YOKE Founder and former Executive Director John Coatney has written and published his first book called Story Time with Uncle Bud, and YOKE alumni are lining up to get a copy. (This was supposed to be John’s second book. The first book was going to be a collection of YOKE stories submitted by former YOKE Folk, but Covid hit and delayed the plans for that book.)

You may be thinking, “Who is Uncle Bud?” Well, that is of course John, and Uncle Bud was the nickname given to him by a very special niece. If you know John, it won’t surprise you that he wanted publish this book anonymously, but the publisher wouldn’t let him do so.

John has always been known as a masterful storyteller. Story Time with Uncle Bud is a collection of twenty-eight short stories drawn from his own personal experience, told in a humorous and inspiring way. All proceeds from the book will go toward middle school ministry —fitting for someone who has always loved middle school students and who became a follower of Jesus as a high school student.

Some of the stories are about his family, some include lessons he’s learned along the way, and there are a few stories from YOKE as well. All are true and the lessons shared have stood the test of time.

Story Time with Uncle Bud is written in John’s renowned dialect and includes a story explaining how John began writing in that style. The book is fittingly illustrated by Sherry Beeler, who has been friends with John and Helen for 45 years. She served from 1980-1985 at Christenberry Junior High and Whittle Springs Middle and she and her husband, Clifton, were in John and Helen’s youth group. Sherry remembers being at John and Helen’s house when they were coming up with a name for what we now know as YOKE.

“There was no doubt the great love of John’s life was Jesus. That’s why Story Time with Uncle Bud is a blessing,” wrote former YOKE Director Chris Edmonds in his review of the book. “Each story sings of life in harmony with Christ’s love for us and others. I’m glad Uncle Bud finally picked up his pencil and shared his stories. You will be too. I know you’ll enjoy ‘em. They’re better than peanut butter and jelly and more excitin’ than a stunt man on a wagon ride. So sit a spell. Read a bit. Laugh. Learn. Be inspired. Most of all enjoy.”

The book is still at the publisher, but copies of Story Time will be available soon on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.