Birthday with the Bates Family

One of the greatest evidences of the Lord’s blessing on our family vacation was the way he timed each stop. In North Carolina, the day of our arrival providentially coincided with the day our cousin needed help packing for a move; in Savannah, Georgia, the one day we passed through was the day after school had finished for a friend we hadn’t seen in seven years; in Florida we found that winter was the right time to find the famous Florida manatees; our day in Lakeland was the only day open in our hosts’ busy schedule there; and now, in Tennessee, at the home of Gil and Kelly Bates we landed on the day of a birthday celebration! (I guess the chances of that happening are higher when you have 19 in your family!)

There had been a lot of progress since spring! Stories of how the Lord builds the house.Being my first visit, I was impressed right away with the joyfulness displayed by everyone. At the same time, it was easy to tell that Mr. and Mrs. Bates had unquestioned but loving authority over all. Mr. Bates welcomed us in to the front room where a glowing wood stove added to their warm greetings. Mrs. Bates gave us a grand tour of their house-in-progress which is now completely enclosed and beginning to acquire the look of home. The children were good story-tellers.

The narrow way! That evening flew by. After a wonderful dinner with brownies and ice cream for dessert, everyone (except Nathan and I) sat down to listen as Mr. Bates' had a nice easel--and lots of help putting it up.Nathan gave an exhortation from the Bible about walking in the light.  The Lord helped me to come up with a brightly-colored ... and another narrow passageway, the only way in and the only way out.accompanying chalk  talk thanks to the easel that Mr. Bates had on hand. Then a caving trip was arranged. Even Good game.though we tried to go early, it was after 1:00am by the time we returned. Games followed and finally a good night’s rest.

 

Have you ever seen so many happy people in jail?! By the way though I must admit that not much time had expired after our arrival before I ended up, along with a couple others, in the “jail”. It was a perfect hideout, made for the children, designed to utilize the space above a staircase. Perfectly remarkable.

The next morning we did manage to get away for the final trip home around 11:00. It had been a wonderful time. The Bates Bed and Breakfast was more than another wonderful stop. It was a reminder that when the important things, such as Scripture and family harmony, are put first, our joy will be full. Thank you again Bates family.

Strong in spirit, not only in numbers.

6 Comments

  1. Michael January 8, 2010 at 7:29 am #

    It truly was almost unbelievable how God arranged our whole trip. To start with, we had decided the trip was not practical because we needed to get our year’s supply of meat in the freezer, and that usually takes most of the hunting season. But for the first time in the history (almost 20 years) of Staddon hunting, we had the meat taken care of within seven days, completely opening up our schedule! Then we had just 3 weeks to arrange our trip with the schedules of 11 other busy families! We could only take one route to FL and one route back. Time flew as we planned out how to see everyone, and what were the chances that their schedules would be open during the hectic Christmas and New Year’s seasons – especially on THE DAY that we could be there? We took it to prayer. The whole trip seems like a miracle to me, that things fell into place to make it possible for us to see every single family that we hoped to see, plus more! Why would God work this out? Just for our pleasure so we could have the perfect vacation? No. He had led us to focus on the verse “Ye are the salt of the earth…” and He was giving us the chance to put it into practice. And we discovered that when we try to bless and encourage others in Christ’s body, we end up receiving far more blessing and encouragement than we could have hoped to give. Our Father sure does love to give good things to those who ask Him. Glory to His name!

  2. James January 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for writing out all those examples of God’s hand working out the schedule during our trip! Every day was exciting. The time at the Bates’ was all too short, but we sure did the best we could to cram in many fun and profitable activities. My favorite part was definitely the caving, even though I greatly enjoyed organizing taking their family portrait. It’s not every day you get to set up one family of 19 people!

  3. Esther Staddon January 17, 2010 at 12:14 am #

    Yes! What a miraculous trip! It was so much fun! Taking that picture sure was cold though!!

  4. Leonila February 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I’m so happy to see all the progress on the Bate’s house. I been waiting for pictures.

  5. Kristine March 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Wow… Thanks for posting the photos of the Bates Family dream house! I love the covered porch Jim Bob came up with most especially. Congrats on number 18!

  6. TO BATES FAMILY, CONNIE/CAROLINA October 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    DEAR BATES , THANKS FOR BEAUIFUL CARD AND ME AND CAROLINA LOVES IT VERY MUCH. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR WRITE BACK AMEN TO LORD FOR TELL YOU. THANK FOR TAKE TIME TO READ NO HURRY. WE GOT NO ONE SO JUST YOU OR HOPE DUGGARS WILL WRITE SOMEDAY BUT I MOVE TO NEW ADDRESS. I SEND IT TO YOU NOT IN WEBSITE KEEP SECERT. ME AND DAUGHTER SAY ENOUGH OF HATES I THOUGHT AGREE WITH HER. HOPE YOU GOT THIS EMAIL. WRITE WHENEVER YOU CAN. WE LOVES YOU . PLEASE TELL DUGGARS WE LOVES THEM TO GAVE THEM MY ADDRESS AND TEXT MESSAGE. DONT GAVE TO ANY DEAFS CAUSE TO MUCH OF HATES AND PROBLEM AND GOSSIP. FAMILY IS BAD. I PROTECT MY MOM, MYSELF AND CAROLINA SAFE PRAY. WE PRAY FOR YOU AND DUGGARS. DO OUR B E S T. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU AMEN

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