my salvation experience…
As an 8 year old child, I heard the word ‘sin’ for the first time. When I asked my friend what sin was, she incredulously replied, “Man, JoLynn, you don’t know anything!” Not wanting to ‘not know anything,’ I had determined to find out what this word, ‘sin’ meant. I quickly learned that my sin separated me from God, which meant I would not go to Heaven when I died. I accepted God’s free gift of eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (John 3:16) and have chosen to serve Him for the rest of my life.
My calling came at the age of 17. I experienced a deep prompting to go into music ministry, encouraging audiences to be all they could be in the Lord, through music. For 4 years, I performed concerts in and around the Spokane community and sang for the 1983 Northwest Baptist convention. 10 days later, I married the man of my dreams, Jerry Yates. His support of my music ministry was strong and consistent. Although my desire for music ministry never waivered, I eagerly anticipated becoming a mother.
One-by-one, the babies came. I found myself teaching them music at very young ages. In the mid 90′s, our family was asked to sing for the Northwest Baptist Convention…and so, “The Yates Family Singers’ was born. For 12 years, all 10 children and I fully accompanied ourselves singing Southern Gospel and Contemporary Christian music throughout Eastern and Central Washington and into North Idaho. In spite of my busy-ness of being a home-school mom of 10, I was able to continue my calling of encouraging audiences in their walk with the Lord, through music.
When our 3 oldest children began seeking lives of their own, ‘The Yates Family Singers,’ disbanded. Most of the children are still serving the Lord through music ministry, with Luke and Jake singing with the renown Blackwood Legacy based out of Nashville as full-time gospel musicians.
Because my calling never diminished, I was constantly looking for ways to continue serving the Lord through music. I was asked to become a vocal coach for a church in the Silver Valley for 10 months. I also served as Director of Music at a church in the Spokane Valley. When asked to serve at Dishman Baptist Church, the question was posed: “Do you believe you are called to this ministry?” After some thought, that question took me back to when, as a 17 year-old girl, I answered God’s call to serve Him through music ministry. The face of my music has changed over the past 30 years but the root call of my ministry has never waivered: My calling is and always has been: to encourage audiences to be all they can be in the Lord, through music.