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From the Bartons

If I may, I want to share the sense of JOY and GRATITUDE that Melva and I feel.

"Thank You Safari": We have just returned from a two-week road trip where we met with many of you in southern Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. What a blessing to see friends from as far back as our early days of ministry (the late 60's), still walking with Jesus, as well as former college students who served Jesus with us and are now making a difference in churches around the country.

Just a few of the many highlights: In Colorado Springs, we met with old and new friends now serving with Young Life, Focus on the Family, International Bible Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, AWANA and their local churches. For example. Dean Mueller, a former college student who has served as a teacher, FCA sponsor and youth leader for over 20 years, Corey and Tiffany Carey who helped lead our FCA ministry here and are helping with youth and looking at full-time sports ministry, Michael and Susan Turner (ski students/businessman) who are serving Jesus through businessmen's ministry.

In Amarillo, TX, we visited with Charles Barrett who, despite suffering a rash of medical problems, is active in prayer and support of his church and our ministry. In Oklahoma City, meeting with Aaron Ramburg, former student who just returned from Bosnia and is going back for 2 years of service as a missionary. In Ft. Smith, seeing the Jerry Neel's and Paul dean's, businessmen who have just returned from a missions trip to Africa.

In Dallas, seeing Rich and Shirley Wunnaherger who serve the Lord in the medical field and delivered two of our children. Spending time with Bunny and Mary Etta Martin along with Rill Krisher and Verdel Davis Krisher (Bunny and Bill have served in FCA since before dirt, and Verdell has a wonderful writing and speaking ministry). And of course Vance and Susan Marcum (Vance kept me in line for many years as my associate pastor and has now completed his MA in counseling and is serving Jesus in that field), Dave and Kelley Reische who are serving in their church, and so many more!

What an absolute joy to meet face to face with those of you who faithfully lift up our arms through prayer and financial support. We thank God for each of you!!! We hope to see more of you on future "safaris".

Ministry Update: Our college Fellowship of Christian Athletes program is doing well with some great student leaders developing. The Lord has raised up head track Coach Scott (and Shelly) Lorek to help us. They have worked with Campus Crusade's Athletes in Action for several years and are real assets, please pray for them as they take an active role in the FCA ministry. Our FCA did a "Trick or Can" drive Halloween to collect canned goods for food banks and will help collect shoe boxes of gifts for underprivileged children. Because of your financial support we have been able to our chase more study books for our called to ministry group. 1 these college men and women meet with me each week and are learning to prepare and present Bible studies as well as do word studies and deal with ministry related issues.

More writing opportunities have arisen. In addition to the article for the new firefighter New Testament, 1 have been asked to submit articles for a new, "Chicken Soup for the Soul", for fire, police and ambulance workers. Please pray that God uses these opportunities for His glory. My re-write of Spurgeon is going slow but 1 believe that I will be able to make progress over the next month. The first chapter is finished and is available to any who request it. Our new album(s) will be out by January I!

Prayer Requests: One of our prayers for 2003 is that the Lord will raise up 20 more folks to pray for us daily. We know, as the Gideons say, that a dedicated band of prayer warriors on their knees, keep us on our feet. Please pray that God will raise up at least 20 more to join that band. If you will be part of that band, or are already, please let us know! It means soooo much to us. Please pray for our college ministry that the Lord will anoint and guide it. Please pray for our family, Melva and I, Joy, Rebekah, Steve and Tim, that we will love Him and each other more and more. Please pray that God will raise up the right helpers to lead the various aspects of ministry here. Please pray that God will bless and use our ski school ministry this winter and give good health. Thank You!

Finances: One of the miraculous things that we see in serving Jesus is that we can never out-give the Lord! Even in times of economic distress He is always our faithful provider.

This year has been no exception. Just when things start to look tight He provides just what we need and more. Thank you for being His instrument in that regard. It looks like once again we will finish the year with all bills paid in spite of having given away record numbers of Bibles, having college student interns and investing in future ministry leaders. Your faithful prayers and financial support have been indicative of His faithfulness to us. As you may know, our non-ministry income provides less than half of the finances necessary for the ministry. Your support makes up the difference. Thank You! May the Lord Jesus richly bless you and meet your every need, in every area.

Your Investment is paying wonderful dividends in the lives of many! I just discovered that another college athlete received Christ in one of our meetings. And the exciting thing is that I wasn't speaking! One of the students we trained gave the invitation and he responded! Now the students are going out on campus sharing their faith. As Paul told Timothy, "The things which you have heard from me, in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:2) Or, as our Board of Reference member, Ron Blue, say's, "It's all about leverage, reproducing yourself in the lives of

Late News: The Fellowship of Christian Firefighters has just asked for assistance in providing the new emergency worker's New Testament to fire, police and emergency workers around the country. A gift of $100 will provide 30 New Testaments. This is a great organization that literally operates on a shoestring. If you'd like to help, you may contact them directly at or send something through us.

You are sooooo loved and appreciated! God Bless You!!

Rick and Melva

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