The Bates Family


by Kelly on August 8, 2011


While in Michigan, we were invited to the Keilen Family home, and what an extraordinary welcome we received!! At o_MG_0574ur house, the girls love to do extra touches to make company feel special, but the Keilen family took that to a new level when they prepared for our arrival! Their example taught us an important and valuable lesson about making others feel loved and appreciated! 




{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Dee August 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Friends are such a blessing! God bless you, Bates and Keilen Families.


Lauren August 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I’m glad ya’ll had such a fun time! Friends are a blessing! God Bless your family.


ria mc mahon riatmc@ August 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

the photos are lovely kelly looks as if u all had a great time with the keilens do they have a big family?may god bless u all


Courtney Sanchez August 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm

It is wonderful to have nice friends! Your family is beautiful!


amber landers August 8, 2011 at 12:54 am

glad that you had a great time, and hope to hear what you learned from them. Always looking how to be a better hostest.

Love the Pic!


Gil August 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Dear Amber,
One really neat thing they did to accomodate the large crowd on a hot day was to set up a huge tarp outdoors to offer shade. They decorated the trees underneath the tarp with tiny Christmas lights to add a festive look. The set up tables and chairs decorated with table cloths and floating candles to add seating and eating space. They had fans under the tarp to keep it cool. They carried their keyboard outside under the tarp, so the kids could play and sing. They had a basket full of bubbles and toys to entertain the little ones. The food was laid out in a seperate screened in tent to keep the bugs out! It was a lot of work on their part, but their organization paid off! They made the hot outdoors turn into a cool, inviting, entertaining, beuatifully scenic event!!! I want to do my parties that way now!! Love, Kelly


Susan August 8, 2011 at 2:00 am

Beautiful pictures! That watermelon was amazing! It looks like you really enjoyed yourselves.


Julianne August 8, 2011 at 2:03 am

That watermelon (?) carving is beautiful! What a fun and creative way to welcome guests!


brittani August 8, 2011 at 4:07 am

friends are nice to be around with and at least your family had fun in michigan come back soon


brittani August 8, 2011 at 4:08 am

dear bates family maybe you guys can visit me here in michigan


Emma Culverhouse (England) August 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

Dear Kelly,
What amazing pictures as usual, I am soo impressed by the watermelon!! It’s heartwarming to see people still go to extraordinary lengths to make you feel welcome. I wonder how much time that took? How many children do the Keilen family have? We had an amazing sermon this Sunday from an enthusiastic guest speaker, who talked about Ezekiel 47 and left us with the prayer “wherever you flow, I will go”. Extremely inspiring,
love Emma xx


Gil August 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Dear Emma,
The Keilens have ten children. Love, Kelly


Nicole Pelkey August 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Looks like such a wonderful time with lots of laughter! A Merry heart doeth good like a medicine! ~Nicole :)


Nicole Pelkey August 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Oh, and that watermelon carving is AMAZING!!!!! Did they do that themselves??? WOW!


Gil August 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Dear Nicole,
Brandon Keilen carved the watermelon. love, Kelly


Jennifer August 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Wow! What beautiful work they did with the watermelon. I would love to learn how to do that. It’s on my “one day” list ;D
Look at Judson’s baby feet! This is why my youngest son (14 months) goes without shoes unless I have to put them on him. Who could ever get enough baby feet?


Casey August 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Looks like a fun visit! What a watermelon! GREAT photos! Especially love the shots of Judson crawling and Erin – so cute!


sonja petersen August 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

The photos are full of love and happy people! Looking like a perfect visit and a warm welcome.
Kelly, how are you doing with your pregnancy? I hope you and baby Bates are fine at all!
May God be with you, love Sonja


Kriegshauser family August 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Great pictures! Both families are beautiful!


Emma Culverhouse (England) August 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Dear Kelly,
Wow, another big family!! Am I right in thinking that the Keilen family children are older than yours?
Love Emma x


Gil August 9, 2011 at 2:48 am

Dear Emma,
Yes, the oldest is in her thirties, but looks about 24!! Love, Kelly


Kay W August 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Sure looks like a wonderful time, I like the tarp idea, the fans not only cool, but they also keep mosquitoes away. The little dickens can’t fly into the air velocity fans provide. We use them on our deck.


Pam August 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Wow! The Keiliens certainly went to great creative lengths to help their guests (you!) feel welcome and comfortable! Thanks Kelly for listing those tips above to Amber’s letter! I seem always to be at a lost when preparing for large gatherings. Are there any main course food offerings that day I may “steal” for some upcoming gatherings???! We always do steaks, chicken, corn, salads and some appetizers plus fruit/desserts.I love having people to our home and fellowship with them!!! Come to Connecticut and I will do my very best for your beautiful family (that is after some tips :) !!!


Gil August 9, 2011 at 2:47 am

Dear Pam,
You’re too sweet… we may take you up on that offer one day! Christy Keilen works at a pizza / sub shop, so they bought some of the gourmet subs and pizza and through in lots of fresh fruit and salad! It made for a great outdoor menu, and since the food was prepared already we had more time for fellowship!!! Love, Kelly


Emma Culverhouse (England) August 9, 2011 at 6:33 am

Dear Kelly,
The Keilen family do look young!!! They obviously love children because it looks like they had a great time fellowshipping with your younger ones & I bet it was good for you to talk to someone who has been through it all as well. Are any of the Keilen family children married and have children of their own?
Love Emma x


Gil August 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Dear Emma,
Yes, there are several Keilen grandchildren. Love, Kelly


Sheila August 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm

i don’t know who takes your photos but they are sooo good…people would pay for family shots like these.


Denise August 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Looks like y’all have a great time of fellowship wherever you go! I can say from personal experience, y’all treat everyone like old friends. When will you be back in NC ?


Sarah August 10, 2011 at 2:32 am

Do you have any trips to Ohio coming up I would love to be able to meet up with you guys at some point and fellowship?! Love, Sarah!


Gil August 12, 2011 at 4:54 am

Dear Sarah,
I trips are slowing down since school starts… We have one more on Labor Day in Iowa. Love, Kelly


Jillian August 10, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Hi Kelly,

I was just wondering how your pregnancy is going. I have been praying for you, your family, and your new little one! Love, Jillian


Gil August 12, 2011 at 4:52 am

Dear Jillian,
Thanks for asking… I still would appreciate your prayers. I will go soon for another check up, but I am certainly growing! Love, Kelly


amber landers August 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Thanks you so much Kelly for getting back to me. Matthew and I have a ton of people over to the house all the time. And lots around holidays, with being in the military not everyone can go home to family so we open our doors. And I’m always looking for ways to make it run a little better! Thanks I have made notes of those things, and I will put them to work for us.

I just wanted to check and see if the violin was working out for youall? I hope so! And thank you for taking it, I felt bad just having it sit there and not being use.


Marilyn August 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Dear Kelly,
I loved the watermelon; what a lovely surprise for your family when you arrived. I would really have to work to try something like that and get half the result (I have the attention span of a gnat at times). I was wondering how Erin is recuperating? Has she been able to play? Does she have to go for physiotherapy? She must be anxious to get back to her piano. Love reading all your family’s updates and seeing the pictures. Take care and enjoy the rest of summer!



Gil August 12, 2011 at 4:47 am

Dear Marilyn,
She is playing again without her pinky. The surgery didn’t have the results we were hoping for, but we knew that was a possibility from the beginning. We go back to the doctor on Monday and will see what our options are. Thank you for caring! Love, Kelly


Debbie August 12, 2011 at 12:10 am

Is “fellowshipping” a verb?


Alexis August 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Dear Mrs. Bates,

As always it is a true blessing to read your posts and answers to other’s questions. My future husband and I are purposing to be gracious hosts once we get married. We think this is a great way to meet people, get involved in the community, and, above all, be more Christ-like in our day to day lives. The tips are great!

I would like your permission to add Erin to my virtual prayer group for options and hopefully recovery of her pinky. Please let me know if this is OK.



Gil August 12, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Dear Alexis,
We are grateful for any prayers… Thank you! Love, Kelly


Clara Bryan August 12, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Dear Kelly,
You all must have had such a great time together with the Keilens! They look like such a sweet family…I’m sure you all had a great time together…

I just love all your kids’ names, Kelly! What are all their middle names? I know some, from what you have written sometimes, but not all. You have such a beautiful family and I know the Lord is going to bless this next little one of yours! Do you know yet what the gender of the baby is? Have you decided on any precious names? I love ALL your children’s names! They’re beautiful!

Praying for your pregnancy, Kelly,
Clara Bryan


Gil August 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Dear Clara,
The names are:
Zachary Gilvin (Zach) = “Jehovah hath remembered”, “Trusted one”
Michaella Christan = “Who is like the Lord”, “Christian”
Erin Elise = “Peacemaker”, “Oath of God’
William Lawson (Lawson) = “Protector”, “Crowned with Laurel, victorious” (William is after Papa Bill)
Kenneth Nathaniel (Nathan) = “Handsome Gift of God” (Kenneth is after GrandDad Callaham)
Alyssa Joy = “Truthful”, “Joy”
Tori Layne = “Victory Road”
Trace Whitfield = “Harvester of the white fields” (After preacher Geaorge Whitfield)
Carlin Brianne = “Little woman of strength, virtue, and honor”
Josie Kellyn = “She shall increase in wisdom”, “Woman warriar”
Katie Grace = “Pure Grace”
Jackson Ezekiel = “Steadfast” (After the nickname given to Stonewall Jackson), “In the strength of the Lord”
Warden Justice = “Watchman for Justice”
Isaiah Courage = “The Lord is my salvation and courage”
Addallee Hope = “God is my refuge and hope”
Ellie Bridget” = “Strong Light”
Callie-Anna Rose = “Beautiful Rose”, “Gracious”
Judson Wyatt = “Son of the Praised One” (After Hymn writer Judson Van DeVenter who wrote “I Surrender All”), “Little warrior”
No name for the new one on the way and we will wait to find out the gender at birth! God bless! Love, Kelly


Sarah August 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Sounds like fun! Well if your ever up this way let me know that is if yall want. Prayers and Love sent from me to you and your family! Sarah


Kay W August 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Any updates on Erin’s pinky? How much does this interfere with her piano playing? Ordinarily I would think it would interfere quite a bit, but with Erin’s talent, perhaps not so much, or so I am hoping. A prayer for Erin and a prayer for you and the new little life. Also a prayer for Michaela that she hasn’t drowned in a sea of fabric. Can’t wait to see the pictures! Love, Kay


Gil August 14, 2011 at 12:52 am

Dear Kay,
We go on Wednesday to check on Erin’s pinky recovery. She is still having quite a bit of trouble bending it and is playing without it! Thank you for asking about her.
As for Michaella, she is in Heaven with the material you have sent!!! She has already made around 20 dresses (You can see the new red and white ones on the Tent Meeting post). I’ll ask Alyssa to take some photos to post! Love, Kelly…. PS The children are enjoying the books, shirts, and other goodies you’ve sent! You overflow with generosity! Love, Kelly


Clara Bryan August 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Oh, their names are so beautiful!
Thank you for sharing their beautiful names to me. I will definitely keep you and your precious baby in my prayers. One question, when is it due? Sometime next year or so? Love, Clara


Gil August 14, 2011 at 12:49 am

Dear Clara,
We are due on Valentine’s Day, 2012 (although I look like I’m due much sooner!) Love, Kelly


Kay W August 14, 2011 at 1:01 am

And no one is more deserving of the gifts God has given to us as your family, Kelly. Am I supposed to have such fun doing this, I wonder? love, Kay


Sarah August 14, 2011 at 2:58 am

Maybe you will have twins that would be exciting!! Love, Sarah! P.S. Tell Michaella the dresses look great!!


Clara Bryan August 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Aw, what a great timing! So sweet! The way the Lord works is so amazing, isn’t it?
Well, you certainly look healthy and doing well!
Keeping you all in my prayers…love, Daniel and Clara Bryan, Leah, Grace, Mia, Rachel, Christian, David, Nicole, Annis, Haden, Hannah, Bella, Margaret, Gloria, Landon, Collin, Seth, and Jessa.


Anna Hackel August 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm

This is great!! I stayed with Becky while I was at HQ,right before I want to Journey!!


Jordan January 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Dear Bates Family, I was trying to view some of your older posts, but the pictures on several of them are not working on my computer. I was wondering if the pictures were removed or if it was just my computer. Thanks! Have a wonderful week!


Kelly January 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Dear Jordan,
When I switched who was helping us with the website, the words all were copied and transferred over, but the pictures weren’t for some reason. I need to go back and repost them all with pictures again, but oh the time…eek! Love, Kelly


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