Newsletters 2013

December 2013

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and Merry Christmas! Another year of ministry is coming to a close and we stand in amazement and thankfulness at all the Lord did through this ministry.

We know you’ve been praying for this ministry and are aware of the vocal fatigue and things like that. Toward the end of the October road trip, I called home to make an appointment with my Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor to examine my vocal cords just to make sure I didn’t have anything more serious than just fatigue. So we arrived home and I went to see him. After a scoping it was discovered I had the beginning of nodules on the cords. It was recommended that I take the month of November in silence. Yep, that means not even putting myself in a social setting of any kind so as not to be tempted to speak. This seems like a wonderful idea at first mention but for me it’s really been frustrating. I’m thankful that there is texting because Patty is terrible at charades. Oh my gosh, we just have to laugh. Of course, it could be that I’m not any good with the clue portion of the game. Nevertheless, texting it is…on my side of things anyway.

With this adjustment also means I must be a little more deliberate in scheduling future opportunities. This is where I could use our prayers. For 28 years of this ministry, we have taken opportunities on a “first come (call) first served” basis and have always felt that each opportunity was a divine appointment. God has always given us what we need and each time there has been an opening in the schedule, there’s always been a reason whether rest, illness, or just time to “regroup”. Clearly there will be some changes upcoming in this ministry and we just look to be faithful. I’m afraid that it appears the DVD project will be put on the back burner once again. That’s ok for it is a clear answer to prayer. We’ve asked you to join us in praying for this project and God has answered.

Patty’s dad is doing so well that his oncologist is suspending his chemo treatments until she sees him again in January. We are so excited about this and know that it’s the Lord doing His thing and honoring the prayers of His children. We seek His will first and are so grateful that His will seems to be in this direction right now.

And now, as we look to December opportunities, Lord willing, we will be able to fulfill our 2014 schedule to the glory of God. Thank you for your prayers as we seek His will.

Have a blessed Christmas season,

November 2013

Hi friends. We appreciate all the prayers this past month as we were able to see God work in so many ways and in so many lives. We thank you for remembering us as we ministered to Patty’s dad and my mom in the midst of everything. God has enabled us to do all these things and we are blessed and privileged in each area.

The end of October was quite an exciting time as we ministered in 3 churches, an elementary school and a Jr. College Campus…all in the span of 10 days. God has given my voice what it needs for each event and for that we are truly grateful. As a matter of fact, my voice is the reason for the delay in this letter. You see, I just met with my ENT today to check on the weakness and frustration I’ve been experiencing since August. I have the beginnings of nodules but he told me that it is “fixable” so I am to take this month off, speak in low relaxed tones and go from there. Some decisions will be made as to the future but God’s got it, so it’s all good. 

November’s schedule of opportunities is light, and although we don’t know His plans, we know that vocal rest will be on the schedule as well as planning and prep work on the new DVD project. So, there will be lots to do for sure. Patty’s father continues his chemo treatments so there will always be the time to run to Yazoo City a couple of times.

October 2013

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful month of ministry in September as we lead worship in revival services in AR and lead simultaneous kid’s services for the second revival in Anniston, AL. We saw 3 professions of faith in those meetings and many other decisions as people yielded to His leadership.

As you can see, by a glimpse of the upcoming schedule, things continue to be busy. We love each opportunity, feeling as though each request could be a divine appointment, but my voice has still been a bit of an issue. God is giving me what I need and for that I am truly grateful so we sure would appreciate your prayers as we seek His clear direction in this ministry.

As I send this out, Patty is preparing for a trip to Philadelphia/New York. Her college roommate, in whom she has remained in touch thanks to email/cell/and FB, has a son getting married. Patty has wanted to get up there for a visit, so for this special occasion and for a little birthday gift, she is going up for a week. I’m going to take a few days in south LA for a little fishing and focus.

September 2013

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s wonderful to be able to send you this letter and tell you thanks! Thank you for your constant prayers on behalf of this ministry. As you are aware, the summer ministry was really busy, we saw many come to Christ and as we ministered to families this past month we witnessed many drawing closer to Christ in a commitment to be what God desires. It was a sweet time.

I realize this letter is a week early but we are heading out for some time with friends. This will be a time to recharge the batteries and have some sweet fellowship. We will finish the week by presenting this ministry in the morning worship service on Sept. 1. I simply don’t want to take the time this next week to send this letter. (Not that I’m selfish or anything, ha ha)

This month we move to revivals. For the meeting in Hampton, AR, I will be leading the worship. For the meeting in Anniston, AL, I will be leading simultaneous services for the kids of Anniston. Pray that hearts will be open and the message clear.

We are continuing to balance the ministry with trips to Yazoo City. Patty’s father has begun his 3rd round of chemo. A new drug has been introduced this time and he seems to be tolerating it pretty well. We are keeping a close eye on everything. Mom is staying quite busy serving on the prayer committee at the church as well as personnel committee and the newly formed pastor search committee. As of today, she is fighting off an early dose of pneumonia. Yep…she’s feeling pretty poorly but is under the doctor’s care, with some heavy antibiotics and at home resting. We’re keeping close contact there as well.

So…lots going on. Hey, things are beginning to move forward and I’ve begun the early planning stages for the new DVD project. We sure would appreciate your prayers for complete clarity.

August 2013

Hi Friends,

It was a wonderful July of ministry as we wrapped up our summer schedule of VBS and Camp. We were so blessed to see many kids come to a saving knowledge of Christ and are so thankful we were given that privilege. 

I know there are many of you who have followed our blog throughout the summer and know that as the end of summer neared, my voice really began struggling. Your prayers enabled me to get through and, in fact, I seemed to get a little stronger when needed. Thank you Lord!

It was at this last camp when, during the worship part of the service one day, I noticed a young guy come walking up and sit down in the back of the worship center. When it came time for the ventriloquism spot I did the skit I had prepared and as I came toward the end of it the Lord led me to tie in the story of Jonah with it. While that story fit in ok, it really didn’t point in the overall direction I was headed. Following the service, the young man came straight up to me, introduced himself and asked; “Can I ask you a question? What made you do that skit about Jonah when your message went in another direction?” The only answer was God. He explained that he is a former youth minister for the pastor I was working with and is pastoring now himself. For 3 weeks he’s been meeting with his former pastor and praying with him. This young man has been dealing with a church to become their pastor and things are going so well for him where he is that he is having a very difficult time following the Lord’s leadership. He said when I began the Jonah part of the story his mouth just dropped. He even said; “It seems to have taken a dummy to speak to a dummy”. Ha ha Praise the Lord! 

This month is all about the family and fall kickoff to church programs. Basically with the latter, it’s a concert for kids and their families as they register for kids choirs, AWANA, Team Kids, or R.A./G.A.’s. Should be lots of fun.

We still are looking and praying toward a fall DVD project so join us in this and we would be deeply grateful.

Again, thank you for the prayer coverage and we are blessed by your support during this very busy time.


July 2013

Hi Friends.

It was an exciting month of ministry as we led 3 VBS’s and saw a number of children come to Christ. We began in Yazoo City then to Forest, MS, and on to Tyler, TX. As I send this letter, we are finishing up Tyler and heading out to Mansfield, TX, where we are doing a Family Day on Sunday. We are thankful for the lives changed and the opportunity to be a part of it all.

The month of July is filled with Kid’s Camps as you can well see by our schedule. First, an Associational Kid’s Camp in Dyersburg, TN, then the Summer Music and Arts Camp for Kids (known as S.M.A.C.K.), held on the campus of William Carey University in Hattisburg, MS, by the MS Baptist Convention then on to a camp put together to involve several churches in the Brookhaven, MS, area. As you can imagine, this will continue very heavy travel and vocal requirements so we sure do appreciate your prayers!

On the personal side of things, tests have indicated the return of Mr. Shurley’s cancer. This is beginning the 3rd time around so we ask you to pray for the Dr’s wisdom in the next plan of attack. Obviously, we don’t know the future we are secure in the ONE who does.

One other thing, we are looking at a potential new project this fall. Pray for wisdom and God’s provision. No other info at this time. God knows. Thanks.

We are always blessed by the occasional notes of encouragement and acknowledgement of prayer as well as the “likes” on the facebook page telling us you are following the work God is doing through us and that blesses us so much.

In His Love

June 2013

Here we are once again. We find ourselves right on the eve of another incredible list of ministry opportunities for the summer. Typically, the summer schedule is the most difficult of our year, physically, but also the most fruitful. In fact, for years I’ve wanted to attend the N.A.A.V. (North American Association of Ventriloquists) national convention. It occurs every year just south of Cincinnati, OH, the first weekend following July 4th. Knowing the valuable opportunity before me with kids all over the country and some overseas, I’ve never felt the freedom to give up that time to attend a convention. God has blessed this decision over and over through the years. Ha, I’m not really sure why I just told you all that, guess I’m just sharing my heart. Pray for a harvest, will you? And while you’re at it, please keep up with us on the blog which you can access through the website and follow us on Facebook. I will be doing my best to keep you up to date on how to most specifically pray for us and this ministry.

I’m looking forward to beginning our summer ministry in a somewhat unique way. On June 2, I will be preaching in the pulpit that my dad occupied for 30 years. This will be a special time, for sure. You can begin praying about that day now! Thanks!

On the personal front, Patty’s dad’s cancer looks to be making a return visit. I say that way because it was his alertness to notice a swelling of the neck area the last 2 times and told Patty last night that he is noticing the swelling once again. Fortunately, he is scheduled for his normal check up on Friday, June 7th, and because we are in Yazoo City that week for VBS, Patty will be able to take him to that appointment. He is at home and for the most part has a sitter that comes in from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. cooking a noon meal. Other than that, he’s doing everything himself. We can’t thank you enough for your prayers for him and for us as we continue balancing everything. It seems there will be some more shuffling of the schedule and such if tests prove out. We will continue to get through Yazoo City often during our summer travels to check on both her dad and my mom.

May 2013

Hi friends. It was a wonderful month of ministry as we saw God work in many ways. We were able to be a part of God’s work in 2 different revival efforts as I directed worship in one and did both the preaching and worship leading in the other. We are so thankful for each opportunity and that included the Sunday following the last revival.

Rev. Jerrell Dawson and I met at the TN pastors conference at Carson Newman College, Jefferson, TN, back in 1991. In ’92 he asked me to come to his church in Maury City, TN. That began a wonderful friendship and partnership in ministry. For all these years, he has given me the opportunity to minister in his church both at Maury City then Gates, TN, up until his retirement. Following that time, we’ve wanted to minister together but as he fulfilled his calling of the interim pastor, that time seemed past. When I was in the Dyersburg area back in January, we visited and I told him I really wanted to minister to him and his small church that he is now leading. He is the “permanent interim”. In other words, he is happy there, they are happy with him and not searching. Although uncertain of the future, as we all are, I told him that I wanted to do this for him and if he was not serving there when April 28th came we would just call it off. Well, he was there. I held over for a few days in the area and we enjoyed a great day of ministry. Thank you to all my partners whose gifts enable me to give back. What a blessing!

In the midst of that week, I also had the invitation to do a school assembly. The schools in TN were in state testing last week and that ended on Thursday. On Friday afternoon, as the last event of the day and an attempt by the administration to reward the kids, the entire student body gathered (all 800 or so) and we had a blast. Lots of fun!

The Yazoo area of this ministry is continuing moving forward. On Monday, April 29th, Patty’s dad was released from the rehab/swingbed facility that he had been in since Jan 21st. He is doing really well and we are so very thankful for all the prayers and care he has received. She will be returning home (Enterprise) tomorrow as her brother is coming in from Atlanta for a week to give her a break. There is also the home health care organization and a wonderful lady from the church that will be coming in each day. God has worked it all out and we are so very grateful.

The May calendar has only two events on it but I’ll be spending the remainder of that time learning and planning for VBS that will begin the first week of June.

We cherish your friendship and prayers and thank you for your support that enables us to following His leadership.



April 2013

Greetings, friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we celebrate The Resurrection, we are so very thankful for the newness of life we have through Jesus. “Though our outer man is decaying, our inward man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)

We thank you for your faithfulness in lifting this ministry before Him when He brings us to your mind. Although our road schedule has been a bit thin, God has been so faithful in supplying all our needs. We’ve had opportunities of ministry with our home church and have taken advantage of some down time to work on new music and messages as well as some home “fix-it” things that have needed attention.

Of course, Patty’s attention has been divided between her dad and the ministry. God has been faithful there too and Mr. Shurley is responding to the physical therapy, gaining strength daily. She will be heading to Yazoo City on Wednesday to handle some business there before driving to northeast MS to join me for revival services beginning Sunday.

We have two revival meetings this month as well as 2 one day events and so we ask that you pray for this ministry to be as effective for the Kingdom as possible. We love and appreciate you and pray God’s richest blessings on you and your family.

March 2013

Greetings, friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We appreciate your prayers as we fulfill God’s plan for our lives. There is much to report but I won’t spend the letter telling you everything. We have been able to get some things accomplished during time at home that were sorely needed. I have been working on new music and skit ideas and we’ve been able to get some new publicity photos done. We are excited about that and you can view them on the website; or the ministry facebook page; John Yates Ministry LLC.

Patty has spent a great deal of time with her dad through a hospitalization and current swing bed/phys therapy housing. He is doing fairly well but spirits are down just a bit as he is getting home sick and tired of the therapy 2 times a day. Patty is home right now but will be heading out again in about a week. She’s alternating weeks at home and in Yazoo City and as she is pretty much in charge of his medical care, will continue an “every other week” type schedule. Sure would appreciate your prayers as she tries to balance his care as well as the things here with the ministry. I’m trying to take as much off her as I can on this end so your prayers are needed for wisdom, peace, and direction.

The ministry schedule has been and continues to be a bit thin but as I said earlier, this is allowing us to handle other things as well as ministry. Since dad died a year ago, March 5th, mom has been wanting to come down for a visit. She is convinced she could drive it herself, we just don’t want to see that so I am headed to pick her up on the 10th, bring her back down on the 11th, and Patty will take her back on the 15th when she goes to check in on her dad. This should be a good time for us all.

Again, things right now are kinda weird or unusual, to say the least, but that’s a life of faith after all. May we be found faithful.

February 2013

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We praise the Lord for you and your support as we follow His leadership in our life and ministry. Our time in Dyersburg, TN, with the Baptist Association’s Youth Project, “The Jerusalem Project”, was a great experience. I preached to around 400 students and saw God do some wonderful things. Other than that, this past month has been “peculiar” at best. I say that for the amount of time we’ve spent at home. There have been many blessings for sure, as we do necessary work on our house (i.e. kitchen upgrade and bedroom painting) and some prep work on the ministry.

We’ve been able to get some new publicity photos done which have been needed. The only photo not done at this point is a new one of my “friends”. That is scheduled for next Tuesday so hopefully it will be out soon. Dunaway Studios here in Enterprise is doing all the photos and they are the best! Thanks Tommy and Shawn. You can see them, by the way, on the website, and on the ministry Facebook page,

Speaking of the facebook page, take a minute if you feel led, and go to the page to give us a “like”. This will help spread this ministry outside our current reach.  That would be helpful and much appreciated.

January 2013

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Happy New Year! We rejoice and are blessed to be beginning our 27th year of this evangelistic ministry. I know I say this at the beginning of every year, but I am amazed and so blessed by the Lord to still be traveling the country and even beyond our coastlines, to other parts of the world, preaching, singing, and using my “friends” to share the Gospel message.

We’ve asked for your prayers throughout the year. You have faithfully petitioned the Lord for lives to come to Jesus, for travel safety, wisdom in scheduling events and strength to do the work. You’ve remembered us during Patty’s dad’s 2 year battle with lymphoma and the death of my father in March. We have witnessed God work in ways too numerous to recall and your prayers on our behalf have been a major factor and blessing. Thank you.

Our schedule for this first quarter is somewhat sparse as of this writing. We are praying for God’s desires, whether it’s travel, project preparation, or helping parents. God knows already so we are trusting Him in all things.

We pray that 2013 offers you many opportunities to show and share the love of our Lord.

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