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December 2002

Thanksgiving Continues !!! After sharing last month how much Jesus has blessed us, we've received even more good news to pass on to you. For instance, consider this letter that just arrived from Lincoln NE.

"Dear Rick and Melva,
"This month will be my 30th spiritual birthday! On November 18th, 1972 you came and ministered in La Jara, CO (a very small town south of Alamosa) at the United Prebyterian-Mennonite church with a group of college students.
"You talked about having a relationship with Jesus and that He cared about everything I was going through. That I could have a personal relationship with the Son of God!
After that, I can't remember what else you said but the Holy Spirit was not only 'tugging', He was yanking at my heart! Then all of you sang, "The Savior is waiting to enter your heart". I didn't realize that I needed to go forward during the song, but as soon as it was over I found one of the girls in the group and she prayed the 'sinners prayer' with me.
"Of course my life was totally changed! My husband went with me to the service that night and re-committed his life. We have been serving Jesus ever since and are currently helping lead praise and worship in our church.
"The Lord has done so much in our lives and we love Him soooo much! All this happened because someone invited us to church to hear you and the college students sing. I have to admit, we went just to get that person 'off our backs'.
"Thanks for being obedient to the Holy Spirit and coming to La Jara that Sunday!"

Isn't that exciting? We were new Christians then and now, 30 years later, we're still able to minister in small communities and help college students learn to share their faith. In fact, this weekend we're taking 10 college students to minister to high school youth in Delta, CO. Your prayers and support allow us to do that. Thank You! And remember, your invitation to an unchurched or unsaved person to hear the gospel can change their eternity!

Last weekend we attended the wedding of a young man whose dad and sister I was privileged to lead to Christ 21 years ago. Today, the entire family is serving Jesus!

Let me tell you about our Thanksgiving dinner. It was probably the most difficult yet rewarding one we've had in recent years. First, it was difficult since 3 of our 4 children were away at college or out of town. But, we invited students and those who couldn't join their own families to join us. There were 15 of us for dinner that evening. All morning the devil kept trying to get Melva and I frustrated with one mishap after another. Finally, after we prayed for God's peace and presence, we had a wonderful dinner.

One Christian brought his non-Christian friend. During the evening his friend began to ask questions about forest firefighting and eventually I was able to share about a personal relationship with Jesus. It turns out that his brother recently became a Christian and is a Young Life leader. Now, someone with a similar interest in firefighting was sharing about the Savior with him as well! Please pray the Sean will come to Jesus.

Because of your financial support: we have been able to provide over 500 additional firefighter New Testaments to firemen across the country. That brings the total for the year to over 1100!

Our college Fellowship of Christian Athletes delivered over 350 pounds of food to the local food bank and sang this week for the nursing home.

As we enter this Christmas Season, may our hearts be focused on the most important gift of all, Jesus. God the Son left His eternal home in Heaven to live for our example, die to pay the price for our sin, rose from the dead to show that the Father had accepted the payment and lives with and for us now. Truly, He is the Gift that keeps on giving!

We love you and appreciate you so much!

Rick and Melva
Rick Barton Ministries • 401 Ute Lane Gunnison, CO 81230 • • (970) 641-3583
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