Posts tagged #Guatemala

Bates Newsletter - October 20, 2013

Greeting, dear brethren!  I hope this edition of the newsletter finds you all well.  A lot has been happening since the last issue.  In that issue I reported that I would be making an previously unscheduled return to Guatemala to teach a class.  As it happens, I gave a report of our work to the brethren of the Golden church of Christ in Golden, Colorado the morning of August 25 and left immediately after church for the airport, arriving in Guatemala about 10:30 that evening.  My good friend Denton Landon had been able to teach one day of my class before he left Guatemala, leaving me four days of the class.  Because of our annual staff retreat, I needed to be back in Denver on Thursday evening of that week; I was able to make it to the retreat center late that night, having dropped off a bag of dirty clothes at home, picked up a previously-packed bag of clean clothes and continuing on my way.  An interesting side-note from the staff retreat is that one evening we calculated our air miles flown in the previous year.  Our team traveled 1.1 million air miles from Labor Day 2012 to Labor Day 2013 to train preachers around the world.  Wow!

I also reported in the last issue that I was making plans to take a group of four campaigners from Denver to Guatemala this month.  We have now been back from that trip for almost a week.  It was a great campaign, with several Bible studies conducted, contacts made and visitors at services.  Please keep the small congregation in Cobán, Guatemala in your prayers as they follow up with the work that was done.  One unfortunate result of the campaign is that we were apparently exposed to something.  I have been sick since before we returned, and several of the campaigners have also complained of symptoms.  I would appreciate your prayers for us, as well.  I hope to visit my doctor tomorrow and start making some ground toward recovery.  

I am currently working on translating material into Spanish for a class that is coming up in November in Guatemala.  Brother Nery Irías, who has worked so faithfully with us in Honduras, will be traveling to ITL in Guatemala to teach Old Testament I (Genesis, Exodus) that week.  When I am done with that, I’ll be working to prepare a class I will be teaching the next week via our video conferencing system at ITL on Christian Evidences.  

As you can see, things are still busy and the schedule is quite full, but I plan to make some very drastic modifications in my travel schedule in the near future.  I suspect that this illness may be at least aggravated by traveling so much.  I am very happy that brother Luis Camacho, who accompanied us on this campaign, has agreed to come on board and work more with us in our partnership with ITL.  This will be a great help and blessing to me.  

Again, I ask you to keep us and this great work in your prayers.  I also want to thank you all for your continued interest and support of this work.  Without good brethren like you, we would not be able to accomplish the things that continued to amaze us and cause us to praise God for being allowed to be a small part of it.  For more on what Bear Valley is accomplishing around the world, visit our website at:  

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on October 20, 2013 .

August 12, 2013

Greetings!  The Summer has gone by so fast I did not even realize that I had missed sending a newsletter for the month of July.  Sorry about that.  It has been a busy and hectic Summer to be sure.  We managed to get our daughter Jessica moved to Denver about a month and a half ago; we’re very glad to have her close by.  

During the month of July, we were able to visit the good brethren in Bayfield, Colorado for our annual report.  We always enjoy the opportunity to spend some time with good friends and brethren and the 300-mile drive over the Rocky Mountains is just an added benefit.

Currently, I am making preparations for an unscheduled return to Guatemala to teach a class the last week of this month, for a teacher who, because of health issues is not able to teach this time.  I will return just in time for our annual staff retreat on Labor Day weekend.  Immediately following that retreat, I plan to be giving annual reports to some more of our supporters.  As of this moment, I am scheduled to give a report to the congregation in Slim, OK Sunday morning, September 8 and to Cave Springs, AR on the evening of September 15.  I will be trying to fill the other slots of that week in the coming days.

Our plans continue for a Bear Valley campaign in Guatemala in the month of October.  We have four campaigners who plan to make the trip.  We still have not worked out the details of the campaign, but we are looking forward to a profitable time together in helping our brethren in the work there.

A new school year has begun here at the Denver campus, with ten new students and their families.  It is truly a blessing to welcome this new freshman class.  I am not currently scheduled to teach this year, but there is still plenty to do here.  I will be helping with the publication of Uplift, the school paper.  We are hoping to get an issue of this quarterly publication out this Summer.  We are also making plans for the 2013 Bear Valley Lectureship.  This year’s theme is “Majoring in the Minors” with a study of six of the Minor Prophets (Hosea - Micah).  If you are at all able, we would love to see you there.  Over the years, the BV Lectureship has grown and become one of the best in the brotherhood.

Let me close this report by saying how much we appreciate each one of you, not only for your financial support, which allows us to be involved in such a great work, but for your moral and prayerful support.  While it is impossible for us to “see” all the blessings involved, we know that without you, none of this would be possible.  Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts and may God bless you richly!!

In Him,

Donnie Bates

Posted on August 12, 2013 .

Bates Newsletter - March 31, 2013

March 31, 2013

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  I hope this newsletter finds you well.  It has been a busy month for us here.  

The third quarter of the school year ended on March 1, with a final exam in the Advanced Homiletics class.  All the students did well on their finals and their overall grades.  I must say I thoroughly enjoyed teaching that class and hope to have opportunity to teach it again.

On March 8, Bob Turner, Director of Extensions, and I left for Asunción, Paraguay, arriving Saturday evening, March 9.  On Sunday afternoon, after a great worship service with a capacity crowd and a delicious meal together, we got to participate in the exciting inauguration ceremony of the Asunción Bible Academy.  There are two sister congregations in Asunción (the only two in the country), and both were represented at the worship and ceremony.  Also students and faculty come from both congregations.  Bob and I began our journey home on Tuesday, March 12, around midday arriving in Denver Wednesday afternoon, March 13.

On Wednesday, March 20 Bob and I again headed to the airport, this time bound for Guatemala for the graduation of the Beta Class at ITL, as well as, the 4th Annual ITL Lectureship.  In addition, ITL celebrated its 5th anniversary.  There was a lot of ceremony, good fellowship and outstanding gospel preaching!  Approximately 450-500 people came together on Sunday morning for worship.  The logistical problems of finding room for so many people were great, but what a great problem to have!  Our hats are off to missionaries Hawatthia Jones and Byron Benitez, as well as, the rest of the ITL staff (Aníbal Ramirez and Darvin Alvarez) and the members of the Linda Vista congregation who hosted the event.  Bob and I returned home late Monday night, March 25.  

April will begin with a rapid pace, as well.  Beginning today and through tomorrow morning, the extension staff from all over the world will begin arriving for our annual extension meeting Monday and Tuesday.  It will be a good meeting as we make plans to improve our efforts to train preachers all over the world.

Thank you all so much for your interest, participation and support of this work.  The following paragraph is a partial repeat from last month.

I want to thank our supporters, first of all, for the ability you give us to do the work we do.  Secondly, I want to thank you for making the change to send your support to the school here.  When we announced this change, we expected there would be an adjustment period, but most have adjusted just fine.  Just by way of reminder, please send your checks to the Institute here at the address listed below and please make your checks out to BVBID, not to me.  Thank you!

School Contact Information: My Contact Information:

Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver 
2707 S. Lamar
Denver, CO 80227 
(303) 986-5800 
(800) 766-4641
Fax:  (303) 986-8003

Donnie Bates
4801 S. Wadsworth #3-105
Littleton, CO 80123 
(303) 718-7040 

May God bless you richly!

Donnie Bates

Posted on March 31, 2013 .

Great Opportunity for ITL!

The following is a letter from Hawatthia Jones and Byron Benitez concerning a great opportunity to purchase property for the Latin American Theological Institute.  Please read and give prayerful consideration to helping this great work!  I could not open the attachment with pictures of the property, but if you are interested, please contact me and I will get pictures to you.


Greetings Family, Friends and Supporter of Mission Guatemala!

It is our hope and prayer that you are enjoying this holiday season with your family and loved ones. It is also our prayer that God will bless each of you a prosperous 2013.

Many of you have told us to notify you when we have specific special needs. Well, at this time, there is a very important need for your assistance and we pray that you will be able to participate. Please excuse the general e-mail, but this is the quickest way to contact many of you at the same time. 

We have been blessed with a special opportunity to buy both the house we are renting and the house where ITL, our preaching training school, is located. The owner of our house is the son of the lady who owns the property where ITL meets. Due to circumstances beyond their control they need to sell both properties and have given us first option to buy both of them before they place them on the market. We believe that it is a great opportunity for our work and want to take advantage of it.

Please allow us to give you some details about the properties. First, the owner of our house plans to ask $95,000 for his house but is willing to sell it to us for $70,000. It is a four-bedroom, 4 1/2 bath house, with two additional rooms that can be converted into bedrooms. We have priced property in our neighborhood and have found that the $95,000 that he wants is reasonable since property in the Guatemala City area is quite expensive, especially in neighborhoods that are still deemed safe. We have lived in this neighborhood since we arrived to Guatemala in March of 2000.

The second property, which joins our house, is what we presently use for ITL. It includes a three-bedroom, 3-½ bath house, a two-bedroom, one bath apartment, and a studio apartment. Presently, our students live there and all of our classes for the school take place there. Remember that we have both a full-time program and a Saturday program. This property belongs to our landlord’s mother. She is willing to sell us her property for $80,000.

So, the total for both properties will be $150,000 and we presently have approximately $80,000 that we have raised to purchase property for ITL. We say approximately due to the exchange conversion rate. We will need to only raise $70,000 to purchase both properties.

We believe in using the monies we are entrusted the best way that we can and we believe this is a good way. The following are only some of the advantages for this purchase:

  1. The price for both properties is good for the area where they are located.
  2. We will no longer be paying rent and that money can be used in other areas of the ministry.
  3. Since the properties are next to one another, this provides an opportunity for the expansion of ITL as it grows.
  4. We are already in the facilities. We have lived in our house since 2000 and have rented the other property for ITL since 2009.
  5. The properties are centrally located for both the full-time students and for those who study on Saturday. Our full-time students are close to shopping and the other things they need for daily living. It is a fairly easy commute for our Saturday students to come where we are presently located.
  6. The properties are located in a safe area. Since we also have teachers who come from the U.S. to teach, this is very important.
  7. By purchasing the property, we will avoid the additional costs entailed in having to move our residence and the location of the school, and having to rent another house and another facility for ITL, which would likely be much more expensive than what we are currently paying for both.

We are calling on you to help us purchase these properties. If you can help us, we assure you that you donation will be put to its greatest use. We are also asking to inform as many people as you know about the great opportunity with which we have been blessed. We need to say “yes” to the sellers very soon. So, we need to hear from you as soon as you can to let us know if you can help. You have more than one option to get your donation to us. You can go to our secured website and donate online by clicking hereYou can also send your tax-deductible donation to our overseeing congregation at the following address:

Kingsley Terrace Church of Christ 
c/o Dwaine Himes/Guatemala Mission
2031 E. 30th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46218

Please note on your form of payment “Guatemala Property Fund.”

We are attaching pictures of the properties. We are also attaching an electronic “Property Donation Intent Form” to this message. Whether you donate online or through regular mail, please, send us this form through e-mail so that we can know more precisely the funds that have been raised for this purchase. We will keep everyone posted as we raise funds.

THANK YOU so much for the love and concern that you have for the Lord’s work in Guatemala. Thank you also for helping us to achieve this milestone in our work. Again, please help us get the word out to as many as possible about the opportunity we have with the purchase of these two properties.  Please remember to keep the work in Guatemala and us in your daily prayers.

May God continue to bless. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

We love you! Happy New Year!!!



Posted on December 29, 2012 .

Bates Newsletter - December 10, 2012

Greetings, brethren.  It’s hard to believe we are so close to the end of a very eventful 2012.  And it certainly has been eventful.  2012 has seen the decision to begin a new school in Paraguay.  Classes for the Academy of Theology in Paraguay are set to begin classes on March 11, 2013.  This year also saw my wife and me moving to Denver.  Last month I asked that our supporters begin sending their funds to the Institute here in Denver beginning January 1, 2013 (more on that below).  In this newsletter, I have a couple more items of very important news to cover.

New Developments in Honduras

After a great deal of discussion, prayer and consultation with all parties involved, the decision has been made to consolidate our Central American institutes into one.  This is a development that has been several months in the making.  On Saturday, December 1, brother Rick Hyder, representing the eldership of the Hillcrest church of Christ in Neosho, MO, and I met with brother Nery Irías, director of the Bible Institute of Honduras (IBH), to discuss the future of that institute and the overall work in the area of Danlí, Honduras.  Later, we all met with a group of about 15 preachers in the area to inform them of the changes and give contact information for the Latin American Theological Institute (ITL) in Guatemala City, as well as, answer questions about the change and future of the work of training preachers in Latin America.  The ultimate result of this change is that after the current class of students at IBH graduates around June 1, 2013, classes will no longer be conducted on that campus.  We are currently encouraging all new potential students in Honduras to apply to ITL which will begin classes sometime in May, 2013.  This year we began offering graduate level courses in Danlí twice a year.  Those courses will continue as before.

In our meetings with our Honduran brethren, I wanted very much that they understand (and I want you to understand) that this change has nothing to do with any lack of confidence or dissatisfaction with the efforts of our Honduran team.  I am very proud of the work our teachers have done in the four years we have worked to train preachers in Danlí.  The decision was made as a matter of stewardship.  All of us know that there is only a limited amount of resources available to us in doing this work.  We must be good stewards in order to be faithful to God.  By consolidating these two schools we simplify the process of fund raising, coordination of teachers for our short courses, and a number of other issues.  

I am viewing this as an exciting development that will hopefully result in a more efficient effort on our part, but I admit a certain bittersweet aspect of it.  I made my first trip to Danlí almost five years ago (February, 2008) and feel a special relationship with the brethren there.  I know that the brethren of the El Zarzal congregation, which has housed and encouraged the students of IBH, are saddened and will miss the help and encouragement of the students.  I tried to assure them that our relationship was not ending and that, Lord willing, I will return from time to time on campaigns with ITL and also with the brethren of the Hillcrest congregation.  Our focus in Danlí is still to train preachers for that area.  This change just means that the training itself will take place somewhere else.

Other Developments

As I noted last month, beginning January 1, 2013 our personal support funds will be routed through the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver.  So, please send your checks made out to the institute (or BVBID) with my name on the memo line.  The address is:  2707 S. Lamar, Denver, CO 80227.  If you live in Hugo , OK and have been making your contribution to this work by personally giving it to the church office, you may continue to do that and your support will be added to the that which will be sent on behalf of the congregation.

Another new development is that my contact information has changed just slightly.  Our mailing address is the same, but just recently I have changed my phone number to a local Denver number.  So, my contact information is:

Donnie Bates
4801 S. Wadsworth Blvd. #3-105
Littleton, CO 80123
(303) 718-7040

I want to conclude by thanking all of you very sincerely for your interest in and support of this work.  Without brethren like you, who are concerned about the need for preachers around the world, we could not do what we do.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart and may God bless you richly!  

From Noma and me to you and yours:  Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Year!

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on December 10, 2012 .

Bates Newsletter - October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

Greetings, brethren!  My prayer is that this edition of the Bates Newsletter finds you well and faithfully engaged in the labor of the Lord.  

The last month has seen the annual Bear Valley Homecoming Lectures and it was a fantastic weekend of great Gospel sermons from many faithful brethren.  It was a great blessing for all those who were present.  

Two masters classes were taught in Danlí, Honduras in September.  We were not able to teach the two scheduled short courses this month, so we will reschedule those to be taught later.  

Just this morning I received a report from Guatemala of five baptisms in the last month there.  We are excited to hear that news!  Short courses are scheduled to begin there on October 22.  Please pray for those classes and those who are traveling to teach them and, let’s not forget our translators!

I’ll be traveling over the next couple of weeks to give reports to some of our supporters.  I will be in Hugo, OK Sunday morning, October 21 and in Idabel, OK to give a report to the Lynn Lane congregation that evening.  Sunday morning, October 28 I’ll be with the brethren in Slim, OK and that evening in Redland, OK.  On Sunday afternoon, November 4 I will be meeting with the elders of the Hillcrest congregation in Neosho, MO to give a report about the school in Honduras.

I want to thank each of you for your interest and support of this work.  We could not do it without faithful brethren like you who are interested in training men to preach the Gospel in their own country and culture.  Yes, I know, God it is from Whom all blessings flow, but I am convinced that you are part of those blessings from Him!

If I can answer any questions, or if you know of others who might be interested in this work, please contact me at:  

4801 S. Wadsworth Blvd. #3-105
Littleton, CO 80123
(580) 326-1914 

God bless, 

Donnie Bates

Posted on October 15, 2012 .

Bates Newsletter - September 13, 2012

Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord!  I hope this newsletter finds you all well.  We are well and enjoying somewhat cooler temperatures. 

The last month has been a busy one.  I traveled to Guatemala to teach a class during the week of August 20-24.  There was a lot of material to cover, but the students did very well and I’m very proud of the job they did.  

The weekend after my return, the Bear Valley staff assembled at the Eternal Purpose Retreat Center for our annual staff retreat.  Over 50 people assembled for an inspiring weekend, where we heard reports of work going on literally all over the world.  Within the next few months the number of extension schools in the program will reach eighteen and we will be training over 300 men to preach the Gospel.  These are exciting times, indeed!

At the retreat, Dr. Denny Petrillo, president of Bear Valley, announced the most aggressive fund raising campaign in Bear Valley’s history.  Our goal is to raise $500,000.00 by the end of this year.  A good start has been made on reaching this goal, but we have a long way to go.  I encourage you to visit our website ( and prayerfully consider how you might help.  If you do not have internet access, please contact me and I will be happy to give you further information about this campaign.

I am still planning on visiting some of our supporters in Oklahoma next month and will be giving more information about that soon.  I want to thank all of you, once again, for your support and interest in this work.

My contact information is:

4801 S. Wadsworth Blvd. #3-105
Littleton, CO 80123
(580) 326-1914

Until next time, may God richly bless each one of you. 

Donnie Bates

Posted on September 13, 2012 .

Bates Newsletter - August 7, 2012

Greetings, brethren, in the precious Name of our Savior, Jesus Christ!  I hope everyone is surviving the heat.  It has been a miserable summer all across the country this year with heat, drought, destructive weather and wildfires, but good things are happening, too.

We are now into our third month in our new home in Littleton.  It is truly a blessing to be here at “the home office,” so to speak.  We are enjoying getting to know, and be a part of, the Bear Valley congregation.  I have been blessed to teach in the Bible Class program and lead singing some.

A new class of students began yesterday at BVBID here at the Denver campus.  Thirteen families began a two-year journey through the school that will change their lives and, with God’s blessings, will help change the world.

As for my work, I am helping out on the Denver campus by subbing when needed.  I will also, Lord willing, travel to Guatemala to teach a class to the students there on Ezekiel.  I plan to leave on Saturday, August 18 and return on Friday, August 24.

Soon after I get back from that trip we have our annual staff retreat, which is always an exciting time.  I am also still making plans to travel to Oklahoma to give reports to several congregations in the Fall.  I have not yet begun contacting people about scheduling a time.  I have had to adjust my plans by just a bit.  As soon as I can, I want to start penciling in congregations and dates.

Please keep us in your prayers.  We appreciate very much the fact that so many prayers are offered on our behalf, but we continue to solicit more.  We ask you to pray that our house in Edmond will sell soon.  This is a continuing economic drain on our limited resources.  We also ask that you pray that we will be able to find the support that will allow Noma to accompany me on my international trips, utilizing her abilities in Spanish to teach ladies classes there.  I also want to include a reminder to make your checks payable to the:

4th & Jackson church of Christ
P.O. Drawer 549
Hugo, OK 74743

My contact information is:

Donnie Bates
4801 S. Wadsworth Blvd. #3-105
Littleton, CO 80123

(580) 326-1914

Thank you again for your interest in this work.  God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on August 7, 2012 .

Bates Newsletter - July 8, 2012

Greetings, brethren!  I hope and pray that this newsletter finds you all well and faithfully engaged in the vineyard of the Lord!!

Well, we have been in Denver for a month, now.  Much of our time has been spent in setting up our home.  We are very pleased with our apartment and it has begun to feel like home.  Being back in Denver feels like home, for sure.  It has been good to get reacquainted with some old friends and brethren from my time at the Bear Valley congregation as a student (30+ years ago), and to make new friends and acquaintances with those who were not here then.  

On June 22 we traveled to Bayfield, CO to give a report to that congregation on the 24th.  We are so grateful for their support; we always enjoy spending time with them.  We returned home on Monday, June 25, dodging wildfires along the way.  Actually, we never drove near any of the fires, but it was a concern to see how many there were (11 at one time across the state on that weekend).  Thankfully, most (if not all) of them are coming under control now, with rain and cooler temperatures.  It was also a blessing not to have to travel so far to get to Bayfield this year.  It’s still 300 miles away, but the last few years we’ve been traveling 800 miles to get there.

Currently, I am preparing to travel to Guatemala next month to teach a class on Ezekiel.  I am translating notes from that class by brother Dave Chamberlin, who has taught it for years here in Denver.  In fact, he was scheduled to teach the class via the Video Conferencing system here at BV, but that system will not be available that week, so I will travel there to do it in person.  

I will be making plans to head back to Oklahoma for a couple of weeks in the Fall to give reports at some of our supporting congregations, so some of you can expect some communication from me in the next week or so.  I plan on visiting with as many congregations as I can during that time.  We are still looking for additional funds because of a greater cost of living here, as well as, we are hoping to raise enough to allow Noma to travel more with me and help in training our sisters on the field.  If you are not already helping us financially, or would like to increase your help, you can contact me about visiting more with you in person.  If you prefer to just go ahead and send your support, please make your check out to the 4th & Jackson church of Christ and send it to the address below, with the notation that it is for our work.

I am also preparing to start teaching in some of the Bible Classes here at the Bear Valley congregation.  I’ll be filling in starting later this month and some next month in the adult Bible Classes and I am very excited about that.  It won’t be long before our extension staff will be headed to Denver for our annual staff retreat, which is always held on Labor Day weekend.  Summer is passing quickly, but we are definitely ready for cooler weather.  This weekend the temperature has been in the 70s for highs and it’s really been nice!

Thank you for your continued interest and support of this work.  May God richly bless you!

Donnie Bates

4801 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Unit #3-105
Littleton, CO 80123

(580) 326-1914

4th & Jackson church of Christ
P.O. Drawer 549 
Hugo, OK 74743 

(580) 326-3457

Posted on July 8, 2012 .

Reports from Guatemala

Recently, two reports about the growth of the work in Guatemala have been received.  The first describes the baptism of a young man named Jonathan Olivero and can be viewed here.

For a report of the first year of work for the team of graduates working in San Cristobal, click here.


Posted on June 20, 2012 .

Bates Newsletter - March 25, 2012

Greetings, dear friends.  I know I am late getting this report out, but I wanted to include the latest information on my trips during the months of February and March.  On February 27, I flew to Guatemala to teach the short course “1, 2 Peter & Jude.”  Upon my arrival I learned that I would be accompanying the entire student body and staff of ITL to a funeral of a sister who had been struck by a car driven by a drunk driver the day before.  It was truly a sad occasion for the congregation, since it was their second funeral in as many days.  

I was able to finish my class that week by teaching until 5:00 p.m. each day.  The class did well.  Brother Ty Hale from the North MacArthur congregation in Oklahoma City (which is where my family and I attend) arrived to teach Personal Evangelism on Friday, March 2.  I stayed until Monday, getting the opportunity to hear two hours of Ty’s class and it was very well done.  Thanks, Ty!

On Friday, March 9, I headed to Denver, a couple of days early for our annual extension staff meeting.  It was a good meeting with some important items being covered that I hope to be able to share in the coming months.

I returned home on March 13 and then left again early on the morning of the 15th, traveling with Bob Turner, director of extensions for Bear Valley, to Guatemala again, this time to speak at the Third Annual ITL Seminar.  I have to say that Hawatthia Jones and Byron Benitez, missionaries in Guatemala City since 2000, have done a great job putting together this lectureship every year and this year was no exception.  The weekend’s activities concluded with a worship service on Sunday of approximately 500 people, representing over 20 congregations of the Lord’s people from various parts of Guatemala.  Nine people were restored at the conclusion of the last lesson of the day.  It was truly a great day!

On Tuesday, March 20, Bob and I traveled to Asuncion, Paraguay.  Having gotten used to the relatively short distance to Central America, it was a bit of an adjustment to make in traveling that far.  We left Guatemala City at 7:05 a.m. and arrived in Asunción at 11:30 p.m. (with a two-hour time difference), making for a fourteen and a half hour trip from Guatemala.  

Our time in Asunción was very productive, we felt.  We met the mission team which currently works there (Troy and Andrea Spradlin, Josh and Cara Blackmer, Perry and Alba Hardin and Ale and Brittnea Yegros).  We also met with most of the men of the congregation on Wednesday evening about the possibility of starting a school there next year.  After a good meeting, we left the decision in the hands of the men of the congregation because if they decide to go forward, it will be their school, not ours (I have more to say about that below).  

Bob and I boarded the plane for our flight home at 1:30 a.m. on Friday, March 23.  After a 7-hour layover in Panama City, we continued on to Houston where we parted ways and headed on home; I arrived home around 11:00 p.m.  Both Bob and I felt this trip to both Guatemala and Paraguay was very productive.  In comparing notes, we shared the same excitement about the future possibilities in both locations.

On a Personal Note

I mentioned above that we wanted the men of the Sacramento Avenue congregation in Asunción to know that if they decide they want to have a school to train men to preach the Gospel in their country, it will be their school and not ours.  This is not a new concept, but it may seem new because of, at least in part, a failure on our part to make that clear.  It seems that some have gotten the idea that the schools that are involved in the extension program of Bear Valley are our schools and the brethren involved in the day-to-day operations of each school do our bidding.

For my part, I want to apologize for contributing to a misunderstanding about this that has resulted in some feeling unappreciated and taken for granted.  I have always understood that we are working in partnership with hard-working brethren on the ground who do much more to see that these schools function effectively than I, or anyone else on the BV side of this, could do.  However, I realize that when I give reports that say things like, “We have a school here or there...,” such can be taken to emphasize our importance and not that of those who built the school and keep it going.

Some of you who read this may think it a trivial point, but I assure you that it is not.  The schools we work with could exist just fine without Bear Valley, but we could not have our program without them and I want everyone to understand that.  We provide assistance that we feel makes our partnership something positive, but that does not give us ownership of the program and we want that to be clearly understood.  I do not promise never to utter the phrase “our school” again in describing one of our extensions (see there?), but it never has been meant and will never mean that we do not appreciate those who actually do the vast majority of the work in training preachers in these schools.

Future Plans

As we have begun to announce in our reports, Noma and I are planning to move to Denver in the near future.  Many ask about the time frame of our move and the answer is:  when we sell our house, we plan to move.  The end of the school year also comes into our thought process.  

We have our house on the market now and have had some looking at it, especially with nicer weather.  We are also looking at houses in Denver.  As you may or may not know, the cost of living in Denver is higher than in central Oklahoma.  Since we have not had full support since our move here, we are in need of raising more in making this move.  Also, Noma has expressed a desire to become more involved in the work by traveling with me when possible and teaching ladies’ classes on the field, taking advantage of her language skills, as well.  This will mean raising more support since she would not be able to work outside the home as she has done in the past.

Presently, the amount we are lacking to put us at full support to cover all of this is approximately $1,900.00/month.  If you can help with any part of this, please contact me or our sponsoring congregation.  The contact information is given below.

I know this is a little longer than the usual newsletter.  I promise to work harder at getting the next one out on time so that there is not so much to include.  I want to thank you again for your continued interest in this work and to thank you for the prayers that continually ascend to the throne of our Father on our behalf.  We love each of you!  

God bless!!
Donnie Bates

Contact Information:

2013 Rushing Meadows
Edmond, OK 73013
(580) 326-1914


Sponsoring congregation:

4th & Jackson church of Christ
P.O. Drawer 549
Hugo, OK 74743
(580) 326-3457

Posted on March 25, 2012 .

Beta Class Begins at ITL

Guatemala City, Guatemala – The Beta class of ITL began their two-year course of studies on May 16.  They are currently finishing their second week of studies with a class on Christian Ethics, taught by Bryon Benitez.  Beginning Monday (May 30) brother Lindell Mitchell will begin the first short course for the Class of 2013 on Leadership; translating for brother Lindell will be brother Conrad Pinder.  Brother Denton Landon arrives a week from tomorrow (June 4) and will teach the next week on Old Testament Introduction; brother Conrad will translate that class, as well.

I had the privilege of speaking to the new class in chapel this morning.  They seem like an eager group of students.  I look forward to getting to know them better over the next two years. 

Beta Class of ITL, L-R:  Arnoldo Alejandro Tot Pelaez, Manuel David Avila Chuc, Eliezer Nieves Pérez Gonzales, Ángel Gabriel Gonzales Morales, Wálter Dardón and his wife Nohelis Dardón, who is holding their little girl.

Posted on May 27, 2011 .

Bates Newsletter - April 29, 2011

Greetings, dear friends.  It is hard to believe that another month has gone by.  While I did not travel quite as much in April as the month before, it still seemed to go by quickly.  I am so glad that I got to return to Guatemala at the end of March and be there for the 2nd Annual ITL (Latin American Theological Institute) Lectureship.  The event was very well attended; I spoke on the Christian’s duty to the local church and my class was Sunday morning, April 3.  In the afternoon of that day ITL graduated it’s first class.  It was a wonderful day and I salute the staff at ITL for the great job they did.  If you have internet access, you can see photos of the events of that weekend at:  /extension-photos/itl-lectureship-and-graduation-guatemala-city-guatemala-apri/ .


On April 15, 16 I was once again privileged to teach on the Navajo Reservation.  This time the class was hosted by the brethren of the Kayenta church of Christ in Kayenta, Arizona.  With its close proximity to Monument Valley, the setting was just beautiful, but the spirit of the brethren there was even more so.  We spent 7 hours together in a class covering chapters 15-21 of the book of Matthew.


As I sit here finishing this report, I am also preparing to travel to my parents’ home in Goodwater, Oklahoma where I will be staying for the next few days while I preach a Gospel Meeting in the King Ryder, Arkansas congregation.  I always look forward to my time with these good brethren.  I will also be returning to both Honduras and Guatemala during the month of May.


The schedule for the rest of the year is filling up and I will have more information on that next month.  If you have any questions, please contact me using the information below.  Also, please do not forget to visit our website at and see what Bear Valley is doing around the world.


You may contact me at: 

2013 Rushing Meadows

Edmond, OK 73013

Cell Phone:  (580) 326-1914



I love you all and so appreciate your interest in and prayers for this work. 


Thank you and God bless you all.


Donnie Bates


...praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ... (Colossians 4:3)

Posted on April 29, 2011 .

ITL Graduation and 2nd Annual Lectureship: Final Report

For photos of this trip, please visit:

Guatemala City, Guatemala – April 5, 2011 – Friday morning, April 1 was our first full day in Guatemala City.  Late last night the last of the visitors for the weekend’s activities arrived.  We all assembled in the lobby of the Holiday Inn where we were staying to begin the day’s excursion to see some sights.  Around 9:30 we learned that there were some mechanical problems with one of the vans, but the mechanic was on the scene.  We finally were able to leave a little before noon.  This excursion included all of the visitors (about 15 or so) and the students and their families, so we needed two 15-passenger vans and a couple of extra cars.  There were about 40 of us, in total.

First, we headed downtown to see the National Palace and the Catholic Cathedral.  After taking a tour of the palace, we crossed the street for some lunch.  Most of the group ate at Wendy’s (Bob Turner and I went around the corner to Pizza Hut).  After lunch the decision was made, due to the late start, to skip going out to Antigua and to remain in the city center and visit the market where more souvenir items could be found (later I learned that those who stayed until Tuesday were going to visit Antigua).  We began with an unguided tour of the Catholic cathedral and then headed off to the market.  The day ended with dinner at the home of Hiwatthia Jones (“hermano Hi”) and Byron Benítez and a tour (for those who were visiting for the first time) of the ITL campus next door.  We returned to the hotel around 10:00 p.m.

Saturday morning, April 2 saw the beginning of the 2nd Annual Lectureship of ITL.  Bob Turner, director of extensions of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, led off with a keynote address entitled “What Does the Bible Say about Authority?”  Byron Benítez served as translator.  Let me say here that throughout the lectureship, brethren Conrad Pinder and Abraham Alata did a fine job translating the lessons since there were so many who did not speak Spanish.  Conrad also translated the keynotes and my lesson into English.  After the break, the group divided into classes; the classes offered were: “What Does the Bible Say about Discipline in the Church?” by Denton Landon; “What Does the Bible Say about Lying” by Raúl Duran; and “What Does the Bible Say about Supporting the Preacher?” by Nicolás Chiquival.  I would add here that Denton Landon had to leave immediately following his class to travel to the Ukraine to teach classes in Bear Valley’s extension there the next two weeks.  After the classes, everyone returned to the main meeting room where Francisco Rada delivered a keynote address on the subject “What Does the Bible Say about Division?”  This lesson was followed by lunch which was provided.  I do not know the number of the attendees, but the main room was packed; the lectureship was very well attended.

In the afternoon we began with another keynote address from Bob Turner on the subject “What Does the Bible Say about Commandments Versus Opinions?”  His lesson was followed by another period of classes which included a class for ladies only:  “What Does the Bible Say about the Role of the Woman in the Home?” by sister Silvia de Castellanos; and a class for the men, “What Does the Bible Say about the Role of the Man in the Home?” by brother Alexander Castellanos.

After this class, several of us went to the hall where the graduation would take place tomorrow and rehearsed for that event.  By the time we returned to the location of the lectureship, dinner had been served (although plates were prepared for us) and brother Francisco Rada was already delivering his keynote address “What Does the Bible Say about Who is My Brother?”  That lesson was followed up by Bob Turner’s final keynote address “What Does the Bible Say about the Rapture?”  Once again we returned to the hotel around 10:30 p.m.

Sunday morning began early with our group leaving the hotel around 8:00 a.m. as we had the day before.  The custom of the Linda Vista church of Christ, who was hosting this event, is to have the worship service first and the Bible Classes afterward.  So, we enjoyed a worship service of several hundred brethren which included Francisco Rada’s final lesson “What Does the Bible Say about the Holy Spirit?”  After worship, there were three classes for the adults.  Sister Silvia de Castellanos taught another class for the ladies entitled “What Does the Bible Say about the Role of the Woman in the Church?”  Two classes from which the men could choose included a class by Guillermo Poz entitled “What Does the Bible Say about Social Justice?” and my class “What Does the Bible Say about My Commitment to the Local Church?” 

After the classes, the entire group made its way to the hall where the graduation would take place.  Large buses had been rented to transport the entire group.  We estimated the number of those who attended the graduation was somewhere around 400.  The ceremony was done very well; it was truly a very special moment for the graduates.  Seven graduated from the full time program and three graduated from the Saturday program, which has lasted for three years. 

I want to take this opportunity to say that I am very proud of the work these men and women have done over the years it has taken them to complete the program.  This is not an easy program and many of them acknowledged a desire at one point or another to give up and quit, but these did not.  They have worked hard and while they have already been a great asset to the church, I know their contributions to the Lord’s work will be great indeed.  I also want to commend the job that Hiwatthia “Hi” Jones and Byron Benítez, along with brethren Anibal Ramírez and Darvin Alvarez, did in making this weekend’s activities so successful.  Many others, too numerous to name, also contributed.  I am so very appreciative of their work and pray God’s richest blessings on them all.  As with the graduates of the school in Danlí, Honduras, I felt (and feel) somewhat saddened in the realization that the next time I teach a class at ITL, these students won’t be there.  Our parting at dinner Sunday evening was bittersweet, but I look forward to seeing them again, hopefully in their new works, but if not, then I plan to see them on the other side.

God bless you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest in this work and for your help and support in allowing me to be a part of it.

Donnie Bates

For photos of this trip, please visit:


Posted on April 5, 2011 .

January 2001 Newsletter

Last month I began by asking where 2010 went.  This time I’m wondering the same thing about the first month of 2011.  I didn’t believe it as a child, but time really does go by faster as you get older.  As I write this, I am finalizing my plans to travel to Danlí, Honduras.  I will be leaving, Lord willing, Saturday, January 29.  My plans for the trip are to teach Revelation the week of January 31 - February 4.  Denny Petrillo, President of Bear Valley, will arrive in Honduras on Friday, February 4 to teach his class on Hermeneutics the next week.  At the end of that week (February 12) our first class of the Bible Institute of Honduras (IBH) will graduate.  As I have said before in this newsletter, I am very proud of these men and the work they are doing and will do in the kingdom of the Lord.  I am glad to call them brethren and friends. 

For the graduation, Bob Turner, Director of Extensions at Bear Valley will also travel to Danlí, with his son Chase.  The sponsoring congregation for IBH, the Hillcrest church of Christ in Neosho, Missouri, will also be represented by some of the elders.  I am very excited about this trip and I ask your prayers that all will go as planned (or better).

I plan to return home on February 15, but the Spring schedule seems to be filling up.  I will be home for a little over two weeks before heading to Guatemala to teach a short course.  Graduation is scheduled for the Latin American Theological Institute there the first weekend of April (more on that in a later issue).  For now, let me thank you all for your continued support of this work. 

Noma and I are doing well.  It has been a mild winter here in Central Oklahoma so far, although temperatures have been pretty low a few times.  We are thankful that no crises have arisen.  Noma is busy with her teaching and studying in her night classes and I continue to teach the Early Bird class on Wednesdays at the North MacArthur congregation. 

If you would like any further information about our work, I encourage you to contact me and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  You may also find information specifically dealing with the extension program by visiting the blog: .

You may contact me at: 

2013 Rushing Meadows

Edmond, OK 73013

Cell Phone:  (580) 326-1914

...praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ... (Colossians 4:3). 

Thank you and God bless you all.

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 27, 2011 .

A Surprise for ITL

Guatemala City, Guatemala - I received the following news from Byron Benitez and Hiwatthia Jones, missionaries in Guatemala City and directors of the Latin American Theological Institute (ITL).  I will try to have the pictures posted as soon as possible.

Donnie Bates


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Greetings from the south!!!

We pray that this message finds you well and enjoying this brand new year. We are doing fine here in Guatemala. We arrived back to Guatemala on late Monday night, January 10. 

Last Tuesday night was a very exciting time for the Instituto Teológico Latinoamericano (ITL). In fact, the entire afternoon was filled with emotions as we led up to that night's events. As most of you know we have been raising funds to purchase transportation for ITL. Now we have it! The Lord blessed us to be able to raise most of the funds to purchase a BRAND NEW diesel 15 passenger Nissan Urvan.

Please allow us to tell you a little about the evening. First, all the staff, students and their families went to a local restaurant for dinner. After dinner our president made lapel pin presentations to the local teachers. This was the first presentation of these pins to anyone. Following the lapel pin presentations, we did what HAS to be done at every official gathering: announcements! :-) And, following the announcements, everyone was invited to go outside for a quick outdoor excursion.

This was very exciting as we all stepped outside and on the other side of the parking lot was a beautiful new van with a giant red bow on the front of it. And, as we got closer there was a magnetic sign on the van with the institute's name and logo. At this point there was no doubt that the van belonged to ITL.  A couple of the students began crying. Our ITL truck driver, Francisco Ramos, was in shock and did not know what to say. The students and their families walked around the van, touched it and made remarks like “wow - look at this!”

The president presented van key to Francisco Ramos. It had been decided that since he, for more than a year and a half, had driven our somewhat dependable ITL truck (really, it was Francisco's pickup), he would be the first to drive the new van back to the institute. It was also decided that our students and their families would be the first to be passengers as the van went for the first to time to ITL. Of course, everyone was ready to leave to experience a comfortable ride home until they heard that dessert awaited everyone back in the restaurant.

We returned inside where a carrot cake with a big “congratulations” on it and ice cream awaited us.  Someone commented that this would be a true test for the van with a full load of passengers all full of cake and ice cream. :-) After dessert we went back outside. The sentiments were still high. They walked around the van. They got in and out of the van. They touched the van to make sure it was real. _ What a blessing from God! Afterwards, everyone loaded up and headed home. Byron got the privilege of driving the truck home and NO ONE offered to ride with him. :-)

THANK YOU for the love and concern for the Guatemala work. We send a special THANK YOU to all who contributed funds to help make this moment a reality for the ITL family. Without generous people like you willing to allow God to use you in this way, we would not have enjoyed an evening such as this. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

As we close let us inform you to be on the look out for other messages from us coming soon. One will be an invitation for you to come to Guatemala to be a part of our first ITL graduation. The graduation event will be combined with our 2nd Annual ITL Lectureship. So, it will be a great time to “experience Guatemala.” The dates are Thursday, March 31 through Sunday, April 2. Lord willing, you should receive all the details very soon. PLEASE make plans to be with us!!!!

May the God of heaven shower His blessings on each one of you! We love you! Enjoy the pictures that follow.

Con amor en Cristo,




Si prefiere leer este boletín en español, haga clic en este enlace:  /donnie-bates-reports/2011/1/19/una-sorpresa-para-itl.html

Posted on January 19, 2011 .

ITL Update – Second Year Schedule Released

Guatemala City – The new class schedule for the Latin American Theological Institute (ITL) has been released.  Classes will begin for the second class of ITL on April 18, 2011.  Lord willing, Graduation Week and Ceremonies will be March 23-31, 2013.  Two years of study lie before the new students. We pray God’s richest blessings on the new students in their studies.

As stated earlier, the current students are scheduled for graduation on April 1-3, 2011.  We are proud of the work these men and women have done.  We would like to take this opportunity to introduce the students and faculty of ITL.  Missionaries Byron Benitez and Hiwatthia Jones are joined by Anibal Ramirez and Darvin Alvarez as instructors at ITL.  The current students are:  Wilder Ordoñez and his wife Marlene, Edras Tista and his wife Aries, Francisco Ramos and Abner Ramos.   We also pray for God’s richest blessings on these students and their teachers alike.

Si prefiere leer este boletín en español, haga clic en este enlace:  /donnie-bates-reports/2011/1/10/informe-de-itl-plan-de-estudios-del-ano-segundo-estrenado.html

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 10, 2011 .

Informe de ITL – Plan de Estudios del Ano Segundo Estrenado

La Ciudad de Guatemala – El plan nuevo de clases del Instituto Teológico Latinoamericano (ITL) ha sido estrenado.  Las clases comenzarán para la segunda clase de ITL el 18 de abril, 2011.  Si Dios quiere, la Semana de Graduación y Ceremonias será 23-31 de marzo, 2013.  Dos años de estudio están en el futuro de los estudiantes nuevos.  Oramos por las bendiciones más ricas de Dios para los estudiantes nuevos en sus estudios.

Como dijimos anteriormente, los estudiantes actuales tendrán su graduación el fin de semana 1-3 de abril, 2011.  Estamos orgullosos del trabajo que han hecho estos hermanos y hermanas.  Quisiéramos tomar esta oportunidad de introducir a los estudiantes y maestros de ITL.  Los misioneros Byron Benitez y Hiwatthia Jones se juntan por Anibal Ramirez y Darvin Alvarez como maestros de ITL.  Los estudiantes actuales son:  Wilder Ordoñez y su esposa Marlene, Edras Tista y su esposa Aries, Francisco Ramos y Abner Ramos.  También, oramos por las bendiciones más ricas de Dios en estos estudiantes y sus maestros igual.

If you would like to read this newsletter in English, click on this link:  /donnie-bates-reports/2011/1/10/itl-update-second-year-schedule-released.html

¡Que Dios les bendiga!

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 10, 2011 .

“Boletín” Informe

En el aviso anterior, introducimos un nuevo boletín acerca de las escuelas extensiones en Latinoamérica.  Es posible que “boletín” no sea la manera mejor de describir esta herramienta de información, pero ojala servirá.  En vez hacer una edición regular por fecha, pondremos al corriente la situación de cada escuela como haya noticias de poner.

Otro cambio (ojalá para el mejor) es que todavía no enviaré mis informes por email, los cuales en este momento envío en forma de pdf.  Pondré al corriente my blog “Donnie Bates Reports.”

If you would like to read this newsletter in English, click on this link:  /donnie-bates-reports/2011/1/10/newsletter-update.html?SSScrollPosition=516

¡Que Dios les bendiga!

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 10, 2011 .

"Newsletter" Update

In the previous post, we introduced a new "newsletter" concerning the two extension schools in Latin America.  "Newsletter" may  not be the best way to describe this informational tool, but it will hopefully serve.  Rather than having an regularly scheduled issue posted, we will be posting updates on each individual school as there is news to post. 

Another change (hopefully for the better) is that I will no longer be emailing my monthly reports, which I am currently sending in pdf format.  I will continue to update my blog "Donnie Bates Reports."

Si prefiere leer este boletin en español, haga clic en este enlace:  /donnie-bates-reports/2011/1/10/boletin-informe.html

God bless,

Donnie Bates

Posted on January 10, 2011 .