The Bates Family

Christmas in Oklahoma

by Kelly on January 16, 2013


  Christmas break gave us an opportunity to spend time with Chad’s family. The Paines beautified the lodge we stayed in with lights and holiday decorations. Chad had even purchased a swing to place on the porch and had painte20121222_181412d it white to resemble the swings at Erin’s college.

   When we arrived, we were given a tour where we saw a host of beds laden with name tags and gifts. Erin’s, of course,  bore the largest gift (in fact, it was the largest teddy bear we’d ever seen!!) along with a dozen roses to add to the collection!

   And can Mrs. FYdQ0zXqb-LlAveQOXsJOYisGUIDrp3ixNA7aOm6yxwPaine cook… Wow! We were treated to one feast after another! Then there was “spiritual food,” enjoyed at Dr. Paine’s Bible studies (including hands-on illustrations to excite the little ones!) Of course, there were late nights and laughter, games and talks, long walks and sweet fellowship!

   We had so much fun spending time together, and we feel doubly blessed that God has knit our hearts so closely with the Paine family. We know we have much to learn from their gentle, humble spirits, as they have already been such a tremendous spiritual encouragement! 20121222_19162220121222_19174220121222_191652














{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Chad January 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm

It was such a Special time!!!! I loved and cherished EVERY minute of it!
Love y’all!….’specially Erin! =)

~ Chad
1Corinthians 13 =)


Denise January 18, 2013 at 1:11 am

Awe that is so sweet Chad.. wish you and Erin all the best!!


Ruthie February 13, 2013 at 3:49 am

That is so sweet! Blessings to you both on this new chapter of your life!


Harvest January 17, 2013 at 12:16 am

What a wonderful Christmas you had! I’m sure your house is filled with loads of happiness and excitement! Kelly, you should get Erin to post her courtship! It would be lovely to hear how God lead her to her happiness and excitement :).

May The Lord continue to bless her and your family! Praise The Lord!

God bless you and your family,


Piper January 17, 2013 at 3:08 am

Looks like a lovely time :)


Brenda H. January 17, 2013 at 3:32 am

All of you look so happy- especially Erin & Chad!! Love the Teddy Bear- I bet the little ones love it. Thank you for sharing this special time. God Bless all the Bates and Paines. Brenda H.


Christina January 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

Your family is so adorable. You all are such an encouragement to me. I grew up in ati and I always looked forward to our annual trips to Knoxville and making new friends and learning about becoming closer to God. I miss those days. Now my little sister and brother will be doing the same schooling like I did. Hope you have a blessed day


Emily Raynes January 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Aww, it sounds like y’all really had a wonderful Christmas with them! Chad and Erin are adorable and I am so happy for them! It’s fun to see their pictures on here! The swing part was really sweet. :-)
Tell everyone I said hey! Love y’all!!!!


Ellen Kemp January 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Hi Kelly,
What an absolutely beautiful family you have! So glad Erin and your family have been blessed.

Ellen :)


Becky Trowbridge January 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Kelly and Gil,
I have watched your family grow and change through your blog! :) Thanks for the updates! I pray you are well! Wonderful news about Erin! I pray you had a Blessed Christmas!



Rebekah January 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I wish you two God’s blessings on your lives. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Where does the Paine family live?


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 12:06 am

Dear Rebekah,
The Paines live in Agra, but we stayed at a huge lodge in Skiatook. Love, Kelly


Nate P. January 17, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Thanks for posting…Y’all are such a tremendous blessing and an example of the love of God to our family!!! It was no less than a HUGE privilege to spend Christmas with your family and a treasured experience that we will never forget!!! You all have blessed our family in more ways than you know!!! I love y’all and am praying for you guys!!! Blessings!

Sincerely, C.T. ;)


Alisha Ann January 18, 2013 at 2:26 am

what a HUGE teddy bear!!!

glad you all had a great time :D

Serving HIM,


Nicky January 18, 2013 at 2:45 am

Thanks for sharing. Everyone looks so happy. Great pictures! God bless


Patti January 18, 2013 at 3:05 am

Love the pictures! It looks like everyone has a great time, especially Erin and Chad. So nice that your families could spend time together.


kelly jo willey January 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm

it was so nice to see the pictures. everyone looked like they had blessed and fun time. we wish both families many blessings for 2013.


Annie January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

We appreciate your family’s example! I am sure living your life as exposed as you do brings challenges.
Keeping you all in our prayers.


Ashley F January 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Thank you for sharing your world with us. If there was ever any doubt that you are having an impact on other families, doubt no more. The example of faith and commitement that is demonstrated through what the rest of us have seen on tv and through your blog is a blessing. Searching for healthy examples for my own family can often be a challenge. If you know any blogs written from some young people’s perspective, please share as I know my children would benefit and find encouragement from peers whom are seeking God’s best for their lives.

Thank you for shining God’s light and Blessings to your family in 2013.


Allicen Jack January 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Look’s like y’all had a good time! Reading about Erin and Chad’s courtship is so nice, certainly the right way to go about finding your spouse :) I know this is a bit off topic, but I have some questions about your church. Do you have services every Sunday? Are the service times still the same as you stated in the comments section on the other blog? Are children allowed to remain in service with their parents (this is one of the big things that has kept us from finding a home church :( ) We are moving back to that area next month and we are in desperate need of fellowship with those that share similar beliefs! My husband and I really look up to you two, we have watched all of the videos you have on the Embassy website, what an encouragement you are :) God bless you all!



Kelly January 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Dear Allicen,
Our church meets Sundays at 10 am. 11 am, and 6 pm, and Wednesdays at 7 pm. We would love to have you visit us, or to help you find a church that meets your family’s needs. God has blessed us with quite a few children in our church, although our church is young and small. The families do sit together, and it is our goal to encourage families. There is a room available for nursing moms and toddlers-in-training. We are certainly still in the learning and growing stage, but the precious families God has brought our way have been patient and loving! Love, Kelly


Jordan January 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Thanks for sharing all the pictures! We look forward to reading more updates soon!


Nancy January 19, 2013 at 5:46 am

Dear Mrs. Bates,
Congratulations to Chad and Erin! I was wondering if they get married will the Duggars be invited? And would they be allowed to film it for their show?
God Bless your whole family, Nancy


Kelly January 22, 2013 at 3:56 am

Dear Nancy,
Yes, I’m certain the Duggars will be invited! We treasure their friendship! As for filming, I guess that would be a decision for chad, Erin, and TLC?? Love, Kelly


Leslie January 19, 2013 at 8:42 am

Looks and sounds like a wonderful time!


Sunshine January 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I miss the Bates family on tv. Hopefully, your family may do a guest appearance on the Duggar’s show.

Your fan,



Bayley January 20, 2013 at 1:07 am

Dear Bates Family,
Oh my, how you all have grown. Jeb looks so much like Judson did at that same age. What a cutie he is! I can’t believe he’ll be one next month.


Lisa January 20, 2013 at 1:25 am

What beautiful photos! How wonderful that you got to spend such quality time together. :-)

The hands-on Bible study looks amazing! I know that is something that my children would love and truly benefit from. Would you be able to share some ideas about how that was done? Is it from a program or something that Dr. Paine designed himself?

I hope that someday our families will be able to meet, perhaps at an ATI function. :-) It is so difficult sometimes to find other families who are like-minded and valued. I would love for my children to have friends who not only dress like we do, but share the same worldview and beliefs.

Much love and prayers,
Lisa Boyle


Kelly January 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Dear Lisa,
Dr. Paine was just using a toy as an illustration to show how things are accomplished better when we work together. He had seen the illustration done by another speaker. We often try to incorporate using objects in our devotion time, because it helps children be more attentive and excited. Try investing in some children’s object lesson books from a Christian Bookstore (or A great book to begin with is Science and the Bible by Donald Deyoung. This is a yellow paperback that costs $8.99 from It has 30 experiments/ object lessons that include the scriptural analogy and application. Love, Kelly


Lisa January 22, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Thanks so much for the book recommendation. I will go and check it out right now! Many blessings, Lisa :-)


Sarah January 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

Erin looks so happy! I’m so glad for you all. Thank you so much for posting this very special season of your lives, it is so special to read.

PS: I simply adore Erin’s piano playing!


brittani January 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Dear Kelly Bates
i know you are busy but i have question is jeb starting to walk or no, his getting so big


Kelly January 22, 2013 at 3:51 am

Der Brittani,
Yes, Jeb is walking 4 or 5 steps at a time! Love, Kelly


Annalee January 21, 2013 at 7:27 am

I love the pictures of Chad and Erin! They look very happy. I wish them the best of luck as they get to know each other better. :)


Nathan J January 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Dear Bates Family,

I just wanted to let you know that the link for the media page is off and is different from the says “Page not found” under the “media” page. It is not properly linked to the correct page. You need to change the “media” page link to the”video” page link on

In Christ,
-Nathan Johnson

No need to post this comment – Just wanted to let you know.


Kelly January 22, 2013 at 3:50 am

Thanks, Nathan! We’re trying to work on it! Love, Kelly


T. Gates January 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Jeb is a cutie pie!! I am wondering if you have anything specific that you use during your family devotions or if you just read from the Bible. Thanks!


Kelly January 26, 2013 at 5:12 am

Dear T. Gates,
We have morning character lessons where we study a character quality. We use character lesson books for this. We also work on memorizing Scripture and a hymn a month during character time. We end character time by reading a portion of a missionary or Christian biography aloud. We have evening Bible study to read through the Bible. Sometimes Gil will take a break from reading through, and will focus on the Proverb chapter for the day or on some specific topic. He often uses object lessons from books to keep the kids attention, or will dramatize something to liven things up a bit! Sometimes, he’ll ask for the children to share testimonies or insights in what they’ve been studying during their personal reading time. Love, Kelly


T. Gates January 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Thanks so much for replying! What character lesson books do you use? What do your little ones (say two and under) do during this time and the family Bible time at night? Mine like to move! :)


Kelly February 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Dear T. Gates,
There are so many character lesson books, and you really need to consider what ages you’re communicating to. I love Carl Sommer’s character books for toddler age (I like to add Bible verses to the character lessons, though). We use the Character Sketches Vol. 1-3 from IBLP ( for all ages. We read the write ups that describe children’s character books at the following sites: Timberdoodle (, Keepers of the Faith (, Christian Book Distributors (, and varios homeschool suppliers. Love, Kelly


T. Gates February 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Thanks! I have read reviews at those places as well before, and they ALL sound so good! It’s hard to choose!! What do your little ones do (say three and under) while you are having your morning and evening family times? Are they expected to sit still, or are they allowed to move around a little?

Angel January 25, 2013 at 1:06 am

I love your family! You are all such a blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing your faith with all of us. May our precious Lord continue to bless you.


Christy from Florida January 29, 2013 at 2:13 am

Looks like such a sweet time.


Val January 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Did you go to church with the Duggars when you visited? If so, I’m so sad we missed you! We started fellowshipping there in the fall, and then my poor husband got so very sick. We’ve missed week after week, been in the hospital, etc. He was actually released from the hospital Christmas Day. We have listened to your husband on the Embassy website. Glad you had a nice Christmas trip.


Kelly February 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Dear Val,
No, we weren’t able to attend church with the Duggars because we had already committed to go with the Paine family in Oklahoma. Love, Kelly


Ruthie February 10, 2013 at 4:20 am

So thankful for you and your family! Encouraging to read your blogs about courtship and to see how special a relationship can be when you seek the Lord. I am 19 and like your sons and daughters, I do not date. I am waiting for the Lord to bring me Prince Charming and sometimes I get discourgaged and wonder when will God bring him but these post just encourage me to keep seeking and being the young lady He has created me to be!

God’s blessings to you and your family!


Lex March 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm

If there is an opportunity to film Erin’s wedding, please do so and share it here!


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Kelly February 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Dear T. Gates,
Our littlest ones crawl around and play with toys…(If the other kids can keep from grabbing them up to hold and cuddle them…lol). When they can talk and listen good (around 15 months) we begin slowly working with them sitting for short intervals. At first, they might just sit through songs and verses, but they build to sitting longer periods. Some of Gil’s Bible studies are really captivating to them, so they are all ears…. Some might be geared for the older children, so its a little harder for them to sit. We’re flexible… We’re not so strict that they do nothing but sit ever, but at the same time, we do work with them to sit, because we know they need to learn to sit, even when they don’t feel like it (like school time…lol!) Love, Kelly


Lex March 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm

What are some of the children’s favorite bible stories? I remember loving the story of Joseph growing up and was thrilled when it became a musical.

I always enjoyed the story of Jesus’ birth when it was told at my church. The church placed statues of the wise men on the window sils and every Sunday they got closer and closer (moved one window sil, and across the base of the alter) until they made it to the manger at the other side of the church.


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