The Bates Family

About Our Family

Gil’s Testimony
I attended church regularly as a young boy, but it was only out of habit and tradition. I had no idea of the real purpose and fulfillment of a relationship with Christ. As a high school boy, I heard the gospel presented by my football coach. I was so impacted by the message of Christ’s sacrifice for me, that a few days later I was moved to kneel by my bedside to pray for God to save me. At that moment, God transformed me, my goals, and the direction of my life. Little did I know that His plans for me would include my beautiful bride that I married at the close of our college years. Nor could I have imagined that He would have grown our family to include 19 wonderful children!
Kelly Jo’s Testimony
I was raised a “preacher’s kid” hearing the gospel over and over. Each time I would pray for God to save me, because I feared dying. But I never had assurance of my salvation. It wasn’t until 9th grade that I understood why. I had believed in God, however, I had no conviction of my own personal sin. I had always thought of myself as a “good person”. But at a youth meeting, I finally was broken over the guilt of my sin and realized that it was my awful sin that Christ died for. That realization changed my life. What had been an awareness of God became an acceptance of Him as my personal Savior. I soon learned that a new life in Christ was far more than just freedom from the fear of dying; it was what makes life worth living!
Our Family
God has blessed us with 19 children. We’re not a perfect family! We have the same struggles that other families have, only multiplied! But in spite of extra laundry, extra chores, extra diapers, and extra noise; we have an extra measure of laughter, an endless supply of fellowship, and an added dose of faith to get us through it all! We are aware that any successes we have experienced in our family are a result of the culmination of help from many others God has brought in our lives. From relatives, to preachers, to friends whose examples we’ve tried to follow, we have received much help and encouragement along the way. We fail often. We’re humbled more often than we’d like to be, and we find that we’re often wrong more than we are right. However, the children’s song “He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be” teaches us to set our eyes on Him rather than on ourselves and our accomplishment.


The Bates Children

zach-sZach is continuing to pursue his degree in History and Criminal Justice. He completed his last semester of EMT training with a 4.0 and was recently elected as the youngest county commissioner in our state. He’s thankful for the local support he received and for the opportunity to help serve his county. He’s actively involved in working with the sheriff’s department and the volunteer fire department, as well as helping with the family tree business.
michael-sMichael completed her EMT schooling, and is currently taking on-line courses and working with College Plus to complete her degree. She is employed as a nanny and thoroughly enjoys spending her time holding babies. She’s actively involved in the volunteer fire department, assisting with medical needs. Her favorite hobby is sewing dresses for her younger siblings. She’s a friend to all and has a huge heart!
erin-sErin is continuing her college studies at Crown College of the Bible to earn a music degree, along with teaching piano lessons to students. She has recorded two piano CDs of her own arrangements of beloved hymns and Gospel songs. She enjoys using her music in avenues of ministry at hospitals and nursing homes. She motivates us all to pursue spiritual goals. She recently entered a courtship with Chad Paine (
lawson-sLawson manages his own mowing service company. He‘s also our official shopper, since he has a knack for business and for getting good buys. On the side, he’s our guitar strumming, singing & yodeling cowboy that entertains us with his heroic movie scripts. He is currently working on producing a vocal CD, including 2 original songs.
nathan-bNathan has accepted God’s call to preach and uses every opportunity to study and develop messages. He plans to pursue a degree in Biblical Studies. He’s Dad’s right hand man in the family tree service company. He completed his first responder training and enjoys doing volunteer work with the fire department.
alyssa-sAlyssa loves photography and spends most of her free time with a camera in hand. She enjoys cooking and reading. She developed a great interest in politics while assisting with her brother’s campaign, and began the dual enrollment program at Crown College during her senior high school year. She is our family organizer and secretary.
tori-sTori has a bubbly personality that causes everyone to adore her! She has a knack for organizing and directing her younger siblings to complete projects. She loves the violin, and usually accompanies Erin on hospital and nursing home ministries.
trace-sTrace is our rambunctious competitor of ping pong, football, or any other sport his older brothers take on. With great determination to make up for lack of years and size, he can overtake them in just about every endeavor.
carlin-sCarlin is full of initiative, making commitments to read through her Bible each year and to memorize large portions of Scripture. She began a Bible Club to encourage other young girls to make wise choices, including: daily Bible reading, daily prayer, daily Scripture memory, and passing out 30 tracts each month. She has been a role model for her family and many others!
josie-sJosie is all smiles, all the time! She loves to read and read and read. Most girls’ pocket books are filled with all sorts of goodies, but Josie’s is packed with mysteries! Her love for reading helps her to also be a diligent student in her schoolwork.
katie-sKatie is a lot of dynamite packed in a little package! She consistently volunteers to help with the little ones. Before we can blink an eye, she’s snuck off to surprise us by getting their hair fixed, their shoes on, and making sure they’re all in order. Then she often marches her little army of helpers off to clean a room in hopes to be an unexpected blessing!
jackson-sJackson amazes us with his tidbits of wisdom at times. The rest of the time, he’s involved in wild escapades around the house with his two younger brothers. We call them” the three musketeers”, and adventure is always on the brink when they’re together!
warden-sWarden is our working man! He’s the one to volunteer to be a big sister’s helper, no matter how hard the assignment is. Tough as nails, he’s all boy! We call him “Tigger” because he’s full of bounce!!
isaiah-sIsaiah has a smile that will melt any heart. We say he’s going to be a great catch because he spends his day showering the girls with compliments. Having had several critical accidents as a child, he has earned his middle name “Courage”. Our house wouldn’t be the same without his tender personality.
addee-sAddallee means “The Lord is my strength and refuge”. The double letters in her name remind us that God gave her a second chance in life when she was born with complications that caused her breathing and her heart to stop. She has been a blessing from the start and adds joy to our life.
ellie-sEllie Bridget means “Strong light”. She’s a bubbly little ray of sunshine that loves to give hugs and loves to cuddle up in someone’s lap. She loves to play “mom” with her younger siblings.
callie-sCallie-Anna is the most adorable, most innocent looking little angel…but underneath that sweet grin is a mischievous little adventurer waiting to get into trouble! She keeps us all on our toes and adds sheer delight to our days!
judson-sJudson Wyatt is an absolute doll! He’s such a special blessing and his happy personality catches all of our attention. He’s the center of every activity!
jeb-sJeb Colton is a bundle of joy! His smile warms our hearts! He’s usually in someone’s arms, because he’s too adorable for any of us to put down!
Johnny-KittyJohnny & Kitty The most spoiled members of the family think our porch furniture is to keep them comfy!