About Our Family
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!
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 & Whitney Bates
Zach married Whitney Perkins on 12-14-13, and they are expecting a bouncing baby boy in October, 2014. Zach currently serves as an Anderson county commissioner. He also works at a metal fabrication plant in Lake City. He volunteers with the Anderson County sheriff’s department, Medford Fire department, and Anderson county EMS. Zach is not only a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, but he always offers us very sound Biblical counsel and direction. Whitney received her degree in medical billing and coding and medical insurance. Whitney has added such a sweet touch to our family, and everyone that visits falls in love with her, always bragging on what an angel she is (and we agree!) You can follow their blog at http://zachandwhitney.blogspot.com/
Michael Bates & Brandon Keilen
Michael and Brandon began their courtship on December 30, 2013. Wedding bells are likely to be ringing for the Bates again in 2015. Michael is employed as a fulltime nanny; she also volunteers with Medford Fire Department and Anderson County EMS. Michael is an instrumental help to the family, offering her cooking and sewing skills as often as needed. Her sweet, quiet personality might cause her to go unnoticed at first, but she leaves a trail of friends everywhere she goes. Brandon is completing his 4 year ministry degree from Bible College in November, 2014. He enjoys art, drawing, and videography. Brandon has a quiet, thoughtful personality, and he has added a huge smile to Michael’s countenance and to our family.
Erin & Chad Paine
Erin happily married Chad on November 2, 2013. She graduated from Crown College of the Bible with magna cum laude honors, earning a bachelor’s degree in music ministry. She teaches piano lessons and is actively involved in the music ministry of Temple Baptist Church. Erin has recorded two CDs: “Merciful and Mighty” and “Down Home Gospel,” both featuring award winning fiddler Andy Leftwich. She is working on completing a third Cd in the fall of 2014. Erin is the family member that keeps us enthused about striving to go further in our Christian walk, always looking for ways to minister. Her dedication and spiritual discernment is an inspiration to us all! Chad works for a metal company in Oak Ridge. He has a servant spirit and never visits us without performing some helpful project. He is humble, thoughtful, fun, and makes everyone feel special. He is a terrific Christian example for all, and we thank God each day for adding him to our family. You can follow their blog at http://chadsperspective.blogspot.com
Lawson recently recorded a vocal CD, “Freedom Sure Ain’t Free,” which contains two original songs. The CD has a wide range of styles including: Gospel, patriotic, and yodeling. Several famous bluegrass artists accompany him on the CD, including: Andy Leftwich, Ben Isaacs, Rob Ickes, Mike Johnson, Justin Moses, Darren Vincent, and others. The title song was featured on WBIR “Live at Five at Four.” Lawson also filmed a music video of his original title, “The End Down Here,” in scenic Colorado. He has written and performed another original, “I Thought I Had Hard Times,” as a relief effort to raise money for the November 2013 storm disaster which devastated Tacloban, Philippines. Lawson manages his own mowing service company, “Lawson’s Lawncare.” Lawson has a humorous, comedian side that keeps us in stitches, but he is also full of wise cautions and advice to keep us on the straight and narrow! You can visit his website at http://www.lawsonbates.com
Nathan has accepted God’s call to preach and currently attends Crown College of the Bible in pursuit of a degree in Biblical Studies. Nathan is a go getter…whether its work or ministry, he never slows down! He looks for every opportunity to encourage others in their faith or to share the plan of salvation. He recently coordinated a medical mission trip to Tacloban, Philippines in response to the storm surge that swept through the island in November, 2013. He plans to continue an ongoing ministry to the Philippines through the leadership of Bible Baptist Church. Nathan is his Dad’s right hand man in the family tree service company. He completed his first responder training and enjoys doing volunteer work with Medford Fire Department. He also loves horses and has a real knack training them.
Alyssa & John Webster
Alyssa and John were married on May 24, 2014. They reside in Clermont, Florida. Alyssa is one of the most organized members in the family; before moving, she was her father’s tax secretary, shopper for the family’s clothing , and fabulous cook! She has enjoyed photography, working for a local florist, and campaigning for political candidates (She married into the right family with Congressman Daniel Webster as a father in law). Needless to say, we’re certainly feeling the empty nest blues with her gone! From lunch outings to shopping sprees to special movie nights, Alyssa always made the day more fun. Florida has an extra ray of sunshine now! John works with his brothers for their family’s air conditioning business. He usually fixes our broken appliances and air conditioning problems when he visits. John has an easy going personality that makes him a great asset to any family, and we are so glad he is part of ours! You can follow them on http://instagram.com/webster4ever
Tori is currently attending classes at Crown College of the Bible. She has a knack for organizing and directing her younger siblings to complete projects. She has taken over many of the roles of older siblings: assisting with the cooking, organizing, homeschooling, and functioning of the home! She truly is her mom’s right arm! Without Tori, there is NO order…or fun! Tori has a bubbly personality that causes everyone to adore her! Her spunkiness and outgoing personality keep our house filled with company! She’s also a very Godly and spiritual minded young lady. She loves the violin, and usually accompanies Erin’s piano at hospital and nursing home ministries.
The name Trace has become synonymous with competition at our house, and he gives his older brothers quite a challenge when he’s included in a game! He enjoys almost any sport or game: basketball, football, ping pong, foosball, skiing, horseback riding, cards, or anything active or competitive. He has become the go- to- errand- runner for the family, since most of the older siblings are gone, and as such, he’s an invaluable help! He also is a very important worker on tree jobs with the Bates Tree Service. His personality is fun and spunky, and he’s usually in the middle of all the action.
Carlin 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! She leads our church’s character lessons for children on Sunday nights, and has an incredible way of captivating their attention. Her enthusiasm is contagious and makes us all feel energized. Each night, Carlin leaves notes of cheer and encouragement to make others feel special.
Josie is the kind of friend everyone dreams of having. She’s loyal, dependable, and available to lend a hand, give a hug, or just offer an encouraging word. She loves to engage in meaningful conversation, which makes others feel especially close to her. She’s tender and sensitive, which helps her to be a very thoughtful, Christ-like young lady. Her sweet, quiet spirit may fool you, because she can also be giggly and loads of fun. She’s a huge help in the home and knows how to direct and organize her younger siblings to capitalize on their cooperation when projects need to be done.
Katie 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! She’s full of surprises and fun, and is often the life of the party. She loves a good prank and a lot of laughter. Katie makes us all smile.
Jackson 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 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 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.
Addallee 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. She has a thoughtful personality, always thinking of others first. She often gives up her own turns so another sibling can be happy.
Ellie 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’s quiet and sweet. She’s always willing to help. She’s got a very tender heart.
Callie Anna Rose is the most adorable, mot 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 Wyatt is an absolute doll…dimples, dimples, dimples! When he grins, everyone’s heart melts! He’s got a very calm, sweet personality that makes him adorable and irresistible. He’s very loving and is the center of our world!
Jeb Colton is a bundle of energy and 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! He is a handful, but too cute to cause a complaint!