Newsletters 2012


December 2012

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas! I pray this letter finds you and your family doing well. The hustle bustle and madness of the season seems to worsen each and every year doesn’t it? The world is doing whatever it can to satisfy a void that can only be filled by Jesus. What are you doing this season to demonstrate His love?

As you are aware, our November schedule was rather light but we thank the Lord for the 2 professions of faith we witnessed while in revival services in Paragould, AR.

It was a nice Thanksgiving holiday with family albeit a bit strange. With dad dying in March, this was the first time the entire family had gathered since the funeral. Patty’s dad joined us in our celebration. We had a nice visit together and are very thankful for the time.

We are still traveling back and forth (Enterprise to Yazoo City) a pretty good bit to keep things going on both ends. Patty’s dad has been moved to a bi-monthly chemo injection as opposed to the once a week. This is helping but he still will gain fluid weight for several days following the treatment. Water restriction is difficult but necessary during this time. This is the season we are in right now and we thank God for the privilege.

The December schedule is busy……….for a week, ha ha.

Sometimes it’s funny how things work out, as the Lord leads. Almost every opportunity for the month can be found in this upcoming week.

It’s a busy season for everyone between the parties and the shopping so be careful and stay aware of any opportunity to be used by the One who loves you most!

November 2012

Hi friends,
It’s been a busy month of balance. Balance. Yes, we are finding out like many our age, balancing our ministry and calling with the needs of aging parents can be, at best, demanding. It is such a blessing to have the flexibility to help as my other siblings are either far away or locked in to their areas of ministry and unable to get away as often. A little over a month ago, Patty’s dad began gaining fluid. What began as a delicate balance of medications, diet, chemo treatment, and water, became a losing battle. In a matter of 2 weeks, Mr. Shurley gained 20 lbs. I probably don’t have to tell you the difficulty he was having with even the simplest of tasks.

Patty drove into Yazoo City to attend his doctor’s appointment with him and finally, his GP referred him to his cardiologist in Jackson, MS, where he was thoroughly tested then hospitalized to remove the fluid. He began feeling better almost immediately as you can imagine. Patty stayed with him that week in the hospital then to his house on that Friday. She returned home on the 24th. He is doing well and we would appreciate prayers on his behalf.

At this writing, he has undergone another weekly chemo and is beginning to gain weight once again. Pray that getting rid of it can happen at home, otherwise we’ll be headed to the hospital once again.

We had some wonderful opportunities of ministry and saw a number of decisions during this past month of ministry. What a blessing! During our revival at the home front, I had the privilege of leading the school aged kids of Hillcrest in revival services during the church’s revival. The kids were great and we had a great time of teaching.

The reason for the delay in this letter is that we just arrived back home after a little time away. We had the opportunity to go to the mountains “without my trailer”. (meaning I wasn’t working) It was a nice time away and although I’m not entirely sure it accomplished all I had hoped, it was good to be away from everything.

You will see that this month’s ministry calendar is thin but in His hands for sure. One thing we know…we may not know what the future holds but we know Who holds it!

We always appreciate your prayers and support and would encourage you to follow His leadership as we seek the same! Have a blessed Thanksgiving season.


October 2012

Calling all Christians…beginning Friday, Sept. 28th we are asking that you take part in “40 Days of Prayer” leading up to the election.

Greetings, friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The September calendar was busy in different ways. We spent time in Yazoo City with parents and time on the road with the ministry. We didn’t spend much time in Enterprise but my church worry’s when they see me in the congregation too often. I mean, after all, I am called to be on the road aren’t I? Really just an unusual month altogether.

All the events went well. The revival was really a good meeting with God working and movement in each service both encouraged and ministered to all in attendance. The concert on the 23rd was fun. It was a sweet fellowship and very responsive.

We’d like you to join us in praying for clarity in an upcoming project. We are not entirely clear on whether the project should be a new instrumental c.d. or a DVD. There are pros and cons on both and, of course, expense is a factor but not the deciding one. God always provides we just want to be sure we are in the center of HIS will not ours. Thanks!

You can glance through the October schedule and see the number of “one day/night” events that are set. This will also enable us to get through Yazoo City about every other week. One thing special too…it’s been 3 years since we took any time to just get away from it all and we are doing just that. At the end of the month we’ve actually scheduled a vacation. We are looking forward to driving without a trailer following us.

September 2012

It was a unique month of ministry in August. It was unique in the fact that there were so many “different” events. We began the month playing for a wedding, then a private school in Baton Rouge used me in their annual teacher’s retreat. From there it was a 25th Anniversary Celebration of a church in Tuscaloosa, a missions day in Marietta, GA, a homeschool organization’s kickoff to the school year and followed up by a Choir Appreciation Banquet and Fall Program Kickoff for a Kid’s Ministry in Dothan.

We are so very thankful for the different ways God uses us and in turn, chooses to meet our needs. We’ve been busy with parents too. My mom is doing well but there are always things to be done at the house when I get in for a visit. This past month was more of the same. Patty’s dad has had some difficulty lately with an accelerated heart rate and crazy spikes in his blood pressure. With the return of his lymphoma and the chemo treatments that are currently once every two months (although that may change with this Wednesday’s upcoming appointment), there is a delicate balance with his cardiologist, his general practitioner, and his oncologist. We are spending a fair amount of time on the road between Enterprise and Yazoo City and would appreciate your prayers!

This upcoming month is going to give me some to recoup and give us some available time to minister here or in Yazoo as God sees fit.


August 2012

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Thank you for your faithfulness in your prayers and support of this ministry. July was a good month of ministry and, let’s see, how can I say this properly…HOT!!!!! Wow, these temps are ridiculous aren’t they? We are so thankful we haven’t seen any illness in our camps as a result of the heat.

On the bright side, preaching on Hell was really easy in Baton Rouge. Seriously, it was a good time and a fruitful ministry as we saw 17 decisions for Christ. My friends are on staff there and are following up on each, with much deliberation. We are so thankful and blessed to see God work in our midst. What a privilege!

During our time in Chattanooga, Patty got sick due to allergens apparently. It got her fast, affecting her the first night we arrived and by the end of the second day we were making plans to call our doctor to get some help. After hearing the symptoms, he had some meds ready for us at the local pharmacy and Patty began showing some improvement very shortly after beginning the treatment. We finished that camp and saw 9 decisions for Christ.

That Sunday (22nd) we found ourselves on our old stomping grounds, Cleveland, MS. Patty and I graduated from Delta State University located in Cleveland and our day at FBC Cleveland gave us an opportunity to tour the campus and all the wonderful changes. Members from 3 different churches I worked with in the area during my time in school came to the concert and the reunion was really special.

We finished the month with a camp at Percy Quinn State Park just south of McComb, MS. It was a good camp but so very hot. We have definitely come to the conclusion that “outdoor tabernacle” worship in south MS, the end of July should be against the law but rejoice in that we witnessed 8 decisions for Christ. (again…all these are counseled further) Lots of fun!

It was as heavy a summer schedule as we have taken in several years but with the signs of the times we realize we are on very limited time. Through your prayers and support, we have had the strength and means to continue the work and have been blessed by the movement of His power and grace. We ask that you continue to lift Patty in your prayers. This stuff she began struggling with in Chattanooga, although better than it was, is still hanging on. We are hoping that some good old fashioned rest will do the trick.


John & Patty

July 2012

It was a month of VBS and the “Amazing Wonders Aviation”. We were in MS twice and once in TX. A friend of mine who flies helicopters (I have several instructor friends that I wish would teach me but that’s for another time) loaned me 2 flight suits and a flight helmet. This made a big impact on the kids and quite frankly was awesome to wear! Ha! It was on Tuesday (Day 2) of our first VBS that the Childrens’ Director came to me and told me of a conversation she had just had with a first grader. “Ms Amanda”, he began, “is Darth Vader going to be here today?” I’m thinking there are some who weren’t getting it. Oh well.

Seriously, it was a lot of fun and made quite an impression on the kids enabling me to draw in even closer and get to talk with some of them. We counseled many but didn’t see a lot of professions of faith that week. In week two we were in a small, sweet church in MS and saw 3 children come to Christ. As we wrap up week 3 in TX, we have seen 6 professions of faith. Obviously, I know this is not my place to “save” the kids but it is my heart to see many come to know Him as Lord and Savior. 

Patty’s dad is continuing to do well with just slight setbacks occasionally and mom is busy doing all sorts of things including subbing on Sunday for various Sunday School classes. We appreciate, so much, your prayers on their behalf.

We do appreciate your prayers as we continue a very busy summer schedule. There will be a lot of opportunity for ministry and to see lives changed, but with that comes a lot of road time.


June 2012

Greetings, friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Well, it was a good month off the road. Many have said, at different times; “I know you are really enjoying your time off the road. Getting plenty of rest?” Ha ha ha. Yes, we have been home this past month, and yes, we have had the blessing of sleeping in our own bed, but no, just laying around and resting has not been part of the equation.

First, I had a few bookings. The men’s retreat, a Senior Adult Associational event, an End of the Year School program at Enterprise Prep and a Wednesday night worship/choir practice for our Worship Pastor who was out of town.. After those events, there is the matter of VBS. I spent my days learning the VBS music and curriculum so I can lead the kids. Then there are the things that are put on a back burner when one travels as we do. Things like repairs and upkeep on the house. Many of these type things we would do on a regular basis if we were home like “normal people” but this is the way we have to go about it all. It’s going well but leaves us pretty worn at the end of the day. As I heard someone once say; “It’s a good tired, though.” And that is true.

We are looking forward to the upcoming summer schedule. It is a very busy one and we would appreciate your prayers.


May 2012

Wow, what an April! Thanks so much for the prayer coverage as we fulfilled God’s plan. We began the month with a couple of Egg Hunts. Of course you know that Rufus the Redneck Rabbit is a huge hit there as we do our best to tell the little guys as much as we can about His love and what He did for all of us.

Following the event on the 7th, we decided to drive into Yazoo City and spend Easter with mom and Patty’s dad. We had a wonderful time there, just a great day.

In the revivals, we saw God move in many lives. Among them were 2 teenaged girls and a man in his late 60’s that gave their hearts to Jesus. A real time of celebration for all but especially for the man as the church had been praying for his salvation 4 years. Praise the Lord!

Now, we will begin changing gears. May is typically a “lighter” month in regards to bookings with it being at the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. This works well for us. It gives me a chance to learn the VBS material and begin putting some things together for the summer camps I’ll be leading in July.

So, you can see we’ll be home, somewhat, but working hard so we appreciate your prayers for guidance and clarity!


April 2012

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve asked you, for some time now, to pray for God’s will in this ministry and in our lives. This past month has been one of considerable miles, many opportunities, and some heartache. I praise the Lord for His faithfulness, our friends, our church family, and all of His faithful ones.

We began the month with the plans of a 10 day road trip. On Monday, Feb. 27 we drove to Houston, MS, for an UPWARDS award program. Following that program, we headed to Earle, AR, where I led revival services (Wed-Sun). I was leading music and preaching that meeting when, on Thursday mom called to tell me dad had suffered an apparent stroke. I asked her what she wanted me to do and the response was what I expected. “If you leave the pulpit to come here, your father would be very disappointed.” I agreed then we made our plans to stay in touch, drive home on Monday and after paying bills, quickly, we would drive to Yazoo City. It was on our way home on Monday when we got the call that dad had gone home. We immediately turned toward Yazoo City. God had lined up my second meeting within a 45 minutes of Yazoo so I was able to be with mom and handle all the paperwork and such during the day and drive to the meeting each evening. We managed to get everything done that week before I headed on to TN for my last revival meeting of the month.

When he was diagnosed in November with hydrocephalus, we began praying for God’s mercy and grace. He granted our requests on March 5. We are so thankful he is no longer struggling and look forward to seeing him again one day!

The meetings went well although I was quite distracted as you can imagine but the people were gracious and receptive. Now we move on and face another active month of ministry. I would appreciate your prayers as I continue helping mom with the logistics of it all and fulfill His plan for this ministry.

March 2012

Greetings, friends, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We sure appreciate your prayers as we get back in the swing of the road ministry and all that it entails. It has been an adjustment as you might expect but things have gone as well as they could. The UPWARD programs went well. My time with Hillcrest, as much of a blessing as it was, did not give me much time to prepare for the road so I’m finding myself really spending any “free” time trying to put sermons together as well as prepare musically. The three revivals I have ahead are all services that I will be leading in worship as well as preaching. Pray that Gods Word is proclaimed with boldness and clarity.

On the home front, things are still difficult. We are trying to help as much as possible while doing this ministry. Obviously mom is doing everything she can and doing it well and we are stopping in Yazoo City, often, as bookings allow, for a few days either side of events. The revival we are doing in Cruger, MS, will allow us a week in Yazoo. The church is 38 miles from Yazoo City so we will commute that one to give us that time and we’ll stay on the Thurs and Fri following the meeting because we will have the next revival north of Memphis.

We’ll keep pressing on knowing that it’s God’s plan and that’s where we want to be.


February 2012

Well, things have come to an end at Hillcrest. The Interim Worship Pastor position has ended after a 6 month stint. I enjoyed my time helping my home church and now it’s time to get back on the road. As a matter of fact, I’ve been spending this past week getting geared up. I’ve spent some money on the truck and trailer to have it road worthy. It has 110,000 miles on it so we are doing everything we can to keep it running in peak condition.

I’ve also been spending some time in my home office practicing my horns, vocal pieces and getting back into the swing of the ventriloquism. My last bit of ministry at the church will be tomorrow, January 29th. I will be leading the morning services then after a brief lunch will head out on the road for a concert in Montgomery. 

Following the concert I will load the equipment and instead of driving home will head to Yazoo City. If things go well, I should be in Yazoo City around midnight or so. On Monday I will drive dad to Jackson for a doctor’s appointment.

Dad’s health is really poor and getting a great deal worse by the week, it seems. His condition, hydrocephalus, is taking its toll on him as well as his caregiver, mom. Patty has been in Yazoo since the day after Christmas helping run errands for mom and taking her dad to his cancer treatments and that has been a real blessing to mom.

Her dad received a great report this past Wednesday when the doctor said she was really pleased with his response to the treatments and told him not to come back for another treatment until the end of March. Approximately every 8 weeks he will have one treatment of chemo and this should keep things in the remission stage.

It was suggested that he be checked out by his cardiologist so that appointment has been set up for Tuesday. Patty will drive him over and depending on the outcome of that appointment; she will head home on Thursday or Friday.

As you can see, there are many things going on so we appreciate your prayers as we balance it all. We love you and thank you!


January 2012

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that it’s 2012. What does the year hold for you? Would you really want to know if you had the opportunity? I would not. Counting the end of 2010 and all of 2011, it has been a really unusual year filled with deep sorrow and exciting opportunity. Since this is the thing we call life, it’s a fairly easy guess that this year will hold more of the same.

We completed the Christmas program at Hillcrest, as the Interim Worship Pastor, and the Worship Ministry did an outstanding job with everything coming together beautifully in a wonderful 3 nights of Christmas Praise and Worship. 

On the weekend of Jan. 8, the Worship Search Committee is bringing in an individual in view of a call. I will be leading services on the 1st, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. If things work out the way they are expected, he will begin his ministry at Hillcrest on Feb. 1st. I will begin my preparation for this ministry once I’ve completed my time at Hillcrest on the 29th. 

Patty will be spending the month of January in Yazoo City with her dad. His Mantle Cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has returned so he has begun treatment. She is there to drive him and monitor him throughout this first month. Of course, she is also helping my mom when she can by running errands for her. Dad has been diagnosed with Hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and is having some difficulty.

As you can tell, our plates have been as full as the next family so we appreciate your prayers all throughout these 6 months and beyond as we continue to seek and follow His leadership.


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