Newsletters 2010

December 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. November was a wonderful month of ministry and yet it was one filled with some sorrow.

The kid’s retreat at Acadian Baptist Center was a great time. There were about 70 kids or so and it was an all out jam session for Friday and Saturday morning. Lot’s of fun! The 48 hr. revival meeting held outside Clanton, AL, was exciting as we saw many come to Christ. Everything was to finish up for the calendar year on Sunday the 21st in Anniston, AL, but that booking never happened. That appearance was cancelled on my part as a result of the sorrow I mentioned at the beginning of this letter.

As most of you have been made aware over the past few letters, Patty’s mom was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor the latter part of October and the Lord took her home on Saturday, November 20th. The family was present in the hospital room and we are so thankful that God showed His mercy and she didn’t struggle any more than 5 ½ weeks. Patty was with her mom and dad and tended to every need until the last week of her life when she was hospitalized. Still, with only the rarest exception, Patty spent all her time with her mom until the end. Mrs. Helen Shurley was buried on Tuesday, November 23rd. Just in case you are interested in a memorial gift, we are directing people to give to the Mississippi Baptist Children’s Village. 114 Marketridge Dr. Ridgeland, Mississippi 39157. Understand, please, this is not a request, just information.

We appreciate your prayers as we move forward from here. At this time, Patty plans on helping her dad finalize things then taking him to his chemo treatment (remember, he is still fighting lymphoma) on Wednesday before heading home on Thursday. I am home and will be busy rehearsing then playing in the orchestra for Hillcrests’ Living Christmas Tree Program.

You may remember that last year we decided not to take any bookings for December to rest and spend time with our supportive church family and friends but when others heard about that decision, I ended up with about 8 different programs with civic organizations, charity programs, and church Christmas parties. We enjoyed each one but Patty put down the law and said that either we are going to rest and enjoy our church family and friends or we are going to travel. So……we are not taking any bookings this December. Stay in touch with us and have a blessed holiday season!

We love you and thank you for your love and support,


November 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s been quite an eventful last few weeks both with ministry and with family so I’m just a day or so later than usual getting this to you. Let me cover the ministry recap first.

The “Refresh Conference” in Mobile went well. The congregation was sweet and was seeking ways to grow and reach out. After a local senior adult luncheon on the following Thursday, Patty headed to Yazoo City to be with her mom and dad as I prepared to the Kid’s Weekend in AR. I headed to Yazoo City on that Wed. to see dad who had been in the hospital for 4 weeks with congestive heart failure. Patty’s mom was having some real difficulties and seemingly digressing from the stroke suffered in September. As I was driving to AR, Patty called me from Baptist Hospital where a neurologist’s tests revealed an inoperable malignant brain tumor in her mom. There have been dramatic changes in her mom just the past 2 weeks as this awful disease works its way through. This has been very difficult in all aspects as I try and continue the ministry and Patty ministers to her parents. I don’t have to tell you how divided I feel at times.

Well, the AR event went fine as did the revival in GA at the end of the month. God is faithful and we appreciate your prayers in every aspect. This month, the ministry calendar will close out on the 21st. After that I am helping my church with the Christmas program. We’ll see what God has planned.


October 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are so very thankful for your prayer support throughout this past quarter of ministry. God continued to use this ministry in so many ways as we went from Community Celebrations to fruitful Kid’s Camps then on to a Family weekend in the Cayman Islands and finishing with back to back revivals.

I’ll try and not be too wordy to fill you in on everything happening with us. We are so blessed to see God work and use us in so many different venues. Our time in the Caymans was such a blessed event. We arrived in Grand Cayman Thursday evening and began early Friday with a school program. Friday evening was the first meeting of the school year for the Youth Bible Study where they gather for games, food, and Bible Study. I did a 30 minute devotion to close the evening.

Saturday morning was kid’s day and of course there were moms and dads everywhere so along with a really fun program of music and ventriloquism came a great opportunity to reach those parents.

Sunday morning began early as I had the privilege to play my horn at a 7 a.m. baptismal service in the ocean. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and an equally beautiful service as we saw a young mother and her son baptized and another grandmother, her son, and her grandson.

Following the special Sunday morning service of praise and worship and observance of the Lord’s Supper we got on a little “puddle jumper” and flew to the small island of Cayman Brac. There had never been a time, as far as anyone knew, when all the churches gathered in a joint worship service until that Sunday night. We reserved the little civic center and called all churches to join us as I led in worship through my horns, vocal solos and ventriloquism. On this small island we had over 300 come together in a really special evening concluding with a call to prayer and the altar filled. It was a wonderful time. Early Monday morning we flew back to Grand Cayman and took a couple of days for ourselves. It was a wonderful time of ministry for sure. Pray for Pastor Randy and Cayman Islands Baptist Church as they continue the work.

Many of you have been praying for Patty’s dad and his cancer treatments. Things are going well and he seems to be responding to the treatments. However, while we were in the Caymans, her mom suffered a stroke. She is showing signs of improvement and would appreciate your prayers. As a matter of fact, Patty is currently doing a juggling act that would rival anything you would see in the circus between our household, ministry, and her parents.

My father was hospitalized this past Monday with congestive heart failure and is not doing well at all in the hospital in Yazoo City. We would like to see him continue treatment in Jackson as would his cardiologist (whose office is there) but he is not stable enough to move as of this writing. It’s really amazing to see how quickly he seems to be going down. Praise the Lord we know God is faithful in all things and we trust Him and ask that you join us in prayer!

Blessings and Love,


September 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank you for all the prayers on our behalf. Things are going well and we are seeing many come to the Kingdom and others committing to a closer walk with Him.

One of the prayer requests that we list regularly is for “ministry opportunities”. Not too long ago Patty and I were sitting in our den just looking at each other and the thought occurred to us that God was answering our prayers but in ways that we didn’t expect.

While the opportunities for this ministry continue to come in many varieties, we’ve seen other doors open. God has given us the blessing and freedom to minister to our parents as the needs present themselves. Most of you are aware and have been praying for Patty’s mom and dad. Her dad’s cancer is responding to treatment and we are so grateful. Her mom is continuing, we believe, to experience some mini-strokes. We base this on small changes that some from outside might not notice yet seem obvious to us. She is going through a number of tests and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and diagnosis for the physicians.

We are finding ourselves in a position that is no different than anyone else our age when blessed to still have their parents so we embrace these times with His joy. Just pray that God will give us time in our schedules to do His work. We have managed to get our computer working on remote so Patty has a bit more freedom to head to Yazoo City as needed and I can operate my programs by myself so it’s just a matter of finding that delicate balance.

Now, after a wonderful month of ministry, the schedule is loaded with great opportunities. We will fly to Grand Cayman on Thursday to work with our friends at Cayman Island Baptist Church. This is the same church plant we worked with in January 2009 and they have experienced tremendous growth so we are looking forward to seeing it first-hand.

After that, it’s fall revival time with back to back meetings so you know how to pray there, right? Vocal strength!! We love you!



August 2010

Hi Friends,

First, I must apologize for the delay in the letter. I just got home from a lengthy road trip where I had no internet and cell service. Really out there, gang!

It was a wonderful July as we ministered in VBS and camps. We finished the month in consecutive kids camps where we saw many kids come to Christ. It was such a blessing to lead the kids in worship and see, multiple times, spontaneous uplifting of hands in genuine praise. One of the children’s ministers told me about one of his kids being saved. He told me of the deep emotion and tears she was experiencing and that when she was able to talk she told him that although she had made a decision 2 years before, it was during the music worship that night that she realized she was lost. Praise the Lord!

It was tiring but really awesome! My voice held out until I finished. Literally! The day following the camps I had nothing left but, praise the Lord, it was strong throughout.

Most of you are aware that Patty is not traveling with me at this time. Her efforts and energy are primarily spent with the bookkeeping of the L.L.C. and her parents. She has been “burning up the roads” between home and Yazoo City, MS, so if you are looking for specificity in your prayers, it is travel safety for her and healing for her dad and mom. Her father is being treated for lymphoma and the chemo is creating other issues. Her mom has experienced what we think is a mini stroke as a result of the stress. She will be headed to a neurologist follow-up exam next Wednesday.

We don’t know how long or how regular this will be going on but we know it is only for a season and God is in control.

The ministry schedule is varied this month. Everything begins with a revival meeting then there’s a senior adult luncheon and a kids concert so we are excited about the many ways God is using this ministry.

We love you,


July 2010

Hi Friends,

Well, in May our plan was to stay home and prepare for the summer as I had mentioned in the previous newsletter. We didn’t have to turn down any bookings, God just didn’t prompt anyone to call.

Late in the month Patty’s dad was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She left the last week to be there and help set up doctors visits, biopsy, and treatment as well as work with the insurance companies.  God is so good. You can imagine how “torn” she would be trying to travel during that time.

Of course our first VBS was in Yazoo City and since that’s where our folks are she was able to work with me and we saw a number of children give their hearts to Christ.  Following that VBS, there was a break for her dad of a week before the first oncologist appointment so she went with me to the Baton Rouge VBS. We saw 39 children come to Christ there.  Folks, God is still on His throne.  He is using this ministry in ways that are blessing us far and above all we could ask.

Her dad will undergo a bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday, June 29th, then have a follow-up with the oncologist and discuss treatment on Wednesday July 7th.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we “balance” all that God has before us.

This next month VBS and kid’s camps fill the calendar so your prayers are much appreciated.

One last thing…my friends at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA, (Facing the Giants and Fireproof) have asked me to pass on the following site.  Exciting news!!

June 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is so good to be back in touch with you and let you know everything that has been going on with this ministry.

I would first like to begin this letter with a special thanks to all the men and women of our armed forces that have dedicated their lives to protect our freedoms both home and abroad. Some have even made the ultimate sacrifice and I am truly grateful for their willingness to lay down their lives so I might have the freedoms I experience each day. Thank you, also, to the spouses left to keep things running at home. May God bless and keep you all.

It has been quite a month. Our original plan (in our minds) was to “take the month off to prepare for VBS”. Ha! While that has been a portion of the work involved, it just touches the surface. In fact, we didn’t even have to turn down any engagements. With the exception of 2 local banquets, no calls came in for May. Once that fact became evident, we knew God had kept it clear for a purpose.

The first step was preparing for those two banquets. The banquets were for the kids’ ministry of Ridgecrest Baptist Church and we had a good time with them. A Father/Daughter evening entitled, “The Princess and the Kiss” taken from a beautiful little book about purity was on Friday then the Mother/Son night entitled “The Squire and the Scroll” from another book by the same author focusing on honor and honesty.

Then we began the paperwork on becoming John Yates Ministry, L.L.C. Lots behind that decision (including much prayer by us and our warriors) but suffice it to say it was a necessary move for us and one directed by God. Of course, you have the “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” thing going on so changing the way we’ve done things for the past 24 years of this ministry is taking some time. We have some wonderful help with our attorney, Gary, our accountant Suzanne as well as our next door neighbor Donald who is a retired accountant with a car dealership. There is definitely a learning curve but things are already falling into place.

About a week ago, Patty’s dad went to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor concerning a lump in his neck. He was scheduled for a biopsy this past Tuesday (May 25) so Patty drove to Yazoo City. He is scheduled for a follow up visit with the surgeon this Wednesday (June 2) and with an oncologist on Friday. The surgeon said he’s never seen this particular tumor/cancer in someone who didn’t smoke. We are not sure what God is doing in all of this but know He is faithful and we rejoice in that fact. Pray for James Shurley.

As you can see, God knew our plate was going to be pretty full this past month and He allowed us to get these things in place before the busy summer schedule.

Now it’s that season of wonderful ministry and harvest. VBS. I will begin the season at First Baptist in Yazoo City. The pastor has asked me to take the morning service so I will be speaking in the church where I was raised. I’m looking forward to it and we will be doing Vacation Bible School beginning that Monday.

From there to Baton Rouge and our friends at Parkview Baptist Church where we have spent so many wonderful days of ministry over the years.

Pray for this time. It is really a great opportunity and one where we see many children come to Christ.


May 2010

Hi friends!  Another amazing month has past and God is continuing to work in so many wonderful ways.  There was a sweet fellowship northwest of Gulfport, MS, who really put an all out effort in reaching their community for Christ during the special Easter weekend. Although they were somewhat disappointed with the turnout, it was still a very good crowd and one child gave her heart to Jesus.

The following weekend was spent south of Ruston, LA.  Again, the small congregation of Hodge Baptist Church spent much money and personal energy in reaching its community and yet the crowd was very small.  Everyone was disappointed but our time together with the “home folks” really went well and it was a real blessing.

The revival at Neshoba Baptist was a good meeting.  I don’t suppose a pastor ever sees the movement he desires but the meeting was well attended and there was a small movement at the invitation in each service.  God knows what was done and I’m glad He’s the one in control of all.

We went from there to Pontotoc, MS, to begin a crusade hosted by West Heights Baptist Church.  While in route, we received word of the tornado in Yazoo City.  We were so very blessed when we heard that both sets of parents were ok although it was a bit close for comfort.  Pray for the city as they put things back together.  God worked in supernatural ways in Pontotoc as we saw 127 professions of faith and many, many other decisions for Christ.  It was a really special move of God and a blessing to be a part.

We are spending this month preparing for the upcoming summer schedule as well as resting.  Your prayers have placed us in many “God moments” and we are grateful. Please pray that I am able to prepare exactly what He wants me to share.

One final thought…we are praying about whether to form a 501c3 (not for profit) or an L.L.C.  So many of you have blessed us in the past with gifts and we want to make sure things are done properly. Pray for wisdom and I’ll keep you updated.

As always, keep in touch. You are a blessing!


April 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I pray, as always, this letter finds you well.

This past month was a whirlwind.  I want to thank you for your prayers during the heavy schedule for without them I have no doubt I would have had a difficult time.

Many of you are aware that Patty was unable to travel with me this past month.  She had a virus that was imbedded in her immune system and at the first sign of fatigue or stress would manifest itself.  Well, having missed the first 2 revivals of the 6 (held the last 2 weeks of Feb.), she was eager to do whatever the doctors said and they recommended bed rest.  She began to feel better and get her strength back so she placed on her “radar” the last meeting of the schedule, Mar. 21.  Her plan was to drive to Meridian on that Saturday and meet me there for the week.  That was her plan but God’s plan was different.  While driving through Montgomery, she was involved in an accident.  She was rear ended and pushed into the vehicle in front of her.  She turned around and drove back home.  She’s doing well now and looking forward to the next trip with me.

God moved throughout the meetings and your prayers were a direct contributor so I want to thank you.  Again, I encourage you to follow the blog while I am on the road.  I will give you an update on the ministry and specific ways in which to pray.

We love you and praise God for you.


March 2010

Hi friends and thank you for your prayers this past month.  God worked in so many wonderful ways and your prayers were so much a part of it all.

We had the usual banquets of fun and fellowship that we typically have in the month of February as well as a mission’s conference that was successful in spite of the snow.  We missed the Friday night kickoff because of the weather.  I just had to laugh as I thought about the circumstances.  There I was in Yazoo City, MS, and snow kept me from going even further south.  Not sure that I’ve ever missed an engagement or at least part of one due to a “snow out” in Yazoo City.  Quite a weather event for the south, wasn’t it?

Finally, I want to tell you about the glorious revival meeting in Tuscaloosa.  It was a church wide meeting and I was brought in to do a simultaneous kid’s effort while “big church” was going on.  Well, the kid’s ministry at Valley View is a very active one and the children’s minister, Tammy, told me she had a number of children on the verge of making decisions for Christ.  It was an overwhelming blessing to see 52 children, by Wednesday’s closing service, come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  Again, thank you for the prayer coverage.

The upcoming revival meetings will keep me quite busy and are sure to tax me physically.  I am doing both the music and preaching in each of the upcoming meetings.

I know that most of you have been keeping up, somewhat, with Patty and this infection we can’t seem to get a grip on.  2 separate sets of blood tests in 2 separate months with still no definitive answers are leaving us a bit frustrated.  She will miss her 2nd consecutive meeting and that’s difficult.  We are hoping she won’t be missing any more but that is uncertain at the very least.  We would appreciate your prayers on this matter.

Please keep up with the blog and this will give you “target information” to pray about.  Again, you can find the blog at our website: and the left icon, JYM Blog.  I will always post following the service each evening.

We love you,

February 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I pray this letter finds you well.  We have had a memorable month, to say the least.

I’m not sure how many of you follow our blog, which is a great way to join us in prayer. We will give you specific prayer requests that pertain to the event we are involved with at the time. We began our month with our friends in south Louisiana bringing in the new year. Lots of celebration, worship, and of course, food so it was a great time.

The revival we were a part of in Vaiden, MS, was exciting as we saw “over capacity” crowds (yes, chairs were crammed in and people were placed in the choir loft just for seating) and at last count, 96 professions of faith.  It really was a super natural movement of the Lord and worth going to the blog just to follow the thread and see what God did. Go to the web site;, and the left icon JYM Blog will give you access.

On the 17th we had a kids celebration day at FBC in Enterprise and the leadership was pleased at the number of children as we sang and my friends showed up.

The revival in Brookhaven was extremely well attended. Some life long members believed it actually could have been the best attended revival ever.  The church is really growing and has a great staff.  There was the sense of a “break-out” nearly every night and although that didn’t happen, there were many at the altar each night and the pastor felt like, from some he had counseled, that revival did happen. Praise the Lord.  We left there on Friday morning (the revival went through Thursday) and drove to Yazoo City to spend the night and check on parents before heading to Hazelhurst, MS, for a 5th Sunday program in the a.m.  On the way to Yazoo, Patty began feeling worse and worse and all we can figure is she got a dose of food poisoning because she was as sick as I ever remember seeing her.  I was really close to taking her to the hospital when everything began settling down.  On Saturday, she remained in Yazoo City to take it easy and I drove on to Hazelhurst to set up for the Sunday service.  I am currently in Hazelhurst and I plan on driving to Yazoo City after the service to pick her up and head home for some much anticipated “home” time.  Yes, quite a month.  Now you see why we need your prayers?

The schedule begins to pick up now so your prayers are especially appreciated. Beginning the 21st, we have 5 consecutive revival meetings, 4 of which I will be doing both leading in worship and preaching.  Please follow the blog so you can join us in praying specifically.

Take care, friends, and stay in touch!

We love you,

January 2010

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I pray, as always, that this letter finds you and your family well.  Happy New Year, by the way.  It seems that I just sent you the “I can’t believe it’s 2009 already” letter.  Time is certainly flying by and all the more reason to “ramp up” all our efforts to reach the lost for Christ.  Let’s agree in spirit to be all God wants us to be and that this year will be one of unprecedented harvesting and fruit-bearing.

Our schedule through summer of 2010 has given us affirmation from the Lord.  We are as busy as I can remember so please begin praying now and we would be so blessed if you could make us part of your daily prayer time.  I know some of you already do and for that we are truly grateful.

We don’t know, of course, all God has in store but He has given us one opportunity abroad this year and another in the planning stages.  We will keep you posted on these events as the time nears and just ask you to join us in prayer for wisdom, provision, and His leadership above all.

We love you and count you among God’s best He has chosen to give us.


Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that if the constellations appeared only once in a thousand years, what an exciting event it would be. Because they’re there every night, we barely look.

“Don’t lose the wonder,” Gipsy Smith said. God’s mercies are new every morning, and his Word is fresh every day.

You, Lord, are all I want!I praise you,
Lord, for being my guide.
Even in the darkest night,
Your teachings fill my mind.
With all my heart, I will celebrate,
And I can safely rest.
You have shown me the path to life,
And you make me glad by being near to me.
Sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful.
Psalm 16:5a,7,9,11


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