The Bates Family

Zach & Sarah

by Kelly on July 1, 2011

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Photos by Alyssa

{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole Pelkey July 1, 2011 at 1:40 am

Aww! Beautiful pictures!!!

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charity crawford July 1, 2011 at 2:34 am

What a beautiful picture story!

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Mrs. Brown July 1, 2011 at 2:36 am

What a beautiful couple!!!!

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Casey July 1, 2011 at 2:37 am

Gorgeous photos, Alyssa! What a lovely couple!

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Lynn July 1, 2011 at 2:56 am

Such beautiful pictures! They brought tears to my eyes! Once again congratulations, Zach and Sarah! GOD has done a wonderful job!

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Lauren July 1, 2011 at 3:40 am

Absolutely beautiful pictures! Congrats to them.

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Joyce Adams July 1, 2011 at 3:45 am

What a lovely young couple! May God bless them during this special time of discovery and decisions. You all are in our prayers!

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Kate July 1, 2011 at 4:24 am

What a beautiful young couple and wonderful photos. I wish them both all of Gods blessings as they start this wonderful chapter in their lives. (I hope the sound of Wedding bells is in the near future!!!)
God Bless
Kate

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melody July 1, 2011 at 6:57 am

Amazing photos of the two of them. May God Bless them and guide them in their walk together.

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anonymous July 1, 2011 at 9:22 am

oh wow, what a beautiful post!! miss alyssa did a wonderful job photographing the lovely couple!
a couple things i noticed– (with all fun and laughter, no malice intended)…
- zach “surprized” sarah… heehee…
- zach asked sarah to “court him” … shouldn’t he instead ask her if he could “court her”?
ok that was just silly of me, but I love a good joke. The cheesecake looks yummy, the roses are gorgeous, and the couple so sweet. thank you for sharing!

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Annette July 1, 2011 at 11:22 am

Lovely photos Alyssa! You are well on your way to becoming a very good Photographer! Such emotions caught at the right moment!!

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Lynsey July 1, 2011 at 11:31 am

beautiful! they make a wonderful couple!

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April Smith July 1, 2011 at 11:56 am

Absolutely beautiful….both the pictures and the story! God’s love at work!

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Arlene July 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm

You did a wonderful job Alyssa, and I’m sure your brother will always treasure this gift. It was very thoughtful of you to put this together. Zach is blessed to have you for a sister.

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Emma Culverhouse (England) July 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Absolutely stunning pictures that will surely bring many happy memories for this lovely young couple :) How long do you think their courtship will last? It’s all so exciting for me to see what will happen next, I can’t imagine what it’s like for all of you!! Only 17 more to go Mrs. Bates ;)

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Gil July 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Dear Emma,
We’re not sure. They are praying for God’s direction, but Zach will finish his college first. Love, Kelly

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Brenda July 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thank you for sharing such a special moment in your family’s life!! God Bless!

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Lisa July 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Nice……

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Laurie July 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm

What a beautiful couple! I wish them all the best and that God works in their life and gives them all the love and happiness. The pictures of them are wonderful. Gil and Kelly you have done a great job with your son. Love, Laurie, from Marlton, New Jersey

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Kay July 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm

God bless this lovely young couple! Wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing them. I like the new banner photo, too.

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Reva July 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Beautiful, beautiful pictures! I wish them both the best.

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Anna July 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Such a beautiful couple. =D I wish you all the best.

My lifestyle is very different from yours, so I have a small question, Kelly. You mentioned that there’s normally a chaperone with them. Also when they are on the phone?

Congratulations from Germany. =)
Anna

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Gil July 2, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Dear Anna,
Most of their phone calls involve doing their Bible study together over the phone. The rest of the time they send texts and both families have enjoyed being close and reading the texts together. Zach is excited to include us and usually runs to find us to share anything we’ve missed. I think it elevates the enthusiasm and the family closeness! Love, Kelly

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Robert Staddon July 1, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I love the pictures! :)

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pamela July 1, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I am so happy for all of you. God Bless!

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Denise July 1, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Such lovely, beautiful pictures.. that tell a wonderful story..Only the best for Sarah and Zach.. I for one can not wait to see how the story envolves.. God Bless to both of you!!

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Alexis July 2, 2011 at 12:17 am

I am simply thankful for y’all sharing the Godly way to find a life partner. It has been an enormous inspiration to us and we just wanted you to know your blog is a ministry to us. Thank you for sharing and we will keep all of you in our prayers.
May Christ bless you always,
Alexis

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Kaci July 2, 2011 at 12:20 am

So sweet!!! Wonderful pictures! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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Danielle L July 2, 2011 at 12:39 am

Precious photos of such an important moment in their lives. Bless them.

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Marlana Ward July 2, 2011 at 1:51 am

Congratulations to the happy couple :)

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amber landers July 2, 2011 at 2:23 am

Alyssa what a great job with the pic. Looking at them you have a great eye for taking them. Good luck to Zach with college and all. We will be praying for them both, and the rest of their families. God Bless The Landers Family

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Christine July 2, 2011 at 4:24 am

Just beautiful! May God bless them both!

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Olivia Dart (Australia) July 2, 2011 at 5:41 am

Why, y’all are such a purty couple, you make them red roses look right ugly next to you, mate! God Bless!

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Becky Mason July 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Congrats-what great photos! Loved the father/daughter one! So touching!

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Sara July 3, 2011 at 1:58 am

Gil (and/or Kelly), Joshua Duggar shared much detail about his pre-courtship, courtship, and engagement with Anna. I’d love to hear how Zach and Sarah are doing it. Your are both such Godly families, but each family is unique and I love learning your families do things the same or different. My first question comes to mind is, “are Zach and Sarah’s phone calls/texts chaperoned/monitored?” Joshua never mentioned texting, but he did say that their pre-engagement phone calls were listened in on, but their post engagement ones were not. I, unfortunately and sadly, began dating before I gave any thought to courtship (I loved God fully, but I thought that was “old school”). I am now waiting and praying for my husband. Patience, unfortunately isn’t one of my strongest virtues (honestly probably my weakest). It’s so hard to be patient when I yearn so to be a wife. Prayers from your family for a swift arrival of my husband and/or patience would be wonderful!

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Gil July 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Dear Sara,
Yes, we all enjoy being involved in the texts that are sent and received! Zach is as excited to share them as we are to read them! Privacy in our home is a rare thing, but honestly, we all enjoy the crowd and enjoy being close knit!! Love, Kelly

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Gil July 5, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Dear Sara,
All of us have made mistakes in life… Pick up where you are and continue to trust God! I know patience is hard, but I’m confident God will bring along Mr. Right in His perfect timing! As for texting, someone is usually around that Zach is begging to share his messages with (He’s a little fond of Sarah and enjoys showing each word!!)… If no one is around, come the end of the day I usually find him wandering in my room asking for an audience!! I sit and watch him grin ear to ear as I read over his current texts! He’s loving every moment of this!! As far as conversations go, someone might not be sitting beside them listening to every word… the accountability is not for that purpose. On their own free will they choose to share their story with us delighted parents, because they desire for us to be involved. The idea of night being alone together or remaining in open view is something they’ve chosen to do to protect themselves from any temptation. In the morning, they call each other to do their Bible studies together over the phone. It is not a supervised conversation, but we are often walking in or out or hear a follow up report from Zach, because he loves ANY chance to talk about Sarah!! Love, Kelly

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Emily Raynes July 3, 2011 at 4:02 am

These pictures are so pretty!! I’m so happy for ya’ll! :)

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Nikki R July 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm

We were so excited to read of Zach and Sarahs courtship.May God bless you all as you enter into this new and exciting time in your lives.Thank you for sharing your lives with us.We do appreciate it!!We loved the pictures too.Nikki

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Lila Huggins July 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

AWESOME PICTURES!
Ahhhh, if only all courtships could be like this the world would be a better place! You all have raised that young man right!

God Bless You All!
Miss Lila

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Helen July 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Sarah who make a lovely couple. Ms Bates I do just wonder how a young couple can prepare for marriage without some privacy in their conversations? There are certain things that are important in a loving marriage and need some discussion that simply should not be shared with the rest of the family. If this time is intended to be spent preparing for marriage then they need to be able to share intimacies that are not open to their whole families to discuss.

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Gil July 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Dear Helen,
Thank you for your concern. I suppose I gave the wrong impression. All of Zach and Sarah’s talks are not family discussions… they have lots of time to talk. They have just chosen to place themselves in open areas in view of others, so that they are not subjected to greater temptations caused by being alone. I’ve been encouraged to hear about some of their deeper talks about God’s direction for their lives and I’m certain He’ll continue to guide them! One of their main goals is to really get to know each other. I’m thankful for that, but also I’m very thankful that they’ve chosen to use cautions to protect their purity! Love, Kelly

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brittani July 4, 2011 at 1:23 am

these are nice pictures when is your going to be in michingan and just got home from a 2nd birthday party

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Gil July 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Dear Brittani,
The dates for Michigan are July 24-29. God bless, Kelly

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Jessica July 4, 2011 at 3:42 am

Great photos by Alyssa! :)

Are Zach and Sarah doing the “no touch” rule?

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Gil July 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Dear Jessica,
Yes, after praying and talking they both have agreed to focus on communicating and learning more about each other. Love, Kelly

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Charmaine July 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

Congratulations, you both look just beautiful together.
Love from Charmaine (Brisbane Australia)

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Lisa July 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Hi, I would just like to say congratulations to you all and all the photographs are lovely. I am really interested to know, if you begin a courtship does that definitely lead to an engagement and marriage. Also if that is the case why don’t you skip the courtship and just become engaged. Love Lisa (England, UK)

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Gil July 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Dear Lisa,
Yes, the courtship allows them to get to know each other on a more personal basis, sharing emotions and dating( with chaperones)… Engagement seems more of a time to talk and make actual wedding plans and plans for after the wedding. The courtship is more of the get to know each other in a close personal way time! I wouldn’t have wanted to skip getting to know Gil before getting engaged. We dated, not knowing about courtship as an option. We both wish we had only dated each other… and we both wish we had rules about not being alone together… that’s what courtship offers!… commitment, yet a chance to learn about each other and enjoy each other’s company! Love, Kelly

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aria July 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Beautiful photos and what a lovely couple! One question: is it permissible to hold hands during courtship? Congratulations to Zach and Sarah!

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Gil July 5, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Dear Aria,
Every couple or framily has to decide that for themselves. Zach and Sarah have talked and prayed about it and have decided that they want to wait to hold hands until marriage. This will allow them to concentrate on communication skills and will make holding hands all the more special for marriage. Love, Kelly

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Peggy July 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

Congratulations to Zach and Sarah! The pictures are wonderful…I especially like the one of Sarah looking at Zach as he is asking her the question. I have some questions…Sarah is from a family of 4 children, Zach from a family of 18 children…is the number of children they want a courtship conversation? Could this be an issue for them? Also how will Sarah’s touring with her group impact their courtship, future engagement and marriage?

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Gil July 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Dear Peggy,
Well, they’ll certainly have a lot to talk about and learn about each other… that’s the fun part! Yes, they are like minded in their convictions and goals for life. As for the number of children, God loves variety… He blesses us all in different ways with different numbers; the important thing is to LOVE children and LOVE God! As for the Reith’s singing group, we’ll wait and see how God guides… but, Zach has always LOVED music and we’ve always teased him that his favorite things in life are 1. singing and playing 2. fellowshipping and 3. eating!!! Of course love has a way of changing a person, so he’s not nearly as interested in eating or sleeping, and fellowship would have to move to the top of the list if it included talking to Sarah… but music is certainly a second love! In fact, Zach & Sarah spend a lot of their time together singing and playing! It will be interesting to see what God has in store!

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Lynn July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Congratulations, Zack and Sarah seem like such kind young people. Our family also believes in courtship. Our daughter will be 21 in September and is open to a courtship relationship. Unfortunately she is so busy with work and college that she really has had the opportunity to meet a nice young man yet. I keep telling her, “In God’s time.”

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Emma Culverhouse (England) July 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Dear Mrs.Bates,
I was just wondering if your daughters would be expected to move to where their husband lives when they get married or is that open to discussion?
Love Emma xx

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Gil July 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Dear Emma,
That would be totally up to each couple to seek God’s will about. We don’t have a predetermined rule because God might have other plans for them! love, Kelly

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aria July 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Dear Kelly,

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Many blessings to you and your family!

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JenT July 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Sweet!!

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Lisa July 5, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Dear Kelly

Thank you for answering my question, I really appreciate it. I too wish I had known other options earlier, not so much about dating but seeing how wonderful homeschooling is, I feel I should have gone down that road. My children are 13, 11, 9 and 4 and have been in a school environment for quite a number of years now, but if I had my time over they would have been taught at home. I only wish we had had an insight into your family 10 years ago it has made such a big difference to me. I wish you and all your wonderful family well.

Lisa x

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Dave and Kristy Edmisten July 6, 2011 at 1:12 am

These pictures are beautiful! Kelly, thanks for all your answers about Zach and Sarah’s courtship. For a lot of us, it is foreign to the environment we were raised in. However, since coming to the Lord and having young children of our own, we are very interested in instilling courtship in our family.

Are there other courtship resources that you would recommended for parents like us, who would like to understand better and pray over this vital part of our children’s lives?

Thanks for your ministry in sharing your life in this blog. We really enjoy reading it and it is always such an encouragement. God bless!

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Gil July 6, 2011 at 4:07 am

Dear Dave & Kristy,
Its new for us too! There are some resources through IBLP Ministries. There is a series of coutship messages on DVD by Pastor SM Davis (We LOVE his sermons!). There are several resources through Vision Forum. One of the books that influenced me in college was a book by Elizabeth Elliot called Passion and Purity. I’ve heard others refer to a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but have never personally read it. Some friends just gave me some DVDs and a book that I’m anxious to watch & read (I’ll try to comment on them when I finish them). Hope that helps! Love, Kelly

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Johnna July 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

Just wondering. Will Sarah give up playing with the family band if the Lord leads the courtship to marriage?

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Gil July 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Dear Johnna,
At this time, we don’t see the need for it to end. Zach loves music just as much. Love, Kelly

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Kate July 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Beautiful pictures of the happy couple. It’s an exciting new time for Zach and Sarah’s lives together.
I dated my husband. We didn’t court but we are followers of Jesus and waited until our wedding night for our first time. Temptations can be overcome if two people believe to follow God’s Word. Honestly we wasn’t tempted and spent many times alone and yes we kissed. Our parents trusted us, knowing they raised us in God’s word and it is a good example to teach our children. It’s been 20 years since we said I do. I wish Zach and Sarah God’s Blessings!
The old saying that young people can be influenced by tv, internet, or friends to be impure isn’t always true to every young couple. It’s a commitment a young couple makes to themselves and to God to save themselves to after marriage. It can be done!

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Gil July 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Dear Kate,
Thank you for your encouragement that young people can choose to stay pure until marriage! It’s worth the wait!! My husband and I also dated and kissed… I can’t say that we weren’t tempted, because we often were… but God gave us strength to wait until marriage. However, if we could do it all over again, we would have avoided those temptations. We are thankful for many who have chosen to be an example for others and to say, “You too can choose purity!” God bless, Kelly

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Mandi July 6, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Kelly- thank you so much for taking the time to respond to the questions. For those of us who were not raised with courtship, there are many questions. Luckily God brought me to my perfect mate despite of many dating failures. Your family is an inspiration and I pray that God leads Zach and Sarah wholely during their courtship.
Mandi

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lana wilson July 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm

CONGRATULATIONS to both of ya’ll!!!!! I’m out of my mind excited to see how perfect ya’ll are together and how good God is. ;) I can’t resist saying, Zack is absolutely the luckiest here LOL! J/K….. all the best and hope to see ya’ll soon!

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Tamyra July 7, 2011 at 12:52 am

I am so happy for Zach and Sarah. I will keep them in my prayers. I pray more young people will put this important part of their lives in God’s hands. The pictures are wonderful! Have a blessed weekend.

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Bev July 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Sarah on the start of their official relationship!
I’m curious why his asking her was so formal, it looked to me like he was asking to marry her then I read it and he was asking to court her. Is it normal in the “courtship community” for the man to ask to court in such a formal way? Also, I’m understand that Zach is eager to share all of his texts at this time but if, in the future, he decides that he wishes to keep some things private to himself and savor the sweetness of the relationship in that way, would that be permitted and their space respected?

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Gil July 8, 2011 at 12:30 am

Dear Bev,
Well, I guess we don’t know what “normal” is… we’re all still praying for God to direct Zach and Sarah in this new step of faith.
As for the formality, Zach has surprised us all… he’s becoming quite the considerate gentleman! We would have never guessed it! We thought we’d have to send him to manners school to learn how to treat a gal, but has he fooled us!! He has already sent flowers and a package. One day while texting Sarah, he discovered the family was stopping to eat at Chick-Fil-A in another city and state on their way to sing. He called the directory to get the phone number, but there were two restaurants in that town… So he called and found which one had the family with the four children he described, then he ordered cheesecake over the phone and had them deliver it to the table! He’s gonna make it hard for Gil to outdo his record, Ha!Ha!
As for privacy, they spend a great deal of time talking together… they may be in open view (by choice), but no one is monitoring every word they say. They are adults and most of the choices they’ve made so far have been on their own after much prayer and occassional counsel from others! I’d say they’re leaning close to the Lord for direction in this new territory, though! Love, Kelly

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Shelly July 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm

That’s so sweet! And what beautiful pictures!

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Jennifer July 8, 2011 at 12:42 am

I’ve enjoyed reading through these questions and answers. Kelly it is so heartwarming to hear how close you and Gil are with your older children and that Zach is so open with you. As a mom to little ones I am told so frequently to “wait until they’re teens” and “one day they won’t want anything to do with you” or other such discouraging things. I am so happy to see families enjoy their teens and young adults and I pray that my relationship with my sons will also remain strong throughout their lives.

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hackels July 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Zach and Sarah, You bring tears to our eyes as we watch your beautiful love story, but remember that its always best to let it be the Lords. Your testimony is amazing. We are so thankful to have friends like you who are leading the way in righteousness (only by His Grace – of course :) for the others who are watching you. Keep up the great work. We’ll keep praying for ya’ll and your families. Thanks for letting us in on this most exciting time! Love you more than you could know. the Hackels

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Annette July 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Kelly

It is so nice that you share more information about courting! I think it is a wonderful idea. I myself dated in high school then met my DH adn knew he was the right one! I wish we had known about courting because he has had to learn communication skills over the years because he was not taught how to communicate by his family. We always tell young people(and older ones too) that if you can’t communicate before marriage it will be very had afterwards! We learned from our mistakes and feel that anyone looking for a marriage partner has to be able to talk first before anything else!!

As for lisa- I took my 2 youngest children(thier older sister had already graduated) out of the school system at 13 & 11 so it is not too late! They became very diferent people out of that environment-our son opened up and blossomed and recently graduated from HS 1.3 years early. He is looking into a technical school and the school can be done online which is another plus! The sad thing is I wanted to homeschool and was told not to by everyone around us and we now realize that it would have been far better if we had!

Do not be afraid to try, there are a lot of resources out there that can help you!! Our biggest desire is to help our children educate thier children in a classic education from the beginning.

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chelsey July 9, 2011 at 5:05 am

Congratulations to them! That is so exciting and a very special day. Thank you so much for sharing about this part of your beliefs. I am 24 and have dated (although not for the past 3 years). I wish that I hadn’t now although the mistakes that I made helped me to grow as a person and grow closer to God. I wish courtship was taught more to young people who may not be involved in a church or a family who teaches/believes in it. Your children are very lucky to have grown up in a family with such strong convictions and morals. They all seem like amazing people. Best of luck to Zach and Sarah!

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ck July 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Are they allowed to hug?

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Gil July 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Dear CK,
They’ve chosen not to at this point, so that they focus on growing together spiritually and emotionally first. Love, Kelly

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Carrie July 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

So excited for you guys!!!
Looking forward to hearing more about it! :) and sharing with my daughter! :)

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Christy July 13, 2011 at 5:35 am

Hello Kelly and Gil
I have a few questions about courtship if you would be able to answer them…..Before they start a courtship do the young men ask the young womens fathers?I was wondering since I heard of courtship what if the two people find that they aren’t compatible or feel like they aren’t on the same terms what happens?
Thank you,
-Christy :D

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Gil July 14, 2011 at 4:48 am

Dear Christy,
Zach asked Sarah’s father permission to begin communicating with Sarah in order to get to know her better. During that time, he stayed close in touch with Mr. Reith to make sure he was addressing any requests or concerns that Mr. Reith might have. Once Zach felt sure that Sarah was the girl he would like to marry some day, he expressed his desire to Mr. Reith and asked Mr. Reith to share with him anything he could begin to work on to better equip him. He shared with Mr. Reith that he wanted to talk with him and ask his permission in person. After asking Mr. Reith to pray about allowing him to court Sarah, he asked Mr. Reith to speak with Sarah himself first, so that she could share any concerns, hesitations, or desires with her Dad freely. Following their discussion, Zach was going to officially ask Sarah himself, but when it came down to the real moment he could hardly fight back the tears. Sarah said she had planned what her response was going to be, but she was flooded with emotions also. It was a very sentimental and joyful occassion. Later, the family sat around and listened to a song together “God’s Been Good” as a testimony of all He’s done! Love, Kelly

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Sandra from Abbotsford, BC July 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Congratulations to the happy couple! What a blessing to follow Jesus and not the world. I wish I had learned about courtship when I was younger, but as I am now raising my two teenage children, I want them to court, and not to date, in part because of the testimony that I see in your family.

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Christy July 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Thank you Kelly and Gil :D :D

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Marilyn July 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Happiness and joy surrounds you and your family. I am thrilled for Sarah and Zach … and for the Reith’s and the Bates families. You have a LOT to celebrate and I cannot tell you how joyous I feel for you all. Congratulations and may His blessings continue to shine on all of you. Hugs and love, Marilyn

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Anonymous July 14, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Gil and Kelly,
Is it okay if one of your sons marry a girl who doesn’t follow your guidelines of modesty but is still modest in a way that isn’t a stumbling block for men? (Aka, pants, shorts)

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Valerie July 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Congratulations to Zach and Sara on their courtship!
I’m so happy for them!
Just wanted to say thank you Bates family for being who you are and standing on God’s principles. :D You truly are an encouragement and blessing to all who know you! God Bless you!

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Christina July 18, 2011 at 2:33 am

It’s like a breath of fresh air to see a couple like them! My oldest is only 12 and I’m sure the time will fly by and he’ll be courting too.(If it’s Gods will for him to marry) What a encouraging couple! By the way they are a beautiful couple. You should take comfort in knowing you are raising a Godly generation and that you are Glorifying God!

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Julie July 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Dear Kelly,

Thank you for sharing with us.
I have a few question for you…
You wrote earlier, if I’m not mistaken, that the courtship process is also new to your family. If so, when did you consider it as an option to embrace? Also, I admire the ways of living of your family. May I ask what Christian denomination you are?
Thank you in advance
May God richly bless you!

Julie

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Gil July 20, 2011 at 3:31 am

Dear Julie,
We began hearing preaching on the subject of courtship vs. dating when our oldest was still very young, around 5 years old. We knew that the pros far outweighed the experiences we had witnessed and heard other dating couples share. However, reading about others and listening to sermons still doesn’t give us personal experience. So although the concept is not new to us, the experience is! As for church, we attend a small Independent Baptist Church, but have been encouraged by many of like-minded faith. Love, Kelly

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Annique F. July 20, 2011 at 12:45 am

Dear Kelly~ I am so happy for Zach that he found the one he feels is his perfect mate. I have heard many people wishing for him and Jana to get together, but I’m pleased that he didn’t give in to peer pressure about who people thought he should be with, but that he waited for God’s best. Please tell them congratulations!
Also, have you heard of Main Street Baptist Church? I guess they are only about 10 minutes from where you live. They sent a group up here to Bozeman,MT, where I live, to help with a church plant up here. They mentioned that Zach was elected as County Commissioner; that is wonderful! I love you guys, and wish you all the best!

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Tina July 22, 2011 at 4:01 am

Dear Gil and Kelley,
I have greatly enjoyed reading about Zach and Sarah’s experiences with courtship. As a 26-year old, college-educated woman, I to have chosen not to date. I feel that the lord is leading me towards a career as he has not shown me that special man yet. Out of curiosity, if your daughters were to not marry, would you encourage them to work and live on their own? Or would they remain stay at home daughters? Thank you so much for sharing your son’s encouraging story!

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Gil July 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Dear Tina,
Well, we haven’t crossed that road yet… but our girls try to stay very active, so I couldn’t imagine them slowing down any! Erin teaches piano lessons while attending college. Michaella is an EMT for the volunteer fire department. She also babysits and sews for others while working on her college degree. They are also very involved in ministry projects like the nursing home ministry. Love, Kelly

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Anna July 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

What kind of college degree is Michaella working on?

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Gil July 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Dear Anna,
So far Zach is working on history and criminal justice. Michaella is working on English and Erin is working on a music degree. Love, Kelly

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Sara July 28, 2011 at 4:48 am

I see the older kids are working on college degrees. Did you guys discuss your kids being able to go off to college and have the full college experience like you and Gil did. By the way what are Gil and your majors? Also a side note, kind of drives me crazy that Kelly writes the comments, but the tag line says By Gil why is that. Is it taking Ephesians 5:22 very literally in all aspects. I told my husband forget about me “submitting” to you we are partners. Could be because I group up in a house where my dad would look at my Mom and would say “You’re going to do what you’re going to do,” and would leave it at that. Now mind you my parents were married for 27 years before my dad passed away. Funny enough my dad purposed on the second date and they married 4 months later.

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Gil August 3, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Dear Sara,
Sorry about the tag on the post reading “Gil”; I try to sign my name so that there won’t be confusion. The gentleman that set up our website labelled it that way, but I don’t know how to change it. Yes, the older ones are working on degrees, but so far they have chosen to commute. Love, Kelly

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Stephanie August 5, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Hi! I love your family and am so happy for Zach and Sarah. Also congratulations on your pregnancy! I was just wondering how long Zach has to finish his degree? And how old is Sarah? I am blessed by their example of doing it God’s way. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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Lora August 10, 2011 at 1:35 am

So does courting means that they are engaged??

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Gil August 12, 2011 at 4:56 am

Dear Lora,
It is more like a pre-engagement. It is a commitment, but they are not ready to move forward with setting a date. They are using this time to learn more about communicating with one another! Love, Kelly

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Victoria August 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Hello mrs. Bates,

I am only 15 years old and have prayed and feel God is showing me to a life of courtship. I am looking forward to a spiritual relationship and have no intrest in dating. However, I have three older brothers and they are all dated. My parents believe in Christ and usually attend church, but do not understand how courtship works. I do not know of any one else who wishes to court instead of dating, so I don’t know how to go about the process. The males in my congregation aren’t looking for courtship and it is very rare in my community. Do you have any idea how I would go about finding a boy who shares the same intrests as myself? Thank you, and I hope for much happiness in your son’s courtship and your pregnancy. They look truely happy and I hope one day I can exprience the same.
Love, Victoria.

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Tina October 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Just watched the new Episode of “19 kids and counting” last night. It was so sweet to see the segment of Zach and Sarah. I always love to see the Bates Family on the show. Love your Christian example as well as the Duggers.

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