May 22, 2018

Well, another school year has come and gone! I have to say this is the fastest year I have experienced as a member of the staff of the Bear Valley Bible Institute. It seems like just the other day we were in our Freshmen Orientation. And then, just two days ago, twenty-one graduates walked across the stage.  

Since my last newsletter, a lot has happened here at BV. In March much of the staff and several students, alumni, and friends of Bear Valley (40 in all) made our way to Israel for our Bible Lands Studies Tour. I am so blessed to have been able to make this trip! I will never be able to preach and teach about those places again the same way. I was very excited to get to teach lessons at Jericho and Beer Sheba. 

Our fourth quarter here at school (March - May) is the quarter I do not teach in the undergraduate program (although I always have graduates assignments to grade). This is the quarter I use for doing most of my traveling to give reports of our work to our supporters. Because of the Israel trip my schedule has been compacted. So far, I have given reports in King Ryder, AR, Redland, OK, Bagwell, TX, and Blossom, TX. The first Sunday of this month (May), I was very blessed to speak at the 19th Annual Hugo Lectureship. This congregation is such a special church family to my family and me. I love them dearly, and they have been a major supporter of our work since it began. The lectureship was on Saturday, May 5. The next day I gave my report, also. This coming Sunday (May 27), I will be in Wagoner, OK and Cave Springs, AR to give my report. That leaves four other congregations I need to schedule a time to give my report either in late Summer, or early Fall. 

I have also scheduled two more international trips this year (I know, more than I usually do). On the dates of June 14-26, Noma, Jessica and I will be traveling to Newport, Wales, where I will be preaching a Gospel Meeting and Noma and Jessica will be teaching the ladies. On the dates of July 18-30 I will be traveling to Siem Reap, Cambodia where I will teach the last course to the students in our extension  school there and be present for their graduation. I will also be representing the elders of the Bear Valley congregation in giving support and encouragement to our missionaries in that work. Freshmen Orientation for the next school year is Friday, August 3…and here we go again!

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support of this great work. Earlier this month Bear Valley’s 30th foreign extension school opened in the Philippines. We could not do this work without people like you!


Thank you and God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on May 22, 2018 .

February 5, 2018

Greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord! It is our sincere hope that your holiday season was all you wished it to be and that your New Year is off to a great start!

We are actually in the middle of our third quarter of the school year. This is known as Research Week around here. It is the week in the middle of a quarter in which students are given a break from the classroom routine, which gives them time to devote to major assignments like research papers, essays, study for major exams, etc. We try hard not to refer to it as “Break Week” so as to not plant the idea of a holiday period in the mind. 

This quarter I am teaching Exodus-Deuteronomy, which is a continuation of the course on Genesis I taught last quarter. In that quarter, I taught Church Growth and Genesis in the daytime program, and Old Testament Survey in the Monday night Wives’ Program. The second quarter of the school year is my most challenging when it comes to the number of classes. Monday gets to be a long day starting with an 8:00 a.m. class and ending at 9:00 p.m. However, it’s good to have a part in the education of these students!

As of today, we are one month away from leaving on our 2018 Bible Lands Studies Program. Most of our staff, some of our current students, many of our alumni, and a few of our members at the Bear Valley congregation will be spending March 5-17 in Israel for this program. I am including an itinerary of the trip at the end of this report so that you can keep tabs with where we are and what we are doing. I’ve changed the times of the itinerary I’m including to Central Standard Times, since most of you who read this report are located in that time zone. This will hopefully make it easier for you to have an “up-to-the-minute” idea of the schedule.

I want to say how thankful I am to all of you for your interest in and support of this work. I will be making arrangements for visiting our supporting congregations in the near future. (In fact, I will probably make the first calls for that before I leave for Israel.) As part of my report this year, I will again include results of our year-end report from all our extensions worldwide. I’ll have more details when I give the report, but let me offer a teaser here by noting that our current students around the world baptized more than 3,000 souls in 2017 alone. The results of the work of those students who have graduated, whose work was noted in past reports, only God knows for sure, but I want you to know that your contribution to this work is not wasted. 

2018 will be a busy year for traveling again for me and my family. After a couple of years where I did not have to travel internationally nearly as much as years past (I only left the USA once in each of the past two years), I have three such trips planned for this year. In addition to the Israel trip, my family and I (Jessica will get to accompany Noma and me this time) will return to Great Britain this summer to help strengthen the Lord’s church there. This time we will be working with the church in Newport, South Wales, about a two-hour train ride west of London. We are very much looking forward to meeting these new brethren and then we hope to return to London to worship once again with the good brethren of the Thamesmead church of Christ. 

Then, in July I will travel to Cambodia to teach in our extension in Siem Reap. I believe I will be teaching the book of Revelation to these students, and will then be present for their graduation. This work is also a mission work of the Bear Valley church of Christ and this will afford me the opportunity to see first-hand the work done by our missionaries on behalf of the eldership here at BV. I should return from that trip a few days before classes begin again for our 2018-2019 school year in early August. 

In September, we have our annual Bear Valley Homecoming Lectures and I am blessed to be able to be one of the speakers this year. Bringing this preview of the year’s activities back to the present, the manuscript for my lesson for the Lectureship book is due April 15, so we stay busy.

Thank you and God bless,

Donnie Bates

2018 Bible Lands Studies Program

March 5-17

March 5 (Monday)

8:55 a.m. (CST)  Depart Denver 

12:45 p.m.     Arrive in Newark, NJ

3:15 p.m.    Depart Newark

March 6 (Tuesday) The Via Maris: The Path to Blessings

2:35 a.m. (CST) Arrive in Tel Aviv

4:00 a.m.    Lunch

5:30 a.m.    Explore Aphek/Antipatris: (The Land Between: John Moore)

6:30 a.m.    Travel to Caesarea 

7:30 a.m.    Explore Caesarea

10:00 a.m.    Depart

10:45 a.m.     Check into Hotel and Dinner

Overnight on the Mediterranean (Hotel Dan Caesarea)

March 7 (Wednesday) Faith Battles: On the Crossroads of Decision

11:30 p.m.    Preview and Orientation

1:00 a.m.    Depart Hotel for Mount Carmel

1:45 a.m.    Arrive at Muhraqa Monastery/Mt. Carmel (Geo. Orientation and Reading of 1 Kings 18)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

3:15 a.m.    Explore Megiddo (Speaker: Wes Autrey)

5:15 a.m.    Lunch at Megiddo

6:30 a.m.    Depart

7:00 a.m.    Explore Nazareth Village

8:45 a.m.    Depart

9:00 a.m.    Arrive at Mt. Precipice (Speaker: Wayne Burger)

10:00 a.m.    Depart for Hotel

11:30 a.m.    Hotel Check-in and Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation (Northern Area)

Overnight in Galilee (Kinar Hotel)

March 8 (Thursday) Faith Wars: When Cultures Collide

12:45 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:00 a.m.    Explore Capernaum (Speaker: Denny Petrillo)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

2:45 a.m.    Explore Chorazin

3:15 a.m.    Depart

4:00 a.m.    Explore Tel Dan

6:15 a.m.    Depart

6:30 a.m.    Lunch

7:30 a.m.    Explore Caesarea Philippi/Banias (Speaker: Tyler King)

8:45 a.m.    Depart

9:00 a.m.    Golan

9:15 a.m.    Depart

10:00 a.m.    Photographs at the Jordan River

10:20 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel

TBD    Preview and Orientation (Sea of Galilee)

Overnight in Galilee (Kinar Hotel)

March 9 (Friday) This Man Jesus: Seeing the Glory of Christ

12:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:00 a.m.    Nof Ginosar Museum

1:30 a.m.    Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee (Speaker: Michael Hite)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

3:00 a.m.    Mount Arbel (Geography Lesson and Quiet Time for Reflection)

4:30 a.m.    Depart

5:30 a.m.    Lunch (prepared)

6:00 a.m.    Explore Beit Shean (Speaker: Ken Dawdy)

8:00 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation

Overnight at Dead Sea

March 10 (Saturday) Strongholds in the Wilderness: Trusting in the Power of God

1:00 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:15 a.m.    Film and Introduction to Masada

1:30 a.m.    Explore Masada (Speaker: Dan Owen)

5:00 a.m.    Lunch

6:00 a.m.    Explore Ein Gedi (Speaker: Ron Crawforth)

8:00 a.m.    Depart

8:45 a.m.    Dead Sea Experience

11:30 a.m.    Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation

Overnight at Dead Sea

March 11 (Sunday) Escaping to the Wilderness: Faith at Work

12:30 - 1:15 a.m.    Worship (Speaker: Dan Owen)

1:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

2:40 a.m.    Qumran

4:30 a.m.    Lunch at Qumran

5:15 a.m.    Depart

5:45 a.m.    Baptismal Site: Bethany Beyond the Jordan

6:30 a.m.    Depart

6:45 a.m.    Jericho (Speaker: Donnie Bates)

8:15 a.m.    Depart

8:30 a.m.    Ma’ale Adummim Overlook

9:00 a.m.    Depart

9:30 a.m.    Arrive at Mt. Scopus (Prayer & Scripture)

10:00 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation

Overnight in Bethlehem

March 12 (Monday) God and Kings: Lineage and Legacy

12:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:00 a.m.    Explore Herodium (Speaker: Michael Hite)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

3:00 a.m.    Israel Museum

5:00 a.m.    Lunch at Israel Museum

6:00 a.m.    Depart

6:30 a.m.    City of David: film

6:45 a.m.    Geography Overview from Lookout Platform

7:00 a.m.    Archaeology Tour of Jebusite City and David’s Palace

8:00 a.m.    Hezekiah’s Tunnel

9:00 a.m.    Pool of Siloam (The King of kings) (Speaker: Corey Sawyers)

10:00 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation (The Shephelah and Beersheba)

Overnight in Jerusalem TBD - (Leonardo Jerusalem Hotel)

March 13 (Tuesday) Border Wars: A Testing Ground of Faith

12:45 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:30 a.m.    Tel Beit Shemesh

2:00 a.m.    Depart

2:15 a.m.    Explore Tel Azekah (or Qeiyafa) and Elah Valley (Speaker: Wes Autrey)

3:00 a.m.    Depart

3:10 a.m.    Explore Brook of Elah

4:00 a.m.    Depart

5:00 a.m.    Lunch

6:30 a.m.    Explore Beersheba (Speaker: Donnie Bates)

8:30 a.m.    Depart

10:00 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation (Walking Where Jesus Walked)

Overnight in Jerusalem (Leonardo Jerusalem Hotel)

March 14 (Wednesday) In the Steps of Jesus (Ministry, Message, & Passion)

12:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

12:45 a.m.    Arrive at the Mount of Olives for Devotional and Orientation

1:30 a.m.    Walk to Gethsemane and Cave of Gethsemane

3:00 a.m.    Depart

3:15 a.m.    Arrive at Bethesda Pool at St. Anne Church (Speaker: Corey Sawyers)

4:30 a.m.    Via Dolarosa

5:00 a.m.    Lunch

6:00 a.m.    Church of the Holy Sepulcher

7:00 a.m.    Davidson Center and Southern Steps (Speaker: Keith Kasarjian)

8:30 a.m.    Western Wall and Western Wall Tunnels

10:30 a.m.    Depart for Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Guest Lecturer: Rabi Shulu Warman (The History of Rabbinic Judaism)

        Orientation (Things to See and Do in Jerusalem)

Overnight in Jerusalem (Leonardo Jerusalem Hotel)

March 15 (Thursday) Free Day

12:30 p.m.    Optional Western Wall Visit at Night

Overnight in Jerusalem

March 16 (Friday) News That Changed the World (From Denial to Resurrection)

1:00 a.m.    Checkout - luggage to stow in room or hotel designated area)

1:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

2:00 a.m.    Tour Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

4:00 a.m.    Depart

4:30 a.m.    Galicantu (Speaker: Neal Pollard)

5:30 a.m.    Lunch    

6:30 a.m.    Citadel

7:45 a.m.    Depart

8:00 a.m.    Garden Tomb (Speaker: Tyler King)

9:30 a.m.    Depart

10:00 a.m.    Arrive back at hotel to freshen up, change clothes and get organized

10:45 a.m.    Farewell dinner at Naura in Abu Gosh (Closing remarks and reflections by group)

12:00 p.m.    Depart for Airport

3:10 p.m.    Flight departs

March 17 (Saturday) Arrive in USA

3:45 a.m.    Arrive in Newark

5:35 a.m.    Depart for Denver

10:05 a.m.    Arrive in Denver

Posted on February 9, 2018 .

August 17, 2017

School Back in Session

When I was growing up, I always heard from older people that the older you get, the faster time passes by. Well, in the words of the queen of Sheba, “The half has not been told!” I cannot believe how fast this summer passed by. We are now approaching the end of the second week of school for the 2017-2018 school year. In the intervening weeks and months since my last newsletter I have been able to visit and give a report on our work to eleven different congregations who so graciously support the work. I have one left to complete the dozen. On August 27, Lord willing, I will be in Slim, Oklahoma to give a report to those good brethren.

I want to say, “Thank you” to all who make our work possible. While the summer went by quickly, we were still able to get some good work done, getting ready for classes to start back up again, as well as, a few projects that the church here had going. I did not teach a regular class at this year’s FPTC, but I did get to teach an evening class at the Fort Logan National Cemetery on ministry in times of death and sorrow. It was an interesting approach to be “on location” like that, and I enjoyed the opportunity very much. I also got to teach in our VBS this year. Each class of kids rotated after a class period to different rooms with teachers and/or projects. Our theme was “Fishers of Men” and my station was “The Fishin’ Hole” in the lobby. Workers had made the area up to look like a mountain lake (there were even goldfish in the pool). I got to dress up in my fishing gear and teach lessons as the kids came through. I can now say I have officially taught the cradle roll class and, may I add, my hat’s off to all you ladies who teach that age and the Pre-K group. That was MUCH more intimidating than teaching adults!

Our school year began last week (August 7) with two week-long short courses. I taught the Freshmen and Sophomores English Composition and Mike Vestal taught the Junior and Seniors the Gospel of Luke. In a short course, we have one class that goes all day long every day for the entire week. It really is like drinking from a fire hose. Overall, the students did well in both classes. This week, the other five classes offered this quarter are in session. Classes that are offered are: for the Freshmen: Acts I, Homiletics I, Research Strategies, Matthew, and Personal Evangelism; for the Sophomores: Romans, Homiletics I, Research Strategies, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon (Gal…Phile. are all one course), and Personal Evangelism; for the Juniors: Romans, Isaiah, Divided Kingdom, Gal…Phile., and the Epistles of John; for the Seniors: Acts I, Isaiah, Divided Kingdom, Matthew, and the Epistles of John.

I am very happy (and blessed) to say that money has been raised to cover the trips I have on my schedule for next year! Thank you so much for the sacrifices made to see this good work continue. We will be able to make this teaching (and learning) trip to Israel in March and a trip to Cambodia in the Summer to teach in our extension school there. Noma and I are also planning a return to London earlier in the Summer to help out with the church there. I cannot tell you how blessed we truly are by your generosity not just with these trips, but in the work overall. You are all God’s blessing to us!!

Thank you and God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on August 17, 2017 .

January 25, 2017

New Year Begins!

The beginning of the New Year actually begins the third quarter of our school year here at Bear Valley. It has been a good school year so far. The 2016/17 school year began with some big changes at BV! In the last 12 months, we have had to say “good-bye” and “God-speed” to several of our family here. Four of our staff moved on to other works. All of them left here on good terms, but felt they needed to make the change to their new works. We love them and miss them, but know they are doing good work in the Lord’s vineyard in their respective works.

In their place, we have added two new instructors to our two-year program. Mike Vestal and John Moore bring a great deal of experience and depth to our faculty. The Bear Valley Bible Institute is indeed blessed to have them both here.

The classes I have had up to this point in the school year have gone well (everyone passed). In the second quarter I taught Genesis to the Freshmen and Church Growth to the Juniors and Seniors. The Genesis course was a short course, which is a novel approach to some of our courses. A short course is very similar to the short courses that are taught in our extension schools around the world. An entire course is taught in one week (30 clock hours over five days). The courses taught this way are two-credit-hour courses, while the others are all three-credit-hours each (with 42 clock hours over the quarter). I discovered that Genesis is not an easy course to cover in any in-depth manner in such a short period of time, so I will be re-designing my approach between now and next October.

I very much enjoyed teaching the Church Growth class. It was the first time I had taught this material on this level. I think I learned as much through a review of the material as the students did in hearing it presented. They all seemed to get a lot out of it. 

This quarter I am teaching just one course: Exodus - Deuteronomy. This is another course that requires covering a lot of material and text in a short amount of time. It can be challenging to try and adequately cover the material in even a 42-hour time period when there is so much in the text that the students need to learn.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

Today, in an informal faculty meeting, we were presented with a great opportunity to further our own education, as well as, provide a great learning experience for our students. As I mentioned earlier, we have been blessed with the addition of John and Carla Moore to our staff. John is well known for his work on the Searching for Truth video series. He is also involved in the Bible Land Passages Studies, Tours, and Expeditions work. In March 2018, John will head a trip to the holy land for the entire school at Bear Valley. The dates for this trip are March 5-17, 2018. We have arranged our school calendar to allow all the students and faculty the opportunity to make this trip. As I am sure you can imagine, this is truly a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to enhance the education we provide for our students, as well as, further our own.

We are working presently at: 1) making this trip one of education, and not just a nice vacation. Students will earn credits toward their academic standing with this trip, which means they will have some work to do; it also means that we, the faculty will have work to do to see that education happens; and 2) raising funds for the trip. The estimates are that the trip will cost approximately $3,600.00 per person. I would like to formally ask your help in raising these funds. We have a deadline for making a deposit of $1,200.00 each, set for August 11, 2017. Please give careful and prayerful consideration to helping us with this opportunity. If you think you can help with this, please send your check to: Bear Valley Bible Institute 2707 S. Lamar St., Denver, CO 80227 and write a note explaining that this is for my travel fund. I have learned that technically, if you write that on the memo line, it will not qualify as a tax deduction.

Another Teaching Opportunity

Speaking of traveling and teaching (and raising funds), I am also scheduled to teach in our extension school in Siem Reap, Cambodia later in the Summer of 2018. Since I no longer have the travel budget I did several years ago when I worked full-time in the extensions, I will need to raise money for this trip, also. 

I cannot tell how much Noma and I appreciate the love and support we receive from good friends, family and brethren like you. The short “Thank You” note on the first page of this report is a regular feature here, but I assure you, it is not just a thoughtless filler piece. We mean that from the bottom of our hearts. 

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 25, 2017 .

September 8, 2016

New School Year Begins!

A new school year has begun at Bear Valley and we have a new class of freshmen. On August 8, 12 new students and their families started their two-year journey here at Bear Valley.  Their classes this quarter are: Acts 1, Homiletics 1, Research Strategies, Matthew, and English Composition. They will also have one short course (one week of intense instruction) on Personal Evangelism.

I am once again teaching English Composition this year, but I decided that I would completely overhaul the course after last year. I wasn’t really satisfied with the first effort so I decided to go in a different direction this year. Instead of focusing on making sure students could tell the difference between an adjective and an adverb (admittedly a pet peeve of mine), I wanted the course to focus on writing, this year. I guess you could say that after majoring in English last year, we’re majoring in Composition this time around.

I am also teaching on Monday nights in the wives’ program. This is my first time to teach the wives and I am loving it. I’m teaching The Godhead this quarter. I joked with the ladies that I prefer to teach them over their husbands because it doesn’t cost me as much in red ink pens when I grade their papers.

My new job as Dean of Academics has kept me busy this Summer in working with Denny Petrillo on getting the class schedules ready, as well as, reviewing all the syllabi for the courses of the entire program to make sure they met with the expectations and requirements of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. I appreciate so much the cooperation of the faculty here at Bear Valley in making my job and my transition into it, easier.

This past weekend most of our staff, both from Denver and our extension staff from around the country, met in the foothills above Denver for our annual staff retreat. As usual, it was an exciting and uplifting time, hearing reports on all our extensions schools, which now number 23!

Once again, I am so thankful to all of you who support us both financially and prayerfully. It is such a blessing to be involved in a work like this. Almost every day I consciously think this thought: I am so glad just to be able to be associated with the men and women of this place and to have just a small part in this work. I hope you know that you have a part in it, as well. Last night, it was announced that in just one of our extension schools, since 2011, there have been 1,400 baptisms by the students and faculty. You just cannot help but be excited to a part of something like that. Thank you all so much for being a part!!

God bless,

Donnie Bate

Posted on September 8, 2016 .

June 20, 2016

Summer Break!

Wow! It has been a busy Spring. I did not intend to go three months without a written report, but the good news is that I have been able to see most of you in person since my last written report.

I noticed in reading over the last report in March that I mentioned that we had had two snow days so far in the school year and both of them were on days I was teaching. The date of my last report was March 15. On March 23 we had our third snow day of the school year. Since that was at the beginning of the fourth quarter, I was not teaching, but it was in the middle of the Masters in Missions Blitz Week. Our Blitz Weeks in the Graduate Program are designed to cover two full courses in one week. As you might imagine, missing just one day that week would be very costly in the class time for those courses. So, the instructors and students agreed to tough it out and come to class. We had enough four-wheel-drive vehicles to make it work. The rest of the school was out for the snow day, so six of us were here and the guys worked hard. It was a good week. So, the 3-5 inch forecast turned into 14-18 inches with high wind. 

In April I started traveling to give reports. So far, I have been able to visit King Ryder, AR, Redland, OK, Bagwell, TX, Blossom, TX, Wapanucka, OK, Wagoner, OK, Cave Springs, AR, Hugo, OK, and Tecumseh, OK. I still need to schedule times to visit with the good brethren of Calera, OK and Slim, OK. 

In other news, on May 8 I was one of five men installed as additional elders of the Bear Valley congregation. I am deeply honored to have been considered for this work, but am, at the same time, quite humbled by the responsibility. I covet your prayers for me and the other elders. In addition to that big change, I was asked to take on the responsibilities of Academic Dean over the Undergraduate Program, which is similar in responsibility to the Dean of Graduate Studies. I am replacing our outgoing Academic Dean, Mark Hanstein. Mark has done an outstanding job and I hope to be able to do half as good a job as he did.

On May 22 we graduated 24 students, including 3 who graduated with their Master of Biblical Studies degrees. On May 27 we left for our Summer trip to see supporters and family. We returned to Denver on June 6, in time to finish out the VBS at Bear Valley. Then, beginning Sunday, June 12 we began our annual FPTC (Future Preachers Training Camp) and the Gospel Meeting that accompanies the camp. This year Jason Moon of the Waterview congregation in Richarson, TX was our speaker and he did an outstanding job. We had 36 young men come from all over the country and from outside the country to study for this week. It was a great week and these young men did a great job with their sermons.

Today begins my Summer Break. For me, that means I don’t have to wear a tie when I go to work. :-) I will be working on classes coming up and the class schedules for the Undergraduate Program. With the personnel who have moved, we are making some changes in the curriculum and class schedules, so those have to be worked out in the next seven weeks.

Let me say again how much we love and appreciate you all. God bless! 

Donnie Bates

Posted on June 20, 2016 .

March 15, 2016

Another Quarter in the Books

It’s sometimes hard to get your mind around how fast time goes by here at Bear Valley. The third quarter of this school year has already come to an end.

We have had an interesting late Winter here in Denver this year. We rarely have snow days where we miss class, but so far this Winter we have had two. Unfortunately for me, both of them were on a Tuesday when I was teaching. The quarter we just finished is our shortest quarter, which means a Tuesday/Thursday class only has 13 class sessions. To give one of those up makes it difficult to say the least. On February 2 we had the second snow day of the season. Our classes were scrambling to catch up the rest of the quarter. Interestingly, that was the last major snow we have had so far. March is our snowiest month and we haven’t had any yet. That is supposed to change later this week.

During this quarter I taught two classes. I taught Advanced Hermeneutics with the Juniors and Seniors, and Exodus-Deuteronomy with the Freshmen and Sophomores.  One of the Sophomores pointed out at the end of the quarter that next quarter will be their first quarter of their time here that they will not have me for any of their classes. My smart-aleck remark was, “A fact for which we are all thankful!” Of course, that was just a joke. I am very happy to be their teacher and am looking forward to the next time I have them in class.

We had our Final Exams (for the classes I taught) on Friday, March 4. Twice each year (October and March) our students leave for campaigns after finals. Some of them leave within an hour of their last exam because they have to drive some distance to get to their campaign. This campaign week saw groups headed to Wray CO, Craig CO, Kayenta AZ (on the Navajo Reservation), and Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. One other campaign group stayed in the Denver area and worked with the Dahlia St. church of Christ across town from Bear Valley. I was very blessed to preach a Gospel Meeting at the Dahlia St. congregation as part of that campaign. Dahlia St. is an important part of our lives. Noma was a member there when I met her. We were married in that building and our Jessica was born just down the street from that building. Dahlia St. was our sponsoring congregation and sole supporter for our time in Chile, South America and we ended up working with them a total of six years. There are a few members there from “the old days.” We love this congregation so much!

This week is our break week between quarters. I am using this time to catch up on grading assignments in our graduate program that I have not had time to get to during the past quarter. I am grateful for the time I have to give to the graduate program in general. One of the things I have wanted to do all along since being asked to be the Dean of Graduate Studies is to always try to improve the program. We are very happy with the program we have, but there is always room for improvement. Next week begins the fourth quarter of the school year and, as part of the graduate program, we have scheduled a Blitz Week for the Masters in Missions program. We have four students who will be coming here from Denver CO (2), Montrose CO and Asunción, Paraguay. They will be studying Cross-Cultural Missions and Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.

Our upcoming fourth quarter of the school year is a quarter in which I do not currently teach a class. Typically, I use this time for traveling to give reports to our supporters and more work on the graduate program. Our office manager (Teri Autrey) is helping me compile a list of issues that need attention. I will be contacting different congregations in the next couple of days to begin making those appointments. Hopefully, by the time some of you receive this newsletter, I will have an appointment to come your way. 

We appreciate so much each one of you and the encouragement and support (whether financial, moral, or spiritual) that you give us in partnering with us in this work. We owe everything to God and I am as convinced of this as much as I am convinced of anything, that you are part of His plan to bless us in this work.

God bless you and thank you for your interested in and support of this work.

Donnie Bates, Dean of Graduate Studies

Bear Valley Bible Institute - 2707 S. Lamar St., Denver CO 80227

(303) 986-5800 (office) - (303) 718-7040 (cell) -


Posted on March 15, 2016 .

Bates Newsletter - January 4, 2016

A New Year

It’s hard to imagine that 2015 has already come and gone. As a kid, I never really believed that time went by faster when you got older. Boy, was I wrong!

2015 was a good year for us. Noma continues to work for the Addenbrook Classical Academy charter school. She is one of the original staff there. The school continues to grow and we are very happy that she has the opportunity to work there. This school year (2015-2016) our Jessica was also hired to work at Addenbrook, so she and her mom get to see each other every day. Jessica also teaches a night course at Red Rocks Community College.

In June, I was asked to become the Dean of Graduate Studies at Bear Valley. Since I’ve mentioned that in earlier editions of this newsletter, I won’t belabor the point now, other than to give a brief review of how that has gone. I am learning (slowly) more about how to do this job. By that I mean, there are fewer and fewer questions I have to ask someone else when they are posed to me. That doesn’t mean I’ve got them all figured out yet, but I’m getting there. As I noted in the last newsletter, my first Blitz Week was at the end of October. All in all, it was a good week; we just need to work on getting more students here to take advantage of excellent instruction on a graduate level. The next Blitz Week is scheduled for February 16-19, 2016. Our classes and professors for that week are: Advanced Hermeneutics with Dr. Denny Petrillo and Ephesians with Dr. Jay Lochart.

A New Quarter Begins

One week from today (January 11, 2016) the third quarter of our school year begins. We have a smaller class coming in this time. They will not number nearly as much as the class that came in last August, but that is normal. Our January classes are typically smaller. I will be teaching two courses this quarter. I will have the Freshmen and Sophomores for Exodus-Deuteronomy, and the Juniors and Seniors for Advanced Homiletics.

For the 2015-2016 school year we changed our curriculum, adding several courses. One of those changes was to separate out the book of Genesis from our study of the Pentateuch. I taught that class last quarter. Now, Exodus-Deuteronomy is the continuation of that study. Homiletics is the “science and art of sermon preparation and delivery.” Advanced Homiletics focuses on the Expository Sermon. I will be spending much of this week finalizing these two courses for the upcoming seven weeks (this is our shortest quarter).

I am also the instructor for three of our graduate level “In-Ministry” courses, i.e. courses that graduate students study at home on their own time. In the MBS program (Masters in Biblical Studies) I am responsible for grading the work in the Introduction to Graduate Studies and the Church Growth and Evangelism courses. In the MM program (Masters in Missions) I am responsible for the Missionary Issues course. I have work in those courses that I will be grading over the next few days, trying to catch up since the last quarter kept me from getting to those as quickly as I would have liked.

Thank You!!

I said this in the last issue, but I cannot improve on the feelings of gratitude we have for you. We appreciate so much each one of you and the encouragement and support (whether financial, moral, or spiritual) that you give us in partnering with us in this work. We owe everything to God and I am as convinced of this as much as I am convinced of anything, that you are part of His plan to bless us in this work.

God bless you and thank you for your interested in and support of this work.

Donnie Bates

Dean of Graduate Studies

Bear Valley Bible Institute

2707 S. Lamar St.

Denver, CO 80227

(303) 986-5800 (office)

(303) 718-7040 (cell)

Posted on January 4, 2016 .

Bates Newsletter - October 23, 2015

Bates Newsletter 

An Apology!

I want to begin this month’s newsletter by offering an apology for taking so long between newsletters. This morning in chapel I heard a tremendous lesson by my good friend and colleague, Corey Sawyers. In his lesson, Corey noted that “An gratitude unexpressed is ingratitude.” 

The work that I am so privileged and blessed to be able to do is only possible through the generous support of brethren who believe in the work that I and others are doing and are concerned with that work. I felt powerfully convicted by the account in Luke 17 of the 10 lepers that Jesus healed, but only one returned to show his gratitude. Jesus asked the question, “But the nine—where are they?” (Luke 17:17). I don’t want to be one of the nine any more. So, let me close this portion of the newsletter with this:

Thank You!!  

Staff Retreat

At the end of August, the Denver staff and Extension staff (as many as could make it) assembled at the Eternal Purpose Retreat Center in the foothills southwest of Denver for our annual Staff Retreat. This is always one of the most encouraging and uplifting times of the year for the institute.

This year I gave a short report on my new job as Dean of Graduate Studies. At the time of the retreat, I had been on the job in this new position for only a little over two months. Therefore, my report consisted of not much more than

 a “state of the program.” I was very happy to acknowledge the fine work that Will Hanstein has done over the last 11 years in building this program. I hope to be able to adequately fill his shoes and help the program to grow even better in the years to come.

I also was blessed to lead some of the singing at the retreat this year. The presentations of the works this institute is involved in, the devotionals, sermons and worship at this retreat are so uplifting, it is impossible to come away at the end of the weekend not feeling charged up for another year of work.

Blitz Week

Next week (October 27-30) is scheduled one of our Blitz Weeks, which is part of the Masters program here at Bear Valley. Students in the program are required to take four Blitz Week courses as part of their work towards a Masters degree.

The Blitz Weeks are aptly named. The classes run from Tuesday through Friday, leaving Mondays and Saturdays for travel. There are two courses offered each Blitz Week. Students taking both classes will be in class from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (chapel is scheduled at 10:00-10:30) for one class, and then 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. for the other class. It is a full day!

For this Blitz Week Dr. David Lipe of Freed-Hardeman University will be teaching Postmodernism in the Church for the morning class, and Dr. Jerry Martin of Amridge University will be teaching Joshua, Judges, and Ruth for the afternoon class.

This will be my first Blitz Week as Dean, so I am once again thankful to Will Hanstein for coordinating our instructors for this Blitz Week (and the next two, as well). In addition to teaching my own classes in the undergraduate program during the week, I will be making airport runs (to and from) and making sure the class is set up and everyone has all they need (including the most important supplies - donuts and coffee) each morning. On Friday we will have a lunch out at a local restaurant with all the Blitz Week participants (students and staff) and the local Bear Valley staff. It's a full week, but a great and profitable week. I covet your prayers that I will be up to the task of managing it all.

A New Quarter Begins

As I was able to report to many of you in my personal reports this Summer and Fall, we had a rather large incoming class in August. Counting children and spouses, our numbers at the congregation increased by 39 with this group.

The first quarter ended on October 2, the last day of finals. In that quarter I taught the freshman and sophomore classes a new course in our curriculum, English Composition. I am pleased to say that everyone passed!

On Monday of this week (October 19) we began our second quarter of the school year. I am again teaching the Freshmen and Sophomores. This quarter we are studying another new course, Genesis. Now, I do not mean to say that we have never taught Genesis before. What we have done is separate the book of Genesis from the rest of the Pentateuch, giving it its own quarter of study. This will give us more time to focus on the text of a book that covers more of human history than the rest of Scripture combined. It is a great study and a great class!

Let me say again how much I appreciate each one of you and the encouragement and support (whether financial, moral, or spiritual) that you give us in partnering with us in this work. We owe everything to God and I am as convinced of this as much as I am convinced of anything, that you are part of His plan to bless us in this work.

Thank You!!

God bless you and thank you for your interested in and support of this work.

Donnie Bates



Posted on October 23, 2015 .

July 6, 2015

Greetings, dear brethren, in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ! First, let me apologize for such a long break between newsletters. This past school year my teaching schedule changed in such a way as to make it necessary for me to try and do almost all of my traveling to give reports to supporting congregations during the Spring and early Summer. Since the middle of March I have done just that, giving this year’s report to twelve congregations. I still lack a couple that I will hopefully be seeing within the next couple of months. So, I have seen most of you in that time period, but getting out this newsletter has still been weighing on my mind.

As I said, I spent a lot of my time since March traveling, but most of that was in the months of April and May, since I was not in the classroom during the fourth quarter. However, once I returned from my trip in May, things got busy around here, as well. Our graduation exercises and activities filled the weekend of May 29-31. It is always exciting and sad at the same time as we say good-bye to our graduates; students we have grown to love so much. We bid them Godspeed and wish them every happiness and blessing in their work in God’s kingdom!

June is always a busy month here at Bear Valley. For me, it involved teaching a class via our Polycom video conferencing system to the new students in Guatemala. We studied Old Testament Introduction. They seem like a great group of students. The next week was our Future Preacher Training Camp. This year we had 35 young men (ages 13-18). This is always an exciting week and this year was no different. On Saturday of that week, my family and I left for one more trip to give reports, visiting the congregations in Wagoner, Hugo and Tecumseh, Oklahoma. 

Two major changes in my work also occurred this summer. A new class schedule was finalized that will add eight new courses to our curriculum over the two year period. One of the new classes is English Composition and I have been asked to teach that class in the first quarter, which begins August 3rd this year. I am currently working on the syllabus and class notes and schedule for that course. The other big change for me is that I have been asked to become the new Dean of Graduate Studies here at Bear Valley. It is a big job and a little intimidating (so I covet your prayers), but I’m excited about the opportunity, as well. I’ll be sharing more details in future editions of this newsletter.

Thank you and God bless you for your continued interest in and support of this work!

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on July 6, 2015 .

Bates Newsletter - March 9, 2015

I bid you greetings in the precious name of our Lord! The third quarter of our school year is rapidly coming to an end. Today begins Finals Week here at the Bear Valley Bible Institute, and the students are busying preparing their last assignments and studying for their tests. On Friday and Saturday, they will be leaving for campaigns in Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee and this year’s foreign campaign will be on Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. 

In other news, Noma and I were able to move from our apartment and into a house. The house is not very far from where we were living and we were able to make the move over a period of about five days, so it wasn’t as taxing physically as previous moves have become. We are very thankful for this blessing. The monthly expense is the same, but we now have all our belongings together in one place. Our new address is: 9101 W. Temple Pl., Littleton, CO 80123.

Since our last newsletter, I have been asked to once again teach Homiletics to the younger boys at our annual FPTC (Future Preachers Training Camp) that will be held June 14-21 this year. This is an exciting camp every year, as approximately 40 young men from all over the country come to Denver to spend their summer camp time learning to preach. Many of our former campers have gone on to more formal training (a lot of them here at Bear Valley) and are currently serving in pulpits all over. It is a great honor for me to be a small part of this effort.

Noma and I have also been invited to help in the Military Outreach program that has been resurrected here at Bear Valley. We have been invited to help with the congregation that meets on base at Aviano Air/Army Base in Aviano, Italy this summer. Details have yet to be worked out, but it looks like the program they are wanting will have us spending a couple of weeks with the good brethren there. For our Hugo friends and brethren, one of the members of that military congregation is the son of Joyce Seward. What a thrill it was for me to meet him in January!

With the end of this quarter, I will be able to spend more time developing our new online studies program. It is my goal to have this program up and running sometime in May.

Thank you so much for your continued interest in and support of this work.

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on March 10, 2015 .

Bates Newsletter - January 28, 2015

Greetings, brethren! I hope this report finds you well and your New Year off to a great start! Ours certainly is. We enjoyed a nice break from classes over the holidays, but it wasn’t all just time off. On January 1, I left for Padova, Italy to speak at the annual seminar held by the church there on January 6, which is a national holiday there. I very much enjoyed my time with Jeremy Korodaj and getting to know Jeff and Tia Brauer and their family. This mission team is doing a great work. After a somewhat stressful day full of rescheduling my itinerary due to flight delays and cancellations in Europe, I made it home on January 8.

Classes began for our third quarter on January 12. This quarter I am teaching Advanced Homiletics (Homiletics II) to the Juniors and Seniors. I love teaching this class! Teaching a class on sermon preparation and delivery has, if nothing else, made my own sermons better. There are nine men in this class and I have much confidence that they will do great things in God’s kingdom.

Because of my teaching schedule, I have not been able to get a lot done on the development of our new online program. However, I am hopeful that beginning around the middle of March, I will be able to devote my full attention to this work. The potential of taking advantage of technology to provide training via the Internet is truly unimaginable. I suppose a better way to say that is that as much as I can imagine (which is a lot), I realize there is a great deal more beyond that and I know that God is able to fill that void (Ephesians 3:20). I humbly ask you to keep this new program in your prayers.

On a personal note, we have been blessed to be able to sign a lease on a house. Lord willing, we will be moving the first week of March. While it is still a rental, it will give us much more room and flexibility than our apartment has.

Thank you all for your continued support and interest in this work. May God bless you richly in His service!

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 28, 2015 .

Bates Newsletter - December 8, 2014

Greetings, dear brethren, in the precious Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I hope this newsletter finds you well.

It is hard to believe that another year is fast approaching its conclusion. This quarter has gone very quickly at BV. At this writing we have one more full week of classes and then Finals week. The Final Exam for my class (Old Testament I) will be on Friday, December 19, which means we will be able to have two full classes (Monday and Wednesday) next week before the Final. I’m sure the students would covet your prayers during this time.

The last few weeks of the second quarter are busier around here than usual. Not only is the quarter ending, but also the year and with that comes the holiday season. Mixed in with winter and holiday parties is the bittersweet feeling of bidding our seniors farewell. This year, five men will be ending their two-year training at the end of Finals. Remington Afre, Diondre Hensley, Jon Picon, Corey Sawyers and Andrew Warnes have done an outstanding job and they will be missed. We wish them all of God’s richest blessings in their works. We have every confidence that they will bring glory to the name of Christ wherever they go.

As I noted in the last newsletter, my schedule is changing. I say it that way because it is more of a transitional change than an abrupt one. While I am still helping in the extension program, specifically in the Latin American extensions, my travel schedule to that part of the world is much less. However, that does not mean I am not traveling at all. 

I have been invited to speak in Padova, Italy on January 6, at an annual seminar conducted by our brethren there. I am excited about being able to help in this work. I will be flying out January 1 and plan to return on January 8, just in time for our Freshman Orientation here on January 9. 

Classes begin for our third quarter on Monday, January 12. I will be teaching Homiletics II to the Juniors and Seniors and then it is just a short five months until graduation. 

Plans are still being made for our new program of online training. It is my hope that not long after the first of the year we will have more details to announce about this exciting new opportunity.

Thank you all for your love and support and interest in this work. I am so blessed to be a part of it and I can only be a part of it because of people like you!

Thank you and God bless!

Donnie Bates

Posted on December 8, 2014 .

Bates Newsletter - October 6, 2014

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It is my prayer that this newsletter find you well and blessed in the grace of God!!

Since our last report, we have had our annual staff retreat. As I mentioned last time, this is one of the most anticipated events of our year around here. The reports from all the works with which Bear Valley is associated is truly exciting and inspiring. This year was no exception. Reports were given on 17 extension schools around the world, as well as, the Denver campus.  We also heard of new plans for accelerated growth in the extension program. In coming months I hope to be able to share more details of that plan. For now, I will leave it at this: our goal in 2015 is to establish five new schools! If God blesses us with success in what is planned, the coming near future will be breathtaking.

Some changes in my responsibilities have also developed since our last report. I will begin teaching Old Testament I (The Pentateuch) next quarter, which begins on October 20. I will also be teaching Advanced Homiletics (Homiletics II) in the third quarter, which begins in January. I had planned to make a trip to see some of our supporters later this month, but these changes in my schedule have necessitated a change in those plans. I will have to plan on making that trip at a later date. In the future it looks like I will have to use the two quarters I am not teaching to make such trips. I am very much looking forward to teaching these classes, and covet your prayers.

I have also been asked to head up a new program we are beginning at BV that will involve some online training. We are not ready to go into detail on this new program yet because we want to have everything in place before we advertise just exactly what it is. I hope that we will be ready before too long.

All of these changes in my work will mean that I will be traveling a lot less than I have in the past. As most of you know, travel has been a big part of my work over the last five years. I would not trade for the experiences I have had in that time; however, in the last couple of years it has become more difficult physically. So, traveling less is a welcome change for me. I will still have the opportunity to travel some, just not as much.

Thank you all for your love and support of this work. You are such a vital part of what we do and of so many great things the Lord is accomplishing all over the world. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on October 6, 2014 .

Bates Newsletter - August 26, 2014

Greeting in the blessed name of our Lord! I hope this newsletter finds you well and faithfully engaged in the Lord’s vineyard.

Classes have begun here at the Denver campus. On August 4, 15 new students (20 counting wives) began their two-year program of study and kicked off the 50th year of training preachers at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. At our next graduation (May 2015) we will complete that 50th year. So, we’re making this a year-long celebration of a great milestone! Next month (September 18-21) promises to be the biggest lectureship yet for Bear Valley. I hope that you will make plans to attend. You can view the schedule for the lectureship at: 

Earlier this month I traveled to Port au Prince, Haiti for the grand opening of our newest extension school (August 9). Classes for the International School of Theology (IST) began on Monday, August 11. I was privileged to teach the first class (Old Testament Survey) the first week. Currently, classes run Monday-Saturday, however, a change will be made soon so that classes will begin on Thursday each week and continue through Saturday, picking back up on Monday and Tuesday. This will give the students a day off and allow the teachers to travel on Wednesdays.

There are 25 students enrolled at IST and they certainly impressed me as those who can carry on training preachers in Haiti in the future. This new school is unique in our program in that we are partnering with Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, which means that faculty from there will also be teaching some of the courses. Speaking of the courses, another unique feature of IST is that all the classes over the two-year program will be taught in the short course format. That means a whole course in one week. That’s a lot of information to soak up in a short period of time. It is for that reason that in my short course classes I weigh the course more toward notebooks and material that the students can use for decades to come, rather than testing their ability to absorb so much material and reproduce it on an exam. I don’t know the final grades, but I know most of the students did very well. Please keep them in your prayers, as well as, all our 300+ students around the world.

This coming weekend is one of our most anticipated events of the year - our annual staff retreat. For me, the most exciting part of the weekend is hearing reports from every department of the work that BVBID is doing. The work that each one does, the part that each one plays, is exciting to each one doing that work, but on this one weekend of the year, that excitement is multiplied by a couple of dozen or more. It is truly an uplifting and encouraging experience.

Thank you all for your continued interest and support of our work. You are truly a blessing from God to us.

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on August 26, 2014 .

Bates Newsletter - July 14, 2014

Greetings, brethren!  It is a beautiful day in Denver this morning and I hope that your day is beginning with as much hope and glory!

As I mentioned in the last issue of this newsletter, the congregation here at Bear Valley has had to find other facilities to use for our worship assemblies over the last few months. A few weeks ago we were able to return to our building on Sundays for worship only both morning and evening. We are not able to have classes in our building yet because the work continues downstairs; however, progress is being made and we are hopeful that soon all will return to normal. We are still meeting in the building of a sister congregation nearby on Wednesday evening for Bible Classes.

In June, my family and I were able to travel to Oklahoma and give a report of our work to three of our supporting congregations. On Wednesday evening, June 25, we were with the good brethren in Wapanucka, Oklahoma. We are always happy to visit with this congregation who makes us feel so welcome. On Sunday morning, June 29, we gave our report to the Calera, Oklahoma congregation and I also was blessed to preach during the worship hour. This is another congregation we appreciate so much for their willingness to sacrifice in order to partner in our work. Finally, Sunday evening of that same day, we traveled to Wagoner, Oklahoma for our report. Having been notified ahead of time, we made sure to be there in time for the fish-fry that preceded services. The Wagoner congregation has come on board more recently than the other congregations, but we are so happy to be a part of their work, as well.  I cannot express how deeply we appreciate those who make sacrifices in order to help us do this work. As I always try to make known in my personal reports, the work we are doing is very much the work of those who help us do it.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that blessing.

I am currently working to prepare for my next trip which will be in the first half of August. I will probably wait until I return from that trip to put out the next newsletter. I will leave, Lord willing, on August 6 for Port au Prince, Haiti for the inauguration of our newest extension school. I will remain through the first week to teach the first course on Old Testament Survey. I plan to return home on August 16. I would very much appreciate your prayers for this trip.

Again, thank you so much for your continued interest in and support of this work. 

God bless!

Donnie Bates

Posted on July 15, 2014 .

Bates Newsletter - May 22, 2014

Greetings, brethren! I hope this month’s newsletter finds you all well and full of God’s grace! The past few weeks have been quite busy around here. In mid-April, the congregation here at Bear Valley had to find other places to assemble for worship, with the beginning of a major project of replacing carpet that was a few decades old. Ordinarily, this would not have been such a big deal, but with the discovery of asbestos tile underneath the old carpet, the project became even more complicated. I’m happy to say that all seems to be on schedule and we will hopefully be “home,” back in our building, before too much longer.

So far this month, I was very blessed to be able to speak at the 15th Annual Hugo Lectures in Hugo, OK on Saturday, May 10. The event was well-attended and it was so good to see many old and dear friends. On Sunday, May 11, I began a Gospel Meeting in Redland, OK which concluded on Wednesday, May 14. The next morning I began the long return trip home to Denver so as to be here in time for the activities of graduation weekend. There was the Graduation Banquet on Friday evening, the President’s Reception on Saturday evening, and then the Graduation Ceremony itself on Sunday morning. Due to our inability to use our own building, the graduation was held in the auditorium of John F. Kennedy High School, where our Sunday morning worship assemblies are currently taking place. Seventeen graduated this year, six of whom will return for two more quarters before finishing in December.

The summer is quickly filling up with activities, also. I will soon be scheduling reports at some of our supporting congregations toward the end of June. The week of June 8-15 I will be teaching Homiletics in our congregation’s annual FPTC (Future Preacher Training Camp). I was honored to be asked to teach this year and will have the 13-15-year-olds. I also will be traveling to Port au Prince, Haiti in August to be present at the Grand Opening of our newest extension school and will teach the first course. The dates for that trip are August 6-16. We are very excited about this new school!

Specific Needs

While our monthly support has remained the same, I am very happy to say that we have been the recipients of some very timely, and unexpected, gifts that have allowed, and will allow, us to take care of some needed issues. We continue to covet your prayers about this, even as we remain confident that our God continues to provide. We thank Him, and those who have been so generous! And we thank all of you for your continued interest and support of this great work.

God bless!

Donnie Bates

Posted on May 22, 2014 .

Bates Newsletter - April 2, 2014

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  I know I’ve said this before, but with the passing of another month I am reminded of how difficult it is to comprehend how quickly time passes.

Recent Activity

In our last report I failed to mention that I had attended our annual extensions staff meeting at the beginning of February.  This year we met in Jackson, TN, which is more centrally located for our extension staff, than is Denver.  This year’s meeting was especially uplifting because of the announcement of several new schools in the program.  This year two schools will be added to our number. One school, the Southern Institute of Biblical Studies, located in Nsawam, Ghana, has already begun classes. Another school, the International School of Theology, located in Haiti, will begin classes in August. In this school, Bear Valley will be partnering with Freed-Hardeman University. We also learned of two other schools which will be added next year. One of these is in Fiji; the other is not yet ready to be identified, but is progressing toward being ready in 2015. There are still other possibilities on the horizon. Please keep these new schools and possibilities for growth in your prayers!

In March I was blessed to be able to once again attend the Annual Lectureship of ITL in Guatemala.  This was their 5th. Bob Turner and I traveled to Guatemala City on March 13 and returned on March 17.  It was, once again, a tremendous weekend of great preaching, but made more so this year with the addition of four new souls, baptized on Sunday morning at the conclusion of the lectureship. This year, two former ITL students were among the speakers. I could not be more happy and proud of former students.

Specific Needs

As I stated in the last report, we are still operating at a deficit of about $1,175/month compared to a couple of years ago. So far, that has not created a great hardship, since we are able to cover basic living expenses, minus any “extras” (e.g. insurance), and I am not having to travel as much this year. We continue to ask for your prayers and any additional contacts you may have where we may present this great work to possible contributors.

Thank you for your interest in and support of this work. It is our prayer that God bless each of you and that you know of our love and appreciation for you!

Donnie Bates

Posted on April 2, 2014 .

Bates Newsletter - February 28, 2014

Recent Activity

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord! My prayer is that each of you is well, and enjoying rich blessings of the grace of God. Noma and I are well, although as I write this Noma is at the dentist’s office and I am sure would appreciate your prayers, as would I, that all things will proceed well.

I recently returned from a trip to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, giving reports on our work. Whenever I travel to that area, I am blessed to be able to stay with my parents and spend some much needed time with them, since we now live much further away. I was able to be with the brethren of the King Ryder congregation in King Ryder, Arkansas and the Broken Bow congregation in Broken Bow, Oklahoma on Sunday, February 16. On Wednesday, February 19, I attended Bible Study with my mother at the Redland, Oklahoma congregation and while there, I spoke with the men about holding a Gospel Meeting. The date of that meeting will be May 11-14. On Sunday, February 23 I gave reports to the congregations in Bagwell and Blossom, Texas, before starting the long drive home.  It was a great trip and I enjoyed seeing many very close and dear friends and brethren.

Coming up in the month of March, I will be traveling to Guatemala to attend the annual ITL Lectureship. I will be traveling with Bob Turner and we would both appreciate your prayers for a safe and productive trip.

Specific Needs

I want to continue this part of our report each time, not as a specific appeal to our supporters to give more (although, if that happened, we would happily and thankfully accept it), but rather to keep everyone informed of the situation and to ask for your help in finding other potential supporters. I will be doing my part to try to raise the additional funds we are lacking.

In the last report I shared that we were operating at approximately $500/month below what we had been receiving, which was itself below what is considered “full support.” However, with the receipt of our W-2 form for 2013 came the realization that the amount of that deficit is more like $1,175/month from what we were receiving just two years ago.

Thankfully, it does not appear that I will have to travel as much this year as in the past several years and that will help our expenses significantly.  Please keep this aspect of our work especially in your prayers!

Thank you and God bless!

Donnie Bates

Posted on February 28, 2014 .

Bates Newsletter - January 8, 2014

A Look Back

Greetings, brethren!  I hope the recent holiday season was all you hoped it would be, and you are now preparing for a new year of life and service to our Lord.  First of all, I want to thank you for your participation in our work.  We are deeply indebted to each of you for your support, both financial and prayerful, which allows us to be a part of such a tremendous ministry of training preachers.  Generally, I offer reviews and reports of my work, which is but a small part of the overall work of the extension schools of BVBID.  This month, I would like to insert here an excerpt of our final report of the overall work, of which you also are a part.

There are now 17 extensions, in 13 different countries around the world, with 254 full-time, preacher training students! This year has also witnessed 122 men graduate with their degree or certificate from Bear Valley. Just think of all the potential in those men and their families in the years to come, as the vast majority of them are serving in fertile parts of the world. This is truly exciting!

But at Bear Valley, we know that we aren’t doing this alone. We depend on partners and supporters to help us train preachers around the world. In addition to our all-important supporters, 78 different local teachers taught in Bear Valley extensions this year. In addition to those local men, another 57 men have made the journey to an extension to teach a “short course” to our students. This truly is a team effort at every level.

In addition to teaching these men how to preach and live, we want to instill in them a passion for soul-winning. This is borne out in the many studies, campaigns, and gospel meetings that they are involved in throughout the year. As a result of these efforts, we know of at least 990 baptisms, 60 new congregations, 5 congregations restored, 292 campaigns and gospel meetings, 4 lectureships, 4 youth conferences and camps, 1,068 bible studies, and the conversion of at least 8 denominational preachers. To God be the glory!

Yes, to God be the glory!

Specific Needs

As yet, I have not traveled to any of our schools in this young year; I am currently working on getting teachers for short courses scheduled in the coming months.  I would like, instead, to share with you some specific needs that we have.  

First, an issue that has become more of a consideration with the changing of the calendar to a new year, is our medical insurance.  For several years I have not had medical insurance, in large part because of the cost.  I visit my doctor four times a year and I pay my own way.  I am content to continue to do that, but our current government has, as you know, required that I have insurance.  I have investigated policies that are available to us and I will frankly admit that there is no way we can afford it.  I won’t go into specific detail here (if you contact me about it, I will happily provide such detail), but the cheapest policy I found would cost approximately $8,500/year ($700+/month) with a $5,000 individual deductible.  I currently spend less than one third of that deductible on my medical costs, which means I would be paying the $8,500/year in additional costs for no added medical care benefit.  

We have operated on less than our full support for some time, but God has been good to bless us with what we need, and many of you who receive this newsletter are part of that blessing.  In recent months we have lost some support, but have regained part of that loss.  Currently, we are receiving about $500/month less than we were.  

For those of you who are currently supporting us financially, we thank you and ask God’s continued blessings upon you.  For the rest, we also thank you for your interest in our work and your continued prayers, and if possible, we ask you to consider contributing a small amount and/or passing along contact information of anyone we might contact to raise more support.

Thank you for taking time to read this report and for your continued interest in training preachers around the world.  

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 10, 2014 .