March - April Report

arly on the morning of March 2nd, Paula took me to the airport to begin my spring trip. Since Betty Choate was traveling on her nearly 3-month mission trip, Paula needed to stay in Winona to handle the office work; thus, I was traveling alone. My first stop was Manila. After getting some much needed rest at the hotel, my native co-worker, Jun, met me and we traveled in a packed van to the city of Tanay, about two hours away, to meet some of his extended family. He had arranged a Saturday seminar with a group of 30 people, none of whom were New Testament Christians. There is presently no church in this area, so he is trying to plant a church there. The plans are to begin a Bible study center there as well as another one in Lucena City. Of course, we are furnishing the literature for these two centers.  

On Sunday morning, we traveled to a nearby city to meet with the church. The preacher for that congregation has agreed to do the follow-up work associated with the Bible study center. Hopefully, these two centers will result in the conversion of several in the coming years.  

Aurangabad, India
My first stop in India was a new place for me, Aurangabad. This city is located in the same state as Mumbai, about one hour flight from that huge city. Amul Bansod met me at the airport, and he was overjoyed with my visit. He is translating the Voice of Truth International into the Marathi language. He thought the first issue would be ready when I arrived, but he experienced several problems, so it has been delayed. He also directs a school of preaching. I taught for two days at the school, and he was also thrilled that I would take the time to do that. He related that I was the first American to actually teach at the school, and all the students and teachers were delighted that I took the time to teach and encourage them. It seems that few Americans travel to this area, so Paula and I will probably make additional trips to this area. We feel that it is a more valuable use of our time to travel to areas that are relatively untouched.  

Each night we had an evangelistic meeting at a nearby church. One meeting was at the congregation of one of the teachers at the school, who also preaches for two congregations. He was afflicted by polio many years ago, so he is partially crippled. He and his wife are very poor. Their house consists of one room, about 10 x 15 feet. They have lived in this house about 20 years, raising two children who are now grown.

Normally on our trips, we do not do much sightseeing. However, on this trip, Amul took me to see an amazing sight not far from the school. It was an ancient temple carved out of solid rock nearly 1,000 years ago. It was considered to be an area of contemplation for both Hindu and Buddhist worshippers. Considering the size and detail of the carvings, it is almost unimaginable that such carvings could be accomplished. It took over 200 years for it to be completed.  

My next stop was on the eastern coast of India to teach for a week at the Viskha Valley Bible School. I have been here several times, and this school does an excellent job of training the future leaders of the church. Currently, they have 14 students, and they are now about halfway through their two-year study program. I taught the Work of a Preacher to these future preachers.  

I have commented about how the Indian government's attitude towards Christianity is changing. New laws and restrictions are being passed, and it seems the government is doing all it can to limit Christianity’s influence on society. Publicly of course, the government tries to appear to promote freedom of religion, but appearances are often deceiving. John Dean, the native director of the school, reported that within the last year 300 Christian children’s homes have been closed by the government in his state alone. The authorities are searching for infractions of even minor rules to justify the closings. John and his father also have a children’s home, Skinners Garden, and it was inspected the week I was there, and nothing significant was found to be lacking, so it is okay for a while longer.

My next stop was Kochi in the state of Kerala. Here, I met Philemon and his son-in-law, Kingsley. They direct the J C School of Evangelism, which we financially support. This is a school designed to encourage and train individual Christians, both men and women, to be better soul-winners. It is an 18 month program meeting once a month, and Philemon travels nearly every weekend to conduct the classes in various locations throughout India. They do an outstanding job of encouraging the students to truly be evangelistic. Great results are seen in every case. 

Two locations finished their study this spring. One graduation program was in Pondicherry on the eastern coast of India. Betty Choate attended this program, while I attended the graduation program in Kochi. As a result of these schools, over 20,000 tracts have been distributed in addition to many other study books and personal Bible studies. These students baptized nearly 30 people over the last 18 months, and much seed has been sown which should bring an even greater harvest in the future.  

My last stop was the North India Bible College in Chandigarh. Betty attended the annual graduation of this school in February. They had some special ladies programs for her. I did not think we would have time to visit on our fall trip, so I wanted to spend a week teaching at the school on this trip. Since they just recently had a graduation, the new class had not begun, but nevertheless, we had a good session. In recent months, Ernest Gill, the director, has begun a new program. For one week a month, he invites some older preachers to the school for additional teaching and encouragement. Some of these preachers have never attended a Bible school, so this program is especially good for them. I taught about the New Testament church, and even though, much of this material was familiar to them, I delivered it from a different perspective, so they seemed to gain much from our discussion together.  

Retired Servants
One retired couple, Ken & Connie Tipton, from Florida journeyed up to help for a couple of weeks in April. They arrived just in time to unload Volume 87 of the Voice of Truth and a new book designed for classes, Divorce Prevention by Glover Shipp. In the next few days they helped send out the Voice of Truth, packed two big boxes bound for the Philippines, counted tracts, and did other miscellaneous jobs. They took many Spanish books since they help with a work in Ecuador, South America. They also joined us at the Mission Retreat in Alabama, helping us clean the camp and make other preparations for the coming group. We greatly appreciate their willingness to travel such a long distance and help as they can. Their attitude was certainly a servant attitude. We are always looking and grateful for any who would be willing to come and help a few days. 

Hail Destruction in Manipur, India
We have been to Manipur several times, working with Thang Lien, but due to potential violence in the area for the last year, we have not been for a while. We area this fall, as the situation has now eased some. Even though we have not personally been there, his work continues. We have continued to send money, so he has been translating the Voice of Truth and has printed a couple of other books. This is just an example of how good works can continue to be done without personally being present. This is all possible with modern technology such as the Internet and wire transfers between banks.

In April, this area was hit by a severe hailstorm which completely destroyed many homes.  This area is very poor, so this was a devastating blow to many. We sent $1,000 to aid some of the families. We generally do not do much benevolent work as the needs are always great, but we thought that in this case some help was warranted to encourage him and help his outreach to the people in that area.  

New Printing
I have been working on an extensive project for nearly two years, and it has finally been completed. We received a request from one of our Indian brethren for two short yet deeper correspondence courses than is currently available. He suggested two courses, Godhead and Worship, and I added a third, Bible Covenants, since it is a highly misunderstood subject. Recently 10,000 copies of each was printed and distributed in India. On my last trip I showed them to Ernest Gill in Chandigarh. After looking at them for a few moments, he said that he had just been thinking that he was needing some courses just like that. He said I did his work for him. I simply replied, “Now you can translate them. That is your job.” I hope these lessons will be helpful.  

We continue to thank all of you for your support and encouragement of our work. Without your help, none of this would be possible. We are all fellow-laborers in the kingdom to God. To God be the glory!

Stateside Travel
On March 26th, I returned home, and Paula was glad to have me back. With everyone gone, this left a lot of things for her to take care of at home and in the office. However, she did have help for a couple of days. A group from the French Camp congregation came and helped her send out Betty's newsletters. Paula sent out our last newsletter by herself, which is no small job. Also, Efrain, the Spanish minister from the West President Street congregation in Greenwood, and his nephew came and counted bundles of tracts. Of course, she spent a few days with our grandsons in Jonesboro, AR.  

Rather than returning home after arriving on Saturday, the 26th, we journeyed to Trenton, TN, and Sunday morning and evening I was speaking to two of our supporting congregations. Early Monday morning, we left for Memphis to set up a table at the Memphis School of Preaching lectures. Ronnie Gootam, the son of our co-worker Joshua in India, is currently a student at the school, and he helped look after the table. After being gone for over three weeks, I was ready to get home, so after being at the lectures for only a few hours, we finished our journey back home. About two weeks later, Ronnie and his wife spent the night with us. They had traveled to Monroe, LA for a door-knocking campaign, so they were coming through Winona. It was about midnight when they arrived, and they were so glad to have a break, as he was about to go to sleep while driving. The next morning we had a good visit, and he picked up books at the office.  

After a few days of catching up on emails and office work, I departed again for three days. Twice each year, the Bear Valley extension staff meets in Denver, so I used some of my frequent flier miles. These meetings are necessary because we are all scattered throughout the country. We always enjoy visiting with one another and sharing ideas, even though the meetings sometimes get long.  

The last week in April found us in Hamilton, AL at our annual Mission retreat. The weather was perfect; the food was great; the fellowship was amazing; and the speakers were encouraging. The World Evangelism team sponsors this event, so it is a lot of work. We carried several boxes of literature to share with James Lee in Florida, who has an extensive prison ministry. We provide these at no cost, because he has little support and a very small congregation. One box of Spanish books were also provided for the work in Honduras.  

Future Plans
Our immediate future looks very busy as usual. One of our co-workers from India, Philemon Raja, is coming to visit for a couple of weeks. While he is here, we will, of course, be visiting churches on Sunday and Wednesday. One week, Jerry and Philemon will be traveling to Texas and will visit churches on the way on Sunday, then unload a shipment of books at Mission Printing in Dallas. They will then travel to World Video Bible School at Maxwell, Texas near San Antonio, and Philemon will do some taping for a course in Tamil for a few days. Paula will stay in the office with Betty and hopefully send out Betty’s newsletter and other office details. On June 9, both of us will travel to Tanzania for two weeks, then to Ghana for a little over a week.

Jerry & Paula Bates

Posted on May 18, 2016 .

November - December Report

In early November Jerry preached in a weekend meeting with the Midway congregation, south of Vicksburg, MS. They are one of our faithful supporters, and we always enjoy being with them. Shortly after that, we made a trip to Dallas to deliver books to the New York Avenue congregation in Arlington. They send a container to the Chimala mission in Tanzania every year. They were very glad to receive 1700 pounds of books and Bible class material.    

Those trips to Dallas are always whirlwind trips. On this occasion, we started early Sunday morning and visited the Palestine congregation about one hour west of Memphis on I-40. We dearly love this congregation as we preached there for six years from 1992-1998. Sunday afternoon, we traveled to Little Rock and spoke at the McAlmont congregation in North Little Rock. This was a new church for us, hoping they would become one of the supporters for the North India Bible School. Sunday night, we stayed with the Stinebaughs in North Little Rock. They were one of the first couples to support the Choates and have been faithfully doing so for over 50 years.   

Leaving a little later Monday morning, we had not traveled far before we were involved in a traffic accident. The traffic ahead slowed and suddenly stopped, and due to a wet road and the loaded trailer behind us, Jerry did not notice the traffic was stopped in time. So, we hit the truck in front of us. Fortunately, it was not a very hard collision, so we were still able to drive our car and make the entire trip. Often people will comment on how dangerous it is to fly nowadays, but we really feel that we are in more danger traveling the roads by car both here and abroad than we are in the airplanes. Accidents can happen so quickly. We finally made it to the Arlington area late Monday afternoon and unloaded our trailer in the rain. Shortly after that, we traveled to Fort Worth to stay with our friends, Gary and Sarah Fallis. They are always glad for us to stay with them whenever we have the opportunity.  

Tuesday morning, we continued north to visit with Mark Bryson, the outreach minister of the McDermott Road church in Plano, TX. We learned there is a large India population in the area, and Christians there had converted one of those families. The one that was converted contacted his father in India, who was a denominational preacher. Mark made a preaching trip to India in 2015 and converted him and several others with whom this man was acquainted. We hope to be able to work with Mark's congregation in respect to this India work in the future with perhaps literature and in other ways. After leaving this congregation shortly before lunch, we traveled on I-20 to Monroe, LA for the night. We had intended to journey a little further, but it was raining very hard and darkness had fallen, which made for bad driving conditions.  

We left early the next morning to reach the Jackson airport by 8:30 a.m., in order to pick up Betty from her trip visiting family in San Francisco. So we headed north on I-55, and she treated us to a Cracker Barrel breakfast.  It was good to get all of us and the car back to Winona. Things continued to be busy in Winona. Louis returned from his overseas trip shortly before Thanksgiving. In order for all the literature to be sent out, it must first come in. One day a very large shipment of the Global Harvest, the Voice of Truth, two books, and several reprints of tracts arrived. Fortunately, we had several workers from the Greenwood and French Camp congregations that came and helped us. As the old saying goes, many hands make light work, and they certainly helped us out on this occasion. The preacher for the French Camp congregation, Nathan Wright, home-schools his children, two girls and a boy, so they were able to come and help. The boy, Ben, is only 8-years-old, and he is always a joy to watch. Recently, we visited this congregation on Wednesday night, and Nathan commented that Ben prays for us by name in his prayers. One is never too young to be involved in mission work. 

Even missionaries need to play some, and we spent Christmas week with our two daughters and two grandsons in Jonesboro, AR. We took the six and three-year-olds with us to a cabin in northeast Arkansas for a little grandparent spoiling. We spent four days alone with them eating junk food, playing games and hiking, since their parents had to work through Christmas Eve. During the week after Christmas, we worked hard sending1200 copies ofthe Global Harvest magazine to many supporters and other interested people. This magazine is filled with mission reports from around the world and is interesting reading for anyone concerned with taking the light of the Gospel to the lost. If you did not receive one, we will be glad to supply you with a copy. Just let us know.     

Future Plans
January and February look to be busy as usual. We plan to take a shipment of literature to Healing Hands in Nashville in January to be sent to South Africa. Once it arrives there, the literature will be distributed into other countries as well. Later in January, Jerry will speak at a missions seminar hosted by the Center for Mission Training at Heritage Christian University. In February, we will have a booth at the Freed-Hardeman lectures. Later that month, we hope to take another load to Mission Printing in Dallas. In addition we have the usual office work, end of the year accounting, planning for our next trip, etc.  We thank you for helping us send and take the light!

Jerry and Paula Bates

Posted on January 19, 2016 .

June - October Report

Large Areas Without Christ
We recently finished our overseas trip, and most of it went well.  We were in the Philippines last, and had planned to visit an outlying island and look at how we might help start a new work in that area.  However, our plans had to be changed due to a typhoon that roared through just as we arrived.  We flew into Manila and were going to fly to the other island early the next morning, but that flight was canceled, which meant that our entire program was scrapped.  Our Filipino brother had some family who lived south about 4 hours by bus, and we visited them over the weekend, so we only had one day of complete downtime. 

One thing that impressed us in the Philippines, as well as in other countries, was the amount of work left to do.  Sometimes we think how far the work has progressed (and it has), and the work seems to be going so well (which it is); however, there are whole areas and very large cities with no church presence.  Much work has been done in the Philippines, and there are many Christians in certain areas, but large areas and whole islands remain which are almost untouched.  The city to which we traveled is one of the largest cities in the Philippines, yet no true church exists there.  We were going to go to another island, and there is no true church there either.  There is a large Catholic presence and numerous denominations exist but little knowledge of the true church. 

The same situation exists in India.  After multitudes of people traveling to India for many years, and thousands being converted and hundreds of churches now existing, one might think our job is almost done.  However, we would be sadly mistaken if that is our thinking.  India is the world’s second largest country, population wise, and again, there are huge cities in which the church has never been established.  For example, one of our Indian brethren, P K Varghese, has a son who lives and works in Pathanamtitta in the state of Kerala, and it has no church.  While in Delhi, we met a man at church from Nigeria who was going to school in India.  He traveled four hours by bus in order to attend worship because there was no church closer to him. 

These examples just illustrate the point that there is much work left to do, even in countries we think has largely been evangelized.  Thus, we must not relax on our past deeds; rather, we must continue to work and help native brethren expand the church into those areas that are unevangelized.  Our work is not done, and it will not be done until God calls us all home.

Ghana, Africa
In August Jerry spent two weeks in Africa teaching a master’s program in Accra.  That was a good time in that it also coincided with the printing of the Voice of Truth International.  The ones in charge of distributing the Voice of Truth in Ghana as well as Nigeria were there, and he was able to visit with both of them as to how the distribution was working out.  Makinde, the one in Nigeria, reported that he was getting more interest now, and he wanted to double the normal printing.  Three thousand copies are normally printed, so he wanted 6,000.  It is good that it is so well received, but, of course, that also increases the cost.  Jerry told him that the cost might be too great to do that all the time, so Makinde’s solution was to only print twice a year.  The work in Nigeria is going well, as he recently reported an entire Pentecostal church had been converted.

Kathmandu, Nepal
About mid-September we began our fall trip to Nepal with a mind-numbing 15 hour flight from Chicago to Hong Kong immediately followed by a 4 hour flight to Kathmandu, arriving at 10:00 p. m. Saturday night.  We also carried with us two donated water purifying systems (total weight about 50 lbs.) to help with the relief effort in Nepal.  You probably remember that a massive earthquake shook Nepal about six months ago, and we saw firsthand some of the effects.  However, we were surprised in that a large amount of cleanup had already taken place, so it wasn’t bad in the city.  The damage was much worse in the countryside, and winter is fast approaching.  Jerry taught the book of James in the school for a week.  These students were excited since their graduation was only three weeks away.  They had also been actively involved in the relief efforts.  We understand a little more about earthquakes now, because two nights before leaving the Philippines, we felt the tremors of an earthquake.  It was a 5.4 quake, much smaller than the one in Nepal; nevertheless, we were even more ready to return home after that and the typhoon messing up our plans.

India from North to South
We had planned to visit Aurangabad Bible College, where World Evangelism has begun printing the Voice of Truth in the Marathi language; however, due to family illness the director was forced to cancel our visit.  Fortunately, we were going through Delhi, so we spent our first weekend in India with the Davids.  The church there is doing better since they have moved to the new building a couple of years ago.  Their TV program continues to bring in many contacts from a wide area.  The potential audience of these programs is mind-boggling.  Hindi is spoken by approximately 40% of India’s population, which means that about 500 million people speak Hindi, which is more than the entire population of the U. S.

From there we met Rajanayagam and traveled to a hill station where he had planned a special seminar on the eldership.  For three days, Jerry spoke to about 40 preachers, and Paula spoke to 10 women about the character of the wives of church leaders.  There are only a few churches with elders in India, but much interest is developing in this topic, which illustrates the maturing of the church.  We met the preacher of a church in Chennai, and he is an elder as well.  That eldership was appointed in 2014.  His congregation began about 20 years ago, but now it has an attendance of around 300.  He reported that one of the major reasons for the substantial growth was the use of Bible classes with different grades.  Many things that we take for granted in the U. S. are novelties in many other countries.  

Our next stop was the graduation of the J C School of Evangelism in Dindigul.  This was the sixth group to complete this program, and Philemon is doing a great work with the program in preparing and encouraging individual Christians to be more involved in evangelism.  Great results are achieved each time, but this was one of the best.  The hosting congregation was an older congregation and an older preacher, but both were discouraged.  The preacher reported that as the 18-month program progressed, the congregation changed from an apathetic group to being involved and dedicated.  For example, they had never finished their building (no lights, windows, doors, paint), but now the building is transformed into a beautiful building by Indian standards and all done by the congregation itself.  They have also begun supporting the preacher allowing him to buy a motorcycle to help him in his ministry.  Twenty-two people were baptized and thousands of tracts and books have been distributed, which should continue to bear results into the future.

The next stop was another hill station on the border between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  Arjunan had arranged a large gathering of preachers and Christians with their families.  About 150 attended a three day program during which Jerry taught some lessons on the first 6 chapters of Romans and Paula had women and children’s classes, even one by candlelight.  Would you be willing to attend a three day seminar where you stayed in a barracks type situation with no warm water for bathing?  They seemed to enjoy the fellowship.  Although primitive and dirty by our standards, we had our own room with hot water, but one can endure a lot for only three days, especially when one has such a good group to teach.  Seven were baptized in the river during this special seminar. 

Next, we traveled 5 hours by car to the city of Trivandrum in the state of Kerala.  Here we met P K Varghese, another one of our TV speakers.  He arranged a special one day seminar with four congregations represented, and we met a preacher who had formerly been a Catholic priest.  A small congregation was meeting in his home in this large city.  P K had only known him for a couple of years, although this man had been living there about six years.  This illustrates that there may be Christian groups meeting in various places that one never knows about.  Fortunately, we serve a God who does know.

Next, we encountered another problem with this trip.  We had scheduled an early morning one-hour flight to Chennai and planned to have a day program in this large city and an early evening session at a different church, where the second edition of Jerry’s sermon book in Tamil was to be formally released.  However, when we arrived at the airport (about 5:00 a.m.), we learned that our flight was delayed.  Later, we were told that the plane was coming from the Middle East, and a sandstorm prevented it from taking off.  It was delayed a couple more times, and finally about 4:00 p.m. we took off.  Obviously, we missed the day program, and was a couple hours late for the evening session; nevertheless, a large group waited for us at the building.

Andaman Islands
This group of islands lies in the middle of the Bay of Bengal between India and Myanmar, but it is a part of India.  Philemon had some contacts in the capital city of Port Blair, and he wanted us to join him.  The church is small and weak in this area.  One problem is the multiplicity of languages spoken in the islands.  People have come from all parts of India to the islands, thus the presence of many languages.  We met with both a Telegu congregation and Tamil speaking group.  One congregation had to have two translators for Jerry.  Philemon was hoping to start a School of Evangelism in the islands, and perhaps a TV program.  Recently we learned that the Christians there are eager to start the school, and the TV program would be a great help to them especially during the time of the school.  However, more funds are needed to make both programs a reality. 

One stop on this trip was Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).  Vietnam is a different country than most would think.  It is a very modern and clean country.  Jerry visited there in November of last year, but this time both of us were able to go.  Vietnam is a Communist country; therefore, it is not very friendly to Christianity.  There are several Christian groups scattered throughout the country, although they are small.  They meet in various homes, and they are free to meet as they please.  The only problem is that we as Americans are not supposed to meet with them.  Thus, when we meet with them and teach, we are doing something illegal.  In order to avoid trouble, the leader invites many to stay in a hotel for 2-3 days, which avoids the coming and going which may bring attention. 

In this case, a nice house was rented a couple of hours drive outside the city in a tourist area near the beach.  A bus was rented, and after Sunday morning worship, we all rode the bus to the house.  Paula and I actually stayed with our translators (separate rooms, of course) in a hotel nearby.  When asked why, the Vietnamese Christian simply said it would be safer for us to stay at another location.  To give you an idea of how serious he was about safety, the house had walls and a gate around it, and all day the gates were locked from the inside.  We had no problems, and it was a good teaching time.  We divided the groups into men and women, and we taught many hours each day.  Many of the students were not New Testament Christians; thus, much time was spent answering questions and discussing false ideas.  Some had little knowledge of the Bible.  One person was baptized during the sessions, but we did not attend the baptism.  We enjoyed our time meeting with the Vietnamese people, and it sure was good to be able to eat beef and pork again after coming from India. 

As always we are thankful to get home, but most of all we are so blessed to have all of you as contributors to our work with World Evangelism.  Your continuing encouragement is a great strength of support.  God has been so merciful and longsuffering to us all.  May He continue to give us more days to try to reach those who are lost.

Jerry & Paula Bates

Posted on December 7, 2015 .

April - May Report...

Sri Lanka
Our last trip worked out well from start to finish, beginning with the island of Sri Lanka, just off the southern tip of India.  It had been over a year since we last visited, so it was good to see everyone.  We are proud to report that the church has grown a great deal in the meantime.  We saw the beginnings of it on our last trip, and it has continued.  The new converts have been very active and are bringing many others to Christ.  This situation illustrates that one must never become discouraged and quit. 

Let us briefly tell the story.  The church in Columbo was once a thriving large congregation.  However, in recent years it has really fallen off, due to the civil war in the country, many Christians leaving to escape the conflict, and a lack of cooperation with other congregations.  Thus, only a handful of Christians were left, with Harold and Lilani Thomas and their family being the mainstay.  Lilani has been the volunteer coordinator of the World Evangelism radio programs for many years.  Harold continues to be a factory manager and works very hard at his job.  In addition, he has been serving as the preacher for the church and often has Bible studies during the week.  In spite of their efforts, it seemed that growth was simply not possible, and they often were discouraged.  Nevertheless, they kept working, trusting in God and knowing they were doing everything they could.  Then, they met and ministered to a family with medical problems that had recently become Christians.  This led to contact with another family that became Christians, and this in turn led to other contacts.  The church has suddenly mushroomed, all due to the seemingly insignificant act of helping a fellow Christian family.  One never knows when or how growth might occur; thus, we must continue to do the best we can without becoming discouraged. 

From Sri Lanka, we took an overnight flight to Singapore and then to Yangon, Myanmar.  This was very tiring since we had not fully recovered from our international flight from the states.  Airline ticket prices can vary a great deal, even for short distances.  Paula booked these tickets while I was in India in January, and after seeing the prices, she thought better prices could be found.  Sure enough, after working with our travel agent, we saved about $400, yet only arrived at our destination one hour later. 

The country of Myanmar is really changing.  Tourism has increased tremendously.  Construction is everywhere, and an unbelievable number of cars are now on the roads.  Of course, this has led to big traffic problems in the city.  The hotel in which we stayed was building a new multistory addition just outside our room.  Unfortunately, it seemed that construction was occurring in almost every city to which we traveled on this trip.  Fortunately, we were gone most of the day, when construction noise was the loudest. 

Our primary purpose of this visit to Myanmar was to teach in a bible school about an hour outside of the city.  Attendees from all around the country range in age from 15 to 30, staying for 5 weeks at a camp sleeping on straw mats on a concrete floor.  Heat is not a problem, since it is always hot.  The first week, daytime temperatures topped 1000F.  The next week, though, it cooled off, to only 95.  These students are eager to learn, beginning early in the morning and continuing into the evening with native preachers also coming to teach.  The classes were split with Paula teaching the ladies.  Jerry taught on the work of a preacher, and even the experienced preachers enjoyed sitting in on these classes and participating in the discussions.  Our two weeks there passed quickly, and we also encouraged the Christians at two local churches.

Shillong, Oldest Known Church in India
We visited Shillong with Philemon from Tamil Nadu in south India.  He is trying to start a J C School of Evangelism in this northeast India town.  Sometimes he has to make several trips in order to establish the interest in the school.  We met with several of the Christians on Sunday and Monday.  One interesting fact about this area is that this is the location of the oldest known church in India.  This congregation began in the 1940s, long before J C Bailey went to India.  It seems that some native Indians simply studied their way out of denominationalism.  Presently, this congregation numbers about 200 with a nice building as well as a grammar school.  We also met the old preacher for this congregation, 91 years old and in bad health, but his mind was still young.  He commented that he would love to go out into the villages to preach, but could not leave his home.  We are sad to report that after returning home, we received word that he had passed on to his reward. 

There is another congregation in this town, but it is still very small.  However, the preacher is dedicated and self supporting, processing milk into yogurt, even strawberry yogurt.  He has the cutest little girls you have ever seen, at least Paula thought so.  India is filled with children, and there are always many playing, even in the small villages. 

Our next stop was in Manipur, also in northeast India.  A fairly new work has opened up in this area with TV and translating the Voice of Truth.  Thang Lien speaks on TV four hours every week, and this cost is only $200/month.  He also translates the Voice of Truth into Paite.  Thang prints 3,000 copies of the Voice of Truth and all of them are being distributed.  One interesting way he distributes them is by placing them in public areas, such as stores.  All of them are picked up, often by members of various denominations, and they comment about how much they appreciate the articles because they are all Bible based.  Denominational men all like the Voice of Truth for sermon material.  About two years ago, Thang reprinted 2,000 copies of the Church of the Bible, and they are all gone as well; thus, this book needs to be reprinted again.  This is a good time to remind everyone that none of our coworkers in India are paid to translate materials or preach.  They volunteer to spend their time doing these things in order to spread the gospel in their respective parts of India. 

Thang Lien and his wife also care for 58 children, and we spent two days teaching Bible stories to them.  They are taught the Bible daily with devotions morning and evening, and they have no TV!  Jerry preached at a nearby congregation both evenings that we were with Thang.  One evening a severe rain and hail storm hit just as worship finished, but it was no problem as everyone calmly gathered in the family's home on the first floor, whereas the church met on the second floor.  Everyone enjoyed the fellowship together, while patiently waiting for the rain to stop so they could walk home. 

From Manipur we journeyed to Madurai in Tamil Nadu, taking parts of two days even by flying.  It seems that flights in India never connect up as they do here, so it is not uncommon to be forced to spend the night somewhere while in transit.  One night we rode the train all night in order to avoid spending the night at a hotel. 

Three days were spent with Arjunan, who lives about 11/2 hours outside of Madurai.  We left our hotel at 4:00 a.m. in Calcutta and arrived at his house about 3:00 p.m.  After resting a short while, and eating an Indian feast of goat's head and goat's brain (yes, you read this correctly!), we set out for a meeting at a small nearby Hindu village.  This time, Paula did the work, teaching a group of children, while Arjunan and I relaxed.  Arjunan directs a part-time Bible school scattered over the state with different teachers in various areas.  Students, teachers, and others came for classes on Monday and Tuesday, during which I taught on the parables of Jesus in Luke 14-16.  Sunday found us at worship, then afterwards working with some members of the church to prepare his monthly magazine for mailing.  Later that evening we had worship again.  One older educated gentleman traveled three hours with 7 others whom he had taught and wanted to be baptized.  This man is on fire for God, having been a Christian only a couple of years, yet he has taught and baptized 50 people in the last six months.  He traveled back home by bus with these new Christians that night, and to our surprise, he was back the next morning ready for classes. 

Wednesday was Paula's day in Madurai, as she was the featured speaker at a Ladies Day.  We have been here several times before, and recognized many of the Christians.  A large crowd of nearly 80 women attended and several books were given to each as they registered.

 Visakha Valley Bible College
Friday was graduation day for 12 proud students as they finished two years of intense study.  A tent and many chairs were placed in the street to accommodate the ceremony.  A large crowd assembled, including several of the past graduates, to congratulate the graduates on their accomplishments.  Each of them received a bicycle to help them in their future work. 

Soon after the ceremony began, loud music began playing behind the stage.  We thought they were only trying to interfere with us; however, it was actually a wedding in progress down the street, and they also had a tent in the street.  You never know what you may see in India, but you can rest assured that a lot of noise will be associated with it.  This school is associated with Bear Valley in Denver and overseen by the elders of our sponsoring congregation, the Strickland church near Corinth, MS.

After Joshua Gootam and I spoke at the graduation in Visak, we all traveled south by car three hours to Kakinada.  Joshua and his son, Ricky, have a large printing, TV and Bible correspondence work, as well as a children's home.  We saved money here by staying in a room at their children's home, which is on the third floor above the church and their offices.  We were awakened each morning about 6:00 a.m. by children singing.  Sometimes this makes for a short night, since three of the nights we did not return from a evening meeting until nearly midnight! 

Two of these churches were composed of mostly women.  Normally these meetings are peaceful; however, one evening was far from peaceful.  It was in a small village, and we met in the middle of a narrow street.  Initially, the electricity was off; thus, it was very dark when we began except for a few portable lights.  The power came on after 20 minutes, and shortly afterward, loud music began playing next door.  Most of the time, this sort of thing does not bother us, but it did this time.  It is very distracting to have loud music blaring directly behind you.  Soon after this, a drunken Hindu man walked out of his house and caused a disturbance.  Two of the women in the audience proceeded to tell him to be quiet, and soon a rather loud argument was taking place.  Of course, they were speaking in Telegu so we could not understand what was said, but it looked like a literal fight was about to break out among the men.  Naturally, the service came to a standstill, and we were the spectators.   However, before too long, the Hindu man went back into his house, and we continued the service, but the music continued.  Interestingly, it was not long before the electricity went off again, so that ended the music, but not the preaching!  We never felt personally threatened, but we sometimes think about Christians who are surrounded by Hindu neighbors, and yet they remain faithful and vocal about their faith.

Please remember all these Christians in your prayers.

Jerry & Paula Bates

Posted on June 3, 2015 .

January - March Report...

Dear Supporters,

Our immediate plans are to leave March 11th for the island of Sri Lanka, just off the southern tip of India.  We will spend a weekend there, and travel to Myanmar, spending nearly two weeks teaching in a Bible school.  We usually do this every spring, and we know we will have some very hot weather, which is rather nice after a long cold winter.  The last weeks will be in various places in India, returning on April 17th.

These last two months have been very busy.  We have visited 16 congregations within two months, even after teaching two weeks in India.  As one might say, we have not let any grass grow under our feet.  Without the help of so many, we would not be able to do anything, so again let us say thank you to all our supporters.  We enjoy the work that we do, and we believe much good is done for the growth of the kingdom of God.

India Travels
Jerry spent the last two weeks of January in India teaching in two schools of preaching and visiting with our coworkers in Delhi.  The trip went fine, except for travel problems.  We have come to accept some problems as part of mission work, especially when you travel as much as we do.  Jerry arrived in Delhi about 1:00 a.m. as expected; however, he could not find one of his bags.  It was an odd shaped box of books that we were going to mail to Visakhapatnam, India.  International travel allows two bags, so this saved shipping cost as far as India.  Unfortunately, he could not find it, and it took a long time to complete the paper work.  All this time, Vinay David was waiting outside the terminal, but he knew what was going on, because Jerry called him on our Indian cell phone.  That phone certainly comes in handy.  Anyway, it was nearly 3:00 a.m. before they left the airport, finally arriving at Vinay's house about 4:00 a.m.  By this time Jerry had been traveling about 32 hours.  The good news is the box was delivered the next day.

While in Delhi, Jerry had a good visit with all the Davids and preached Sunday morning at the worship service.  Their Hindi TV programs are going well and bringing in many good contacts from a very large area.  This is increasing the need for more follow-up materials.  Recently, Vinay requested additional funds from the World Evangelism team to print some Bible correspondence courses.  During our travels, we often deliver funds for various purposes.  By doing this, we know that the money gets to where it needs to go in a timely manner.

In order to spend all day teaching at the North India Bible College in Chandigarh on Monday, Jerry planned to ride the train five hours.  He was supposed to arrive about 8:30 p.m. Sunday night; however, due to heavy fog, the train was delayed leaving over two hours.  Vinay again stayed by his side until the train departed.  More time was lost along the way, so he did not arrive in Chandigarh until 1:00 a.m. Monday.  Ernest Gill was waiting for him at the train station for over two hours.  Nevertheless, they were ready to teach on Monday morning.  Jerry also carried on the train 10,000 tracts that had been translated and printed by Vinay.  This was composed of 10 different titles and would be a great help to the students as they go out at various times to evangelize.

In 2014 World Evangelism assumed the oversight and funding of the North India Bible College.  In February we visited all the congregations that support it.  Jerry wanted to spend a week teaching at this school, because that is the only way to really see how it is progressing.  This way he could spend time talking with the staff and students and gain a better understanding of the quality and goals of the students.  Four students graduated in February, and one of them is an older student who has been working a full-time job in addition to attending the school.  He must have been extremely busy during this time.  He is older, ready to retire in three years, and his goal is to move to his hometown and begin the church.

The class due to graduate in 2016 is composed of eight men, and they seemed to be dedicated to the goal of preaching the gospel.  One in particular stood out.  He is married with two young children.  Of course, his family is living with his parents, while he is in school, and they are in Mumbai, which is approximately 1,200 miles from Chandigarh.  He is the only person in his family who is a Christian, so obviously he doesn't receive much encouragement and support from anyone, including his wife.  This is a commitment that we cannot truly grasp!  When he graduates he wants to move to his home state of Uttar Pradesh and begin the church in places that it currently does not exist.  Students coming that far from their homes are common for this school, because Hindi is spoken over a very large area, and this is the only Hindi speaking school of preaching as far as we know.

The next week Jerry taught at the Visakha Valley Bible school.  There is a great contrast in weather between the two places.  Chandigarh is cool and damp with no heat in the classroom, while Visak is very pleasant, even needing fans.  January is the best time to visit south India, because it is very hot any other time.  Both of these schools are two year full-time Bible schools, just like the schools in the states.  He taught the same course at both places, the Work of the Preacher.  This school will have a graduation on April 10th, and we plan on attending the graduation.  Since it would not be possible to teach at that time, he coupled these two schools together in this January trip.  Twelve students are due to graduate, but several more attended the classes every day.

The second week was filled with activity.  Jerry taught all day, and had night meetings on two of the evenings.  We always enjoy these night meetings and the opportunity to visit with Christians and usually many visitors from the community.  There was a rather large crowd at one of the meetings.  The meeting place was a house with three small rooms.  Each room was completely filled and many were sitting outside on the street.  Many of the people could not even see Jerry while he was preaching. 

This school is an excellent school with great leadership from Samuel Raju and his son, John Dean.  Thirty men have graduated from this school in the past, and all are still faithfully working for the church.  There are few churches in India that can fully support a preacher; therefore, it is not uncommon for a graduate from a brotherhood school of preaching to be offered support from a denomination.  As you might imagine, this is a great temptation, and several have succumbed to it.  The good news is that the ones from this school seem to be well grounded, and none have yielded to this trap. 

Stateside Travels
Paula was very busy with office work while Jerry was in India.  Because of the end of the year reports, etc., January is always hectic.  We shipped out Volume 82 of the Voice of Truth before Jerry left on his trip.  A group from French Camp came and helped one Friday while he was gone.  In addition, a group from Collierville came down on a Saturday and helped pack many overseas boxes of literature.  The first week in February was spent at the Freed-Hardeman lectureship.  Jerry was picked up at the airport on the way to Trenton to our bed and breakfast at Wayne & Connie Bates, and Jerry preached at two churches Sunday.  There was no time for jet lag as work must go on.   World Evangelism always has two display tables, and we traveled early Monday morning to Henderson to set up the display.  Betty Choate joined us later Monday.  We always enjoy seeing so many of our supporters during this week.  We never know what opportunities may present themselves, and such was the case here.  During the week, Freed-Hardeman was trying to reduce their inventory of their older lectureship books.  They were selling them at only $1.00/copy.  Many people took advantage of this, and World Evangelism bought several complete sets to give to our foreign coworkers.  There still remained a large quantity, and we bought the rest at only $.50/copy.  It was fortunate that we had extra room in our trailer going, because we certainly had no room coming back.  We also brought back many old song books from the Dorris Chapel congregation and some used literature from the Adamsville church.  A group from Strickland came down on Saturday, February 21st, to help sort and repack those lectureship books as well as load the trailer for our next trip to Dallas.

On February 16th Jerry was scheduled to fly to Denver for a meeting with the extension staff of Bear Valley Bible Institute.  The flight was booked to leave from Nashville, since it was cheaper, plus he could visit churches on Sunday in that direction.  However, as you may remember, a bad snow/ice storm hit Nashville that day, so his flight was cancelled.  Since he couldn't go that day, he cancelled the whole trip.  He was iced in for a day and night in a hotel close to the airport.

On the weekend of March 1st we traveled to Mission Printing in Arlington, TX to deliver more literature to them to be shipped overseas.  Much of this was material that we picked up from churches such as song books, Heart/Heart, Gospel Minutes, Bible class literature, etc.  This will be very useful to anyone who may receive it.  While there we also visited two churches in the area, Oak Grove in Mt. Pleasant and Sherman Drive in Denton.  These churches began supporting the North India Bible School last year, and we had never visited them before, so it was good to meet them.

Voice of Truth International in Nigeria
We continue to print the Voice of Truth in Nigeria.  Makinde Olefumi, a native Nigerian, is in charge of the printing and distribution of these books.  He also directs the Southwest School of Evangelism, a school associated with Bear Valley.  3,000 copies are normally printed, but they had a big nationwide preacher's meeting in January, and he wanted extra, so we sent extra funds to print 6,000.  In most countries, it is cost prohibitive to print such a small number, but in Nigeria, the cost of printing is about the same as elsewhere, only about 60 cents/copy.  Furthermore, there is no shipping involved in the distribution, so this is a win/win situation.

Because of your faithful support, the gospel is being proclaimed around the world.  Thanks!

Jerry & Paula Bates

Government Vs. Christianity in India!
When  I was in India in January, I noticed an undercurrent of concern among the Christians.  Officially, the government stance has been and continues to be freedom of religion, but that is changing.  The current ruling party in very pro-Hindu, and they are proud to announce that India is a Hindu nation.  Nowhere is this attitude more pronounced that the attitude towards Christians.  Christians have often been the target of localized persecution and social pressure, and little is done to the offenders, since Christians constitute such a tiny minority of the population.  For example, recently Philemon and several others were distributing tracts on a street corner, and several Hindus began harassing them.  The police came and as a pretense arrested the Christians.  When they questioned the police why they were being arrested, the police simply answered they were saving them from being beaten or killed.  However, nothing was done to the Hindu offenders.  That illustrates the current situation in India. 

Notice this quote from a recent email from John Dean in Andra Pradesh and the state where Christians are the most numerous. 

 “Brethren, Christianity by large is in big threat by the raging Hindu Movement in our country.  Since the ruling party is Hindu supported, also our nationals are predominately Hindus, these two things are a big threat to the Christians and Christian institutions and also charitable organizations which are being supported by Christians.

 Communist ideology of the government in economics on the other is tightening the financial freedom of the common man.  Even though there is no persecution directly in a large number, but their indirect moves with a long term plan to eliminate Christianity in India is very scary.  Trust me it is the whole idea, they are working from the ground root level.  Recently one Hindu organization made a commitment to start a Hindu operated school in every village of our country and want to accomplish this task by 2017.  Some radical groups have vowed to clean the Christianity by 2021.”

This emphasizes we must do all we can while we can, because one day soon, the door may close! 

Posted on March 6, 2015 .

October - December Report...

The last week in October and first week in November found me in Vietnam.  This was my first trip to this country, but the Barriers in Florence who work with World Evangelism make a trip there every year.  People often have misconceptions about various countries, and I was that way about Vietnam.  I generally assumed that it would be a country of rice, jungles, and poor housing.  However, I was greatly mistaken.  Of course, it still had its share of rice, but the country that I saw was very clean and modern.  I spent most of my time in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), and this city was a bustling modern city filled with great numbers of motorcycles, since most people rode motorcycles rather than in cars.  It was also a city with several parks scattered throughout the city.  One large park was just across the street from the hotel in which we stayed part of the time, and many people used the park for daily exercise.  Early every morning, numerous people set up badminton nets in the park and played before going about their daily activities.  I made two trips outside of the city to other places, and each town was likewise clean with modern buildings and nice housing.

Vietnam is a communist country, but it has also embraced various aspects of capitalism.  Religiously, it is primarily Buddhist, but large numbers claim to be either Roman Catholic or CMA (Christian Missionary Alliance), which is basically a combination of all Protestant denominations.  There are also many groups called house churches, which are small independent assemblies that meet in various homes.  The church would be part of this group.  Many of these small groups are sincere believers but basically ignorant of the Bible, thus they need to be taught about the true church.  There are many groups such as these scattered throughout the country.  My perception of the church has certainly changed as I had thought that it would be basically non-existent in Vietnam, but surprisingly many small groups are meeting throughout the country.

The method that is being utilized to teach and ground the church is to invite groups of people, both Christians and non-Christians, to a training session spread over 2-3 days.  Everyone stays in a hotel, and we meet in a room in the same hotel.  This is necessary due to the government situation.  The translator we used was a young Vietnamese man who is currently studying in a Bible school in Singapore.  He said that Christian groups can meet in homes with no problem.  The problem is that we as Americans are forbidden to meet with them.  Thus, we stay and meet in hotels in order to avoid the appearance of foreigners meeting and teaching the native brethren.  The rooms were alwayscrowded, and the people sat on the beds and floor as they listened.  The time we had was well utilized.  We would start classes about 8:00 am and teach until 12:00, take a couple of hours break, meet again until about 5:00, and after the evening meal, meet again for a couple of hours.  Many questions were asked, and it was a challenge to be prepared to answer those questions.  During my time in Vietnam, I was able to meet with three separate groups. 

One interesting story concerned a family living in the city of DaNang, a good distance north of Ho Chi Minh city.  The husband was an American Christian running a bed and breakfast in that city.  He graduated from Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, TX many years ago, and had been living and working in Vietnam for several years.  He had married a Vietnamese woman about 12 years ago and they had two children.  He had been teaching his wife, but she had never been baptized.  It was necessary for them to come to Ho Chi Minh in order to solve some kind of Visa problem, and he and his family worshipped with us on the first Sunday I was there.  They were still there on the following Saturday night, and then we found out that his wife had just been baptized.  Naturally, he was overjoyed, yet also somewhat perplexed.  He had been teaching her for many years without success, and she waited until then to respond.  One must never give up on other people, because we never know when their hearts might soften.   

Recap of 2014
At the end of the year we always enjoy summarizing what was done during the year.  It is usually surprising when everything is added together.  Five weekly TV programs were added in 2014.  One 30 minute weekly program was added in Hindi, and Thang Lien arranged for four local 1-hour weekly programs in Manipur.  TV programs are a great benefit to the work in India, since it is home to such a huge number of people.  Through TV, literally millions upon millions of people have access to hearing the gospel preached every week, and many contacts are gained through these programs. 

We also started a Bible school with Arjunan designed to further teach those who are not able to attend a full-time Bible school.  Twelve students are currently enrolled, but many more are wanting to join in the spring.  The J C School of Evangelism had two graduations, one in Orissa and one in Tamil Nadu, totaling 43 graduates.  World Evangelism has also assumed the support of the North India Bible College in Chandigarh, India, because it lost support in January.

Both of us traveled together during the Spring and Fall and taught and visited with those associated with World Evangelism. Jerry made a total of four overseas trips in 2014 which included teaching at five schools associated with Bear Valley.  Included in these trips were schools in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Nepal, and India.  Combined with the teaching was also some discussion regarding the distribution of the Voice of Truth.  Literature and schools work well together, since many times students help with the distribution of the books.  Schools often send their students out on evangelistic campaigns and literature is a great help in this regard as well.  We have begun printing the Voice of Truth in Nigeria, and shipped it in bulk to Ghana and Tanzania for them to distribute.  It is working well in Ghana, but not so well in Tanzania, so we will have to do some thinking and discussion about how to best distribute in that area.

We made three trips to the Dallas area delivering literature to be sent on containers to various countries in Africa.  This comprised nearly 6,000 pounds of literature.  Much of this literature we picked up as we visited our supporting congregations.  In addition, numerous people came by the office and picked up literature to take with them on mission trips.  We continue to also ship the Voice of Truth and other books by regular shipping throughout the year. 

            Jerry Bates

Posted on January 14, 2015 .

July - September Newsletter...

Dear Supporters:

A Journey That We Thought Would Never End
After a very busy July getting ready for our next trip, we were barely able to get everything done by the time we were to leave. Actually, we were not completely ready, since Jerry still had to prepare a few lessons on which our coworkers wanted him to teach.  We left Memphis on July 30th expecting this trip to be like most of the others, a tiring trip but not too eventful. However, this time we were sadly mistaken. Our flight from Memphis was delayed about two hours, which meant that we missed all our other flights. Delta Airlines had a problem finding flights into Kilimanjaro, Tanzania that were not completely booked, but after being on the phone with them for over one hour, we finally had new connections, although they were terrible. We were forced to travel to Atlanta, New York, Accra, Ghana, Nairobi, Kenya, before finally arriving in Tanzania. A trip that should have taken only two days wound up taking a long four days. Fortunately, since tickets for Wednesday were considerably cheaper than they would have been just two days later, we had left early, which meant that we really did not miss many teaching plans, although Paula did miss a meeting for the preachers’ wives.

In Tanzania, Stephanie Stafford was our hostess for the two weeks we were there. Her husband, Cy, was in the States raising funds for their work in Arusha. They have a nice home, and we had a pleasant stay with Stephanie and her mother, who also lives with them. We arrived at her house about 1:00 am Sunday morning; nevertheless, we hit the ground running with both of us teaching at church that morning. During the next two weeks, Jerry taught two Master’s classes with nine students, and Paula had several ladies’ classes. Jerry had taught these same students last year at this time, and it was good to see them again and already have that connection.  

The first week, the East Africa Lectureship was held at the school. This was entirely sponsored by the African churches with several countries represented. It rotates among different places every year, and Paula was able to teach the ladies for one hour each day. Next year it is scheduled to be held in Ghana. How they think this is East Africa, we do not understand. Ghana is in North Africa.

Paula had a couple of interesting experiences. On Monday of the first week, she had a Bible study with a woman, and some native women studied further with her over the next few days. This woman was baptized about one week later, so Paula felt she had at least a small part in her conversion. Then on the first Wednesday night we went to a congregation thinking that Jerry would present a lesson. However, there was some mix-up, probably with the lectureship, and no men were there, only several women and children. After some quick thinking, it was decided that Paula could teach a little while, but the only one able to translate was a young 10-year-old girl. She did a fabulous job, especially considering her age, and so a bad situation was salvaged. This again illustrates that one never knows what conditions one may face when in the mission field.  

After two weeks, it came time to go to our next stop, Kathmandu, Nepal. Jerry Golphenee, an American vocational missionary, has an apartment, but since he and his wife were in the states, he offered us the opportunity to stay there, which meant that we were quite comfortable while in Nepal. It had been a couple of years since we had been to Nepal, so we were very glad to see the Christians in Kathmandu again. This city is a very large, sprawling, capital city. The traffic was horrible, and the roads were worse, which contributed to the traffic problems. 

The programs were planned in detail as to what we would be doing, so they kept us both very busy every day. We arrived early Saturday morning after traveling all night from Africa, and after a quick breakfast and shower, we traveled a short distance in the city where Jerry preached twice to a large group of Christians. The next day we actually taught three different groups of Christians. On Monday while still in the city, we walked a long distance up a mountain road to a one-room native home with mud walls. All the preaching school students enjoyed a day out by also traveling to that home for a teaching session. The man of the house is one of the instructors at the school as well as a small farmer. Paula returned to this home on Thursday for a ladies’ program.  

During the rest of the week, we split up with Paula having a ladies’ program at each of the three meeting places we had earlier visited, and Jerry taught on New Testament worship each day at the Bear Valley school that meets in Kathmandu. A group of Christians associated with the school have formed a committee and plan on translating the Voice of Truth International into Nepali. They were able to find a very reasonable printing price; thus they will be able to distribute this all over Nepal and into parts of India. The churches in Nepal are scattered, and many are quite remote; so this should be a great encouragement and teaching tool for the various congregations. We left funds to print Voice of Truth International as well as the Church of the Bible in the Nepali language. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Nepal and felt that our time was well spent, especially since they implored us to spend two weeks with them next fall.  

Chennai, India
World Evangelism has been working with Arjunan for many years sponsoring his TV programs and printing work. This last spring, we provided funds that allowed him and three other experienced preachers to start a part-time Bible School for interested Christians who are unable to quit their jobs to attend a full-time preaching school. Each student will meet every month with a local teacher, and every six months all the teachers and students plan to come together, so this time we met with them in Chennai. They are currently working with twelve students, and the school seems to be going well. Two of the students made a special effort to tell Jerry how much they appreciated being able to attend the school. Several other preachers also attended the classes taught by Jerry, and Paula taught a group of ladies at the same time. Both of us had to contend with major street noise (many horns blowing) as well as fans to keep cool, so it was certainly not an ideal situation.  

Coonoor, J C School of Evangelism
Philemon and his entire family joined us in Coonoor for the graduation and final session of the J C School of Evangelism. This school is dedicated to teaching and encouraging Christians, both men and women, to be soul winners for Christ. This school has been held in several locations, with this being the fifth graduation, and each time it has been extremely successful in maturing and motivating the Christians. Included in the class were multi-generations from the same family. One of the graduates was a 70-year-old woman. All of her family were faithful Christians; two of her grandsons also graduated from the school, and one is thinking that now he wants to preach. We could tell from the attitude of everyone that she was sort of a matriarch and very much respected. Three congregations were involved in the school, and at the close, the preacher of one of them stated how much it had helped. He said that before the school started, the congregation was decreasing in number and nearly lifeless, but during the course of the school, many members had come back, and now the spirit was back. We have seen results like this in every location in which the school has been held. Philemon is doing an excellent job in this work, and currently the school is going on in three different locations in three states.  

Hill Station Preacher Seminar
This was held in a cool, damp and rustic setting, but the Indians enjoy leaving the heat and going to the cooler areas. This was a three day seminar attended by 40 preachers and 12 women, all invited by Rajanayagam, one of our TV speakers. Paula taught the ladies the entire time and they seemed to really enjoy her lessons. Jerry taught a subject that was quite different from any of their normal seminars. Churches are just like churches in the U. S., except probably worse, and they often have problems within congregations and between preachers and congregations. To better equip these preachers to deal with those problems, Jerry presented some information on conflict resolution, and they were eager to discuss and learn about some principles that might help solve conflicts. Many of them commented on the usefulness of the discussion. Thus, we feel like it was time well spent on a much needed topic. Rajanayagam thinks he can get another similar group together, so we may try to do it again next year with completely different people.  

Kochi Lectureship
This is an annual 3-day lectureship completely sponsored by the churches in the state of Kerala in south India. It is always well attended by people from at least three states, attendance probably around 250. World Evangelism was well represented with two of our TV speakers preaching as well as Jerry. He spoke twice, Philemon Raja twice, and P K Varghese three times. Each of them also led two discussion groups, and Paula led one women's discussion group. The lectureship centered on the theme, "He who wins souls is wise,” taken from Proverbs 11:30. We attended this lectureship two years ago, and this time we knew a surprising number of people, having met many at different places. It was good to see familiar faces again. After seven years of traveling to India, numerous people recognize who we are. Many commented on how much they appreciated us being with them, and they pleaded for us to come back next year. We hope that we can.  

This lectureship is directed by Saju George, a long-time faithful gospel preacher in Kochi. He and P K Varghese are hoping to start a school of preaching in 2015. It is certainly needed as there is no brotherhood school in this state and language group of about 34 million people. We at World Evangelism are hoping we can help fund this school as well and teach some short courses in the school.  

September in the USA
After arriving back home on September 10th, we hardly slowed down. We immediately started visiting congregations on both Sunday and Wednesday night. One of those congregations was the Dorris Chapel congregation near Trenton, TN. This was a special visit, since Jerry’s brother,Wayne, was recently appointed as one of the elders of that congregation. He has always been very supportive of mission work and certainly he and his wife, Connie,  have been very supportive of us in our work. In addition to visiting several churches, we also attended a World Mission seminar held at Heritage Christian University in Florence. September 22 found us at the Harding University Lectureship. This was a special occasion as the Choates and World Evangelism were honored for their longtime commitment to mission work. Thus, we were there to share the special evening with Betty.  

October will not be any less busy as Jerry is speaking at the World Mission Forum at the Forrest Park congregation in Atlanta, GA, October 16-19th. The next week he will be traveling with Wayne and Jeremy Barrier to Vietnam for two weeks. This is his first trip to this country, but they wanted him to become familiar with that country, so he might possibly become more involved in the work there.  

As always, none of this would be possible without your continuing support, and we deeply appreciate and thank you all for your interest and support.  

Jerry & Paula Bates

Posted on October 12, 2014 .

May-June Newsletter

Dear Supporters:

The third week in June found Jerry in Nigeria.  I had never been in Nigeria before so this was a new experience.  Most of you have probably heard something about the violence in Nigeria, but that is primarily in the north, and I went to the south.  There have been no problems in the area in which I traveled.  Nevertheless, Paula was glad when I left Nigeria. 

The main reason for this trip was to check on the progress of the Voice of Truth.  We have mentioned before about the great increase in shipping rates, so we had one issue printed in Nigeria for the first time in February of this year.  So far it looks good.  The first issue was of acceptable quality, and the distribution worked better than we had thought it might.  Other than India, we have been sending more to this country than any other.  The native preachers have several large preacher meetings, thus the distribution within the country was not as much of an issue as we thought it might be.  Probably 90% of the contacts that had formerly been receiving the magazine as well as many other preachers received this issue.  Thus, we are very encouraged that we have solved the issue of distributing the magazine in Nigeria.  As a bonus, this costs nothing to ship.

Our coworker in Nigeria, Makinde Ebens, also directs a school of preaching, the Southwest School of Evangelism.  In addition, he serves as a distribution point for World Bible School and preaches for a local congregation in Ibadan Nigeria, so he is a very busy individual.  This congregation does a most unusual thing.  Every third Sunday, instead of having Bible class, everyone goes out evangelizing for about 1.5 hours.  After preaching to this congregation on Sunday morning, I taught a week in the school, which made the trip much more rewarding and effective.  I taught the book of Romans to 32 preacher students, the staff and several visitors who came in for the special class, which amounted to a total class of over forty students.  I was able to teach in English, and everyone seemed to enjoy our discussion. 

Ghana, Africa
After teaching in Nigeria for a week, I traveled to Accra, Ghana.  A new Bible school, the Southern Institute of Biblical Studies, had begun just outside the main city, which is directed by Seth Larbi.  He also directs a literature distribution center, and he is scheduled to receive the Voice of Truth, which is being sent to him from India.  We thought that magazine would be there by the time I arrived, but it took so long for the books to be shipped that they were still in transit.  Nevertheless, it was good to meet Seth and talk about the distribution.

Many preachers come to him to pick up material from World Bible School and Mission Printing, so he can distribute much material without any shipping costs.  Some will have to be shipped in bulk to the northern part of the country, probably to the Bear Valley School, and it can distribute the books in that area.  People in these countries love to receive these books.

On Sunday, I preached to the congregation with which Seth works.  This seemed to be a very thriving congregation with big plans.  About 100 souls gathered for worship that morning, and the singing was beautiful.  This group is also very evangelistic having started about five other churches in the area and actually could have been bigger because some of their members are continually leaving to plant other congregations, which of course is a good thing.  On Wednesday night I visited one of those church plants, which has been in existence about six years, and that congregation now has about 100 on Sunday.

I taught a week in the school, called the Southern Institute of Biblical Studies.  It has only been operating a few months.  Twelve students are currently enrolled with one woman auditing the classes.  I taught Leadership to this group, and the students seemed to really enjoy studying this badly needed subject.  I was the first foreigner to teach in this new school.

Future plans
July will be especially busy since we will be visiting many churches.  We also have several shipments of books to be packed and sent to various overseas countries.  In addition we are planning to make a trip to Mission Printing in Dallas, TX.  They are sending a container to Nigeria in August, and we have many song books, old VBS materials and other things that we have collected which can be put to great use by this predominately English speaking country.  On July 30th we leave again on our fall trip.  This trip begins with two weeks in Arusha, Tanzania in the southern part of Africa.  This is the same place that Jerry traveled last year.  This year Jerry will once again be teaching in the school, and Paula will be kept busy working with the local missionary’s wife, Stephanie Stafford.  From there, we journey to Nepal, where Jerry will spend a week teaching at the Bear Valley school in Kathmandu, and Paula will again be working with the ladies at several locations.  Next, we will spend about three weeks at various locations in India, finally arriving back in the states on September 10th. 

As always, we continue to thank you for your interest and support of our work.

Exciting News
May 4th was the first day for telecasting from the city of Churachanpur in the state of Manipur in India.  This will encompass four 1-hour programs per week for a cost of only $140/month. Thang Lien who has been translating the Voice of Truth and other basic study books is the speaker.  Interestingly, this was not his idea.  Just in conversation on our spring trip, we asked him what was the situation with Christian TV broadcasting in his area.  He was not very encouraging because it seemed that other religious groups in the area had a monopoly on the programs.  Yet, he did some checking and was able to arrange broadcast times.  These TV broadcasts are going out to a very limited area, basically just close to his city; nevertheless, it has the potential of reaching over 250,000 viewers!  Since they have only a few channels available to them in their area, the likelihood of them tuning in is much greater than it might be even in other areas of India.  Thang Lien is already reporting that they are having several contacts, and since they are local, it will be much easier to follow up on these people searching for the truth. Since the first time we met them, Thang Lien and his wife have impressed us.  They have the hearts of servants.  We are so happy that through World Evangelism we can help them spread the true Gospel to the good people in their part of India, and you are helping when you help us.

Jerry & Paula Bates

Posted on July 11, 2014 .

March - April Newsletter

Dear Supporters:

Our trip to India was almost delayed before we even started.  You may remember the ice storm that hit Arkansas and Tennessee on Sunday, March 2nd.  We left on Monday, March 3rd, and we spent the weekend before with our daughters in Jonesboro, AR.  Jonesboro and that area was hit hard by sleet with an accumulation of 3 inches.  We don't believe that we had ever seen that much sleet.  We were scheduled to visit with the congregation in Senath, MO Sunday night, but that was canceled as you might expect.  Monday morning arrived with the sun shining brightly, but everything was covered with ice.  Fortunately, our flight did not leave until that afternoon, so we had plenty of time to make the trip to Memphis.  We had no problems, although the roads were very slick until we arrived in Memphis.  Nevertheless, it certainly made for a stressful beginning. 

The first part of our trip was composed of very short stops.  Our first stop was visiting with Ernest Gill in Chandigarh.  His wife has cancer and many of you have contributed money towards her treatment.  She has nearly finished her treatments, and she is doing well considering, although she had certainly aged since a year ago.  She commented to Paula that one of the worst parts was that in the beginning she developed sores in her throat and was not able to sing during worship.  She prayed that God would grant her the ability to recover her voice, since she loved to sing.  Fortunately, she now has no problems with that.  Ernest prints the Voice Of Truth International for us in the Hindi language, and a new issue has very recently come out.  He also directs a school of preaching which we help support in a small way.

From Chandigarh we traveled to Manipur in extreme East India to visit Thang Lien.  He also translates the Voice of Truth for us, and we left him funds to print one of Bro. Choate's books, Why We Believe What We Believe.  We were only there two days, but we had several teaching sessions with one congregation with whom we had visited before.  It is a small, but very spiritual congregation, and they made us very welcome.  We also met with another brother from Imphal, the capital city of the state of Manipur.  He wants to start a small school with 5-6 students.  A school like what he proposes is certainly needed in that area, and the costs are minimal.  He thinks he can run the school for only $350/month.  We are a little short of extra funds to commit to that cost every month at this time.  If only 3 congregations could increase their support $100/month, we could totally fund this school.  Surely it would be well worth that amount. 

The next stop was Chennai in South India.  Even though we were still within India, it took four short flights and 13 hours to travel from one hotel to another.  During that time there was nothing to eat except some snacks that we had brought with us.  Needless to say, we were hungry and exhausted when we finally reached our hotel.  We surely rested good that night. 

The next morning we awoke refreshed, and Jerry taught a few hours to a group of approximately 50 preachers and their wives.  At different times Paula taught the women and some of their children.  This was a group to whom we had never spoken, although we had met a few of them before at various places.  This congregation is led by two elders and two deacons, and it is unusual to find a congregation in India that is organized to that extent.  The building in which they met is owned by one of the elders.  The bottom floor is rented to a couple of businesses, the church meets on the second floor, and the family lives on the third floor.  By the way, there is no elevator.  We ate breakfast with this family one morning, and they had enough food for about 10 people.  We were really impressed with their hospitality. 

We learned long ago that one must be very flexible, because plans can change at a moments notice.  This happened to Jerry one night.  He understood that he was going to preach at a night meeting, thus he planned one lesson thinking he would have an hour or so to preach.  About two minutes before he was to begin, Arjunan leaned over and said that some people had to leave to catch a train at 7:30, and it was then 7:05.  That meant Jerry only had about 15 minutes to preach his lesson, not nearly enough time to preach the lesson he had planned.  Consequently, he had to quickly get another lesson in his mind to preach. 

Arjunan is now working closely with the preacher for the congregation where we met, and we were pleased to find he could speak English well.  He translated for Jerry some during the two days. These two men and two others had just started a part-time Bible school in four different places to help train people who cannot stop work and attend a full-time Bible school.  The cost for this type of school is minimal (about $200/month), and we have agreed to help their efforts in this regard. 

We also had a short group meeting with our three team members, Arjunan, Philemon and Rajanayagam, all of whom work in the same state of Tamil Nadu.  None of them lives in Chennai, but all travel to Chennai to film their TV programs, so there really was no extra travel involved.  This made for a full day, because we met with a small group of preachers and their families during the day, met late that afternoon with our coworkers, and then rode an overnight train with Philemon to his hometown, Madurai.

We did not sleep well during the train ride, but we saved a day of work by riding the train at night.  We had not been in Madurai for nearly two years, and it was good to see everyone again.  We feel an especially close bond to the people of this area, so we enjoyed our brief time there.  The first day was a meeting with some graduates of the JC School of Evangelism.  Part of the time was spent with everyone telling what they were doing to spread the message of salvation to the lost all around them.  This was an encouraging time as we were able to hear about so much evangelistic activity and the hard work taking place.  Paula was busy with a ladies day on the second day, resulting in one lady being baptized, and Jerry had a little extra time to get some work done as well as conduct some business.  He still had some work to do to get ready for the class he was teaching in Yangon, Myanmar, our last stop of this trip.

Rajamundry & Visak
We rode another overnight train from Madurai to Chennai on Friday night, and then on Saturday, we took a flight to Rajamundry.  This was just a short weekend visit with the Gootams.  We always enjoy our time with them.  They have about 65 children in an orphanage, and most of them are younger, between 8-12.  Paula taught them in class on Sunday morning and Jerry preached to the congregation. 

Visakha Valley Bible School Graduate Class
 Early Monday morning, John Dean and his father, Samuel Raju, picked us up, and we rode in their car nearly three hours to reach Visak.  This is the location of the Visakha Valley Bible School, and Jerry was scheduled to teach two master's courses over the next two weeks.  A good group of eleven students gathered for his classes.  Most came a long distance, averaging about 250 km (155 miles), and the average age of the class was 37.  All traveled several hours by train or bus and they are all preaching in various places, some for more than one congregation.  Jerry enjoys these classes since they are taught in English.  This allows for more discussion and more material to be covered.  It is tiresome though, since the classes last about six hours a day.  The native teachers often sit some when they teach, but Jerry prefers to stand.  The native brethren are often impressed at the strength of Jerry to be able to stand and teach that long every day for two weeks.  The undergraduate courses are still taught in the native language of Telegu.  Paula taught five ladies classes during the two weeks, and they were all taught in Telegu with the aid of a translator. 

Brahmapur, Orissa
We stayed in this city on the edge of Orissa for nearly a week, but were working with two different preachers.  The Christians in this state have had many problems in the past, so the church is not nearly as strong here as in the next southern state, Andra Pradesh.  Joshua Gootam had made several trips to Orissa, and he wanted us to meet with his contacts for the weekend.  We had three meetings with one congregation and one night evangelistic meeting in a nearby village.  We were scheduled to have a second night meeting in another village, but it was decided that it was not really safe for a couple of foreigners to visit that village.  Hindus in this area can sometimes become very angry when Christians meet.

One thing that we noticed was a great contrast between this state and Andra Pradesh.  The people with whom we visited in Orissa were simple minded people and few had Bibles or songbooks.  Several were fishermen, and likely most could not read. 

Philemon has been conducting his J C School of Evangelism in this city for  the last two years, and a graduation ceremony for the students was scheduled.  The students of this school have worked very hard for the last couple of years, and it showed by the results.  Since 2011 these students have baptized 76 people and started 11 new congregations.  This is the sort of results that your contributions help fund.  In addition, two were baptized in the few days we were there. 

We were especially heartened to meet one family of two sisters and two brothers.  One was a young lady of 22, and she helped translate for Paula's classes.  Her sister was baptized while we were in Orissa, but the other three had been Christians for some time.  Their home was a town on the edge of Orissa and a long way from Delhi, but they now live in Brahmapur.  Their father was converted many years ago by the Bible Teacher, a monthly magazine printed by Sunny David and funded by World Evangelism.  Their father of course taught his family and also taught his brother, who has been preaching the gospel for several years.  The interesting thing is that he lived a long distance from Delhi, which once again illustrates the long range of literature.  They had also been receiving the English Voice of Truth International so they were familiar with us on a personal basis.  They were very excited to meet one whose articles they had been reading and literally begged us to come to their home and have a meeting with their congregation.  It so happens that this is quite close to Vinay David’s father-in-law’s home, who has also invited us to visit them sometime, so maybe we can do both.  We have many requests to come to various places to teach, and we cannot fill all the requests. 

After riding an overnight train from Orissa to Calcutta we caught a short flight to Myanmar.  We taught one week at the Hmawbi Bible School as we usually do every spring.  Paula taught the women using  biblical examples of strong women, and I taught the men beginning principles of sermon preparation.  About 25 students from all parts of the country were present for the five-week school. 

After nearly seven weeks, it was time to return home.  However, we had a problem on our return flight.  Our flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was canceled, due to mechanical failure (landing gear not working)! We were forced to spend the night in a hotel.  We were ready to be home, but the layover was not bad as it gave us a chance to rest, so we arrived home more refreshed than usual.  Fortunately, we were originally scheduled to be home on Friday, so even though we were a day late arriving home, we were still able to make our appointments with churches on Sunday.

Once we arrived home, however, we were not able to stop and rest.  The very next week was the annual India missions conference at Heritage Christian University in Florence, and World Evangelism was the sponsor this year.  Thus, we spent Tuesday -Friday in Florence, but then we made good use of time as we traveled to Jonesboro to see our grandchildren.  The next week we traveled to Maywood Christian camp near Hamilton, AL as World Evangelism hosted the annual Missions Retreat.  These are two totally different events and few of the same people were present at both venues. 

Once again we had a very good mission trip to India and Myanmar.  We thank each of you for helping make the printing, seminars and schools with which we are involved possible.  We are glad to be co-workers with you in the Lord's kingdom. 

Jerry & Paula Bates

Posted on May 7, 2014 .

September - October Report


Countdown to India
We had a very busy three weeks in September before leaving for our trip.  The beginning of September found us in Denver, CO for the Bear Valley extension school retreat.  This is a time of planning and swapping ideas about the different schools and a time of fellowship.  Since we had a few days time before our overseas trip, we met Jerry’s brother and his wife for a few days vacation in Breckenridge. We did not immediately return home; rather, we went to Nashville on Monday and met Philemon, one of our Indian co-workers who was visiting in the states.  This led to a whirlwind week of activities.  On Tuesday, September 10th, we had a meeting at the Strickland congregation in Corinth.  We continued home that same night, arriving about midnight.  We were in the office the next day, unloaded the Voice of Truth, and we and Betty traveled to Greenwood and Indianola, MS that night.  We were late arriving home again.  Of course, Philemon was still suffering from jet lag, so he spent some time sleeping in the car.  We kept him busy in the office for the next few days, visiting two churches on Sunday, and the next week, Betty took him to his next stop in northern Florida.  There are always many things to do just before a trip, thus the next few days were hectic.  We also celebrated Paula’s birthday with our children.  This was the first time we were in the states on her birthday in six years.

Dehli, India
On September 26
th, we left for India and had an uneventful trip as most of them are.  We arrived in Delhi about 1:30 am after many hours of flying, and Vinay David was supposed to meet us, but he was late.  We called him, and he said he was on the way, but it still took him about 45 minutes to reach the airport.  We finally were able to get to bed for a few hours rest about 4:00 am.  Needless to say, we did not have to be rocked to sleep.  Saturday was literally a day of rest.  On Sunday we were able to see the new church building at Delhi for the first time.  It is a beautiful building, very unusual for India.  The church is now very visible, which has led to people just dropping in to visit.  Hopefully this will lead to growth.

Our next stop was the extreme eastern state called Manipur, which borders Myanmar.  The difference between Delhi and Manipur is like night and day.  This region is very poor, has very little electricity, and bad roads, yet the church has found a foothold in the beautiful hills of this state.  It seems that the central government considers this region almost like step-children.  For example, one day we visited a small nearby dam that was initially built to produce electricity.  However, it has been built for about 20 years, and still no electricity is being produced. 

In contrast to the rest of India, which is largely Hindu, this region is mostly “Christian” with Baptist being the predominant religion.  We spent an entire week with Thang Lien visiting churches in this region.  He is one of our newer team members, translating the Voice of Truth into Paite.  The third issue has just come from the printers.  He is experiencing some difficulty even among fellow preachers.  He had arranged meetings for us with some area churches, and at the last moment a couple of older preachers persuaded the other congregations not to attend the seminar.  In our opinion this is due to a power and leadership struggle of these older preachers.  They are afraid they would lose some influence if we and Thang were allowed to teach.  Since the church in India is still relatively young, jealousy, envy, and power struggles are all too common.  However, one congregation was not going to be influenced, and we preached in this small congregation every night.  Thang also cares for about 50 children, and we taught lessons to them on two days. 

One day Thang arranged a seminar with area churches in the Imphal area, the capital city of Manipur.  The congregations in that region are small and are experiencing bitter opposition from denominational groups, and they need much teaching and encouragement.  We were the first Americans that had ever been to the place in which the seminar was held, which was under a very small tent.  It had rained hard the night before which made travel difficult and the place muddy.  On the way back to our hotel it again rained very hard, but fortunately, no rain fell while the meeting was occurring.  About 50 people attended the seminar and all seemed to really enjoy the fellowship.  Plans were made for further seminars in this region.  On our spring trip, we plan to once again travel to this region for a few days.  This area has been closed to foreigners for many years; therefore, we feel compelled to teach and edify these churches as much as possible.  Hopefully, the Voice of Truth will also help in that regard.  Furthermore, we left some money to reprint the Church of The Bible in that language. 

Many ask us if we ever encounter any opposition or violence, and fortunately, we seldom have any problems. Our native brethren know what can or should be done, so they do a good job of keeping those problems at bay.  Of course, one never knows when something might happen.  For example, this time we encountered a potential problem in Manipur when we were traveling to the airport to leave the state.  Thang’s brother-in-law had traveled early that morning to his home, and he reported that there was a ban on travel.  A portion of the population was protesting, and in order to make their point many businesses closed, and all travel was stopped, except for medical or airport travel.  We were advised to leave early, which we did.  Providentially, we encountered no problems, but we did make the trip with an airport sign posted on the windshield.   This made Paula a little uneasy, especially considering the violence filled history of this region.

Our next stop was in south India with P R Swamy.  He is one of the greatest evangelists in India, constantly traveling and teaching wherever he has the opportunity.  Even though he is now about 70, he has slowed very little.  He had arranged three days of seminars covering Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  The first day was a meeting with some independent denominational preachers, several traveling a long distance.  This was the third time Swamy had met with them, and he hoped that a few would be baptized.  Unfortunately, such was not the case.  Jerry taught about the church and ended with a discussion of the purpose of baptism.  They seemed to understand and accept the truth, but they insisted that they did not need to be baptized again, since they had already been baptized.   Some lively discussion ensued and plans were made for further study. 

Paula taught about 50 ladies all day on the second day, and Jerry taught a mid-week Bible study that night.  Thursday was another seminar composed of Christians and their contacts.  This was a good three days, and altogether seven people were baptized. 

This was a short weekend stop with P K Varghese at the extreme southern tip of India in the state of Kerala, called the coconut state, since there are so many coconut trees.  He preaches for two congregations about twenty minutes apart.  One congregation has a Friday night Bible study every week, and we met with them that night.  On Saturday, we had a meeting with the three congregations that meet in this city, and Saju George from Kochin traveled about five hours to attend and preach one lesson.  We had met him twice before, and we were glad to see him again.  He is a very talented and dedicated preacher.  P K and Saju also talked with us about their plans to start a preaching school within a year or so.  This is greatly needed as there are none in the entire state or language group.  They will supply the building, so we just need to supply funds for teachers and food for students.  These men are seasoned preachers and would do an excellent job training younger men to eventually take their places.  We desperately need some congregations to step up and help with this specific work.

We feel a special bond with one of these congregations, Kovalem Beach.  On our first trip to India in the spring of 2008, we preached in a gospel meeting there, and this congregation had just begun at that time.  A very small group from the larger church decided to plant a new congregation in this area.  It has been very effective, primarily due to the evangelistic mindset among the members.  On Sunday morning the building was filled to capacity, probably close to 75 attending, and there are plans to expand the building.  This growth is all due to work done by the local members. 

This was a short stop to attend the 16
th annual Bible lectureship.  The lectureship is a two-day event with over 400 attending, although we did not arrive until noon of the first day.  However, since all the speaking is done in Tamil, of which we understand nothing, we missed nothing.  It is good to see a large crowd like this, but it can be rather monotonous and tiring to sit through native speakers when you understand nothing that is being said.  I spoke once each day, and Paula taught about Esther to approximately 100 ladies one day, and taught parables to nearly 50 children the next day.  Two people were baptized at the close of the lectures.  It was a short but encouraging two days. 

Hop, Skip, and Jump
This phrase could describe the activities for the next week, staying a maximum of two nights in any one place.  Arjunan picked us up on Wednesday for a series of meetings over the next three days.  We conducted a small meeting Wednesday morning in route to Trichy, a travel time of about three hours.  There, we visited with a small congregation that had begun one year ago in one man’s home.  He was converted through Arjunan’s TV program, and he had arranged a street meeting, which was literally in the street.  Hang a curtain, install a microphone system, put some chairs in the street, and you have an auditorium.  We did not have a large crowd sitting, but there were others in their homes sitting on their balconies listening.  We were a great encouragement to the young Christians there. 

From there we traveled about five hours to a hill station.  Here we saw primitive living conditions and had a day of meeting with the area tribal people.  There was no New Testament church meeting here, but Arjunan had been teaching in this area for a long time.  We had separate men’s and ladies’ classes to several seekers of the true gospel and at the close seven people were baptized, thus beginning the simple New Testament church.   Two young men were baptized. and Arjunan is planning on personally training them extensively over the next few months.

We next met Philemon who transported us to another hill station, Coonoor.  Everyone thinks about India being hot and sultry, which it usually is; however, we saw much rain on this trip, which cooled the temperature, and the hill stations were especially damp and cool.  We had to wear a jacket and sleep under a thick blanket at night.  Coonoor was the location of the J C School of Evangelism.  About 20 motivated students have been taking classes for several months in order to better evangelize their community.  Many of them take off work in order to attend these classes.  Jerry taught a series of lessons on the New Testament church and worship so they could better explain the importance of the church to their contacts.  Paula encouraged the women to be a part of the evangelism process.

Only a few miles away was our next stop, a hill station called Ooty.  This was a two-day preacher’s seminar.  Many of the preachers lived a long distance away, and they rode the train all night, yet were ready to begin class about 9:00 am.  Jerry presented some information about Christian Evidences.  This was part of the material normally presented in the master’s course from Bear Valley.  The preachers were very pleased to hear this information.  Of course, they were all convinced of the truth, but this material greatly enhanced their belief and gave them much needed information to combat false teaching, of which there is plenty in this predominately Hindu and Muslim country.  Several of their wives also came, and Paula taught them the entire time.  The two rooms were each filled to capacity.  A personal highlight for us was a meal at Domino’s Pizza in a heated restaurant.  It was SO good.  This was a good two days, but since it was so cool, we were glad to get back to warm temperatures. 

Here is where our trip was derailed.  We had planned to spend nearly a week in Orissa, but as you may have heard on the news, a severe cyclone hit that region in mid-October, about two weeks before we were to arrive.  The town to which we were going is located on the ocean.  As expected, there was quite a bit of damage to homes, crops, infrastructure, etc.  For example one preacher we were going to visit earned his living from a coconut farm, and his house was heavily damaged and all his coconut trees were blown down.  Therefore, we were forced to cancel this portion of the trip.  This is the first time we have had any real problems with weather cancellations.  The money that we had planned to spend for the trip to that area we left with our brethren, Philemon and Joshua Gootam.  They were going to make a trip to that area in a few weeks, so they could take the money and use it to help the needy Christians in that area.  This amounted to several hundred dollars.  We plan to go back to this area in the spring. 

You might say we went to Plan B.  We were going to be in Visak to visit the school for only one day, but since our plans were changed, the school staff was very willing to work with us.  For about a week before we arrived, it rained almost constantly in this region.   Naturally there was much flooding in the surrounding areas.  For a few days, all trains in and out of the city were cancelled.  The students were going to go out on a campaign for two days, and they had arranged an area preacher’s luncheon for us, but due to the incessant downpour these plans also had to be cancelled.  So I guess you could say we went to Plan C.  We had a small preacher’s luncheon for the school students and some of the local preachers on Friday.  Nevertheless, we still had a good crowd of about 40 preachers. 

The following week Jerry taught at the school every day.  This was an excellent way for us to utilize our unexpected free time.  He taught the book of Acts and Paula had a couple of ladies classes.  It finally quit raining on the Sunday after we arrived on Thursday, and we had pretty weather for the next week.  We really appreciate the school for being so willing to change its schedule. 

We left India on November 1st, traveling to Colombo, Sri Lanka.  Since this newsletter is an October-November report, we will hold any reports on that part of our trip until our next report.  All is well with us and our work, and as always we continue to thank you for your support.  The requests and needs continue to grow, outstripping our financial capability, but glory to God for this growth.  May God bless you all.

Jerry and Paula Bates

Posted on November 24, 2013 .

July August newsletter

Dear Supporters, 

Arusha, Tanzania
At the end of July, I traveled to Tanzania to teach in the Andrew Connally School of Preaching for two weeks.  I often teach in Bear Valley Extension schools.  This particular school is doing a great job training preachers and church leaders, and the church is growing in Tanzania.  American missionaries haves been serving in this region for many years, and currently three full-time American missionaries serve in Arusha, but two were on furlough in the United States.  Only one of the three families actually works very much with the school and he was in the U.S.  Cy Stafford and his good wife, Stephanie, keep busy with Bible studies and leadership training for the churches in the area.  I ate lunch and supper with them every day, thus I ate good while in Tanzania.  No weight loss on this trip as happens many times when we go to India. 

Tanzania is below the equator, so this was winter time for them.  Arusha is located in northern Tanzania at an elevation of approximately 4,200 feet.  While I was there, it was unusually cool even for them.  Most days the highs were in the 60’s, so a little jacket felt good.  Corn is one of their main crops, and it was harvest time for them also, since they just let the corn dry in the field.  Agricultural practices in the countries of Africa and India are such a contrast to the modern equipment here in the states.  Harvest is often accomplished by hand and tillage is either done by hand or by very small tractors.

This school has both a graduate and undergraduate program.  On this trip, I was teaching in the graduate program, and one student was actually from the neighboring country, Uganda.  He traveled a long distance in order to attend the class.  It was a good two weeks, and all the students were eager to learn.  It was actually very quiet, because the undergraduate students were all home on break.  Since I was there by myself, I had plenty of time to get some extra studying done. 

Paula and I enjoy making these trips; however, the flying there and back does get tiring.  My flight connections were terrible on this trip, but in order to get similar prices and better connections, I would have had to leave a day early and come back home two days later.  I did not want to do that, so the flight time was long.  From the time I left the school, it took about 48 hours to finally get home.  That included about a 14 hour layover in a “luxurious?” Ethiopian airport.  This included being awakened by four security personnel.  I had just become comfortable to take a little nap, when I was awakened and was asked for my passport and a few questions, such as where I had come from.  I have no idea why they woke me up to ask such questions.  Regardless, that ended my naptime. 

World Turmoil and Mission Work
People often ask us if we have problems with governments or terrorism.  Fortunately, so far we have not had any problems, although one never knows what might happen.  We try to be cautious, but we do not base our plans on maybes.  Most of the time, government conflicts do not affect the common people and their lives.  We have known of missionaries who were in countries when the governments were overthrown, but they made it without any significant physical problems.  Obviously, the work was hindered, but physically they made it fine. 

Since I traveled alone to Tanzania, Paula, like most wives, listened to the news nightly and heard the closing of various embassies as well as the fire at the Kenya airport.  She was concerned

much more than I was, because if she had not told me, I would never have known of the closing of the embassies.  We had much rather travel together, but sometimes circumstances make it necessary for us to separate.  As you might expect, she worries when I am gone.   

Churches Far and Near
I visited three different African congregations in my spare time, preaching a total of eight different times.  One unique thing about worship in Africa is what they do when service is over.  While 

Handshaking linesinging a final song, the leaders of the worship service go out first and form a line.  From there all the others file out shaking hands with everyone and placing themselves at the end of the line.  Everyone follows the same pattern until all are out of the building and has shaken everyone else’s hand, including children.  Once that is done, everyone visits for a while then slowly leaves for home. 

As we visit different places in the states, we sometimes notice that some congregations are very open, friendly and seem to be excited about serving God, whereas others seem to be in a routine with little zeal and optimism for the future.  If we are going to win souls for Christ, we must be excited about being Christians ourselves, and exhibit a hope and optimism for tomorrow.  It is not a matter of size.  A congregation can be small and still be excited.  Recently we visited one such congregation.  It was small; nevertheless it was quite racially diverse.  We visited on Wednesday night, and non-members were present.  However, we did not fully realize this until most had left because there was such a relationship between all of them that it was not readily apparent who was visiting.  If all congregations could have that kind of openness then growth would come more easily.  Of course, it was obvious that they were busy doing something during the week.  They also displayed a keen interest as we reported on the work in India and other places. 

Upcoming Plans
At the beginning of September we will journey to Denver to attend a meeting of all Bear Valley extension personnel.  We will spend a couple of days talking about the various schools and future plans.  We continue to be excited about the work of training preachers in the various countries and are very happy to be a part of that effort.  Immediately upon returning from Denver, we meet Philemon in Nashville.  The very next day we are planning a Tuesday night meeting with Philemon and several area churches in the Corinth, MS area.  The meeting will be held at the Strickland Church of Christ near Corinth.  We hope this will be an informal discussion of the evangelistic efforts of Philemon and how some of these might be applied by local congregations.  He is a zealous evangelist and loves to talk about evangelism. 

Near the end of September we leave for our fall trip to India.  We will spend all of October in India, traveling to several different places, which is our normal custom.  During the first week in November we will be in Sri Lanka.  This will be our second trip to that country this year, and we have plans to go outside of the capital city and meet some of the Christians in the hill country.  We have never been able to do that before, so we are looking forward to that.  We plan on returning to the States on November 8th.

As part of this trip we will travel once again to Churachanpur in the state of Manipur.  This region borders Myanmar, and the inhabitants of the two regions often cross the border.  Philip, one of our co-workers in Myanmar, communicated by email that he had attended the Summer Christian Workshop in that city.  He mentioned meeting Thang Lien who translates the Voice of Truth International.  They are good friends as they went to Bible school together in Chennai, India several years ago.  We continue to be amazed at how interconnected the brotherhood of believers is, especially in India and the surrounding countries. 

The Work in India
Our co-workers continue to serve God untiringly in India.  One of them, Rajanayagam, who we will be visiting on our next trip, reported 13 baptisms in June.  He related one episode that we thought might give you an idea of some of the problems they encounter in India.  Two men wanted to be baptized; however, they could find no water in which to baptize them.  We will let him tell the story.

We decided to go to a nearby river, hoping we could find water easily, although the flow was less or nil.  The river was very wide about 2 km. in that area.  With the help of mobile torch light we started to walk in the river.  It looks that we got the wrong side of the bank and so we had to walk and walk and walk in different directions to find enough water and to my surprise it ended in vain.  At that time, we walked over 3 km. on sand, stone, bushes and rock and it took about an hour.  There was not enough light to proceed further and I was tired as I was new to this situation.  At one stage, I told them it is enough and let us go to Kangayam by hiring a vehicle.  They said one more attempt and I had to say Okay.  And after a walk of 30 minutes again, we were able to find a water stagnation place and I baptized them.

One of our co-workers, Joshua Gootam who is in his 60s, is excited about new horizons.  He has recently come in contact with a part of his state that apparently has not been evangelized very much.  He reported that in this region many have been watching his TV programs and taking his Bible correspondence courses.  World Evangelism pays for the TV programs.  In this region there are many very large independent

churches, and most all of them are receptive and want to know more.  He reports that “these independent churches were started by devout men with half knowledge and are a hotch potch of denominational practices that need to be taught out through patience.  These are a ripe field.”  He is asking for additional funds to pay for his travel to that area to teach and preach on a regular basis.  He is actually considering moving to that area and leaving his current work to his son, Ricky.  At a time when most men are thinking of retirement and talking life easy, he is thinking of new challenges.  We will also be traveling with him to Orissa on our next trip.

Jerry & Paula Bates 




Posted on September 12, 2013 .

May-June newsletter

Dear Supporters, 

             May found us back in Winona.  We arrived back from our last foreign trip on April 30th and made a quick trip to see our daughters and grandsons before coming home.  They live in Jonesboro, AR, so it is actually closer to their homes, than it is to Winona from the Memphis airport.  Our oldest grandson, Judd, is playing T-ball this year; therefore, we just had to go see him before returning to the office on May 2nd

May was a very busy month with many weekend appointments and other commitments.  On May 8th-11th, we were in Hamilton, AL for the annual Maywood Mission Retreat.  World Evangelism serves as sponsors of this event, and this requires much planning and work.  Since Paula is in charge of the food each year, she has a most important job!!  The average attendance is usually around 60, so much food has to be bought, although fortunately the two evening meals are provided by the Double Springs congregation in Alabama.  It was once again a spiritual feast and a time to visit with missionary friends, many of whom we only see once a year.  As usual, we distributed several boxes of literature to some domestic and foreign mission works.

From Texas to Michigan

After the retreat, we finally had one whole week at home.  This seems to be a rare occurrence.  However, the following week found us on the road again, this time to Dallas, TX.  Betty joined us because we had a dual purpose for going.  We always try to do this as much as possible.  Mission Printing was sending a container to Ghana early in June, and while we were in India, volunteers came and packed 105 “preacher” boxes to be distributed to the students in three preaching schools in Ghana.  We loaded our little trailer, which Strickland bought for us a few years ago, with about 1800 lbs. and off we went to Dallas.  Many hours later, we arrived at the home of Gary and Sarah Fallis.  Gary is the director of graduate studies for Bear Valley Extension schools, and in January of this year, Gary and I traveled together to India to teach at the Visakha Valley Bible College, so we enjoy each other’s company.  The next day, Wednesday, we unloaded the books at Mission Printing with Gary’s help and also viewed some of their printing equipment as it was operating.  It seemed very modern and amazing to us, especially since we had just returned from visiting a print shop in India.  The comparison was staggering.  We also discussed possible other containers that might be shipped later this year. 

Unloading Books at Mission Printing

On Wednesday night we visited with the Granberry Street congregation in Cleburne.  This is the sponsoring congregation of Justin Hopkins, who is coordinating our new Bible class literature program.  We were very impressed with this congregation and its eldership.  Jerry gave a presentation to the congregation, mainly to further acquaint them with the overall work of World Evangelism.  We also met with the elders for a long time after services, and it was quite late when we arrived back at the Fallis’ residence.  Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable time and a worthwhile trip. 

The first week in June found us in Midland, Michigan.  This congregation has been supporting the Voice of Truth monthly for several years, but due to its distance, no one had ever visited them.  Interestingly, one the members of that congregation, Jim Puckett, had gone to school at David Libscomb with J. C. Choate many years ago.  We often fly through

Detroit on our foreign trips, and we had thought we could just stop over and visit them, but Delta Airlines would not allow it.  Therefore, we had to make a special trip, but that was not really a big problem, since we just used some of our air miles.  At the suggestion of the congregation there, we also visited a congregation in the neighboring city, Saginaw. We enjoyed visiting with that good congregation, who is now considering adding us to their mission work.  Rarely does a Sunday go by that does not find us visiting two congregations, but we look forward to seeing all the many Christians, and we hope that somehow we help the members visualize the work in which we are involved.

Just one week later, as we returned from a weekend trip to West Tennessee, we arrived home and found a disaster.  We walked into the house and observed water pouring through our kitchen ceiling.  Our water line to the ice maker had burst sometime while we were gone, so it had likely run for a long time.  The floors of four rooms had flooded, at least to some extent, and the ceilings of two rooms were destroyed.  It made a BIG mess, as you might imagine.  The moral of the story is that if you have a plastic ice maker line running through your attic, replace it with copper now!  On a positive side, this gives us the chance to do some remodeling which Paula wanted to do anyway.  Under the carpet, which was soaked, were some nice hardwood floors that we are going to refinish once the repair work is done.  At the time of this writing, we are waiting for the carpenter to come and repair the damage.  We have pulled out all the old ceiling tiles and sheetrock ourselves, so we are ready to rebuild now.  Hopefully, it will not take too long to get it all put back together, and fortunately, insurance will cover a good portion of the costs. 

News from Overseas

                 The work goes on whether we are there or not.  TV programs sponsored by World Evangelism broadcast every week; literature and tracts continue to be printed and

distributed; workers continue to preach and evangelize; and Bible schools meet daily to ground men in the truth.  At the end of June, checks comprising many thousands of dollars from World Evangelism were mailed to fund the works previously mentioned for the next quarter.  These funds are essential in order to continue the broad spectrum of this work. 

             We regularly receive updates from our coworkers in various countries.  Let us share a couple of these stories.  This one is an email from Rajanayagam in Tamil Nadu, India:

 Warm greetings and this is to let you know that we had one baptism on Tuesday and she is a high school teacherRajanayagam and wife, Rachel from Hindu background, having connected with Pentecostals for the past three years.  More importantly, she is our TV viewer, have been watching our program for the past many months. Finally, she came to Kangayam on Tuesday from Namakkal, along with one local brother, and studied the truth for about 5 hours by raising many questions.  Then, she decided to obey the gospel, but didn’t bring changing clothes.  Rachel offered clothing, but she said, NO.  I thought at the time that she was not convinced fully about the truth.  But, to my surprise, she said that you baptize me now and I will stand under the sun to dry up the clothes for some time and leave.  Then, I baptized her!  This is the first time in my life that a lady of about 50 years obeyed the gospel in this fashion. 

 Most of you should remember that a few months ago we began a Hindi TV program.  Hindi is by far the largest Indian language, with approximately 422 million speaking it, according to the 2001 census.  Three very capable and faithful brethren from Delhi, Francis, Sunny and Vinay David, share the speaking responsibilities.  Recently, Vinay shared with us a long email of their activities.  He first related that it had been 122 degrees Fahrenheit.  That is one reason why we never go to India in May or June.  Even the native brethren curtail their activities due to the extreme heat.  Following one TV program on baptism, they received calls from as far as Mumbai, Calcutta, and Maharashtra.  These places are from one side of India to the other and are a very long way from Delhi.  In addition, they received calls from Delhi.  This illustrates the far reaching scope of this broadcast, even further than what we had envisioned.  They just broadcast one time a week, and they are begging for an extra time slot.  Unfortunately, the funds are simply not available, as all the additional funds needed for the first program have not been received yet.  If you

are able to help support this great evangelistic effort, please let us know. 

How do they follow-up on these prospects from so far away?  This is where literature comes into play.  They will send basic study material, Bible correspondence courses, and Bibles to these contacts for further study.  They also have many contacts with other brethren scattered throughout North India, so these brethren can also help do the follow-up evangelism with those in their respective areas.

Future Plans

Jerry will soon leave on his next overseas trip.  On July 25th he will leave for Arusha, Tanzania for a little over two weeks teaching two masters courses in a Bear Valley school in that location.  There are two schools in Tanzania, and he visited the other one last year.  This time, he will not have to obtain a Visa, since the one he acquired last year is good for one year.  Paula considered going on this trip, but due to the cost and what is going on here, she felt that she needed to stay home this time.

At the first of September, both of us will travel to Denver for a meeting of all the Bear Valley Extension staff for a few days.  Later this fall, we will both return to India, Sri Lanka, and possibly Nepal.  We are not sure of the exact dates at this time, but probably it will be sometime in October and November.  Keep us in your prayers, and thank you for all your help and encouragement.

Jerry & Paula Bates


Posted on July 15, 2013 .

March-April newsletter

Dear Supporters,

The first part of March saw us finishing final preparations for our next trip.  We made a trip to Healing Hands in Nashville, delivering books, plus our normal weekend visits to supporting churches.  We also visited our daughters and grandsons one more time before we left.  Leaving our family for nearly two months is one of the hardest parts of making these extended trips, but we are thankful that they are only three hours away.  Many people that we talk with comment that their children are many hours away, sometimes in different countries, so three hours is not bad.

Sri Lanka Here We Come
On March 20th we left Memphis bound for Sri Lanka, an island just off the southern tip of India.  We finally arrived in Sri Lanka about 5:30 am on Friday after traveling nearly 36 hours.  Lilani Thomas met us at the airport, which means she had to leave her house about 4:00.  Needless to say we all took a nap when we arrived back at her house.  Harold & Liliani always keep us in their home, and we enjoy visiting with them each time we are there.  After resting Friday, Jerry continued his study of Romans with several Christians on Saturday and Sunday.  They request us to come about twice a year to continue this study, and we are glad that we are able to do this.  We had a free day on Monday, and Harold Thomas gave us a tour of his factory that he manages.  They manufacture many tons a month of metal roofing, which is shipped all over Sri Lanka.  That was an interesting tour, and we were thankful to have an opportunity to do that.  Harold is very busy as he also preaches and teaches several Bible studies as he has opportunity in addition to his secular job. 

Myanmar (Burma)
You have probably heard much about this country in the last few months.  It is definitely changing fast, which mostly is good; nevertheless, the change has also brought some problems for us.  The hotel prices have doubled in two years, and most of that change has been in the last year.  This is due to the tremendous increase in tourists and business people now visiting the country.  The people have much more freedom than before, and economic opportunities will likely follow. 

In our previous visits, we had only taught in the Hmawbi Bible School just outside of town; however, for the first three days this year, Jerry taught some lessons from Romans at a house gathering of Kyaw Sein.  This whole family is very evangelistic, making several trips to their native area to teach.  They were very hospitable to us, feeding us lunch every day, even giving us a taste of some of their native foods.  One such oddity was Tamerin leaves, which is as it sounds, small tree leaves.  It was cooked with spices and some minced chicken, and it was quite tasty. 

We visited two congregations on Sunday with several of the Bible students also attending.  One never knows the makeup of the audience in these foreign countries, as visitors often attend.  Just a few days before, Winsome had met a woman and invited her to come to church.  She did, was very friendly, and seemed to really enjoy the service and the lesson.  Hopefully, this may lead to more Bible studies.   Winsome will certainly follow up on this contact.  The next week, we both taught at the Bible School.  The classes were a wide mixture of ages from 13 to 40.  In addition, the students were from varied backgrounds, several non-Christians and some older Christians.  Paula taught several lessons on the women in the book of Acts, and Jerry taught the work of a preacher.  Everyone seemed to enjoy our lessons, and all delighted in the watermelon treat the last two days since the temperature was between 100 and 105 every day. 

Kangayam, India
Our first stop in India was with one of our TV speakers, Rajanayagam.  He and his son-in-law also translate the Voice of Truth into Tamil.  He preaches for a rather large congregation in addition to his translating and evangelistic work; thus, he keeps very busy.  Sunday afternoon, was also busy, as four other men from the Tamil Nadu area met us.  We always bring checks and money for the TV programs, printing work, etc., so they are always glad to see us.  It is always interesting to us that once a check is deposited, it takes about a month for it to clear the bank.  We enjoyed our short visit with them, and we took them out for a treat for supper. 

On Monday morning we drove about three hours to a three-day retreat that Rajanayagam had arranged for about 30 preachers and 10 women.  This was a nice break for us as this was in a mountain area; thus, the temperature cooled off to be quite pleasant. The flowers were beautiful and abundant and Paula gave up trying to count the different varieties.  Paula taught on the Christian woman’s role in the church and society.  Jerry taught some lessons on the parables of Luke 14-16, which contain several principles that are badly needed in India.  He also taught briefly on the organization of the church.  Few churches have elders, and after discussing this, many of the preachers thought that we need to bring some of the potential elders from the various congregations and have some special teaching on the subject.  That was one purpose of the discussion on leadership, so we will put that into future plans.  


We made a quick trip to Visakh to attend the second graduation of the Visakha Valley Bible School.  Our sponsoring congregation is also the sponsoring church for this school, so we work very closely with this good school and its directors, Samuel Raju and John Dean.  Thirteen students received their Bachelor degrees in Biblical Studies.  We might say they are now ready to go preach, but in actuality, many of them are already preaching regularly, and are doing an excellent job. 

World Evangelism’s coworker, Joshua Gootam, was a featured speaker for the occasion.  He prints a large number of books, tracts, and translates the Voice of Truth into Telegu, so he gave a stack of books to each graduate.  After the ceremony, we went back to our hotel for a couple of hours to visit and talk about the work.  Of course, we also gave him some checks for his work.  Included in that was $800 for Bibles, $600 for printing and mailing an Orissa bimonthly magazine, and a $750 check for tracts.  As we come, we always bring the checks and money with us in order to save mailing.  We have never lost any checks by mailing them, but it is expensive and sometimes it takes a good while for them to arrive. 

From Visakh we journeyed north to the North India Bible College.  We stayed for one week while Jerry taught a course on the Work of a Preacher.  Being at one place for a week is a good way to rest a little.  It is tiring being on the move all the time, spending the night in different beds, and the week before this was a busy week in that regard.  In addition to the school, Jerry preached on Sunday and Wednesday night, and Paula had a ladies class one night. 

This school is not a big school, but it is doing a good job in a tough area.  We met two young ladies from the state of Manipur in East India next to Myanmar, and we were encouraged by them.  They were sisters, and they had a job talking to people from the U. S. about medical bills.   Since their jobs included talking to people in the U. S., they worked all night.  They went to work about 8:00 pm, but they made time to attend Wednesday night worship just before they hurried off to work.  Not many young people would be that dedicated. 

Ernest also translates into Hindi and prints the Voice of Truth for us.  He had just finished one issue, and we picked up a copy of it and left some money for the next issue.  5,000 copies are mailed out each time to places all over north India. 

The next place was Raipur in the state of Chattisgarh, a new place for us.  Raipur is located in the middle of India, but it is still considered north India.  Most people in this area speak Hindi.  We met Philemon Raja from the state of Tamil Nadu, who had arranged this meeting for us.  Escapana from Orissa also made the long trip from his state to help with the meeting and possibly translate.  Philemon is hoping to start another class of the J C School of Evangelism in this area.  He is a hard worker and a true evangelist, traveling to many different parts of India to encourage Christians to be more evangelistic.  We had a two day meeting with an audience of 35 Christians, many of whom were preachers.  They seemed to enjoy the lectures and were greatly encouraged and strengthened. 

We were also to enjoy two unexpected benefits of this seminar.  We were able to meet the in-laws of Vinay David in Delhi.  We had heard much about his wife’s parents from them and knew they were faithful Christians, but we had never had the opportunity to meet them.  They attended this seminar both days, and we were thrilled to be able to meet them.  It seemed we had a special connection to them, and they virtually made us promise to visit them in their area with Vinay and his wife, Reshna, the next time we come to India.  He is a factory worker and also preaches at a large congregation of about 120 members.  Whether we are able to make that trip remains to be seen as it is a very long train ride from Delhi. 

The second benefit was to be with four graduates of the North India Bible College.  As we have said, many students travel a long distance to attend this school.  Three of them were from this area and were recent graduates, but one traveled about 900 kilometers to attend this seminar.  He had graduated in 2005, and he translated for me both days, doing an excellent job.   Seeing these graduates helped us realize the benefits of the school.  The results of a school cannot be measured simply by the number of students you teach or what they do while in school.  These men work for many years after graduation, and only God knows what ultimate good comes from the school. 

Our last stop was in Northeast India, close to the Myanmar border.  This was Jerry’s second trip to this area, but Paula’s first, and she was eager to visit this area.  This area is quite different from the rest of India.  It has only been in the last couple of years that foreigners could even enter this area.  Church buildings abound, and the predominant religion in this area is some denominational version of Christianity.  It is close to the mountains, so you can see mountains in any direction.  The weather was also moderate, so it was nice to finish our trip without sweating. 

The churches in this area are very suspicious of newcomers.  The people here generally have not traveled very much, so they are especially suspicious of foreigners, similar to how mountain folks used to be suspicious of newcomers in the U.S.   A second reason is that divisions have occurred over instrumental music and anti-ism in recent years, and this was brought by foreigners.  Our contact here is Thang Lien, who is translating and printing the Voice of Truth into the major language of this area.  One issue has been printed thus far, and the second is almost ready for printing.  He carried us to four different local congregations, mainly just so they could get to meet and know us at least a little.  I think this was an important visit for us. 

At the last service, a local brother was doing the preaching.  Paula noticed that he was holding a book from which he was looking during the lesson.  She thought it looked like our little orange book (circled in picture), the Church of the Bible.  Of course, we could not understand what he was saying, but we did understand that the lesson was on the identity of the church.  After the service was over, we talked to him and sure enough, it was the Church of the Bible that had been translated into his language.  He had received it in 1998, and it had been well used.  Once again this shows the long term effect of literature.  That is why we are currently publishing the Voice of Truth into the Paite language, and hopefully it will have the same long term effect on the growth of the church.  We stress how the individual member can use it for evangelism. The church all over India is still very immature; there is much teaching that still needs to be done.  Things that we take for granted, such as literature for children’s classes and supporting orphans, are not usually a part of their efforts.  The congregations are also reluctant to cooperate together and are somewhat self-absorbed.  However, progress is being made, and for that we can be thankful. 

Overall, this was a good trip.  We accomplished what we intended, we were healthy, and we met with almost all our co-workers in India.  All our flights were on time except for the last one.  Our flight from Manipur to Delhi was delayed about three hours.  It was no problem; however, since we still had about eight hours to wait for our international flight.  It was a long trip home, taking about 43 hours from the time we left the hotel in extreme eastern India to arriving home.  We continue to be thankful to be involved in this great work, and we sincerely thank all of you for your support.  May God bless each of you.

Jerry & Paula Bates




Posted on May 14, 2013 .

January - February newsletter

Dear Supporters,

                           January and February were two busy months again.  It seems all of them are, but Paula always says that I asked for it, so I shouldn’t complain.  The two weeks in January were hectic finishing our newsletters for the last of 2012.  I was also finishing preparations for my classes in the Vizakha Valley Bible School.  We were hoping that our newsletters would arrive from the printer before I left on January 17th, but that did not happen, so Paula had to send out the newsletters with Betty’s help. 

As I mentioned, I left on January 17th, journeying to India for two weeks to teach in the Visakha Valley Bible School.  I say I went by myself, which only means that Paula was not with me, because I was not alone.  Gary Fallis from Dallas, TX accompanied me to teach.  We had traveled together on this same trip two years ago, so this was a repeat performance as one might say.  Paula did not come on this trip for two reasons.  Since we would be teaching in a school of preaching there would be little that she could do, and she does not want to just come along for the ride.  The second reason is that there was too much work to do in the office.  So she stayed behind to finish our newsletters and other work while I made this trip without her.  I think she was somewhat glad I left.  That gave her a good excuse to spend a few days with our grandkids.  I’m sure all you grandmothers can relate to that. 

Visakha Valley Bible School has two programs of study, a graduate level and an undergraduate.  That provided a good chance for both Gary and I to teach all day.  One taught the graduate course for one week and the other taught the undergraduates.  On the second week we swapped groups.  I taught the Work of a Preacher the first week and Advanced Homiletics to the graduate students the second week.  We were privileged to attend the graduation ceremonies of the first graduate class.  Nine students received their Master’s of Arts in Bible degree.  All of these men are gospel preachers and also teach in one of two schools of preaching.  Since I often visit this school, I feel a special connection with this group of men. 

In April of this year, the second group of undergraduates will receive their diplomas, and Paula and I plan to be there for those ceremonies.  While I was at the school this time, I also asked the director regarding the first graduates.  There were 16 graduates in the first class, and I wanted to know what they were currently doing.  I knew what a couple of them were doing because I had seen them at various times but I wanted to know how the whole group was faring.  I was very pleased with the answer.  All were still faithful to the Church.  All but one were either preaching regularly or working very hard with a local church.  I thought this was very good, because we must remember that in India there are no established churches to which a new graduate can go and immediately receive a full-time preaching job.  Since they leave school with no job, it is hard for them, and several in similar situations do not preach at all or worse, join denominational groups for promise of support.  I was pleased that none of this group had done that.  I think this shows the good instruction and grounding that the school provides. 

While in Visak, I received a call from Philemon in South India.  He was requesting funds to print 100,000 tracts.  There was a Pentecostal healing convention covering a period of three days.  A huge crowd of nearly 100,000 was expected and Philemon wanted to pass out as many tracts as possible.  I was glad to be able to help them in this endeavor.  However, before they could distribute the tracts, all had to be folded by hand, because in India the printer does not fold them.  How would you like to fold 100,000 pieces of paper?  He and several church members worked and passed out about 90,000 tracts, Bible lessons, etc.  They have received several contacts from this effort.  This illustrates the brave hard work that many of the Christians in India are willing to do for the cause of Christ.

Back in the States

Just as tracts are important overseas, they are useful here as well.  In late February a woman from Duluth, GA called and asked for a free Bible correspondence course that had been offered on a tract.  Paula asked her where she found the tract, and she replied a doctor’s office.  All of our books and tracts have our address and phone number.  About a week and a half later she called back stating that she received the lessons, completed them, and requested more information.  We have 80 different tracts available, costing only 10 cents each.  Many of these tracts are also sent free of charge overseas. 

I returned home just in time for the Freed-Hardeman lectures.  I arrived back in Memphis on Saturday night, February 2nd, but didn’t go home.  Paula picked me up at the airport with a trailer full of supplies for the lectures.  The first stop was at Backyard Burger for supper.  We traveled to the Selmer, TN area, where we met Betty and visited two churches on Sunday.  That afternoon we trekked to Freed-Hardeman and put up our display for the lectures.  We were able to visit with many contacts and friends during the week long lectures.  We also visited the Maury City congregation on Wednesday night of that week.  Betty journeyed back home on Tuesday, and we finished the week out, packing everything up on Thursday afternoon and making the trip home that day.  It was good to finally be home again, but on Friday I was back in the office trying to get caught up on some things.  

As we came in on Friday from Freed-Hardeman, our co-worker, Louis Rushmore, left for Guyana, South America on Thursday, and was gone for most of the month of February teaching preachers and leaders throughout that country.  It seems we are not together in the office very much since both of us travel so much both here and abroad.  We are thankful to have both of them back in the office, just in time, because Volume 75 of the Voice of Truth came in March 5th

We have continued to be very busy reporting to congregations in Tennessee, the boothill of Missouri, Mississippi, and Monroe, LA.  We were gone every Sunday and every Wednesday night except for the last one in February.  This takes a lot of time away from the office.  I have also been doing some extensive research on some of the teachings of Hinduism and working on my next lessons that I will be teaching on our next trip.  The first weekend in March we were back in the Nashville area.  We had a meeting with all the World Evangelism team members including several elders of the sponsoring churches at the Liberty church in Dennis, MS.  Saturday night we journeyed north to the Hohenwald and Centerville area to visit two churches.  On Sunday night we traveled to Nashville, and on Monday we delivered about 1800 pounds of material to Healing Hands.  Most of the material will be shipped to Jamaica on a container.  This is the first time we have shipped anything to Jamaica other than the Voice of Truth.  There are many churches in Jamaica including a School of preaching that also trains preachers from Cuba.  The rest of the material was Spanish which will be shipped to Honduras a little later.  In addition to this material, the Voice of Truth is also available online free of charge to anyone in the world.  We have plans to make the other materials available online, but we have not completed that project yet.    

Jerry & Paula’s Future Plans

                  Jerry has made two trips since the time Paula has gone, and she is eager to leave again for the mission field.  We leave March 20, and our first stop is Sri Lanka.  From there we travel to Myanmar, teaching for about a week and a half.  This is our annual spring stop at a school there.  From there we spend April in India in various places.  We will visit both schools of preaching in India, teaching at Chandigarh for a week, and attending the graduation of the other school.  We are going to two new places on this trip.  One stop is Raipur in the middle of India for two days of teaching.  Our last stop is Manipur doing some preaching and also meeting with the man who is translating the Voice of Truth in the Paite language.  The first issue was recently printed so we will be talking at length about that project.  I have been there briefly before, but Paula has not, so she is very eager to see this new area and meet some new people.  We return home on April 30. 

We continue to thank you for your support and interest in our work.  We could not do it without you, and may God continue to bless you as He is blessing us. 

 Jerry & Paula Bates



Posted on March 6, 2013 .

October - December newsletter

October 6th found us back in the U.S. after being in India and Nepal for nearly two months.  We arrived back in Memphis and the next day we were visiting Jerry’s father and two of our supporting congregations in the Trenton, TN area.  After being overseas, we are always glad to be back, and arrive re-energized to do the work that needs to be done.  The next issue of the Voice of Truth was waiting to be shipped until we returned, and so about two days after being back in the office the new issue arrived.  Betty and the Rushmores were overseas, and for about ten days, there had been no one in the office.  It always takes several days to get caught up, but it was good to be back to some semblance of a routine, which is what we do not have when we are overseas. 


Jerry barely was over jet lag until he left for the Chimala Mission in Tanzania, Africa.  This is a large work sponsored by the New York Avenue congregation in Arlington, Texas.  This mission effort includes a primary school, hospital, and a school of preaching.  This school includes both a graduate and undergraduate program.  He taught Gospel of John and Advanced Hermeneutics to an excellent class of 14 graduate students. 

Jerry was honored to be there for the undergraduate graduation.  Nine students received their certificate of completion from the school, which is always a joy to see.  Several of both the undergraduate and graduate students are from the neighboring country of Malawi.  There is no Bible school in Malawi, and many journey to Tanzania to receive their Biblical training.  This school plans to admit a record class in 2013, and they will have about 35 students next year.  If that holds true, then this school would be the largest school associated with Bear Valley including Denver.  It will also be one of the largest brotherhood schools in the world. 

Jerry was also privileged to again witness the value of good literature.  The undergraduate students were each given one of our “preacher boxes.”  This is simply a mixture of sermon books, study books, etc, that we packed and sent to them on a container.  This container was actually shipped nearly a year ago, but was tied up in customs for 7-8 months so it only arrived at the mission a short time before Jerry arrived.  Also on the container were several boxes of individual titles which were distributed to my class of graduate students.  He will always remember one man’s remark after seeing the many books that he was given.  “I can’t believe this.  Are all these mine?”  These few books were probably more than he thought he would ever own and was overjoyed at the prospect of having so many good study books.  Reactions similar to his are common as we receive many thank you notes and letters from churches and preachers in many foreign countries that have received the Voice of Truth or other study books.  We could not do this without the good support of many individuals and congregations who realize the great need and immense value of good literature.

While in Tanzania Jerry was also able to begin discussions of possibly translating the Voice of Truth into the Swahili language.  Swahili is spoken by 4 countries in Africa and this would be a tremendous asset to the growth of the church in this large area of Africa.  Hopefully, some of the ones associated with the mission will be able to begin this work.

Changes in India

Even though we travel to several other countries, the work of World Evangelism is primarily focused on India, because the Choates had lived and worked in India for nearly 50 years and the people there are dear to their hearts.  As you might expect, things have changed tremendously in that time, some good, and some not so good.  We have even seen some changes in our five years, but

Betty Choate was able to return this fall for the first time in eight years.  She could hardly believe the great changes.  Changes in infrastructure such as airports, subways and new roads mark India’s transition to a fast developing country.  She also noted how much prices have increased, remarking upon her return that she could find nothing that she considered cheap any longer.  People are becoming much more materialistic with a correspondingly increase in incomes.  Associated with this is a significant emphasis on education, sometimes even to the extreme, at least in our estimation.  However, much of this increased wealth is limited to a relatively small percentage of the population, most of whom are not Christians.  Thus, the church is still mostly composed of poor individuals and families. 

Betty thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the ones with whom she and JC had formerly worked.  She also was able to find out much more about the new Hindi TV program which just recently began.   Hindi is the largest Indian language with nearly half of the population able to speak Hindi.  This will work hand-in-hand with the Hindi translation of the Voice of Truth, which began last year.  One highlight of her trip was witnessing the opening of the new church building in Delhi.  This project has long been in the plans, but various lawsuits by the local Hindus prevented this until now.  She commented that the building was beautiful and functional. 

Goings and Comings at the Office

While Jerry was in Tanzania, Paula was alone at the office.  It reminded us of the movie “Home Alone.”  Fortunately no thieves or catastrophes materialized while everyone was away.  Paula said that things were peaceful, with no shipments or big events.  It is imperative that someone is at the office most of the time.  Obviously, we prefer to travel together, but we both know that there will be times when it is advantageous and cost effective for only Jerry to travel.  I appreciate her willingness to stay home alone. 

The end of November found everyone back home, and it was good for the team to be together again.  On November 20, John Dean and Irven Skinner visited the office.  As you may remember John Dean works directly with the Visakha Valley Bible Institute as well as Skinner’s Garden.  Thus, he was visiting many of his supporters.  While traveling in the states, he collected quite a bit of Bible material, and he brought it by for us to ship to him in India with our regular shipments that we send to preachers all over the world.  Including his books, we sent about 1,000 pounds on this one shipment. 

Things are constantly changing around here, and we never know what might come up.  For example, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, we received a call from a man with Gospel Chariots.  This is a mission effort in Africa that uses semi-trucks to hold gospel meetings, distribute literature, etc.  They were planning to add another truck to their work based in Ghana, Africa from which they could then travel to surrounding areas.  Anyway, they were sending a container of materials to Ghana with which to outfit the truck, and they were hoping we could help supply some literature.  Of course, we are always glad to help mission efforts such as this one.  The container was soon going to be shipped from Arkansas, and they were collecting materials in the Little Rock area.  Providentially, that following weekend we had already planned to visit a congregation on the western side of Arkansas and would be passing through Little Rock.  Thus, we loaded about 1800 pounds of literature on our trailer, including a few boxes of material that we had collected from various congregations and transported it on our way.  In addition, we “backhauled” material as well.  On Sunday morning we visited two congregations that were very close together near Murfreesboro, AR, and we collected some old material from one and song books from the other.  In addition, we stopped at Des Arc, AR on Sunday night and collected some more song books.  We arrived home late that night after a busy and fruitful weekend.

Furthermore, the following week Betty had planned to travel to Dallas to work with Justin Hopkins on the new graded literature program.  Mission Printing was sending a container to Nigeria in January, and one of their co-workers in Nigeria had requested some of our literature.  Thus, they had already called and asked if we could send some material.  We had planned to do that in January along with visiting congregations in the Dallas area, but since Betty was going, we just packed her car full with about 1,000 pounds of books that she carried to Mission Printing.  If you are keeping track, that is about 4,000 pounds of books and materials shipped out.  We do not do this all the time, but that is one thing we are busy doing while we are here in the states, as well as constantly visiting various congregations.  It keeps us very busy; nevertheless, we still enjoy the work. 

A Personal Note

                  Jerry’s father passed from this life on December 3rd.  He was 91 years old, and even though his physical body had slowed, his mind was pretty sharp.  He enjoyed family and friends visiting and was blessed to live in the same town all his life.  Jerry’s brother, Wayne and his wife, Connie, along with other family members were good to care for him.  We were able to visit him quite often even though we were out of the country so much.  He was a great example of living the Christian life.  He was a deacon for many years at the Trenton Church, never missing a service and was usually among one of the last to leave the building.  He loved singing, and he and my mother used to go to all the county singings.  Several memorials in his honor were given to us as well as the Dorris Chapel and the Trenton congregations.  We appreciate the kind thoughts of so many.

Future Plans

                  We have to plan our work at least tentatively nearly a year in advance and our trips have to be planned and tickets booked a couple of months ahead of departure.  Jerry plans to make four foreign trips this year.  He will travel in mid-January with Gary Fallis from Dallas, TX to Visak, India for two weeks teaching in the Bible school located in that city.  We plan to be at the F-HU lectures in February.  Both of us will travel to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and India the end of March and April.  Near the first of August Jerry will travel for two weeks to Tanzania, Africa and about the first of September both of us plan to travel to India, Sri Lanka, and probably Nepal.  If any of you would like to join us, let us know.  May God bless us with the ability to carry forth on these plans. 

 Recap of 2012

2012 was a very busy and fruitful year.  Our co-workers in India and other countries have baptized hundreds of people.  We regularly read of baptisms, Bible studies, meetings, etc.  We do not tabulate and report large numbers of baptisms as some missionaries do.  We do not feel that God wants us to try to take credit for something of which we are only a small part.  We are all, including you, only co-workers together, but to God be the glory. 

Jerry actually made five overseas trips this year, which included visits to India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Honduras, and Tanzania.  Paula visited the countries of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and India.  The Voice of Truth is currently being printed in 5 foreign languages, Tamil, Telegu, Hindi, Nepali, and Paite.  The first issue of the Paite edition was printed near the end of 2012.  We facilitated the shipping of approximately 7 tons of literature sent primarily to the countries of Tanzania, French speaking countries, Trinidad, Philippines, Nigeria, Gyana, Ghana, Malawi and India.  In addition, the English version of the Voice of Truth was distributed to numerous countries, which amounts to about 58,000 individual copies.  Furthermore, there were several titles translated and printed in other languages that have not been included in the above figures.  We hope that this helps you grasp the wide scope of our work with which we are privileged to be associated.

Both preacher schools are doing a great job of training future church leaders and evangelizing their respective parts of India.  Some of the activities of the students of the Visakha Valley Bible Institute are listed below:

Number of People Baptized: 84

Number of Bible Studies Conducted: 617

New Congregations Established: 4

Christians Restored: 28

Gospel Meetings Conducted: 153



Posted on January 14, 2013 .

August-September 2012 report

Dear Supporters,

When It Rains, It Pours
As you might imagine, it is always very busy getting ready for an extended overseas trip.  It was even more so this time.  Near the end of July, we came in on a Sunday night after visiting churches, and found that water was leaking from our living room ceiling. Obviously, it was time for a new roof.  It was not a very good time to be involved with that, but we had no choice.  We were hoping to get the job completed before we left, but that was not to be.  Due to time constraints from the roofer, ordering shingles, etc., we had to leave with the job only about half completed.  Fortunately, we were able to have a good trustworthy man doing the job.  Don Robertson, the preacher at the Coffeeville Church of Christ, replaced the shingles as well as seeing that the repairs needed inside the house were also completed.  It is truly wonderful to have fellow Christians that you can trust. In addition, we had our annual meeting, completing our lessons and last minute details, making one final visit to our grandchildren, and of course, visiting churches.  Sometimes, we are glad to get on the plane so we can rest!

Sri Lanka
We left home on August 22nd, and our first stop was Sri Lanka.  This is a small island country with no Bible Schools, so we try to hold a weekend seminar twice a year to further ground the Christians with some deeper teachings.  Several of the Christians rode the train about two hours in order to attend.  Saturday went well, but then that night Paula became very sick with an upset stomach. The seminar went well, and Paula soon recovered with only a few lingering effects by the time we arrived in Kochi, India on Monday.

One of our TV speakers, P K Varghese, invited us to attend and speak at this annual 3-day lectureship.  This is a great lectureship with about 250 attending from all over South India.  All attended at their own expense, some traveling a long way.  The complete expense of this lectureship is paid for by the Indian brethren.  I was busy during these three days, with speaking three times to the entire group, and teaching four special classes.  Those days were also notable by the coolness of the weather.  It rained every day, and the temperature was just about perfect.  It was so nice that we were wondering if we were really in India, until we looked around and then it was obvious. 

This was a short weekend visit with the Gootams.  We flew into a nearby town and immediately drove about an hour to a preacher’s lectureship where I spoke to about 100 preachers and families.  The Gootams care for approximately 80 children, and they have a guest room there with the children.  Each morning we awoke early to the sound of the children singing.  On Saturday we drove about two hours from Kakinada to preach in a village church.  The small church building was completely full with mostly women.  After my lesson, the ladies stayed behind for a women’s class taught by Paula.  We also picked up three large boxes of books to carry with us to Orissa, our next stop.

On Monday morning we boarded a train and accompanied Philemon from South India to a border town in the state of Orissa.  Philemon is a missionary in his own country, since he cannot speak the language in Orissa.  So he had to have a translator even when he taught.  This is impossible for us in America to fully comprehend.  We had never been there before, and the state of Orissa has been a violent place for Christians in recent years.  Thankfully, such persecution has ceased for the present.  The church is very small and weak in this state, so the Christians need much encouragement.  Philemon has been conducting the JC School of Evangelism there for the last six months, and we went this time to teach.  About 40 students attended the school, and most of them traveled a long distance, some even having to come the day before.  Some were from a very remote mountainous village and had to walk about 45 minutes just to catch a ride.  For the women in this village, this was the first church program outside of their village that they had ever attended.  Even though they had little education they were very interested in all the lessons especially the ones taught by Paula.

The school went very well.  The students were eager to learn and they are practicing what they are learning.  That is, they are teaching others about Christ, and they are reporting success.  Eight souls were baptized into Christ during the school. This town is very close to the ocean so the baptisms took place there. Others have been baptized by the students in earlier school sessions.  Everywhere school sessions are held, churches are strengthened and several baptisms occur.  Even more than that, the minds of individual Christians are changed so that they continue to be fishers of men. 

Personally, this was a tough week for us.  Paula was fine, but I felt bad the entire week.  I came down with a very bad cold on Monday during the train ride and until Thursday I had fever every day, which was controlled to some extent by constantly taking aspirin.  Even though I felt bad, I taught as planned on Tuesday and Wednesday.  However, on Thursday, with continued bouts of fever, it was decided that I needed to go to the doctor.  So with Philemon doing the teaching, we went to the doctor accompanied by the local preacher.  We went to a government hospital.  It was definitely an experience.  It was free health care, and we doubt that you can even come close to imagining the scene.  Nor can we adequately describe it.  It was a madhouse of people, which looked to us total confusion, but the local man skillfully maneuvered us through the maze, and we were able to see the doctor fairly quickly.  He thought it was just an infection and he gave Jerry some medicine, and by the time we boarded the train to leave Orissa, Jerry was feeling better, although still not 100%.  Seldom do we get sick on our trips, but I guess our luck ran out on this one, with both of us getting sick. 

Skinner’s Garden
After riding the train several hours south, we journeyed to Skinner’s Garden.  This is the great work that John Dean and his father, Samuel, have been working on for several years.  Our sponsoring congregation, Strickland, has been supporting this work for many years and they wanted us to go by.  They care for about 80 children and have a Bible school.  It is a beautiful facility, and they also have a small farm where they are able to raise many vegetables, fruits, and rice to help feed the children.  You would have a difficult time imagining the huge pot of rice they cook each meal.  Every day, they cook about 100 lbs of rice.  On Sunday we worshipped with the local congregation in Bikkavolu. We had a good service there, probably over 200 gathering for worship.  The building was completely full and several were outside.  Two people were baptized that morning.  At night I taught a teenage class.  Paula taught a ladies class and at the end of that lesson, two more ladies were baptized for a total of four for the day. 

Visakha Valley Bible School
On Monday morning, John, Samuel, and we traveled to Visak to teach in the Bear Valley School.  This is a good school with excellent teachers and staff.  Fourteen students are currently enrolled.  They all do a good job, and they are all presently working with a congregation. Try to imagine what possible good these students might do for God in their lifetime.  One might be a great evangelist; undoubtedly many will be faithful preachers leading possibly hundreds to Christ.  And it all starts with this little school training a few men to preach the gospel.  We have a hard time imagining a greater work than this.  

Traveling to Delhi on Saturday, we met Rodney Hilliard, who preaches for the Marlowe congregation west of Corinth, MS.  He has a full-time job besides preaching and he took his two weeks vacation in order to teach in the Bible school at Chandigarh.  That is great dedication.  He had never been to India so we wanted to go with him to make sure he was settled. We were in Chandigarh for 4 days, and it was good that we were not too busy, because Paula became sick with a bad cold, similar to the one I had earlier. 

We did travel about two hours west of Chandigarh on Tuesday afternoon to speak where Noble, one of the teachers at the school lives. He travels every week to teach at the school.  We had a good meeting there with many visitors.  On Wednesday Jerry preached at the regular Wednesday evening Bible study.  Paula also taught some women’s classes.

From Chandigarh, we traveled back to South India.  You might wonder why we went from South India to the north and then back to the south again.  The problem was that we had dates that we could not change.  We needed to go to Delhi to meet Rodney, but the seminar with Arjunan the next week could not be changed.  His wife is a public school teacher, so she can only attend the seminar on her holiday, which was that week.  That is why we had to travel so far. 

We arrived at Arjunan’s house late Friday night and had a seminar at a village about 2 hours away on Saturday.  About 75 people attended and it was a good meeting.  About 10 preachers also attended and we had a special preacher’s discussion period after the seminar concluded.  This was not planned so Jerry had to speak with little preparation time.  In India, one has to be prepared and flexible, because sometimes things can change quickly from what you planned. 

We all traveled to Kumily, a tourist place on the edge of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  About 100 people attended from all over Tamil Nadu for a three day retreat filled with teaching and fellowship.  Two people were baptized as a result of the seminar, so certainly it was a good three days. 

We spent two days with Philemon Raja, who has now begun working with many brethren in that area.  We have traveled through this large city several times, but have never spent any time working there.  One day was spent talking to an audience of mainly preachers.  About half were denominational preachers that were brought by some faithful brethren.  This was an interesting meeting.  I preached on the need for unity and the fact that unity can only be obtained by going back to the Bible for our authority in regards to worship and the church.  Of course, much more study will need to be done, but the local brethren can take care of that. 

The next day found us traveling outside of the city a good distance to a one-day school of evangelism.  This was a rural area and Philemon has been conducting the JC School of Evangelism in this area.  This area has seen much evangelism, especially back in the early days of the church in India.  The brethren are now largely discouraged, and so this school is working to encourage them. Hopefully, this will have the desired effect among the churches in this area. 

Our trip ended with us spending about five days in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Bear Valley has a school there and Jerry taught the gospel of John all week.  The school has six students but several others came in for the classes, so sometimes there were close to 20 people attending.  Paula also had a couple of special ladies classes.  A second reason for traveling to Nepal was to check on the status of some printing that was being done in Kathmandu.  One man has been printing the Voice of Truth for us in the Nepali language, but some conflict had developed between his group and the ones we worked with at the school.  Of course, we always want to encourage cooperation between Christians and never foster division.  The situation was not good, so we talked with both parties.  Nothing was really resolved, but the one handling the printing agreed that rather than let the publication cease, which all agreed was urgently needed, he would let the other group do the printing and he would help distribute it.  We were a little surprised that he would readily agree to that but grateful that he would have that desire to see the work go forward.   So our Nepal visit went well, and it looks like the printing will continue.

We arrived back on October 6th, but time will not allow us to take a short break to relax after our trip.  Since Betty and the Rushmores are both overseas, we are the only ones in the office, so we have many things to do.  The Voice of Truth is ready to be shipped to us.  The printers were just waiting for us to arrive back home.  In addition, Jerry will leave the first of November for Tanzania.  He will spend two weeks teaching in a Bear Valley school in Chimala.  That will be the first time he has traveled to that country, so he is looking forward to it, although he hasn’t been home long.  Paula will stay home and handle the office affairs, as everyone else will continue to be overseas until about Thanksgiving.  Much work to do, but we are glad to be able to do it, and we appreciate your support.

Jerry & Paula Bates

Posted on October 19, 2012 .

March-April 2012 newsletter

This newsletter was written while traveling on a plane returning from Myanmar, where the temperature was about 104 most days.  Once again it has been a very busy and profitable two months.  It seems as if things just keep getting busier, but maybe it just seems that way.  March was a very busy month.  Jerry had to catch up on some things after being gone to India most of February.  And of course, we had to get ready for our trip to Myanmar in April as well as plan and book tickets for Jerry’s trip to Honduras in May.  All of our lessons have to be prepared in advance, since there is little time and no study materials available overseas.  Many mornings while overseas, we wake up early and do some last minute studying and refreshing of our lessons for that day. 

The Month of March

As we mentioned earlier, many things were going on in March.  We continued our visits to churches as usual.  We had a gospel meeting with the Central Academy church near Batesville, MS about 10 days before we left.  Ed Casteel is now preaching for that good congregation, and we were impressed with their friendliness and dedication.  There were no responses, but a good crowd attended all the meetings, with several visitors from neighboring congregations.  That Sunday was to have been an open weekend in our schedule.  We have very few of those, but while Jerry was in India, Ed e-mailed him about the possibility of preaching in a 4-day meeting in March.  It was good to be able to work that into our schedule, even though it did eliminate any down time.  Batesville is only one hour away from Winona, so we commuted every day.  That way, we were able to get some office work done, which was greatly needed. 

The Voice of Truth arrived from the printer in March, and so we had to ship out many of the boxes to churches and individuals here in the states.  This occurs quarterly, and it seems it always falls just before we leave the country.  In addition, we also had to prepare many boxes for foreign brethren who had requested literature to aid them in their work.  We mail these boxes quarterly, along with the Voice of Truth; nevertheless, we had many requests.  Each box will average about 12 pounds.  Can you imagine the look on the faces of these individuals when they receive this present of books and tracts? 

Jerry also traveled to Denver for a meeting with all the extension staff of Bear Valley schools.  They try to meet together twice a year to discuss various issues or problems with each of the schools.  It is also a good time to be together and have a period of fellowship together.  While he was there he received a call from Russell Bell requesting him to accompany Russell for a ten day teaching trip to Myanmar this September.  You may remember that Jerry and Russell were in Chandigarh, India together in February.  Russell was having some problems finding someone to travel with him to Myanmar this fall, and almost begged Jerry to travel with him.  Unfortunately, we are unable to fill that request.  There are more places to go than there is time to go.  

We also had two groups to come to the office and work in March.  A large group from the Booneville church (about 25 of senior adults) came for one day.  We are glad to have groups come and help, even though they are a lot of work, both in preparation and while they are here.  Much was accomplished though.  They prepared Betty’s newsletters, organized our tracts, packed about 50 boxes for preachers in Guyana, unloaded about 30,000 copies of the Voice of Truth and three other books, and several other things.  They carried back with them nearly 2,000 pounds of books bound for Guyana.  They had a large bus and it was loaded on the way back with the people and all the books as well.  They send containers to Guyana in South America on a regular basis, so it was an excellent time to send some much needed study material to that country. 

The other group was composed of only four women.  These four, Ruth Orr, Jane George, Prissy Sellers and her daughter, Holly, were hard workers, though.  They stayed about three days, and they were still here when we left for Myanmar.  They worked on packing special boxes for Nigeria, Malawi, and Ghana, as well the Philippines.  Ruth travels to all three countries in Africa, so she had many contacts and many requests to fill.  Prissy Sellers travels to the Philippines, and worked as a missionary for 10 years before her husband passed away about 5 years ago.  She continues to work extensively in that country

especially in the area of establishing Bible classes and creating educational materials for churches in the Philippines.  These women did all the packing of the books themselves.  They have all been to Winona many times, so they know where everything is and they make themselves at home.  This was great since we were trying to finalize many things in the office in preparation for our departure.  There are always a number of things that have to be taken care of at the last minute, and this time was no exception.  All these books will be shipped out after we return.   


We always enjoy our time in Myanmar each spring.  Myanmar has been in the news a great deal lately, and when we went we had no idea about the political situation.  We started reading about it in the paper the day we left.  In case you are in the dark politically, let us briefly catch you up.  For especially the last 20 years, Myanmar has been controlled by a very repressive and controlling military government.  The people had few freedoms and little opportunity to voice their opinions.  Most of the people are very poor, with the government taking much of the wealth of the country.  The people’s hero and leader of the opposition party, Aung San Su Kyi, has been under house arrest for 20 years, because she tried to work for the welfare of the common person.  They had an election last year, but it was a rigged election. so the people still had little voice.  That was basically the situation just one year ago.

Things have changed tremendously in just one year.  Whereas, last year there were long lines to buy gasoline, there are no lines now.  The government has released control of the stations to private ownership and so there is now plenty of gas.  It seems that governments everywhere just mess things up.  There was another election while we were there, and this time, it was apparently a free election.  The opposition party won every seat that it was seeking except for one, and it appears they will now have a minority voice in government decisions.  The people were ecstatic over the outcome.  Everyone was openly talking about the election, and nearly every home has a big picture of Aung San Su Kyi hanging on the wall.  As a result of the elections, different governments, especially, Japan, England, and the U. S. are very interested in forging trade and business alliances in this new environment.  Economic sanctions have been relaxed due to the elections, and the British Prime Minister visited Myanmar while we were there.  We think we may have seen his motorcade leaving the airport one afternoon when we were coming back from the school.  I guess that is our claim to fame!  Almost every day, something about Myanmar was in the world news on CNN. 

At no time did we feel any pressure from the government.  We haven’t really felt any in the past, but we knew they were watching us and knowing what was going on.  Things felt much different this time.  Last year special permission had to be obtained from the government to allow us to teach in the school every day, but none was needed this time.  Hopefully, things will continue to improve and religious conditions will be relaxed.  As of now, no TV or radio religious programs, newspaper ads, etc. are allowed.  If things continue, I feel that it will not be long before such things will be allowed.  That should help the church tremendously. 

The school in which we taught in in session for a total of five weeks each spring and fall.  We were there for three weeks this time.  The ages of the students vary tremendously, and each school session is composed of different individuals, due to work or school commitments.  One thing is constant though, the interest of the students.  Most travel several days in order to attend the school and stay the entire five weeks.  Some are as young as 12, but most are in their late teens or 20’s.  We teach about 5 hours each day, but different Burmese preachers also teach in the early mornings and evenings, so the days are really packed for the students.  Several baptisms usually occur during each school, and such was the case this time with six putting on Christ in baptism during this school session. 

We were privileged to have Guy Stanley from Springfield, TN, travel with us this time.  He recently became the Mission Deacon of the Main Street congregation in that city and he is taking his duties very seriously.  This congregation has been supporting World Evangelism for many years, and he wants to see firsthand all the works that they support.  We were fortunate to be first on his list of places to visit.  He also wants to visit India sometime.  We had only met briefly last fall, when we made our first visit to his congregation, eating lunch together at that time.  However, we had a Christian bond together and we soon felt like we had known each other for much longer.  All the Burmese brethren assumed that we had known each other for a long time.  We had an especially close relationship as we all rode in a small taxi with our translator each day for 45 minutes to and from school.

Guy is a seasoned traveler and a retired English teacher.  We decided that he was uniquely qualified to teach some beginning English to the students.  English is a much needed skill for these students, and they were all very eager to sharpen their skills in this area.  He related well to the students, using Bible songs and verses to teach the lessons.  The students greatly appreciated his efforts.  Guy only stayed for two weeks, and so we finished up the school the last week by ourselves.  Paula taught the Birth and Life of Christ to the ladies the entire time.  Jerry taught about the church and worship for the first two weeks, and during the last week, he taught a short course on Church History from the very beginning until modern day. 

Myanmar is a very hot country, especially in April and May, since these months are their summer months.  The monsoon rains begin in June and it cools off some.  Last year was unusually cool, but this year certainly was not.  The temperature was over 1000 most days, and the electricity was off some just about every day.  There is no air conditioning at the school or in the car, so it was especially hot when the power was off.  Even though it was hot, the students did not seem to mind as they were eager to learn what we had to teach.  These students are part of the future of the church in Myanmar. 

The older adults are also very committed to the school.  Some Christians from different congregations cook on a rotating basis for each school session and they live at the camp for the five weeks.   Several preachers come with their students and volunteer to teach some additional courses to the students.  We enjoy fellowshipping with many of these experienced preachers.  One highlight of this trip was being able to meet Tin Lin.  We had heard much about him for many years, even before we started going to Myanmar.  He is very busy, and so he had never been to the school when we were there.  Two of his grown sons were there for the entire time, and he came for the last week.  We also received a request from Peter about some printing work.  He translates and prints several books, and he requested some funds to print two more books.  The translating was already done, so they should be printed soon.  We did not know in advance about this, so we were not able to give him as much as he really wanted, but it was close to what he needed.  We always carry some extra cash with us for such things as this or emergencies, and so we gave him all we had left.  We left the country with $15 in cash.  This is another unusual thing about Myanmar.  Guy was shocked to find that you cannot use Travelers Checks or credit cards in Myanmar.  We had warned him about that, but it is hard to fully realize what that means until one experiences it. 

Besides the political aspect, our trip ended with their holiday season called the Water Festival.  This is a national week long holiday ending with the Buddhist New Year.  All government offices and most retail businesses, including restaurants and fresh produce stores, are closed for at least a week.  It is a time of great celebration for these people.  The water festival is as it sounds.  Special stages are sometimes built for the celebration, and people stand on the sides of the street throwing or spraying water on the passersby.  Many ride on the back of open trucks, and the trucks will actually pull up to these groups and let them soak everyone.  This shows that you can have fun without spending a lot of money.  We even got a little wet a few times, because sometimes either we did not notice or we were too slow in closing the car windows.  It was all in good fun though.  We chose to stay in the hotel some nights and all day one Saturday because it was so hectic on the streets. 

Future Plans

We have a Missionary Retreat planned in May with usually about 85 missionaries or people very interested in missions.  World Evangelism sponsors this each year.  It is held at Maywood Christian Camp in Hamilton, AL.  The dates for this year May 10-12.  You do not have to be a missionary to attend, and we hope that some of you will be able to attend this year.  Just let us know and we will send you a schedule and let you know more about it.  Jerry will be going to Honduras for two weeks, leaving May 18th.  Paula thought a little about going, until she realized what else is happening about that time.  Our oldest daughter, Lynette, is expecting her second son May 28th, and nothing would compel Paula to leave the country at that time.  We are sure you can all relate to that. 

We continue to be grateful that we have the opportunity to be involved in this great work of world evangelism.  Thank you for your support of our work and we are proud to be your co-workers in the kingdom of God.


Posted on May 15, 2012 .

January - February 2012

As usual it has been a busy two months, but all is well with the Bates household.  Even though we were in the states during January it was a really busy month.  During January, we visited churches in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas.  Of course, I was also getting ready for my trip to India in February.  I will cover that in due time.  In addition to my February trip, I was also lining up our work for the next two months.  Most would not think about it, but we usually stay planned out a month or so in advance, but it is longer than that when we go on our trips. 

One weekend in January we made a long trip to the Dallas area.  We carried many books to the New York Avenue church in Arlington, TX.  They were sending a container to Tanzania, Africa, sometime in February.  The same weekend I spoke on a Korean mission workshop in Ft. Worth.  Then we traveled about four hours west to Big Spring, TX to visit one of our supporters of the Voice of Truth.  Since they are so far, no one has ever visited them.  Then we hurried back to Arlington, where I met with the elders of the New York Avenue church to discuss our work.  We traveled many miles that weekend, but it was a worthwhile weekend.  The following Saturday, a group from Collierville, TN came down to help with some jobs in the office, so that was also a busy weekend. 

We had a short break before we headed out again, this time for the Freed-Hardeman lectures. World Evangelism had two tables for a display, so we took many books and set up the display on the Saturday before the lectures.  We always enjoy attending the lectures as we are able to see many of our old friends, as well as meet some new ones.  However, we had to cut this one short, as I left on my India trip on Wednesday of that week.

Paula did not accompany me on this trip.  It was going to be a fast moving trip, and it did not appear that she would have had many teaching opportunities.  We always want to use our time and money in the wisest way, so to save money she stayed home.  Of course, that did not mean she was not doing anything.  She was in the office as usual, although she did spend a couple of days with our daughters and grandson in Jonesboro, AR.  Everyone asked where she was and that they wished she was with me.  They also asked if she would accompany me next time, and I was glad to say yes.  I think they had rather have her than me anyway (ha, ha).

Sri Lanka
The first stop on this trip was Sri Lanka.  About one year ago, I conducted a seminar on the first few chapters in Romans, and I did the same thing again this time on Saturday and Sunday.  They really enjoyed the time of fellowship and learning together.  Hopefully, we will also continue this fall.  The church seems to be growing gradually as they are receiving more contacts through radio messages.  Harold Thomas is the preacher for the congregation with which we work, and he is having Bible studies about every night of the week.  He is also the manager of a factory in Colombo, so he is very busy. 

Visakhapatnam, India
From Sri Lanka, I flew to Visak to visit with John Dean and his father, Samuel Raju.  They are the directors of the Bear Valley school in that city.  I did not do any teaching this time, but we did spend some time discussing the details of the school.  The school is continuing to go well.  Gary Fallis from Dallas was there just before I arrived teaching the final two courses of the masters program.  Ten

people are on track to complete their degree, and graduation is planned in July with the new masters’ class also starting at that time.  Fourteen students are currently enrolled in the undergraduate program, which began last year, so that program is also doing well.  In addition, about 3-4 people are auditing the classes in order to increase their knowledge.  Of course, we are glad for them to do that.  This means that more teaching is being done to help the church than will be reported, since we only talk about the graduates. 

Another new development with this school is that our sponsoring congregation, the Strickland Church of Christ, has consented to also be the overseeing congregation of the school.  The policy of Bear Valley is to have every school overseen by one congregation, but until now this school was lacking that important factor.  Strickland has already had a relationship with Samuel and John, since they have supported them in their other work for several years.  We certainly value very highly our relationship with this wonderful congregation and are grateful that they would consent to take on this added responsibility. 

Chandigarh, India
In Chandigarh I attended the North India Bible Lectureship as well as the graduation of the North India Bible College.  This is the first time I have attended either one, and I wanted to be there this time.  This was also the main reason for making our India trip now instead of March as we did last year.  Some of 

you may have heard of Russell Bell.  He has been making semiannual mission trips to India for many years, and he financially sponsors the lectureship.  The theme of the lectures this year was 1 John.  Of course he also attended with a fellow traveler from Kansas, Dennis Holst.  It was really good to meet Bro. Russell, as I have often heard his name since we began our work in India.  About 90 people from all over North India attended the lectures, which was about the same number as last year.  It was good to meet several new people and hear some good lectures.  Of course, Russell and I both spoke during the two day lectures.  Two of World Evangelism’s faithful workers, Francis and Vinay David from Delhi, were there.  Both of them also spoke and it was really good to see and hear them.  I did not stop in Delhi this time, but I promised them we would stop for a few days this fall. 

The evening of the second day was filled with the graduation of the North India Bible College.  Five students received their certificate and were ready to go to work.  Russell and I also spoke some words of encouragement to these students.  This school is vital, since the church is weak and scattered all across North India, so trained workers are desperately needed.  Ernest Gill is doing a good job directing this school, as well as translating and printing much material for distribution.  He is truly a hard worker.  This school has lost $500 a month in funding this year.  We have committed to making up $400 of that amount to help cover the shortfall, but we really need one or two congregations to commit a monthly amount to secure its funding.  I am firmly convinced that schools are one of the best ways to evangelize India.  We must train local workers and the only way to do it effectively is to train them in their own country.  

Kangayam, India
After Chandigarh I went back to South India and worked with Rajanayagam.  He had organized a three day preacher’s seminar.  About 30 preachers attended this meeting.  The purpose was of course to impart some spiritual encouragement but also to talk about how they might work together more to help the church grow in Tamil Nadu.  I think the meeting went well.  It is encouraging to see this desire to work together with other congregations and other preachers to help the work grow.  It was decided that it would be best to print many tracts, organize joint gospel meetings in different towns, and then all the preachers travel there for a campaign to distribute the tracts in connection with the meeting.  Of course, we will try to furnish the money to print the tracts, but the native brethren will do the work of preaching and distributing the tracts. 

Manipur, India
My last stop was in the state of Manipur on the extreme northeast corner of India bordering Myanmar.  The Choates had done some work in this area several years ago, but for some reason stopped.  This area has also been politically unstable in recent years, so Americans were pretty much prohibited from visiting, but that ban has now been lifted.  This was the first time I had been to this area, and the purpose was to become better acquainted with Thang Lien, whom I met in Delhi last fall, and to better understand the area and the needs of the church in that region.  Thang is going to start translating the Voice of Truth into his native language.  Part of Myanmar also understands this language so this publication will be sent into Myanmar as well, thus it should have a wide distribution area. 

This part of India is quite different from the rest of India.  The cities are not large as in the other parts, with much of the area used for farming.  There are some mountainous regions also, but I did not go into the mountains on this trip since I was only there a couple of days.  The nationality of the people is different as they look more like the Burmese or Chinese people, and the culture is also quite different from the rest of India.  However, they are quite poor, more so than in the other parts of India.  The church, although small, appeared to be doing quite well.  Nevertheless, much work remains to be done. 

One refreshing thing was the commitment of the church to maintain doctrinal purity.  In recent years they have encountered problems from Western preachers, mainly the antis, and also some who claimed to be Church of Christ but they used the instrument.  These preachers had come and caused division and many problems.  Thus, the native brethren were very careful about knowing what I believed before they extended fellowship to me.  Even though they were familiar with the Voice of Truth and trusted Thang, the leaders of the congregation wanted to personally meet me and talk with me first.  I had no problem with that, and I complimented them on their desire to be careful to whom they extended fellowship.  I feel confident we will have a good relationship in the future.  This is a region that needs some help as no Americans are going to this area, at least on a regular basis.  Yet, they are continuing with their work, and it is refreshing to know that they are not completely dependent upon American support as is all too common in other parts of India. 

Future Plans
The next two months appear to be very busy as well.  In March I travel to Denver for a meeting of all the coordinators of the Bear Valley Extension schools.  In addition, on March 18-21, I have a gospel meeting scheduled with the Central Academy congregation between Batesville and Oxford, MS.  Then, at the end of March, Paula and I both will travel to Myanmar to teach for three weeks in the Bible School in Yangon, so most of April is taken up with that work.  We continue to thank you for your support and encouragement.  We couldn’t do it without you.  May God bless you.

Posted on March 7, 2012 .

August - October newsletter

We recently finished another mission trip, and once again, we thought it was a very successful one.  We visited with most of the World Evangelism team members in India, contacted both Bear Valley Bible Schools, did much teaching, and witnessed nine people put on Christ in baptism.  In this newsletter we want to tell some individual stories of people along the way, rather than just recounting our travels.

We started in South India with a seminar in Kangayam.  Nearly 30 people, some traveling a long distance, attended a three-day seminar on 1st Peter.  These were not just preachers, but primarily were preachers and church leaders who work at a secular job and have not had the advantage of Bible school training.  They have good basic Bible knowledge, but the goal is to provide some in-depth teaching which will ground and mature the church.  We hope to do more of these in the future, maybe twice a year, but we will have to see if time permits for that many. 

Visakhapatnam, Andrah Pradesh
We spent two weeks teaching in this Bear Valley Bible school.  This is a great school, with good leadership and faculty.  These men are hard workers and have a passion and vision to train future church leaders.  Greg Hamlin from Lewisburg, TN traveled with us to Visak, and he taught the undergraduates, while I instructed the graduate students.  Seventeen students are currently enrolled in the undergraduate program.  Most schools do not have an advanced program of instruction, but this school does.  Ten are enrolled in the graduate program, all of whom are either teaching in the school in Visak or Skinner’s Garden, the other preaching school that John Dean and his father, Samuel Raju, oversee. 

The graduate students are very busy men, all of whom preach in addition to teaching at one of two schools.  For example, one of the men named Vamsees, a very intelligent man, travels about 12 hours by train each week to teach in Visak.  John Dean actually lives about three hours from Visak, either he or his Dad making the trip every week.  About three times a year, teachers from the U. S. will teach for two weeks each time.  Thus, all graduate courses are taught in three years, and these men will finish their course of study next year.  I taught Humanism & Cults and Advanced Sermon Preparation in this session.  Another group of students are already planning to enroll in the next advanced class.  At least three of those men are from the state of Orissa, and hopefully, we can begin another school with one of these men when they complete their studies.  In this way, we can spread the gospel to many other basically unevangelized areas of India.  

One interesting thing occurred on a Sunday night.  We were in a small rural village for an evangelistic meeting.  This was way back in a very rural part of India.  Greg preached the sermon that night, and after the service, one person wanted to be baptized.  The church building had no baptistry, just as many buildings do not.  Of course, we wondered where and how they were going to baptize him at night.  However, a short walk from the building was a small pond where cows were watered.  Naturally, there were no lights whatsoever, so we walked down this dirt road with a few flashlights, watching where you stepped to avoid piles of cow manure.  After a  few minutes, we arrived at the pond, and he was immersed by the light of only a few flashlights.  Many might think they should have waited until the next morning, but like the Philippian jailor, he was baptized “the same hour of the night.” 

John Dean’s wife had a baby while we were there.  However, he only missed one day of school.  He traveled by train to his home late one afternoon and night, making it home before the baby was born.  The next day the little girl arrived, and then he came back to the school that night and was ready for class the next day.  We should mention that this was not planned.  The baby was not due for another 3-4 weeks, but as you know, sometimes you cannot predict when babies are going to be born.  Paula had some ladies classes during the weeks we were there.  She also helped the teachers with some office work, copying, etc.

It has been a year since we have visited with Arjunan.  He is a faithful TV speaker, and he organized a three day retreat with many preachers, their families, and some of their contacts.  This is a good time for teaching, fellowship and encouragement.  I taught several class sessions on 1st & 2nd Peter, and Paula taught ladies sessions during the three-day retreat.  Several commented on how good the retreat was, and six were baptized, which certainly made the retreat worthwhile. 

Philemon in Madurai
For the first three days we taught in the J. C. School of Evangelism.  This was the last session of this school with 26 students graduating.  Once again these students have been very busy spreading the gospel to all around them.  There were a wide range of ages in this group with the students ranging from 16 to about 70.  Everyone can and should be an evangelist. 

In addition to the school, we had a leadership seminar and also a Ladies Day.  Several preachers as well as a few past graduates of a previous school attended.  Three people from the Karurapalayam School of Evangelism including the preacher made the approximately three hour trip to attend, and it was good to see them again.  We always wonder about the long-term effect of this school on its graduates.  I asked this preacher how his work was going, and his answer was very short, yet very telling.  He simply said, “Super!”  I don’t think I have ever heard a preacher describe his work with this word.  The new congregation that was started by the main group is continuing to grow.  He said that 10-12 people commonly attend worship after only a few months of holding services. 

Leaving the Madurai area, we traveled a long distance to the state of Pondicherry on the east coast, a few hours south of Chennai.  Philemon had previously talked with a preacher in that area about hosting a school, so he wanted to meet with him.  This church was a good congregation.  About 150 people currently attend Sunday worship, and this church completely supports its own preacher.  They recently had to relocate, and they constructed their own building without any help from any one else.  One interesting thing happened while we were there.  We were visiting with the preacher in his home and immediately after entering the home, we noticed an enlarged picture of J C Choate hanging over the door.  Naturally, we enquired if J C had ever been to their home, and they said no; however, many of his books had made their way to their place, thus the respect they had for his work.  This again illustrates the far reaching effect of literature on spreading the gospel in India and the rest of the world.  Even though J C had never personally been in that area, he obviously had a great impact.  We are privileged to be able to continue that work and even help to enlarge it. 

We were not able to be in Delhi very long, but while there, we met and talked with Thang Lian, a man from the state of Manipur.  This is a state on the extreme eastern edge of India, bordering the country of Myanmar.  The Choates have never worked in that region of India.  It has been a very unstable part of India, and it was very difficult for Americans to even go to that region.  For the last year or so, the region has been open to visitors, so we might be able to do something there now.  We met with Thang about the state of the church in his area and his vision for the region.  He is an extremely talented man, so maybe with his help, we can begin some work in that area.  We are always looking for more opportunities to help faithful brethren. 

Just before we traveled home, we went to Chandigarh for a couple of days to meet with Ernest Gill.  Ernest is the director of the North India Bible College, a Bear Valley school.  We also met Bob Turner, the Extension Coordinator of all Bear Valley schools from Denver, CO, who also traveled with us to Chandigarh.  He was impressed with Ernest, his sincerity, and how hard he and the staff of the school work to make it successful.  There are two teachers in the school besides Ernest, and they travel several hours by bus each week in order to teach in the school.  Ernest also translates the Truth for Today publication, a printed preacher training program overseen by Eddie Cloer, a teacher at Harding University.  In addition, Ernest has also just began translating the Voice of Truth for us in the Hindi language, the most widely spoken Indian language.  The first issue came out in October while we were there.  5,000 copies will be printed, and Ernest receives no money for the translating, other than printing and postage.  The students help with the mailing.  As you can see, he is a very busy man.  We are also proud to announce that the first Nepali edition of the Voice of Truth was due from the printer in October.  Confidently, we look forward to much good being accomplished by these two new editions of the Voice of Truth. 

As you can see, we had another busy trip, but it was a very productive trip.  We were privileged to witness several people being baptized, which just simply illustrates that the people with whom we work are busy working and teaching while we are not there.  The work continues to grow and expand, and along with that, comes more opportunities.  We thank each of you for your support and pray that we might also use the money wisely in the service of God.  God bless each of you. 

Massive Literature Distribution
We continue to distribute vast quantities of literature in containers as we have opportunity.  The Global Harvest magazine, which is included with this mailing, was delivered the same week that we arrived back in the country.  We have been mailing those out to various churches and individuals since then.  About 3,500 pounds of literature was shipped to Dallas to be sent to the Philippines the next week.  About half was the spring quarter Bible class literature from 21st Century Christian in Nashville.  They had no place for their old literature, so they have started donating it to us if we can use it.  We hate to see that much literature wasted.  In about one week we will take about 2,000 pounds of our books to Nashville to be sent to Uganda.  We have shipped over 7,000 tracts to Korea.  Recently, Betty carried many books to Freed-Hardeman to be given to the Bible students.  We cannot over-emphasize the importance of good literature both here and abroad.  Only God knows the ultimate good that is done, because literature continues to bring results many years after it is printed. 

  Jerry & Paula Bates


Posted on November 7, 2011 .

May-July 2011 newsletter

Dear Supporters,

                I know that you are all thinking how hot it is right now.  Well, we agree with you.  It has been a long hot summer.  It has also been a very busy summer so far.  In these three months we have visited 35 congregations.  We strive to make time count when we are here because we are gone so much.  The next few weeks promise to be equally busy, as we make final preparations for our next overseas trip.  However, we will hold that discussion until later.

                We often function as an important medium connecting two people who are separated by vast distances.  Let us give you a few examples.  There was one World Bible School teacher in Ohio who was communicating with a young lady in north India who was studying WBS literature in secret.  She wanted to talk with a Christian, but did not know one.  The teacher in Ohio did not know one in India, but he contacted us in Winona, and we subsequently gave him some contact information for Vinay David in Delhi, which he could then send to her.  Since she was taking these courses in secret, she would have to contact Vinay when she had the opportunity.

        Connie Barden, who worships with the Colony church near Higden, AR, also teaches several World Bible school students primarily in India.  She recently wanted some contacts of Christians in India for one of her students.  She often uses the Voice of Truth to send to her students who want more study materials in addition to the basic lessons from WBS.  This fall we will take a Bible with us to give to one of her students who is now a Christian and a student at the Viasakha Valley Bible Institute, a Bear Valley extension school in India.

                A similar situation occurred in the spring of this year.  Bob Ellison had been communicating with a man in India, and Bob wanted an Indian man to personally study with him.  Bob called Bob Turner with Bear Valley in Denver, who in turn asked me to contact someone in India.  I contacted P. R. Swamy in Bangalore, who promptly went and studied with this man’s family.  A short time later, I was informed that this man was baptized by Bro. Swamy.

                When we were in Myanmar this spring, Paula talked with a young lady in her class who worked in Singapore.  She did not know where the church was located in the city where she worked.  By internet we contacted Gordon Hogan who had lived in Singapore for many years.  He gave us the address of the church and some contact information of some Christians there.  We don’t know what she did with that information, but we did all we could.  With the connections that all of us have in Winona, we can plug into many mission points around the world as the need arises.

Literature Distribution

                As all of you know, the distributing of printed material is one of the main aspects of our work.  When we were at the Freed-Hardeman lectures we talked with the representative of the 21st Century bookstore.  She commented that they would like to send their out-of-date literature overseas, but did not know where to send it.  We kept that information in mind, and in June, Healing Hands in Nashville was sending a container to Tanzania.  The first week in June, we carried about 1,800 pounds of our literature to Nashville to be put on the container.  We also called 21st Century, who then donated all of their spring literature to us.  We sorted and boxed all of their material in a more usable format for those who received it.  This required about five hours of hot warehouse work.  It was even hotter than we get in India, but we were willing to do it.  Half of the literature was shipped to Tanzania, and then we brought the other half back to Winona.  We did this because in September there is a container going to the Philippines, on which we plan to ship the remainder of the literature.

                We have also picked up much old literature and magazines from churches as well about 300 song books from mainly two churches, the North Liberty congregation in Canton, MS, just a little north of Jackson, and a small church in Trimble, TN that closed their doors.  This time the song books and literature will eventually wind up in the Philippines.

                Our co-workers, Louis and Bonnie Rushmore, recently made a short trip to Guyana.  Immediately after they returned, about 25 youths from the West President Street congregation in Greenwood, MS and the Siwell Road congregation in Jackson, MS came for a day to work.  Those youths did a lot of work for us.  They counted many tracts into bundles to make it easier for us to ship.  They packed about 110 boxes of books to be sent to preachers in Guyana and the Philippines, taped about 250 boxes of Voice of Truth to be sent overseas in our next mailing, and did a thorough cleaning of the building.  We encourage groups to come and join us as the old saying goes “many hands make fast work,” and it especially helps the young people to understand the scope of our mission at World Evangelism.

                Literature is very precious to those in foreign countries.  One story will easily illustrate this point.  Ruth Orr from Lewisburg, TN has literally taught thousands of people through World Bible School, primarily in Nigeria and Malawi.  In the spring of this year, she made a mission trip to Malawi.  While there she talked with one of the men she had earlier converted.  We sent this man, who is now preaching, a small box of books.  He told her that when he received those books, he literally cried.  He said that those books were worth more than a million dollars.  In most of the countries of the world, literature is not available at all, regardless of the price.  In such situations, religious books and literature are precious.  We try to at least partially fill that need.

                We are expanding our outreach through the Voice of Truth.  Earnest Gill in Chandigarh is translating it into the Hindi language.  He will be printing 5,000 copies and distributing them all over north India.  That issue should be almost ready by now.  One man in Nepal is also translating it in the Nepali language.  He is encountering some problems getting other people to assist him, so that is taking longer than we thought.  Sometime next year we will be making another trip to Nepal to see how things are going.

                When we come back from India, we always try to bring some Braille editions of the Voice of Truth with us.  One of our co-workers in India, Philemon Rajah, translates the Voice of Truth into Braille.  We have run across three different people who want the Braille issue, whom we are glad to help.  One of those contacts is a young girl in Memphis, about 17 years old.  Her and her mother have sent us sweet thank-you notes telling us how much this means to them.  In our last visit there, we met one of her blind friends, who had started coming as a result of her efforts.  We gave her a Braille edition as well.  This young lady should be a great encouragement to all of us.  She is blind as well as crippled in a wheel chair.  Yet, as limited as she is, she has reached a friend who is now also attending church.  Hopefully, the Braille edition will encourage both her and her friend.

                We have been busy in the office all summer.  About mid-June, 16 volunteers from Betty’s sponsoring church, Liberty, came down to help us.  They helped package 1500 copies of the Global Harvest magazine to be sent to various congregations.  This is a mission magazine with articles from a variety of mission works both in the U. S. and many foreign countries.  They also helped package about 200 copies of the most recent issue of the Spanish Voice of Truth to be sent to churches that we knew were involved in Spanish ministries.  We feel that the Spanish Voice of Truth could be an important aid to the work of many Spanish mission efforts in the U. S.  If you know of any church involved in a Spanish work, let us know, and we will be sure they are aware of this literature.  We also have 5 basic study books that have been translated into Spanish.

                The first week of August we had our annual meeting in Winona at the World Evangelism building with all of our co-workers.  This is a time to swap ideas, report about what is working and to learn how we can help each other.  It is also a great time for just visiting (and also eating!).  This is a great spiritual feast and it is always a reviving time.

 Future Plans

                We have our next trip finally arranged.  This trip was a difficult one to organize, as it seemed that things just kept changing.  On September 1st, we fly to Denver for a couple of days retreat with all the Bear Valley extension school staff and the elders that oversea that work.  Immediately after that, we leave for India for about six weeks.  This trip is focused almost entirely on Bible schools.  We start with a preacher’s seminar in Kangayam, and then teach for two weeks in Visak.  I will be teaching the teachers on this trip, which is the first time I have done that.  Then we go to the Madurai area with Arjunan for a three day preacher’s retreat, and then finish the week teaching in the JC School of Evangelism.  This will also include a graduation, as this group will be finishing their studies.  We finish the trip by going to Chandigarh with Bob Turner of Bear Valley.  Together, we will be visiting the school in that city.  In Delhi, we will also be meeting a man from the state of Manipur, a state in the extreme Northeast corner of India bordering Myanmar.  Sunny David, a faithful co-worker of the Choates for many years, highly recommends this man, so we will be talking to him and seeing how we might be able to work together to help the church in that portion of India.

                We will be very busy in the next few weeks until we leave.  It looks like our co-workers, Louis and Bonnie Rushmore, will be out of the office most of this month.  Bonnie’s mother passed away August 8th.  They were there for several days, then they plan to be at Polishing the Pulpit in mid-August.  Of course, we have to finish our lessons, which always takes a great deal of preparation.  We also have many books to pack and ship before we leave.  Volume 69 of the Voice of Truth is due to arrive shortly.  They have to be unloaded, labeled, taped and mailed.  We are shipping some older issues of the Voice of Truth to our foreign mailing list this time.  This is over 500 boxes, which we have to finish getting ready.  In addition, we have to pack several individual boxes to those who have requested literature.  And we must never forget the daily e-mails, conversations, office work and the many other unexpected events that happen each day here at the office.

                Whether we are in this country or overseas, we are a direct link between you, the sponsors and the brethren overseas.  We correspond weekly with them.  When we visit, we are with many of the same evangelists, and our efforts and your support enable them in their works by providing monies for Bibles, TV programs, literature and Bible schools.  We want to be your eyes, ears and mouths, using whatever opportunities that God sends our way.  Thank you for helping us in this great work.  Keep us in your prayers.

            Jerry & Paula



Posted on August 11, 2011 .