Newsletters 2015


December 2015
here before you know it

November 2015
right around the corner

October 2015

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I pray this letter finds you and your family well. It’s been pretty much a whirlwind here and I’m reminded that God speaks in a still small voice.

The first month of “dual ministry” with traveling and FBC has really been busy but the leadership team God has given me is a great team filled with talented and dedicated servants.

I’ve been asked often; “Have you all moved yet?” Or, “You all about settled?” I try not to burst out in an almost hysterical/maniacal laughter but the truth is we are not even close. The physical toll is one thing…the psychological is another. But, it’s one step at a time and God is leading. At this writing, we have finished the estate sale at moms and although it did not go as well as we had hoped, we are now ready for the auction of the house that will be held tomorrow, October 1. We pray it sells but should there not be a bid “worthy”, I will hold on and list it with a local realtor. Will you join us and begin praying now, more specifically at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, Central Standard Time, for the sale of the property to the one God has in mind.

We are living in Patty’s Dad’s place right now, with the existing furniture, while our things remain in Enterprise. Slowly but surely we will transition although there is no definite time line at this point. We just are not sure how this is all going to come about but God does.

In the meantime, we appreciate your prayers as we pull out this next week for a Senior Adult Associational luncheon then Enterprise for a few days followed by revival services beginning the 11th that I will be both leading worship and preaching. We cherish your partnership in this ministry and look for great things from the Lord. 

October Ministry Schedule

6, Senior Adult Luncheon, Attalla Baptist Association, Kosciusko, MS
11-14, Revival, Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church, Batesville, MS
25, Family Day, Salem Baptist Church, Lake, MS
31, Harvest Festival, FBC Yazoo City, MS

Prayer Requests

  1. That lives continue to come to the Father through this ministry
  2. His strength, guidance and comfort in all aspects
  3. Travel safety and vehicle reliability


September 2015

We just finished another wonderful month of ministry and, once again, witnessed a number of decisions for Christ. Your prayers and support have been a blessing beyond words. We have decided to take a sabbatical in November. As you are aware, we have had to take some time off, in the past, due to responsibilities outside of this ministry. This time is to get away and reflect and get energized for a new time of ministry. We have some very close friends who operate a Christian camp in LA and have generously offered one of their family cabins. What a blessing!

This looks to be a newsy letter for sure. Let me begin by sharing exactly where this ministry is and how we got to this place. Since you are the prayer warriors I know you are aware of the vocal stuff the past 3 years and how the doctor said to cut the schedule in half which I haven’t done of course. I felt like God would do that for me when the time came so we have trusted in His guidance all the way. It has been a bit more difficult that it use to be, with the ventriloquism, in that I’ve had to be much more selective in the specific “friends” I’ve used based on how my voice is holding up that week, etc. Here’s what God has done…

Effective Sunday, September 6, I will join the staff of FBC Yazoo City, MS, as the Children’s Pastor. This is a part time position that will allow me to continue this travel ministry, on a bit more limited basis but also give me an opportunity to not only reach kids but have the privilege to disciple them as well. I’ll be working with a great leadership team that has carried the torch of that ministry for several years and I look forward to all God will do in and through us together. 

We will be sharing our time between Yazoo City, Enterprise, and the road so it will be somewhat hectic for a while. We appreciate your continued prayers and support. If you are currently booked with us for 2016, don’t be concerned. First Baptist is understanding and your engagement will go as planned, Lord willing. If you’ve not booked but have been thinking about it, I encourage you to do so for I will be reducing the travel and that will make availability somewhat more limited than past years.

Our base of operations will change from Hillcrest Baptist in Enterprise, AL, to FBC in Yazoo. This would be the time for a special Thank You and Praise the Lord to my friends…my family…of Hillcrest Baptist and those in Enterprise that aren’t members of Hillcrest but have helped us in numerous ways. For the past almost 15 years, you have rejoiced with us in the lives changed, you have hurt with us in the loss of our parents, you have prayed with us throughout it all, and you have supported us with your gifts. God used you in so many ways that it’s truly difficult to put completely in words. To say you have left a mark on us is a grand understatement and a gift from God for which we will always be thankful. We love you and encourage you to stay in touch!

Ministry Schedule

6, Leading Worship, FBC, Yazoo City, MS
12, Legacy of Love Banquet, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Enterprise, AL
13-16, Revival beginning 13th p.m., Salem Baptist Church, Golden, MS
19-20, Family Weekend, Friendship Baptist Church, New Concord, OH

Prayer Requests

  1. That lives continue to be changed for the Kingdom through this ministry
  2. God’s comfort and peace during transition
  3. His peace as we handle the balance of the new position and the road ministry
  4. Settlement of estates still in progress

August 2015 No newsletter

July 2015

Greetings, friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We pray this letter finds you well and count you and your love and support such a blessing. This past month was wonderful as we led in 4 different VBS opportunities and we had the privilege of seeing over 40 children come to Christ. Praise the Lord!

This month will continue with great opportunities, some more unique than others but each special in their own right. First is the mission trip to OR. As I mentioned last month, this opportunity is unprecedented. As far as the church in Greshem, OR, just outside of Portland is aware, the city park system has never opened its facilities to any form of Christian based programming. The children’s pastor went to the parks director and told them that a ventriloquist was coming in and would like to do a program, games, and snacks with a Bible theme and the parks director agreed. All 6 parks. We will be doing 2 presentations a day (one at 11 a.m. p.s.t., and one at 7) in each park for 3 days and hopefully teasing the kids into bringing their parents to a big Family Day blowout on that Friday night where I will be doing a concert with a stronger salvation message and encouragement for parents. Please pray. Pray that doors will remain open, that kids will be responsive and that parents will come to the concert. The second week will be VBS at the church. Pray for vocal strength and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

When we fly back in, we will have 3 days to change gears and begin SMACK. Last year the Mississippi Baptist Convention began a new camp that took the place of Young Musicians Camp. SMACK stands for Summer Music and Arts Camp for Kids and is Young Musicians Camp on steroids. It proved massively successful in its pilot year, 2013, and after a great year in ’14, the leadership look for great things to continue. This camp differs in that instead of just learning music with a guest clinician, this camp offers other worship arts (dance, instrumental, puppetry, black light arts, etc) and will combine them within the musical presentation at the end of the week. There are 2 locations for this camp held on consecutive weeks. The first week William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS, hosts the camp and the second week will be at Blue Mountain College in New Albany, MS. I will be camp pastor for that week. 

We will finish the month with our friends at Clear Branch Baptist Church in Brookhaven, MS. I have been camp pastor for this preteen camp for a number of years now and always enjoy my time with them. 

So, as you can see, July is going to be a blur. With that understanding, please join us and pray that we miss no opportunity to show and share His love. With His strength, His will shall be accomplished and we are thankful to be a part of it all.

July Ministry Opportunities

3-17, Mission Oregon, Gresham, OR
21-25, SMACK, Blue Mountain College, New Albany, MS
29– Aug 2, Kids Camp, Clear Branch Baptist Church, Wesson, MS

Prayer Requests

  1. That many may come to Christ through this ministry
  2. Mission Oregon (see opening for specifics)
  3. Safe travel for us and equipment to OR
  4. Strength for the work


June 2015

Greetings in the name of the Lord. We pray this letter finds you and your family well as you continue serving Him. Summer is here!! I know this is no news flash to you teachers…and, by the way, thank you for the work you do. I know those of you that work in the heat everyday don’t need any updates from me as well. Nevertheless, I see a schedule before me like I haven’t seen in quite some time. In fact, the reason you are receiving this a tad early is because we are heading out to our first VBS and I wasn’t sure my schedule would allow time to get this to you. Your prayer coverage is so very important to us and I wanted to make sure you received it and could join us in this effort!

We would deeply appreciate your prayers as we seek to fulfill His plans. VBS is the month’s theme! I am doing 2 different curriculum this year and that’s made things a bit interesting as I’ve had to dust off some of the old gray matter to learn it all. It is exciting to think what God is going to do and regardless of past vocal issues I have experienced, nothing takes God by surprise and all these events were on the calendar long before the most recent problems. With that understanding, we are going full steam ahead and cannot wait to see God work!

Finally, for the last several newsletters I have mentioned Mission Oregon under the prayer requests. We will be partnering with First Baptist Church, Gresham, OR, just on the outskirts of Portland and have been given a wonderful opportunity. In an unprecedented move, the city has made available to us (because of the ventriloquism) all 6 city parks where we will be conducting games, music, and Bible times. In my conversations with church leadership, they continue to express their excitement over all the possibilities. Much of my performance time will be to “tease” the kids into getting their parents to come to a big family night event at the church. Please begin praying for us as we handle the logistics of flight with my equipment and that “my friends” will not end up taking a flight elsewhere as well as for vocal and physical strength during the demanding 2 weeks. We look forward to posting updates on the Facebook page! By the way, if you haven’t taken time to “like” the ministry page, take a moment. I sure would like to know that you are not missing any wonderful updates of God’s handiwork. 


June Ministry Opportunities

May 30-31, VBS, Parkview Church of God, Yazoo City, MS
8-14 a.m., VBS, First Baptist Church, Yazoo City, MS
15-19, VBS, Green Acres South, Flynt, TX
25-28, VBS, Blackshear Place Baptist Church, Gainesville, GA

Prayer Requests

  1. That many come to know Christ as Savior through this ministry
  2. Strength for the work
  3. Travel safety and vehicle reliability
  4. Mission Oregon – July 2-17

May 2015

Hi friends. We praise the Lord for you, for your prayers and support, and for the power of the God we serve. We knew, going in, that the revival this past month was going to be a real test of where my voice was and is and we asked for your prayers. God heard and answered in strength and ability to do the work. It was such a blessing to feel that I was able to do what I have been called to do. God worked in hearts and lives that week and we are thankful to have been a part.

As you can see from the calendar, May has a few opportunities of ministry but the majority of the time, like every year, will be spent in preparation for the upcoming summer schedule. It’s a very busy summer schedule so please join us in praying for God’s perfect plan!


May Ministry Schedule

2, Wedding, Celebrating with friends, Lockport, LA
10, Leading Worship, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Enterprise, AL
13, After School Program, end of the year celebration, Fairmount Baptist, Red Level, AL
19, Senior Adult Luncheon, North Greenwood Baptist, Greenwood, MS
29-31, VBS, Parkview Church of God, Yazoo City, MS

Prayer Requests

  1. That hearts and lives may be changed through this ministry
  2. God’s perfect plan and direction
  3. Vocal health for the work ahead
  4. Travel safety and vehicle reliability
  5. Mission Oregon, July 2-18

April 2015

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray this letter finds you well. I feel as though I need to begin this letter with an apology. Someone said to me not long ago; “Nobody wakes in the morning with their first thought being how can I solve John Yates’ problems today.” That really caused me to look inwardly, take a glance at past e-letters, and realize that what I intended as genuine updates and prayer requests actually came across as self-centered whining. This was never my intention for I was always taught that when giving prayer requests, the more specific one could be the better. That was my true intention and I know you lift us up regularly and that means the world to us. Please accept my apology and I will try and keep you updated… “whine free”. 

God has given us some time off the road in February and March. It wasn’t our plan but through this we have been able to take care of some much needed things with the house and our health, not to mention the estates. We have been moved to trust Him all the more and as we continue to do so, He is faithful to demonstrate His love and faithfulness.

God is meeting our needs as He promises and it’s so wonderful experiencing this life of faith. I have to admit that like the last letter, sometimes I get discouraged but one doesn’t have to read very far in God’s Word to see they are not alone. So, we press on in faith and wait, to see God’s plan. Fall dates are booking and we are so very thankful!

There are a number of you who faithfully give in support of this ministry and even more who join us in the role of prayer warriors. For all of you, we are more than grateful and words cannot describe the joy and blessing we experience from your faithfulness. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Pressing on!

April Ministry Opportunities

19-23, Revival, Neshoba Baptist Church, Neshoba, MS
26, Family Day, Ellison United Methodist Church, Vaughn, MS

Prayer Requests

  1. That lives would continue to be changed through this ministry
  2. Vocal strength for the work
  3. Travel safety
  4. Balance in ministry and estate responsibilities

March 2015

Hi friends. Thank you, so very much, for your thoughts, prayers and support of us and this ministry. This past month was an eventful one in that due to illness, and loss of my voice, I had to cancel 4 different engagements. Although this was unavoidable, I found myself beyond frustrated, disappointed, and a little depressed even, that I was uable to help those 4 churches with their special events. Each were so understanding and assured me they would call again but for someone who, for 29 years of this ministry, have only had to cancel a handful of events, the decision was a difficult one.

Patty has been quite busy establishing her Dad’s estate and doing all the necessary paperwork. She is doing pretty well and working hard. We will be driving to Yazoo City on Tuesday to continue the work we have on both Mr. Shurley’s and my Mom’s estates before heading to south MS and the Kids Retreat.

We’d like to encourage you to go ahead and plan your fall event and get us on the schedule as soon as possible to assure that the date is available. Also, the summer of 2015 is booked but you can go ahead and secure a spot for 2016 so let us hear from you!

We hold fast to the faith we have in the Lord and His plans that we know are perfect and cannot be thwarted, as Job stated. Thank you for your continued words of encouragement, love and support.

March Ministry Schedule

2, School Program, Harrand Creek Elementary, Enterprise, AL
7 – 8, Kids Retreat, New Hope Baptist Church, Foxworth, MS
28, Community Egg Hunt, FBC, Iuka, MS

Prayer Requests

  1. That lives will continue to be changed through this ministry
  2. Continued strength to do the work
  3. Focus as we handle parents houses as well as ministry
  4. Vehicle reliability and travel safety
  5. God’s provision

February 2015

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There are several of you who have contacted me saying you haven’t received the newsletter and didn’t know what was going on but you had heard some things. I appreciate, so very much, your concern and the fact you are following and praying for this ministry to the point that you realized the newsletter was late.

Patty’s dad passed away Thursday night, Jan 29. He had come home from the phys rehab unit and wasn’t doing too bad considering all he had been through but eventually his systems that were not failing began stressing as they were attempting to compensate for those systems that were and he simply wore himself out. He was such a fighter and his attitude was to never give up. In fact, while at the hospital, he was given options to move on from there. One of the options was to go home and be placed on Hospice. After the case worker left he looked at Patty and said; “Well, I guess I can try to give up.” He was a wonderful family man and a fine godly example of a life well lived.

So, anyway, I have driven back home to try and get this letter out as well as prepare for upcoming events while Patty stays in Yazoo City and works with extended family to do only what ‘s necessary before heading this way on Friday. Thank you for your prayers as we move forward from here.

February Ministry Schedule

12, UPWARDS Awards Night, Cordele, GA
13, Banquet, First Baptist Church, Epworth, GA
14, Banquet, County Line Baptist Church, Enterprise, AL
17, Banquet, Senior Adults, North Greenwood Baptist, Greenwood, MS
22, UPWARDS Awards Night, Bethel Baptist Church, Dothan, AL

Prayer Requests

  1. That lives will continue to be changed through this ministry
  2. Continued strength to do the work
  3. Focus as we handle parents houses as well as ministry
  4. Vehicle reliability and travel safety
  5. God’s provision


January 2015 No Newsletter

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