The Bates Family

ROMANIA

by Kelly on November 25, 2011

_MG_0816Alyssa, Tori, and I were invited to accompany a team of students travelling to Romania on a week long ministry trip. It was a tremendously moving experience as we became aware of the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of precious people from other backgrounds and cultures.

While there, we visited schools and were invited to teach character lessons. We also visited the Minister of Health, hospitals, orphanages, and Gypsy camps. We were able to share the Gospel message of love and encourage others through music and song. We were given a police escort through town with the President and Mayor of the county, while passing out tracts telling of God’s love. I think we all have a new perspective of life and missions.

We serve such a BIG God, and we feel extremely privileged to be able to tell others of Him! 

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{ 166 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexis November 26, 2011 at 3:36 am

Dear Erin,

Thank you so much for sharing you and sisters’ amazing and inspirational trip.

I was wondering if you and/or your family has some advice for me. I feel the Lord leading me to hold the ropes for a missionary family. I feel specially led towards a family that is newer to the field and possibly finding difficulty in adapting (and are maybe even feeling alone). I was wondering if you or your family know of such a family that you could recommend for me to get in touch with, pray for, and help financially in the little ways I can.

It is beautiful to see the Lord’s work in your family’s life.

Love,
Alexis

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Kay W November 26, 2011 at 3:39 am

You know I have been looking forward to this post! It was well worth the wait. You girls look beautiful and I am sure you were a great addition the ministry trip. How wonderful it was that you were able to go to Romania. Were you able to meet either of those two good looking gentlemen in the front row seated in the blue seats :-) Love and God Bless, Kay

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Sarah November 26, 2011 at 3:53 am

Looks like y’all had a fun time! Im glad that you got to IMPACT so many people! All 3 of you girls are just so pretty!!
Lots of Love,
Sarah

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Lindsey November 26, 2011 at 6:47 am

I just LOVE reading yalls posts!!! It is so encouraging! I also must say that whoever takes yalls pictures does an AMAZING job!! Each post has such beautiful pictures!!! Glad the trip went well!

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Rose November 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

So happy to see you all spreading the word of God! You all look like you had a great time!
My daughter wanted me to ask (off the subject) if all the Bates girls had the conviction to wears skirts/dresses? lol This is a new conviction for my 13yr old & she was just wondering :) Thanks You
Blessings, Rosemarie

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Gil November 26, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Dear Rose,
Yes, all of the girls wear skirts or dresses in our family. Its never hindered us from any activity: biking, hiking, skiing, horseback riding, roller blading, mowing, EMT work, etc. We do wear leggins underneath for some of the more active activities. Love, Kelly

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Juanita November 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I’m SO glad you young ladies got this opportunity! I really enjoy your songs that were posted on YouTube, and I’m glad you got to do that there too. If you ever make a CD of your singing/playing I’ll be buying it for sure!

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Wendy November 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

What a wonderful opportunity for girls to go on this missions trip together!!

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Kay S November 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Erin, Thank you for the post about your trip and for sharing the pictures. I’m so glad that you had the opportunity to participate and that it was an important experience for all of you.

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Alicia November 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm

What a wonderful experience for you and the girls. Thank you for sharing. God Bless

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Patti November 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing them!

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Janet Kiessling November 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Amazing pictures! What an awesome experience to spread the Good News ! Some friends of ours just got back from Romania on a missions trip w/ their church. Thank you for sharing !

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Rose November 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Thank you for your promt response reguarding my daughters question about skirts/dresses.I do wear skirts everyday & am thankful for my daughters recent conviction to wear them as well.What a great idea with the leggings!
You have a wonderful family that is such a Godly testimony & thank you for that. Also hearing back from comments on here is such an encouragement to people! Love,Rose

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Beanie November 26, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Wow! That trip must have been so cool! :) I agree with ya’ll about your daughters wearing skirts and dresses all the time. It’s the right thing for women and girls to do. I’m praying for you guys! :D

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Joy November 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm

What a wonderful opportunity for them! I’ve only been on mission trips in the US, although I’d love to go overseas.

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Kathryn November 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm

In general, do your girls choose to wear skirts on their own, or did you always just dress them in skirts starting when they were small?
Is there an age when they are allowed to choose for themselves whether or not to wear pants, or is it a rule that they can’t as long as they’re living at home? Hope I’m not being nosy, just curious. I think your daughters look very professional/grown up in their suits! While I do not have religious reasons to wear longer skirts, I often prefer them just because I’m not too fond of my calves/shins. I usually stick to long skirts or shorter skirts with leggings–business wear can be a challenge though, if I want to wear a skirt, because leggings and a suit usually don’t mix! I’m curious, did your girls purchase their suits as sets or did they buy the pieces separately? Either way, they look great :) Best to you and yours.

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Gil November 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Dear Kathryn,
They began wearing skirts and dresses when young. As our children get older and begin their own families, they will be faced with many choices they’ll have to make for themselves. As a parent, our job is to prepare them for that time by gradually letting go and giving them more opportunities to make their own choices and to become useful, responsibble, and diligent citizens. We don’t want them to simply do as we say just because we say so, although it is respectful… it just isn’t mature. Growing up means they learn to talk to and hear from God themselves. Their convictions become theirs because of what God has impressed upon their own hearts… not someone else’s. We don’t want to raise puppets. We want to raise children who can think and pray for themaelves. Sure, we want them to be open to counsel from us and others, but we don’t want to keep them tied to our apron strrings either! I think Gil and I learn as much , or more, from them as vice versa. Many of the decisions we made in life came from suggestions they made that we in turn prayed about.Letting go also means a realization that they may not make perfect choices in everything… it means giving them some room to grow and to let the Holy Spirit teach them along the way. I’d much rather see them grow up under a roof with a loving family who is there to offer counsel, comfort, and prayer when they fail or get discouraged than to try to over-parent them by not letting go soon enough and then having them face all of those new areas own their own at once. I guess the tricky part for most parents isa knowing when to let go. In my opinion, some parents don’t protect and guide enough during the early, vulnerable stages… and in many other homes, the parents are still trying to shelter 20 year olds to the point that those young adults are not able to practice being adults at all. There’s a fine line that will have to be decided by each family. For us, as our children approach 16-18 (depending on maturity), we gradually began helping them move into that new stage of adulthood. We encourage them to become involved in wise ministry and community service opportunities, as well as job training opportunities that provide new skills. Fear handicaps a lot of us from letting go, but growing up is inevitable! Our children need to learn to pray, trust, make mistakes, and grow! At the same time, there are many more vices available to today’s youth (ex: internet pornography, etc.), so a wise parent will prepare their children to make wise choices and will protect them as much as possible by making their home a safe place, not a place of constant temptation or of bad influence. Close communication is essential, so parents can know how to offer the much needed comfort, counse, praise, and guidance! Love, Kelly

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Libby November 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Its great that you girls are going out into the world and helping others find God’s love! We need more girls like you in this world!
Libby

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Anita November 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Dear Brother Bates: Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina, it’s nice to see young people serving our God, his word carried some away to different places, but the need is so great these days, not to waste the opportunity when it presents. This is not the belief in Romania, if there is freedom to worship or not, if it persecutes Christians, but the important thing is to let the world know that there is hope in Jesus, we have salvation and eternal life THROUGH Him. I want to answer me if some of the girls who go are some of Christian families friends of you, how long the stay in this country? I hope that this trip is been a blessing to your family and what is learned to value what God gives us daily. Warm regards in Christ Jesus. Blessings.

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Gil November 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Dear Anita,
Their trip lasted one week. It was brief, which was a blessing since Erin only had a few days to spare for absences from college. Love, Kelly

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Emily Raynes November 27, 2011 at 12:18 am

Hey Mrs. Kelly! I love your paragraph about kids and dress…. very well said! You are one of the best people to give counsel about all of this because you’re DOING it and its WORKING! We love y’all! :)

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AnnaLisa Young November 27, 2011 at 12:24 am

PTL, I love the Romanian people. My father did mission work there in the 1990′s. Please tell me you got some of this on film and if so, do you ever post vids to your website? I would have loved to see the interaction! God bless your family and your ministry. ALY

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Gil November 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm

AnnaLisa,
We’ve had several ask us about posting videos. I’ll try to find out how to do that! Love, Kelly

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Sarah November 27, 2011 at 12:48 am

Dear Kelly,
I was woundering if Alyssa or even Tori wore headbands we make some and I came across a few they might like?! I was thinking about sending them as Christmas gifts but didnt know!
Thanks Love Sarah

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Gil November 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Dear Sarah,
That would be such an ideal craft for us to learn! Alyssa, Carlin, Josie, and Katie all LOVE headbands! Love, Kelly

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Sonya November 27, 2011 at 1:38 am

Dear Mrs. Bates and Bates girls – Thank you for letting us travel along with you! We loved hearing about and seeing Romania! I do have a sort-of off the topic question. We love how you and your girls dress. I know that you sew a lot of your clothes. Have you ever thought of having that as a little side business for your family for others who are not quite as gifted? Also, do you have any stores that you especially like that have modest, fashionable and feminine clothes? In our experience, they are not that easy to find, yet your family always looks so nice! Thank you! – Sonya

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Gil November 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Dear Sonya,
Catos and Penneys often have longer, business like skirts for the older girls. Michaella sews for the younger ones, until they grow into adult sizes (which she does not enjoy sewing as much.) Michaella has thought about sewing for a business and used to do alterations for a local clothing store, but she’ll probably have to finish up her college to have enough time to dedicate to it. Love, Kelly

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Kay W November 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

Oh, you are so right about it being difficult, but necessary, to let go, Kelly. My children made mistakes becoming adults, but sometimes I think we learn as much from mistakes as we do from lessons, or maybe more. Luckily when my children were growing up personal computers were in their infancy and TV programs and advertisements were much less suggestive than they are now. I have heard my youngest daughter describe her childhood as idyllic. Yes, I was busy picking up and dropping off children for sports and practices, colorguard and school dances, but I cherish those memories. Long ago my grandmother told me that ‘idle hands are the devil’s workship,’ so I made sure everyone was involved and busy. All six turned into productive, independent adults and that was my job as a parent. Religion? Four are Methodist, one is Catholic (as is their father,) one Episcopalian, (as is her husband). Quite a religious quilt we make. Just an example of choices they made on their own. My oldest son, who is 51, stopped by for a little motherly advice tonight, so they are never too old to seek counsel.

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Gil November 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Dear Kay,
You brought out a good point about letting go. We can learn a lot from our mistakes and I do believe older children need to learn to make wise choices on their own, and learn discernment, and learn to hear from God… But I do also believe that the process of letting go should be under careful guidance because unfortunately, even though we often learn from mistakes, there are consequences for them – and some are irreversable (ex: teen pregnancy). Therefore, it is important to saturate your children in Bible truths so that they can make the best choices that yield the best results… that’s far better than having to learn from mistakes and suffer consequences.
The choice of religion is the MOST important choices a young person will ever make, because it will affect all of eternity. Religions all differ… some are centered on good works (like Baptism, Communion, Pentance, Church attendance, Good deeds, etc.). Some religions accept that Jesus was a good man, teacher, prophet, or Son of God… But they deny that He is SAVIOUR. The Bible says in John 14:6, ” Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me.” Romans 5:23 again confirms that our salvation is through Christ, ” For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The many choices of religion can be confusing, and many assume all religions lead to the same road, but not according to Scripture. Matthew 7:13-14 warns: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Proverb 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” God is willing to save all who come to Him on His terms, but unfortunately, Satan through religion has blinded the eyes of many so that there is great confusion about how to know you are saved and are a child of God. Revelations describes a scene where many are crying out thinking they are going to Heaven based on their religion and good works, but they are turned away because they did not truly know the Lord and did not follow His word and His way. Because of this great and irreversable consequence, I believe the MOST important thing we can give our attention to in helping our children is the Word of God. It is critical to study and read it together, and it is important to attend a good doctrinally sound Bible teaching church. For any parents interested, there are many resources available to explain the error being taught in most religions. Only one way can be the right way… If they all differ, it is imperative to find out what God says! Two good resources are The Way of the Master DVD series (http://www.wayofthemaster.com/) and Sermons by SM Davis (http://www.solvefamilyproblems.com/ – click on the side tab labelled online store, then click on “doctrine” to view doctrine related messages. Love, Kelly

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sara( italy) November 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

As I´m going to college next fall, I have a question for Erin, are her studies a preparation for a certain job and does she already know, what she will do after college? I would love to go to a three year college for midwifery, but there is an entery test and they pick out only the best twenty. Do you know, by any chance, something about the formation of midwives in your area? Sara

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Gil November 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Dear Sara,
Erin is getting a degree in music. She is using it to teach music lessons to other students. I don’t know a lot about the requirements to become a midwife here, but I can send you some names of midwives that could probably help you. I do know that each state has its own lawsw concerning midwifery and certification. You can become a nurse midwife (meaning you have actually gone to nursing school first), you can become a certified midwife (meaning you have met the requirements for apprenticeship and testing), or you can become a “lay” midwife (which is not certified). Some states only allow deliveries by certified midwives. Wish I could help you more! Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe November 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Dear Kelly,
(Thanks Erin for posting these pictures!!) Kelly, I was wondering if it mattered what address to use to write you back? You put a different return address this time. Just wanted to double check if it mattered. We received your two cards and love them! Thank you!

Lauren S.

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Gil November 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Dear Lauren,
Some of our mail was stolen out of our home address, so we only receive mail through the PO Box that is posted on our website: PO Box 544 Lake City, TN 37769. Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe November 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Kelly,

I understand! I will be writing with my new return address. I had to get a P.O Box as well. I actually like it better! I am sorry your mail was stolen but glad you have an alternative to fix that! I am glad your birrthday present wasn’t stolen but did you receive our pictures? Much love, and hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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Gil November 28, 2011 at 3:26 am

Dear Kay,
Sorry about the mail confusion. Packages and letters that are sent via the postal service arrive at our PO Box. UPS and Fed Ex deliver at our home address since they do not deliver to PO Boxes. Love, Kelly

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Laura November 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Dear Erin or kelly,
I was just wondering why michaella was not on this trip. Scince shes also one of the older girls.
Anyway it looks like you had a great time :)
God bless,
Laura

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Gil November 28, 2011 at 3:24 am

Dear Laura,
The three girls that went on the trip sang a song together at the home school conference when they were invited to go. Michaella is usually somewhere behind the scenes serving. I think she had met a family and had offered to help watch their little ones, so they could listen to the messages. She hopes to be able to go somewhere one day, especially to an orphanage… but she realizes that is all in the Lord’s timing! Love, Kelly

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Kay W November 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Dear Kelly,

You and I have never discussed religion and now I see why. I grew to like you EVEN THOUGH I knew that you and your family are convinced of the rightness of your conservative faith. That is fine, we live in the United States where our forefathers and mothers came to escape religious persecution. Please extend to me the same courtesy since you knew from my earliest emails that my religious beliefs are more liberal. When all is said and done there is barely a hair width of difference, the main difference is that I am not called upon to witness and testify, which frankly I believe puts more people off than it saves. For example, I am not happy to see Jehovah’s Witnesses at my door. I would rather spend time donating to food pantries and to the SPCA. You feel differently, that’s fine, too.

On another note, most stores will not ship to post office boxes, which would be a problem for me.

Love, Kay

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Gil November 28, 2011 at 3:20 am

Dear Kay,
Please don’t take my response as an offense against you… I love people – even those with different views… God loves people… I may not agree with all of their beliefs, but I can love them and pray about it on the behalf of myself and them. It is not my goal to judge or reject people because of differences; it is my goal to share my faith because it is the BEST part of my life! … Your post actually provoked me to meditate about letting go and I was moved to share that one’s religious beliefs are truly the MOST important choices a person faces and should therefore be a subject of much prayer and attention for parents. Much love, Kelly

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Kaci November 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now. I just noticed that you respond to your questions frequently! That is very kind of you!

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Kaci November 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Your family is a wonderful inspiration! God Bless!

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Kathryn November 27, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Kelly,
Thank you for your well thought out answer to my question. My Mom and Pop always said “Give your children roots, but also give them wings, and lobe ‘um no matter what.” :) I do feel a bit bad about commenting on a post your daughter wrote about her humanitarian work with a wardrobe question–my husband and I are Quakers and while we dress like most Americans, there is a family at our meeting that dresses in plain clothes. One day I was visiting their house and playing games with their oldest daughter. After, I realized how different my interaction had been with her than other little girls her age. Istead of comments like “pretty dress” or “I like your bow,”I I found myself for saying “I wow, you’re a good climber!”I or “It’s so cool that you canbuilt milk ato cow!’ I basically commenting on what she could do and whats she knew, not what she looked like…my point being, I realized how we as a society so often emphasize young women’s wardrobe choices over their actions and I totally was guilty of that with my comment! I think lot’s admirable that your daughters are interested in humanitarian work and that they’re putting their interest into action. Are any of them interested in careers as missionaries or with charities/NGOs in the future?

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Kathryn November 27, 2011 at 11:13 pm

…um that would be “love” not “lobe!”Forgive my typos, that’s what I get for typing on a cell phone and not proofreading!

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Lauren Sharpe November 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Kelly I forgot to tell you that Mason bought me a pig that is just like your frog for our 3rd Wedding Anniversary! I thought that was sweet and then thought I have Miss Piggy and you have Kermet!! lol :) I had to share :) Love ya’ll!

Lauren S.

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Miriam November 28, 2011 at 1:47 am

Hi Mrs Bates

I write to you from Australia. My husband and I are hoping to start our family next year. We are just starting to develop a relationship with the Lord and your post on choosing the right religeon sums up exactly how we are feeling we are so confused as to which is the right church to attend. We have Baptist, Anglican, Catholic, and Uniting Churches in our local area how do we know which is the right one?
Your children are incredibly lucky to grow up in a family where they are taught the word of God and have a good understanding of His words from the bible. My husband and I didnt grow up with religeon in our lives so I would think your very young children would have a better understanding than us which makes me sad. I do not want this to be for my children. I want them to grow up knowing Him.

If you could possibly give us some pointers on where to start and which church to choose we would be very grateful.

Thank you for your time

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Dear Miriam,
A denomination (or type of church) identifies what that church believes. It is important to find out what each church believes and compare it to what Scripture says to make sure they line up. For example, we attend a Baptist church which holds to a set of doctrinal beliefs that are based on the word of God. For example, the following site lists some of the beliefs our church adheres to: (http://templebaptistchurch.com/statement_of_faith/). Every church is not the same, but typically the denomination they identify themselves with is an identification of their beliefs. Keep in mind: Heaven will NOT be filled with Baptists ONLY (and some people do wrongfully put a greater emphasis on the denomination than on Christ’s teachings), however, it IS important to attend a church that preaches sound Biblical teaching because there are so MANY warnings in Scripture to beware of false teachers! Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe November 28, 2011 at 3:44 am

Kelly,

So if I send you a package to your P.O Box it will be shipped to your house? I’m confused :(

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Gil November 28, 2011 at 4:20 am

Dear Lauren,
So sorry about confusing you and Kay. We submitted a change of address to our post office, so that regular mail and packages delivered via a US post office goes to our Po Box. When we order on-line, however, we ask if they ship through the traditional post office or through UPS or FedEx (because UPS and FedEx require a specific land address)… When using these services, we give our home address which is no problem since they deliver the packages to you personally at your door. But PLEASE don’t spend ANY money on us!!! We are already grateful for the gifts, but feel very undeserving and humbled! We appreciate your thoughtfulness, though!! Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe November 28, 2011 at 4:27 am

Kelly,

That is okay. That’s what I thought you meant. I was just getting confused…thought too hard about it I guess lol! Aww but that is my joy giving people presents. I love love love it! Really it’s not problem unless you honestly really want me to stop I will because I want to go by your wishes. I already picked you out a Christmas present. Is that okay if I send it? Really, it makes me very happy to give because I am so blessed I want to share and give when I can.

Blessings,
Lauren S.

P.S~
Did you read my other post about Miss. Piggy?

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Kay W November 28, 2011 at 8:15 am

Dear Kelly,

After thinking about it, I realized that you didn’t aim your remarks at me specifically and I’m sorry to have reacted in a negative manner. I, too, love people of all sorts regardless of their beliefs. Perhaps I feel a bit guilty, as well, since I was raised an Army Brat and seldom lived in one place for more than 2 years my own religious needs may not have been addressed. Likewise my children were Navy Brats, traveling up and down the Eastern Seaboard, so it was difficult to actually get involved in a church short term. Now I am just glad that the ‘children’ have found religious affiliations they feel comfortable with. If there is one thing that being an Army Brat taught me it was to accept people who are differnt, or think differently, than I do. All I know is that yours is a wonderful loving family and I feel lucky to have ‘met’ you. Gifts are not sent to make you feel undeserving and humble. They are sent because since I thought it expensive to raise 6 children, then it has to be 3 times as expensive for you. If I can afford to give something as a treat, I am more than happy to be able to do that. Since I get email from Michaela and Alyssa from time to time I can tell you that asking them for gift ideas or something they, or any family member, might like to have gets me nowhere. OK, I understand the deal with the post office. Love, Kay

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Gil November 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Dear Kay,
You have obviously managed to keep close ties with your grown children, which is something every parent desires! Love, Kelly

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sara( italy) November 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Dear Kelly,
thank you so much for answering my questions! I never understood the differences between nurse midwives and certified midwives, now I know.
You have already helped me a lot. By the way, have I ever sent you the recipe for our traditional food ? I wrote it some months ago, but I´m not sure if I sent it or not, so to make sure, I will send it now. Love, Sara

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Glory November 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Mrs. Bates,
I was wondering, do you and all your girls sew your own clothes or usually buy them at stores? (besides your little girls, because I know that Michaella sews their clothes) Y’all clothing are so cute!

Oh, how old is Addallee?
Love in the Lord, our Savior, Glory

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Gil November 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Dear Glory,
Occassionally Michaella sews for herself and the older girls. When they want something special like a western dress with tassles. For the most part, though, she only sews for the younger girls (Carlin, Josie, Katie, Addee, Ellie, & Callie.) Love, Kelly

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Carita November 29, 2011 at 4:00 am

Dear Kelly and Girls
Mikaela-Karma(Our three year old grand daughter who we are raising) has expressed an interest in a “modest” swimsuit. I was wondering do you sew those suits? They are not available in our area of Wisconsin. She has learned modesty from watching the Duggar and Bates family on TV,(and people say TV doesn’t influence kids). This little one refuses to wear what she deems not “modest” outside in public.
Kelly could you ask the girls about the swim wear?

~Carita~

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Dear Carita,
Michaella copied a swimsuit she had seen the Duggars wear from the company called modest swimwear. Their prices are a little pricey, so she bought taslin material and swimsuit lycra material to sew the dress and underbody suit. Check and see if you have someone local in your church or area that sews reasonably. Love, Kelly

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Rose November 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Hello :) My daughter was also wondering if your girls wear earrings? She was jokingly teased by a few girls in Sunday school because she does not wear them and I guess she must feel like she is the only one so she has been bugging me to ask you:)
She also wanted to buy her Dad a daily devotional for Christmas and was wondering if you all had any ideas on one that would be good? We are Christians & we attend a conservative IFBaptist church so a KJV inspired version would be great! Thank you :) Love, Rosemarie

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Dear Rose,
They don’t usually wear earrings. Occassionally Erin has worn the small sized magnetic earrings for special occassions. We just weren’t comfortable with the idea of a permanent piercing. I had an experience as a young girl with pierced ears where a dangling earing got caught in a shirt and ripped my lobe. I quit wearing earrings after that experience, but the holes/ scars remained. Its ashame that some would tease your daughter on account of her chose to wear or not to wear them. We all have different preferences and convictions, and sometimes we forget to allow room for others to grow or to have differences. Christians are often harder on each other than anyone else. We are given so much grace that we forget to extend it. Use this experience to reinforce to your daughters the importance of not teasing those who are different, and also use it as an opportunity to teach her to forgive those who have hurt her. Love, Kelly

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Danielle November 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Thank you for sharing the amazing pictures of the girls on their mission trip, Gil and Kelly you must be so proud to see your children growing and maturing into becoming beautiful girls on the outside but most importantly on the inside determined to put others first. It does make me think of the positives in the world and i hope your family continues to grow in the way you wish it to.

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Rebecca Woodson November 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Do you all have an address or organization that can be contacted for others to donate to the areas where the girls visited? (shoebox care packages, for example). Perhaps a family that they met that really touched their hearts? Just a thought! Thanks!

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Gil December 2, 2011 at 4:05 am

Dear Rebecca Woodson,
Sorry for the delay in responding. I had to get the information from Erin. The following family does ministry in Oradea, Romania and surrounding areas, so they can distribute things where it is needed. Love, Kelly
The Lita Family
Aleea Masa Tăcerii 3, Bl. C, Sc.2, Ap.30,
Bucuresti, Sector 6
Românial

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michelle(jersey) November 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Hello Kelly, how’s the pregnancy going? hope everything is going well for you and your family..I am just in awe at your family, I love reading your blog, I always look forward to your updates..I love how close your family is and how well behaved and well mannered your children are..I have 6 kids and I wish my children were as well behaved..I have teenagers who are starting to act out in school as well as home. Is there any advice you can give me to get my children back on track, or do u feel after a certain age there is no help? I also admit that religiously I have been a bit lazy lately so part of them not being interested in religion much is my fault..I also let them play video games and watch a lot of tv, help..any advice on things I need to change maybe within myself to be able to help them would be appreciated..Thank u in advance.

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Dear Michelle,
SM Davis has some wonderful sermons geared to help parents raise older youth. One of my favorites was “How to Develop the Right Appetites in Your Children.” I think another thing that would help bring family harmony and commitment would be to watch the Basic Seminar together through Embassy University. Try to set asside one evening each week to watch a message together. Attending church and having family Bible study can help you lay a stronger foundation from which to rely on in stormy times. Love, Kelly

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Rosemarie November 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I am not sure what happened to my other post I put up earlier but I mainly wanted to know about a daily devotional for my husband my daughter would like to buy him for Christmas. I found too many online & am looking for suggestions on one? Also how does a family go about planning a mission trip are their groups to contact? Thank You, Rosemarie

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Dear Rose marie,
I’m not sure how old your daughter is, but there are many great devotionals available. For an older child, My Utmost for HIs Highest by Oswald Chambers is a very thought provoking devotional. A book I love to reccomend is Exploring the Scriptures by John Phillips for an easy to understand overview of the Bible. Another devotional is Streams in the Dessert. Check with Christian Book Distributors on-line under devotional also. Love, Kelly

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Sarah November 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Dear Kelly,
I was just wanting to know if Alyssa got my birthday card I sent her? Love Sarah

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Gil November 30, 2011 at 4:11 am

Dear Sarah,
I believe Alyssa received the card, but I’ll double check to make sure. Love, Kelly

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Kay W November 30, 2011 at 12:50 am

A quick question, you’ve previously said that you don’t ‘do’ Santa Claus as part of your families Christmas. What about Christmas gifts?

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Gil November 30, 2011 at 4:11 am

Dear Kay,
We do exchange presents with friends and relatives. We try to put the emphasis of Christmas on Christ and on giving. Love, Kelly

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Ann November 30, 2011 at 12:58 am

Kelly,
I’ve read with interest the exchange between you and Kay about “letting go” and allowing adult children to make choices in life. I’m curious to know what you would say about the Keller family (Anna’s parents)shunning 3 of their children for choosing beliefs different from their own.
Before you respond, I commend you and Gil for being receptive to actually having conversations with people about the ATI/Gothard/QF lifestyle. It shows that you truly believe in what you are doing, rather than just shoving these questions under the rug and hoping everyone will believe it’s all happy-go-lucky as some other Gothard families portray.

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Dear Ann,
To be honest, we know absolutely nothing about any of the Keller’s relationships with older children and could not comment about something we have not personally talked to them about. Sometimes we hear things that we find are not wholly accurate if you go to the source. As far as older children rebelling, parents can take hope in stories like John Newton who lived a horrid life, but eventually got saved and wrote the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace.” We’ve seen young people start off their lives with zeal and have been encouraged only to later fijnd that they had gotten themselves in a mess and had turned from any lifestyle of character and conviction. On the other hand, we’ve seen young people that we would have given up on, yet after seeing them years later we found them serving faithfully in a ministry and having a wonderfully joyful life. Sometimes our judgemental attitudes cause us to forget the miracle God did in us and others. So I guess we should pray for those we see struggling and ask God to do a work… at the same time realizing that none of us have reached a stage of perfection ourselves… We need the Lord to continue working on us as well and that knowledge ought to give us a compassion for others who are living a life in darkness. Love, Kelly

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Casondra Radford November 30, 2011 at 6:39 am

Hey there. I miss you guys so much. I have also served as a missionary in Romania. I agree with you that it was a rewarding experience. I learned so much from the Roma people. I lived in their home, ate their food and worshipped with them on Sundays. I’m so glad you all got to have this opportunity. God bless you as you continue serving Him!

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Jennifer November 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

Kelly, Seeing the Way of the Master link I wanted to ask your thoughts on when to let go when it comes to directly evangelizing. Whenever I see TWOTM or Lee Strobel I always feel guilty that I do not evangelize more and give it another try but my unbelieving family members (most of my family is non believers) usually tell me that those are all good points but they prefer not to think about it or plan to decide if God exists when they are closer to death. How often would your bring it up with the same person? Do you have any unbelieving loved ones? How do you handle it?

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Dear Jennifer,
We try to share about Christ whereever we go because our salvation is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us. However, there are family members and sometimes others who don’t want to hear… in those cases we don’t try to appear judgemental or to appear to be shoving something on them that they don’t want any part of. If they’re not ready and opposed, the best thing we can do is pray for God to soften their heart and allow them to see their need. We try to show concern for them and genuine love which sometimes may prompt us to share our faith in a non-abrasive way with them when we see opportunity. Sometimes we may send a book or Cd that touched us in prayer that it might also touch them. But when it boils down to it, you can’t rescue a person out of water that doesn’t think they’re drowning… they have to see a need to appreciate your efforts. But usually no loved one will reject your kindness and love. Love, Kelly

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Annie November 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Thank you for the update and the pictures. It really takes time and is so very thoughtful!
What a ministry the Lord has allowed for you to have through this blog and the personal communications. Praying for you and your family and thankful for your examples!

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Mom November 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Our oldest daughter was a very devotet christian.She made a real dcission for christ with 4.Now she is 15 and after moving to another city and loosing contact to her friends, changing from christian school to puplic( she doesn#t wants to homeschool another year (we did it last year)she developed depression(she thinks she had them for years).
She tries to do everything perfect and puts much pressure on herself.
so she “left “the christian faith last year because of all the pressure to be a good christian.
She has a deep pain in her soul and I can not help her.She doesn’t wants to return to christ?
What can we do?

Thanks Kelly!!

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Gil December 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Dear Mom of 15 yr. old daughter,
One of the best resources we have seen for helping resolve family conflicts, learning self acceptance, and developing purpose in life is The Basic Seminar by IBLP ministries. You can watch this and many other helpful sermons through Embassy University for $9 each month. Love, Kelly

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Alexis December 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Dear Mrs. Bates,

As always it is such a pleasure to read your responses and posts. I was wondering if you had any advice on finding a missionary family that needs “holding the ropes”? I really feel I am being led to do this and want to be sure to pick a Bible preaching, warm family. Any advice?

I hope you are feeling well.

I was also pleased to see Erin seems to have healed well with her pinky by the photos. God is so good.

Love,
Alexis,

PS. Did you receive my letter?

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Kay W December 2, 2011 at 1:59 am

Dear Kelly, So that you understand my beliefs are not all that different from yours, I thought I would send you the very bare bones basics of Presbyterians.

Presbyterian Doctrine:

The Authority of Scripture – Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ.

Justification by Grace through Faith – Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments.

The Priesthood of All Believers – It is everyone’s job – ministers and lay people alike – to share this Good News with the whole world. The Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.

The Sovereignty of God – God is the supreme authority throughout the universe.

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Rosemarie December 2, 2011 at 3:03 am

Thank you for the advice on the devotionals & website! Wow I found so many devotionals & Bibles on that site thanks for the heads up! I think I had asked before for advice about a devotional & forgot I had already asked sorry about that :)
What an awful experience that must have been with the earrings!Ouch!
My daughter is learning not to take things to heart when the other girls in church tease her about her not being like them. It sure has been a rough battle for her but she stays firm to her beliefs & convictions.I was just afraid it may turn her away from the Lord.Thank you for the advice on having these experiences be a lesson in forgiveness for her & myself as well.I appreciate you feed back. You have a wonderful family & you all are such a great testimony. God Bless you all :) Love, Rosemarie

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ReAnn December 2, 2011 at 5:27 am

Dear Kelly,

I’ve too read about some of the older children “rebelling” against the Kellers. I honestly think it’s true that you can never trust these sources because they’re saying that the Kellers shunned Rebekah, Sussana, and Daniel for not having some of the same convictions (ie move out of state before marriage, dating as opposed to courtship in Sussana’s case, Daniel “not being the authority over his wife” in his case, the girls wearing pants, etc…)

From what I hear though, all of these kids are still living a Christian lifestyle, so at least from what I see about the Kellers on TV, I don’t think they would shun their kids based on their different convictions about personal lifestyle choices. If the rumors are true, I would think there is something going on much deeper than this. After all, we do see how the Duggars accept cousin Amy in their family despite her differences. Same with me and my preacher at my church: my preacher has personal convictions that match closer to yours while mine are more like cousin Amy’s. He never turned me out of the church for that haha.

Anyways, it’s definitely none of my business, but it’s a good situation to gather understanding that you can never trust “sources” on the internet and people should allow families their privacy in situations like these. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

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Pauly December 2, 2011 at 6:29 am

Dear Kelly, I am intrigued by your reply regarding the Kellers. If your own children, who were over the age of 18, decided to follow a more mainstream faith, would you consider that rebellion? What if one of your married daughters, under the “umbrella of her husband’s authority,” in your parlance, chose to become Methodists? Why is it considered “rebellion” if your children are still worshiping the same God whose love is unconditional? Why is it the practice of Gothard to put conditions and labels on belief to the point of shunning one’s own children? How is this not behavior commensurate to that of a cult?

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Gil December 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Dear Pauly,
I’m not sure what I said to make you assume I agreed with any point about shunning children. On the contrary, my reply said that I don’t know any rumors about a family that was inquired about and that I could not comment on something that I had not spoken to the source about, since that is how gossip begins. Then I offered hope for parents and others who feel that they are dealing with older children who have gone astray (since that was part of the question being dealt with)… in referring to the fact that we should not give up on others, I used the example of John Newton who was labeled as a cruel and unjust man for his mean treatman of slaves and others, yet was gloriously changed and wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace.” My children have been entrustede to me by God to care for (they truly belong to Him)… Knowing they are His should proke me to treat them like they are His. I love my children no matter what choices they make in life… I may grieve for them over bad choices, having experienced myself some consequences for wrong choices… But, none the less, that does not change my love for them or acceptance of them. God loved me when I was going in the wrong direction… and He showed more patience than I deserved! I think we have a beautiful picture in Scripture of the Father’s love for the prodigal son. (And as for your question about Methodist…. I know Methodist churches that preach Biblically sound doctrine and on the other hand, I know some Baptist churches who don’t… and vice versa. I posted earlier about denominations, and I think the important thing is to find out that what is taught and believed lines up with what the Bible says.) (As for your question concerning Mr. Gothard… I find that view surprising since Mr. Gothard’s ministry is all about restoring family relationships, learning to forgive, learning to overcome bitterness, and learning to work through conflicts.) Love, Kelly

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Jennifer December 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm

To any who are concerned about these rumors they stem from two different internet message boards. It is important to remember that anyone can create an id and post to a message board. Both message boards are specifically for the purposes of gossiping about television shows, or the Duggars (and other Gothard families). The evidence cited is based on very creative interpretations of statements that would not have been interpreted this way under normal circumstances (I hope)
If it matters I am Catholic; this is not about defending Gothard of whom I have a very superficial knowledge. I just don’t want people to read these comments and think that there is something to them.

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Brenda H. December 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Hi Kelly,
I have been reading th e comments about dealing with your children when they make decisions that are contrary to how they have been raised. And your comments are right on target! 1. you can’t comment on another family’s situation since the sources are not necessarily reliable. 2 loving your children despite the choices they might make. Its so important to keep the line of communication open. I can speak from personal experience. I have a 17 year old daughter who has caused much heart ache & problems in our family over the last couple of years. I have cried, yelled, despaired & prayed over the choices and things she has done. I spoke to a Christian therapist and she told me that I had to turn my daughter over to the Lord completely and her dad & I had to learn to rebuild our relationship with her & trust in her. And learning to commmunicate better with her.Thankfully we have seen signs of maturity in her. She is still making some bad choices but we will not give up on her. I gently & matter of factly bring my concerns when I can ( have to read her mood, she has a fierce temper) & how th echoices we make affect today can affect our future. And I believe she is listening & pondering my words. We still have a long road ahead of us. Her relaltionships with her 5 siblings are in need of healing, but I have turned that over to the Lord. As my mom always says All in His time…

Thank you Kelly for sharing with us! God Bless all of you !
Please pray for my daughter. Happily we have been communicating better.
Love & peace,
Brenda

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Jerene December 3, 2011 at 12:45 am

Dear Kelly,
My Husband and I started watching the Basic Seminar videos through the Embassy University, and we are very excited about it. We didn’t start out marriage or raising children with the Lord. We have recommitted our lives to Him and are so grateful. My question, I guess, is now that we have been committed Christians for over 6 six years now, what do we do with the baggage (bad habits) we still have? We don’t drink or smoke… I am talking more about things like “not being submissive to my husband, dealing with children who have learned disrespect from their parent (us), and how to homeschool with God’s will in mind (not my own)”. During the past 6 years we have gone to a variety of Christian churches that teach on all ends of the spectrum. I have cried out to the Lord for direction and grace to grow the way He would have me too. It’s as though we have been plucked right out of the ‘world’ and now are desiring a life pleasing to the Lord and there we stand, as a family, at the foot of this mountain that’s called “Old Ways of our Former Selves”. How do we cross this mountain? I love the Lord, I want to follow His ways, I want to be a Godly wife and a Godly mother. I just need to know how or where do I go from here? I am pregnant with our 7th child and I would sure love to start character training with our children. I am not quite sure where to start with that either. I am hoping that we will be able to finish the seminar videos and join ATI and (Lord Willing) go to our first conference in 2012 in Sacramento, CA. Thank you for your encouragement. GOD Bless.

Happy Holidays and Blessings to you,

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 2:04 am

Dear Jerene,
It looks like you’re already off to a strong start. I believe the best thing you can offer children is an unshakable faith in God, so I’d encourage you to get involved in a strong church, offer incentives for your children to read through the Bible on their own (small portions every day), participate in family devotion time (concentrating on reading and applying Scripture, memorizing Scripture, and learning character lessons), and look for ministry opportunities to do together. I’d also encourage you to focus on building strong family relationships, beginning with husband and wife. Be patient and forgiving with one another. Change takes time! Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe December 3, 2011 at 5:43 am

Dear Kelly,
I just want to say I admire you for how well you are with words. I don’t think I could ever have said anything more better to all of these posts that are gossiping, ect. Also, please let me know if it’s okay to send your Christmas present soon. Like I said in my other post I wont if you don’t want because I do not want to go against your wishes. Another thing, I like what you said about finding a church that teaches biblically sound doctrine because we have found a wonderful pentecostal church and have been going there for the last 6 months because this church teaches what lines up with the bible and that is very important. I know some people are against being pentecostal but this church is wonderful and we are very happy with them and what is being taught because like you said that is so important. We were not happy with what was taught at the other church, even though we both grew up baptist we just felt lead back to the pentecostal church after a friend invited us. Mason and I of course prayed and prayed about it first :)

Anyway, hope all is well with everyone Kelly! Lots of love from us.

Blessings,
Lauren S.

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Tammy December 3, 2011 at 8:44 am

I’ve been reading your blog off and on and find it very encouraging. I see a loving Christian who is strong in her faith. I was wondering if comments to your blog are automatically published, or do they have to be approved first? It would be too scary for me to have a blog if I couldn’t censor the comments.

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 1:57 am

Dear Tammy,
I do censor the comments because of several reasons: I don’t want bad language or harmful things viewed, I don’t want it to be a gossip forum or a critic’s alley because there are plenty of those available already, I don’t want it to be a controversial and chaotic arena for people to get lost in a sea of confusion or criticism…. My desire is that it would be a source of encouragement for other moms. Love, Kelly

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Kate December 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Dear Kelly,
I am glad that three of your daughters had the opportunity to go and witness in Romania. What a wonderful experience for them to serve the Lord in that form.
Do you listen to or read about Billy Graham ministry?

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Lisa December 3, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m just curious. Do ATI folks ever go to Africa on missions? I noticed that you all seem to go everywhere but there, or so it seems. Why is that? I find the lack of color in your circles to be suspect.

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 1:51 am

Dear Lisa,
The opportunities that we have had open up to us for missions are not all ATI related. This particular trip happened to be. Africa happens to be one of the main places Erin has had a burden for. Her missions teacher that had such an impact on her life is going there with his wife and she hopes to be able to go one day. As for ATI, some of our dearest friends there are African American. Love, Kelly

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Nan December 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Kelly, I think from an outsider’s perspective, it can be difficult for those of us who do not live the same type of lifestyle as you to imagine what it would be like. I think there is a tendency for people to lump others together and assume that just because they have similar beliefs, their families are all exactly the same. It is clear that you and the Kellers do not necessarily share all your views and I appreciate your desire not to gossip about them. One of the most important aspects of your public life has been the way you have introduced mainstream America to the ATI lifestyle, and while we might not adopt it ourselves, I think we have an opportunity through you to look and see what is good about it. I imagine that was one of your purposes in putting your family in the public eye. Keep doing what you’re doing. I believe you are reaching people. God bless.

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Kate December 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Dear Kelly,

What a wonderful experience for your three daughters to minister to people in Romania.
Do you listen to or read Billy Graham ministry?

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 1:46 am

Dear Kate,
My mother, in fact, was saved listening to Billy Graham as a young girl. Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe December 5, 2011 at 4:05 am

Kelly,

I was also wondering do ya’ll get a Christmas tree each year? Is there a special Christmas tradition the family likes to do each year? For example we all pile in the car to look at Christmas lights and on Christmas eve go to church.

Love,
Lauren S.

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Dear Lauren,
We love to decorate with lights and manger scenes. We love Christmas time and Christmas hymns! We especially love the time spent together with our family and friends! We love to go carolling! We love the worshipful spirit of the season. Love, Kelly

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Christy December 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Hi Kelly. Ur so sweet to answer questions. I.ve been wanting to ask u something , thought maybe I should just write u about it but I know it’s hard for u to get so many letters to hand respond to. :) it was head coverings. I know there has been a lot on this thread but this is curistory :) this is in relation to the verse in 1 Corinthians 11. What do u think about this passage?
Love u really! :)

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Dear Christy,
I’ve heard explanations on both sides of the fence… I think that’s one of those areas like clothing or facial hair that you need to seek God about personally, yet still respect where others are in their own walk at the same time. I can only share where I am right now, but people can change and people can be wrong, so don’t base your personal convictions on man’s views! Seek God and seek His Word. Some say that an extra outside head covering represents a woman’s submissive spirit. Some say a woman’s hair is her covering. Some say that it was a practice of prostitutes to shave their heads, but if they were to come to Christ, they would wear a covering until their hair grew so that others would know they had a change in their heart take place. I’m not a theologian. For me, I don’t mind if people wear them or don’t… but I do think its easy to emphasize the outward and miss the whole heart attitude. I have seen some women wearing coverings that had a less respectful spirit than those who were not (and vice versa)… so if the sign is to show a sweet, godly, Christ-honoring spirit, then that should be the focus no matter which route we choose. Love, Kelly

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Franicia December 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

Thank you for posting these beautiful photos and information! What an encouragement you are to many Christian families. :-)

It has been so helpful to see how much the Lord blesses those areas of outreach and ministry.

Love in Christ,
Franicia for the Tim White family

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Hannah December 6, 2011 at 2:51 am

Are your older girls interested in sports? I’ve never seen that topic come up before so just wondering! :)

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 1:44 am

Dear Hannah,
Some of the girls enjoy sports and some do not. They love to run, bike, hike, and ride horses. Some enjoy football, basketball, and volleyball as well. Love, Kelly

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Jo December 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Dear Kelly,
I was wondering if your church posts any of the sermons by Pastor Gwinn. I would love to hear him preach!If not, can you recommend any pastors I could listen to online? Thank you!
-Jo

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 1:42 am

Dear Jo,
Some preachers and sermons you can look up on line are Pastor SM Davis, Pastor Frank Gagliano, Pastor Jim Schettler, David Gibbs. Love, Kelly

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Kathryn December 6, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Dear Erin,
How old are you,Aylssa and Tori?
When are you graduting collage and are anyother of your siblings in collage?

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kelsey reid December 7, 2011 at 1:34 am

hi.. i love your family ….. you need to come and see us and have your girls sing for us nail to the cross that is my favorite song and more tooo my friends and i we talk about you all the time and the Duggars tooo they are the best too so are you too .. COME SEE US AND MY FRIENDS TOOO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE COME COME AND SEE US

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Kerry December 7, 2011 at 2:49 am

I think it was a great opportunity for Erin, Alyssa, and Tori to serve God on this mission trip. Glad to hear about God name being spread around the world.

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Kay W December 7, 2011 at 4:25 am

Like Erin I have had the desire to go to Africa. My mission would be to work at one of the cheetah rescue centers. The cheetah population has dropped from 100,000 to a mere 10,000, a 90% decrease. I understand that, even in Africa, civilization has encroached upon wildlife areas. It’s doublful that anything will stop that from happening, but I would like to do what I can to save the species. Too bad I did not think of doing this when I was younger!! God bless your family for all you do for people!

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Brenda H. December 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

Hi Kelly,
Please know that your website is truly a source of encouragement to moms! Thank you.
I hope you & the little one are doing well! You are both in my prayers.
God bless,
Brenda H.

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Kaelah December 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I have noticed that several of your children play violin beautifully, and that the violins you use have a wonderful voice. Could you suggest a good violin for someone who would like to pick violin up? The pictures are beautiful, and the trip looks like an incredible experience!

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Dear Kaelah,
A friend of ours from church has found several of the violins on the computer (used) at great bargains. Two of the violins were purchased from Artley Violins in North Carolina.

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kelly December 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Dear Kelly,

Do you know what your newest addition is going to be? Any names? Would you be upset if the girls wanted to wear pants or tank top shirts, or if they wanted to date before they got married? Love Kelly

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Gil December 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Dear Kelly,
We don’t find out the gender until birth. We do allow the older girls to take turns finding out, and this will be Alyssa’s turn. We haven’t even begun to think about names… that is the hardest part for us. The girls have tossed around a few suggestions, but we are far from narrowing down to any one thing. In fact, we’re so slow in deciding that the baby is usually two days old! I believe I answered your other questions on a different post about how we would feel if our children made different choices. Of course as parents our heart’s desire would be for our children to love the Lord with all of their heart and to avoid uneccesary heartaches. If we can help them avoid certain things that caused us greater hardships in life, we would be happy. However, our greatest desire is for the children to develop such a heart for God that they want to please Him on their own. We want them to be able to learn to discern and hear from the Lord themselves… Does that mean they’ll always make perfect choices in life? No… thankfully, God’s still working on all of us. Will they have some ideas different from ours? Probably, since marraige is a blending from two different families… I’m sure there will be a blending of the many lessons in life that they have grown and learned from, along with new lessons to learn together. Do I think they will hold to the main things that have been important in our life? Yes, I think they will if they have seen the benefits and consequences. Love, Kelly

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Sonya December 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Hello Mrs. Bates – I want to thank you again for this ministry. I know that it takes time and it is such a huge blessing to so many people! I have a question on developing cheerful, helpful attitudes. I love how your family watches out for one another and does their work cheerfully. We too try to point the children towards the Bible and model cheerful, helpful attitudes. Do you have any specific tips on child training techniques for when children are not displaying a cheerful, helpful attitude? Do you give them a correction, or do you focus more on praise when they do display the correct attitude? Thanks for any advice. We love your family! – Sonya

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Dear Sonya,
We try to read character books and discuusa appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. We include these topics in Bible study time. We stop and take notice when we see good examples and we ask the children what impression they get when they see bad examples… Lots and lots of heart talks and yes, praise every good attitude you see… then take time to talk about the bad responses… Ask questions and let them answer: Do you think you responded well? What could you have done differently? Did you set a good example for others? Did you put others first? Did you go the second mile? What do ypou think when you see others act this way? etc. Love, Kelly

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Sarah December 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Dear Kelly,
I was wanting to ask you for good tips on how to keep patient? If you had any that would be great! Also I was woundering if maybe you could send me the message on “Beware were you stair it may become a snare”? Love Sarah

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Dear Sarah,
That particular message did not have good sound quality… I’m so sorry. Maybe he’ll preach it again somewhere! To answer your question on patience, I would be a hypocrite since I need it so often myself! I must ask my family for forgiveness often and I must stop often and redirect my focus. We have lttle clues in us that go off like alarms when we start to become unpatient or irritated about something. Learn to recognize your own signals, so that you can stop and pray before acting on impatience! Love, Kelly

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stacy December 8, 2011 at 1:29 am

Gil & Kelly,
thank you for answering or replying to all the questions on your page! I follow your blog from a small town in south Arkansas :) ….. I just want to tell you that your such an inspiration to do many, including myself. I pray for your pregnancy and your family daily :) . Ohhhhh picking out baby names…how fun can’t wait to see and hear all about the new baby :) ….praise God things are going well :)

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Kay W December 8, 2011 at 3:29 am

For anyone who wants to see the Keller reunion, it’s on Susanna Keller’s facebook page. Josh, Anna and the children are there. Seventy awesome pictures!

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Patti December 8, 2011 at 3:34 am

Kelly, I only have one child but I didn’t find out if I was having a boy or girl until the doctor told us at her birth. I think it’s more fun to wait and wonder which one you’ll get.

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Sheila Tackett December 8, 2011 at 4:31 am

Hi Kelly, :)

I’ve been sitting here reading your gracious responses to the comments made. I believe with all of my heart that your children will not stray from their loving and kind upbringing. Like you, we raised our children with the idea that they were not “missing out” in the world, but that God’s ways are the best ways!

With the recent birth of our new granddaughter, ‘little Emma’, :) I am reminded that God gives us these wonderful “pure in heart little people” – like a complete clean / empty / innocent vessel, and it is up to us as parents to make sure that only the best and purest ingredients are put in and filled to the brim! :)

Some of my favorite ingredients are: love, joy, understanding, knowledge, acceptance, forgiveness, caring, compassion, generosity, kindness, consistency and respect. We taught them to live in a constant state of thanksgiving, and worshiping God through their lifestyle, conversations, and music. On the physical side, we taught them to be diligent workers in whatever field of interest they had, while encouraging them to pursue interesting hobbies.

Homeschoolers are some of the best well-adjusted students that I know; socially, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They have been raised without the detriments of peer pressure, thus giving them a strong foundation on which to build lasting loving and trusting relationships.

Our children are all grown and I can say firsthand that these child rearing techniques really do work! :D

May God bless you Kelly as you continue to seek for God’s will for your family. (Just wanted to give you and your readers a small word of encouragement today!) :)

Love and prayers,
Sheila :)

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Mom December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Kelly,I just paid the 9 $ for the Embassy libary and was listening to the 1st basic seminar.
Great, great!!!-I am so thankful for you telling me about it.There are so many answers to my questions!!
God bless you!

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AnnaLisa Young December 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I also read many Christian blogs and I hope you don’t mind me commenting on Sheila’s note above that was not a quote from the Bible. Children are not born a “clean/innocent vessel” like you say. If you claim to be a Bible believing Christian, you have to go to the Bible and compare all the verses that pertain to this.

One says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity” (Ps. 51:5). The other reads, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Ps. 58:3). There are many others…

There are no exceptions. All of us are born with a sin nature; even though we have not yet done anything wrong, our nature is sinful. Even secular child Psychologists have done many studies that prove this.

When it comes to whether or not a child dies, that is a different situation. A child’s lack of understanding doesn’t deter the power of Jesus’ blood. Only rejecting the blood deters its power, and babies haven’t done that. Although they are born in sin, they do not understand that sin nor are able to make a choice against it. I see a lot of Christians still believing their children are born sinless and it isn’t true if you read the Bible.

There is so much more to this but won’t write it here of course as this is not my blog. It is when parents like Gil and Kelly step in and rear their children away from sin that matters. I think they should write a book on rearing children according to the Word of God since they have had so much practice and are doing an excellent job. That is all they can do until their children each at their own time, reach the point of accountability and must choose for themselves.

God bless the Bates family and their children. Thank you for setting a supreme example of Christian servitude!!! <

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Danielle December 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Very sad to hear the news of michelle’s miscarriage

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Laura Jones December 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Prayers, prayers, prayers for the Duggar Family at this unfortunate time. May God carry them in his comforting arms and provide a compassionate haven. So sorry for them!

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Lauren Sharpe December 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Kelly please tell the Duggar’s our thoughts and prayers go out to them during the hard time! My heart breaks for them but know that this is in God’s plan.

Lauren

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makenzi December 9, 2011 at 12:59 am

hello bates family!! i was wondering what curriculum erin teaches her piano students? i watched a video of her playing on youtube and she is AMAZING!!! has she ever heard of henry slaughter? it is christian based ..anyways i love your family, but i have one more question, what would you say is the best way to read your BIbie through in 1 year? i remember reading a blog you posted about how one of your daughters read the whole Bible through in 1 year..did she read genesis -revelation? or did she skip around? how many chapters a day did she read in the Old and New testaments? i would love to accomplish reading my Bible through, and im trying to find the best way…hope to hear from you,
thank you
~kenzi<3
1 timothy 4:12

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Dear Makenzi,
Erin uses several different books for different ages. She uses theory, lesson, and performance books by Alfred. She uses some Suzuki books. She uses hymn improvisation books by Shelly Hamilton (Majesty Music). She uses Greg Howlett’s music lessons on DVD. She uses hymn books. I’m sure there are others, but those are the ones that I can recall readily.
We printed Bible charts off the internet. Some of us use a chart that has blank squares for each chapter of every Bible book, and we x the box as we read. (Usually 3 chapters per day and 5 on weekends is a good plan to read through.) Some of the children chose schedule that had predetermined chapters to read for each day to ensure you stayed on course (Usually they alternate between Old and New Testament). Love, Kelly

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Brenda H. December 9, 2011 at 1:16 am

I just read the sad news that that Michelle & Jim-Bob Duggar lost their baby. My family & I are praying for them & the entire Duggar family.
Brenda

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Samantha December 9, 2011 at 5:25 am

Mrs. Bates,

Just wanted to say that our family just loves your family and the Duggar family and my children are always so excited to find out that either family is expecting another little one. They were jumping for joy to see that you were expecting another one and can’t wait to see what you have and what the new baby’s name will be.

Our family is made up of myself, my husband and my six children, three girls first, and then three boys. We love seeing your family on the Duggars’ show and also watched you on the Primetime special.

Our prayers are with you for a safe delivery and recovery and a wonderful healthy baby.

(As our prayers are with the Duggars during this difficult time. We were so sad to learn of their little one’s passing)

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Kay W December 9, 2011 at 7:02 am

It’s hard to know where to post this, I suppose it should be on the Duggar post that Kelly set up but no one has updated that in a while. Anyway, I’m sure by now everyone knows that Michelle Duggar’s baby was found not to have a heartbeat when they went for an ultra sound to find out the baby’s sex. This is just so sad and I’m praying for the Duggar family to have strength during this dreadful time. I know that the family, friends and fans of the Duggars will be praying as well.

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Bayley December 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Dear Kelly,
I was wondering if you heard about the Duggars sad news that they heard yesterday. They miscarried their 20th child. My prayers go out to the Duggars and you during your pregnancy.
I hope everything is going well!
Love and Prayers,
Bayley

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Alexis December 10, 2011 at 5:45 am

Dear Mrs. Bates,

I am praying for a continued safe and healthy pregnancy for you and baby Bates 19.

Love,
Alexis

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Meg December 10, 2011 at 5:54 am

Dear Mrs Bates,
I’m 17 and I have been praying alot about modesty and if I needed to wear skirts/dresses or if shorts to the knee and long pants were good enough.. Anyways I was wondering if you grew up always just wearing skirts and if not how did you come about deciding that was the best way to go?
Thanks!
Meg

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Dear Meg,
I did grow up wearing shorts and pants. It was not until my pregnancy with Alyssa that I began to feel that I should wear dresses. I knew in my heart that my focus had been on the outward appearance and fear of losing my figure (from age and from frequent pregnancies)…. One day I decided to give this area of fear to the Lord by asking Him to change my focus and to help me appreciate the changes in life that might come my way. I was reminded to be grateful for my children, who were worth any extra weight or stretch marks… I was reminded to remember that those who might be disabled or scarred or marred in any way do not show value because of their outward appearance, but because of their inward beauty. As my focus began to change, I heard some messages on how tight fitting clothing could cause men to struggle since they are very driven by sight. I thought this caused me to be exempt, since I rationalized that my figure certainly would not be a struggle for anyone… but even so, I was more and more impressed to set an example for my daughters and others. I grew a deeper desire to dress more lady like and to be more conscientious of my clothes. Do I think dress is the most important issue? No! I’ve seen some wholesome dressed Christians that seem to have less of a focus on Christ than they do on outward standards. Do I think that wearing dresses makes a person modest? No! Some dresses are probavbly more of a struggle than loose fitting pants. For our family, I want my children to wear modest clothing, but more than anything, I want them to love God and others! love, Kelly

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Beanie December 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Hi, I was wondering: can I ask what version of the Bible ya’ll use? Thank you! :D

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Dear Beanie,
We use the King James Version. We love its poetic style, and the flow when trying to memorize Scriptures. We also appreciate the history of its writing. Love, Kelly

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Beanie December 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Do ya’ll practice hands-off courtship?

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Gil December 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Dear Beanie,
We left that decision to Zach and Sarah, and they have chosen to not hold hands during this portion of their relationship… Love, Kelly

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Christy December 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Hey Kelly. I was wondering if you got my comment on here on head coverings or if u just wanted to answer me privately? Which is totally fine ! Or not at all. Just didn’t know if it got lost in the sea of comments. Not that you in any way have to answer ! Just curious. :)

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makenzi December 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm

thank you so much for answering my questions! it means alot :) i loofed up a Bible reading plan online, and im going to start today! thank you so much for being an example to me, (especially your girls) i am 14 years old and trying to please and serve the Lord, My dad is a Pastor of a little country baptist church, and were trying to grow, so please pray for us, Blessed Hope Baptist Church. i have been playing the piano for 7 years, and i play the organ, guitar, mandolin and hopefully i will get a violin for Christmas!! i was wondering what you normally do on christmas day? are yo doing anything diffeerent because of Christmas being on a Sunday? :) just wondering! :)

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Gil December 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Dear Makenzi,
We will attend church on Christmas, which will be a refreshing reminder of why we celebrate. We usually visit relatives during the season as well. Love, Kelly

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Libby December 14, 2011 at 9:06 am

Dear Kelly,
Were do you and the Duggars get those nice modest skirts or are they made? Do you guys shop at thrift stores as well? I hope all this well!
God Bless
Libby

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Gil December 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Dear Libby,
Some of the clothes are made, some are from thrift stores. Some of the skirts come from Cato’s or Penneys. Love, Kelly

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Florina December 14, 2011 at 9:09 am

Dear Bates,
I am from Romania, I’m glad you visited our country, but I’m sorry I didn’t know before so maybe i could see you. I am 23. You are a great family and I wish I could see you more often on TV. I really appreciate the way you raised your kids. they are so well behaved. I heard about the Duggars and I am very sorry for their loss. Would you go to the memorial? My husband and I can’t wait to be blessed with a first baby! I wish you the best! Love, Flory :)

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Beanie December 14, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I use the King James Bible, too. It’s sad that so many people nowadays say that some parts of the Bible don’t “apply to modern expectations” (like 1 Corinthians 7:1,2) Thank you for replying! :D

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Christy December 15, 2011 at 4:59 am

Thanks Kelly. That is exactly where I am right now. Just wanted to get your thoughts. I respect them very much. :)
Love u!

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Krista December 15, 2011 at 6:52 am

Kelly,

I’m glad to hear that Erin has a heart for children in Africa! I myself have for several years but did not know what I could contribute, and as I am Erin’s age and in school (and working a minimum wage job as well) and do not have the time nor the financial means to travel their. I prayed to God to help lead me to a way where I could help if he was willing, and I thought of child sponsorship. I prayed about finding charities and he finally lead me to Compassion International. I asked him to let me know which child I should sponsor and he led me to a 5 year old boy living in Burkina Faso. I feel like I am making a real difference in this child’s life and I look forward to the day where I receive my first letter from him! It may be something she would be interested in, because not only does Compassion allow the children to have daily nutritious meals and an opportunity to receive an education, but it also spreads the word of Jesus! The last thing was extremely important to be because what is the point of saving a life if they won’t have an eternal life in heaven?!

Have a wonderful Christmas and God Bless,

Krista

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Gil December 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Dear Krista,
What a beautiful and inspiring example of developing a heart to help others. I’m sure your testimony will motivate many. Love, Kelly

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Beanie December 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Thank you for replying! :) I use the King James as well. Some of the verses kinda make me cringe, though; but that’s good, because if the Bible only taught what I wanted to hear, I would never learn anything!
My sisters all had hands-off courtships – based on 1 Corinthians 7:1,2. I was just wondering what ya’ll’s standards were.
Thank you! :D

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Lauren Sharpe December 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Dear Kelly,
We recently got the Financial Freedom Seminar but I ordered the wrong package. I didn’t get the one with the manual, just the DVD set. Is the manual a must have to go along with the DVDs? If so I will get it. Also, is there a particular way to do this study?

Love,
Lauren Sharpe

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Gil December 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Dear Lauren,
I’m not sure if the manual goes with it, but the DVDs are self explanatory without the book. We watched one DVd each night that we had opened and finished in about 2 1/2 weeks! Love, Kelly

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Lauren Sharpe December 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Kelly,
Thank you so much! We will start it after Christmas because tomorrow we leave for Atlanta for Christmas with my family. Was the financial freedom seminar helpful to you and Mr. Bates? I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!! Hope you got our Christmas card :D

Love,
Lauren

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Gil December 21, 2011 at 6:43 am

Dear Lauren,
We loved the seminar… We learned so much about marriage and family! Love, Kelly

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Kay W December 21, 2011 at 12:45 am

Blair.com has long skirts and dresses, as well, and fantastic sales.

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Janeek Smith January 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Kelly and Gil,
You have the most beautiful family that I have ever seen, inside and out. I could listen to you all sing for hours. In one episode of the Duggars show, I think it was Jill that made a comment while they were attending your church that your religion was a little different than theirs, what exactly are the differences in the two family’s religion? I wish your family had a show.

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Gil January 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Dear Janeek,
I’m not exactly sure what she was referring to. We both have similar backgrounds from Baptist doctrine. We attend a small Independent Baptist Church. They attend a church that began in their home, but has grown to a group large enough to meet in a different location now. We listen to similar styles of church music. The services usually consists of hymn singing, prayer, preaching… traditional pastor led messages. Their services are probably a little more casual, where ours is more traditional. Love, Kelly

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Veronica Shaffer January 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I tried to send you an email for prayer about my family. I am married my husband Michael for 14 years wehave 4 kids Cody, Paige, Bridgette and Hunter. My precious eldest daughter whom was my helper and is so dear was in a terrible swimming accident leaving her a paraplegic. She is still healing but we need a miracle. I need encouragement and prayers. I realize you are busy but it would mean so much. I am crying out to the Lord. I don’t know where to turn. I am trying to trust in the Lord but it is hard.
Your fan/friend in Jesus, Veronica and family

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Gil January 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Dear Veronica,
We will pray for your whole family, especially your daughter! Are you familiar with the ministry of Joni? She was in a diving accident in her youth which left her a quadraplegic. At first, she was very bitter… but she committed her life to Christ and has served the remainder of her life ministering to others with physical dissabilities. She has such a positive, healing outlook! And such faith! The ministry of Joni has a variety of programs, counselling, books, and a radio program to help families who are dealing with similar crisis. Love, Kelly

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Andra January 18, 2012 at 5:49 am

Dear Bates Family,

May the Lord bless you aboundantly and give you all your heart’s desires!!

I just want to thank you so much for going to Romania and making a differece there. I was born and raised there for 11 years and I know what is this country about!! Thank you for beign able to travel that far and making a difference in Romania!! I rally admire you for all you have done! May the Lord bless you with His richest blessings.
I will keep you in my prayers and if you ever need my help with anything feel free to contact me.

Love in Christ,
Andra Rosu, FL.

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Melissa P. February 9, 2012 at 3:51 am

Hello Bates Family,
I am so thrilled to see that you went to Romania on a mission trip! When I was 13 years and the true story of the Romanian orphans came to light I felt called to go there. I was finally able to go for a month long mission trip 7 years later. I am now 32 and still think about the children whom I met there. They were living on the streets and in the orphanages most wore the same clothes the entire time we were there. The Gypsies, the homeless and the hospital for the mental disabled all of those experiences have stayed with me. I do pray the Romanian people find Christ and can live in glory. Thank you for serving.
Melissa

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Stef February 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I was so happy to read that your girls went to Romania! I was born in Oradea, Romania! Great pictures and thank you for the wonderful Ministry you have done there! That was very thoughtful! I was so happy to see you actually got to drive around with the President etc! WOW! God Bless you all! I send my love, love-in-Christ! Your Sister-in-Christ, Stefana

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Jeff March 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Gil and Kelly,

I was amazed to flip through these pictures of the Romania trip and find my friend Jordan Webster. I had the privilege of working with his father Daniel Webster. What a fun surprise.

I also took some time to read through many of the comments and I was blessed by your (Kelly’s) words of encouragement. I agree with what one person wrote…thanks for taking the time to read what others write and to actually respond to their questions…and do respond with such grace and humility too. Your family is such a blessing to my family. We so enjoyed the TLC special (March 13) and anxiously await the summer shows.

Thanks especially to Gil for setting a wonderful example of what it means to be a godly husband and father.

Blessings,
Jeff Jackson

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Melissa Lupescu December 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I am Romanian… Did you guys love it there in Romaia?

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Kelly December 30, 2013 at 3:47 am

Dear Melissa,
They certainly did! They still talk about their trip and the impact it made on them. Love, Kelly

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