Singer to tell story of overcoming drug addiction

BAYOU VISTA — Country singer Jeff Bates is coming to the Bayou Vista Community Center at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 for an acoustic concert and to tell his story of his struggle with drug addiction and how he overcame it.

The Rev. Marty Romero of the Ministry of Reconciliation in Bayou Vista, who got Bates to come to Bayou Vista, has known him for about five years.

Romero first met Bates in 2008 at the Shrimp Festival in Delcambre when Bates came to sing there.

“He told of a date, March 14, 2001, where he was arrested and incarcerated ... March 14, 1982, is the date that my life changed,” Romero said. After Romero heard that, he knew he had to talk to Bates, he said.

Romero continued to keep in touch and had been trying to get Bates to come to Bayou Vista “because I feel we have a drug abuse epidemic,” Romero said.

The event in Bayou Vista is open and free to the public. Ray’s Repair Shop in Bayou Vista has also helped promote the event, as well as KQKI radio station, he said. Romero is also trying to get the people in law enforcement, drug court, and people involved with foster care, as well as anyone else who wants to attend. “All’s invited. You don’t have to have had a drug addiction. I think he’s just a wonderful entertainer,” Romero said.

Romero is a licensed counselor and runs the Ministry of Reconciliation, which is a non-profit organization. “The Ministry of Reconciliation has now become not just a substance abuse clinic but a professional Christian counseling center,” Romero said.

Romero does a 12-step program with his clients, and during step 4, he shows Bates’ music video called “One Second Chance.”

Bates was also adopted at three months old and does not know his biological family, Romero said. Romero and his wife are involved in foster care as well.

During Bates’ visit to the Bayou Vista Community Center, he will play three or four songs, then give his testimony and meet with people after the event. Bates will minister not only to those with drug abuse problems, but also to children who have been adopted or are in foster care, Romero said.

Bates is moving more toward the Christian music scene and away from the “honky-tonk” environment, Romero said. Bates has been nominated for Christian country singer of the year award this year, Romero said.

Romero’s ministry is asking for a “love offering” from anyone who wants to donate to the ministry, and any corporate sponsors that want to help.

The ministry works with the drug court system when people are ordered to attend counseling, and also sponsors “Friday Night Church” at 6 p.m. Fridays in Bayou Vista, which was created to keep people from doing negative things, Romero said. The church does not have membership and has the motto of reaching “from Catholics to charismatics and all in between with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Romero said. They provide food and entertainment, he said.

Romero’s ministry has been around since 2006 and deals with substance abuse, family issues, mental health issues, and vocational issues, he said. It is located at 501B Southeast Blvd. in Bayou Vista.

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