

That said… no, we never feel like we’re missing out on anything that God wants for us. We have had many other opportunities offered us, but we have foregone them for better things. The way the Lord has blessed our family, and has brought us incredible opportunities to serve Him, leaves us no time to lament that we are not professional concert harpists (for example.) The experiences we are living now fill our lives to overflowing. Our cup runneth over.

Stacy: How did you learn to write? What general methods, philosophy, or curricula did your parents use to teach you the art of writing?

Botkin Sisters: Well… we are by no means great writers. Our medium has always been less important to us than our message. The main thing our parents did was encourage us to have something to say. Teaching us how to think was much more important to them than teaching us how to diagram sentences. Even though our mother did teach us the mechanics of writing, it didn’t make much sense to us until we had something we passionately wanted to say, and knew the importance of saying it well.

They didn’t use a curriculum, but here are a few things our parents did to help us develop our writing skills:

· They both speak very well. They are conscientious about what they say and the way they say it (and are both always working on improving their grammar.)

· Our mother read to us a couple of hours each day when we were little, and our father always read aloud to us at the dinner table – Scripture, and also other books, articles, letters, news items, etc.

· They encouraged us to read extensively from the best writers.

· They taught us to recognize and appreciate what makes some writing good, and some poor.

· They had us practice. Each day we would synopsize what we had read in our history, theology, science or literature reading (which had the added purpose of forcing us to pay attention, understand, process, and remember what we learned in our reading).

· They are both excellent and ruthless editors. Thanks to the high standards they held us to, we rewrote So Much More over nine times.

Incidentally, neither of us ever wanted to be writers, or, for that matter, filmmakers. We only wrote our book because we saw that there was a need for it. After it was published, we saw a need for a documentary, so our family created “The Return of the Daughters.” Both projects had the blessing of our father.

Stacy: There was a rumor circulating that your book says that girls who go to college are harlots. Did you say this or is this what you believe?

Botkin Sisters: Of course not and of course not. We are astonished that anyone would circulate such a false and destructive accusation. No, we do not believe that Scripture teaches that a woman who goes to college is a harlot. To read what we actually said and what we actually believe, click here, where we have posted our answer to this rumor in full.

Stacy: Will your own homemaking, when the time comes that you marry, be less exciting and stimulating to you than your present life? Is the life that you’re living now really going to prepare you for the roles of wife and mother?

Botkin Sisters: Those who know us only by our public appearances see only a tiny part of our life, and can’t know how much we enjoy doing the “unglamorous” work that makes a family thrive. We have laundry to wash, hungry people to feed, floors to mop, families to reach out to through hospitality, and men in the family who can always use an organizer, stenographer, editor, or someone to iron their shirts. This is our real life, and we prefer it. A few times a year we have opportunity to, in a sense, reap the harvest we have sown by writing, and it often involves going public, but to us it’s just another privilege of service, like taking a meal to a needy family. We and our parents believe this is the kind of life that will best prepare us for marriage to any kind of man.

Certainly, in several ways marriage will still be a transition, but that’s exactly what we’ve been trained to deal with. Our life has been a roller coaster of transitions from one season to another. Our parents wanted to give us an education that would prepare us for any position of service in the real world, and our life experiences have ranged from composing an orchestral score for a WWII documentary to milking cows in the mud. We don’t really see some tasks as more “glamorous” than others. All work is noble, and with the right attitude, all work is fun. We look forward to the season of morning sickness and changing diapers, as another avenue of service to God.

Our mother’s example, and the example of the Proverbs 31 woman, teaches that being an excellent helpmeet, mother, and homemaker requires training and expertise in countless different fields. Our mother excels in all the arts of homemaking, but she is so much more than a housekeeper. In order to be a real helpmeet to her husband, she needed to be ready for anything he would need her to do to help him govern their estate and disciple the nations. The Proverbs 31 woman is the model example of a woman whose activities were much broader than housekeeping – she did many works from home that praised her in the gates, in addition to keeping the house and training her children. This is the balance we are trying to strike now, to prepare us for our future roles, Lord willing, as helpmeets.

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A Thank-You Letter

In the three months since “Return of the Daughters” had its grand premiere, we have been overwhelmed with letters, testimonies, questions and encouraging feedback. Letters like the ones below are the sweetest fruit of our labors.

Dear Anna Sofia and Elizabeth,

Just two days ago I received “Return of the Daughters” as a Christmas present. I have never appreciated a gift more. It touched my heart and it reminded me that I have a role that God ordained for me, as a daughter, sister, and helpmeet in training, to play. It encouraged me to remember to fall in love with Christ during my years as a single young lady…to serve and honor my father, mother, and brother. To encourage my siblings, to want to earn their respect. I feel that I have failed to fully play my role as a sister to my brother, to encourage him completely, and to respect him. I can never, never tell you how much I appreciate this wonderful gift. May it bless and encourage young women around the world. Thank you so much!

Your Sis In Our Lord and King Christ Jesus,
M.

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Announcing the Return of the Daughters Soundtrack

Return of the Daughters Soundtrack

A musical celebration of vibrant family culture, this energetic soundtrack takes you through the messages of the film in a sweeping panorama of emotions, themes and ethnic flavors. Composed and arranged by our 18-year-old brother, Benjamin, an essential part of our team.

The soundtrack is available for sale here, in both CD and Mp3 download format. You can listen to samples of the music here.

Botkin musicians

Ben is entirely self-taught, grounding his philosophy of music in his personal study of Scripture.

Piano Improv x3

Three Botkins improvising in harmony. One piano, six hands.

Botkin Projects
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Thanks for Return of the Daughters

Here are one couple’s thoughts on our documentary. Camelia, from Romania, has the unique perspective of having been raised in a communist country, and has an interesting insight into how American culture has confused the concepts of liberty and oppression.

We received our copy of “The Return of the Daughters” this week and took the first opportunity to watch the film as a family! How encouraging and provoking! I highly recommend this documentary not just to young ladies who desire to understand what God requires of them, but to families as well, who struggle with developing a Christ centered vision for their daughters presently and in the future. The content is true to the Scripture and demonstrates the blessings that come from a biblical model of womanhood and from fathers who love their daughters too much to allow them to drink the stagnant waters of egalitarianism.

For the first 10 years of my life I was raised in a communist country by parents who had been born and lived all of their lives under communism. “College and career” was one of my first goals in life because I remember thinking about a career from a very early age. I did not grow up thinking I would marry, raise godly children and be a keeper at home. Under communism women were forced into egalitarianism to be instruments of the “Mother State for the common good”. I knew I had two options: study very hard to have a good career or end up working in one of the factories. There was never an alternative presented to me. Socialist governments want women in the work force as much as men and the family is a tool of production. Fathers do not provide vision for their children, but rather leave it up to the State. I am often times shocked to see that what was seen as oppression in the Socialist Republic of Romania is called liberty here in America (even among Christians). What really hit home was a comment made by Voddie Baucham. He said, “I don’t know why we allow ourselves to be poured into the world’s mold that somehow says to go out and pour your life into a stranger in order to build the ministry or the business of a stranger, equals freedom, equals liberty, equals fulfillment; but to do so with the man whom God has entrusted you as your father is a waste.” As stated in the documentary we do live in times of transition and God has been faithful bringing me through that transition. At 19, while in college, God sent a wonderful man to me from the other side of the world. We were married when I was 20. I left college, in pursuit of my husband and have never felt that I somehow missed something or settled for less. Looking back I am thankful that God has given me a purpose so much greater than the vanity of that first pursuit. Now, with three girls and one baby boy in the way I am so thankful that, by God’s grace, our family will be the transition point to many generations to come. -Camelia

“The Return of the Daughters” provides such a timely message to a culture that has made it popular to force our daughters into an ungodly egalitarianism, thereby robbing so many of their God given liberty and purpose in our homes. This film is salt and light to an unlit Christian culture that has lost its savor. The Botkin family has done a wonderful job of bringing families together to provide a rich and powerful testament of Biblical womanhood in the Christian home! May God give an increase beyond measure. It will be a family favorite for generations to come. –Elijah

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Our Sisters in India

Here is a letter we just received from a pastor in India. This hurting nation should be in our prayers, not only because of the oppressive spiritual darkness there, but because it is emerging to possibly become the world’s cultural leader before the end of the century, replacing China as the strongest economy, and influencing all English-speaking nations with a barrage of new media.

Pastor E.S. has asked us to pray for him. In many parts of India Christians are martyred regularly, and women are terribly oppressed. Pastor E.S. has seen more horrific widespread abuse and devaluation of women than most Americans will ever see, either in their own country or through the politically-correct filters of American media.

Pastor E.S. contacted us out of the blue because he sees the importance of teaching fathers to value their daughters and invest highly in their extensive education and training for their important role in society.

Dear Sister Elizabeth and Anna

I am greatly blessed by your encouragement word.

As Servant of God I am very much interested to raise the Indian Women to come forward and serve Him. So many Churches have restricted women in a low estate so therefore they have no freedom of Grace. I have seen in India many pastors do not educate theirs daughters… Many Indian parents when they came know that baby is female they do abortion in City and in rural village they just kill the baby or they throw into the River.

Lord has given me the burden to stand a Candle in the darkness of all evils my primary burden is to save the female babies and women’s from family torture and worse.

Please send your DVD to me I will broadcast it in Television in India.

As women of God see how you can help our Indian women to become the Disciple of Christ.

Thanking you

Your brother in Christ

Pastor ES

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Return of the Daughters: Final Update

Return of the Daughters

Our documentary, “The Return of the Daughters,” has been completed. We thank the Lord for His strength and grace, and we thank you all for your prayers.

It is now available for sale here: http://www.firstpacificmedia.com/store/

“The Return of the Daughters” will be having its World Family Premiere at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival on Friday, October 26, 2007.

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Interview with the Botkin sisters

Stacy McDonald, author of Raising Maidens of Virtue, will be conducting an interview with us in a few weeks, and is soliciting suggestions for questions from her readers.

From her blog, “Your Sacred Calling”:

Several weeks from now, I will be interviewing the Botkin sisters; and in a way, so will you! Starting today, I’m inviting my readers to send in their questions regarding the Botkins’ book, So Much More. In addition, if you have questions regarding the everyday lives or beliefs of Anna Sofia or Elizabeth, this is your time to ask them!

All questions should be sent to me at Botkin Interview Questions by October 23rd. Please note, questions will be compiled, integrated, and edited as needed for space and brevity. Please keep your questions direct, brief, and gracious. Questions will not be accepted during or after the interview. Please send your questions on or before the aforementioned date.

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