email Rick Barton Ministries Go to Rick Barton Home Page

NOTES FROM THE FIRE LINES OF CALIFORNIA

I'm writing you from the fire lines of Southern California.

Two weeks ago, as I was finishing a speaking engagement in Oklahoma City, the pastor asked me, "If you were back home, would you be sent to the fires in California?" I replied that I probably would. When I reached my car, I had a cell phone message waiting. Sure enough, it was the Dispatcher calling me for a California fire assignment. Of course I couldn't go since I was almost a thousand miles from home and had another meeting scheduled the next evening. Two days later, as Melva and I were reaching home, the phone rang again. Within an hour of arriving home, I was on the road again.

What a terrible scene greeted me there. Thousands of homes and businesses destroyed. Over two dozen deaths. Blackened hillsides everywhere. And, perhaps worst of all, a litany of tragic stories relating how some individuals perished needlessly. For instance, the man who wouldn't wait to return to his home. When police roadblocks prevented him from driving into the fire area, he went around them on foot through the woods. His body was discovered the next day. In another case, a couple evacuated their home; but once safely away, they decided to return to save more possessions. They perished as they reentered the area.

The Bible warns us of how temporary "things" are. In reality, they're all going to fall apart and burn someday. It's only the soul's of men and women, boys and girls that will last for eternity. Disasters such as these give us pause to reflect on our priorities in life.

On a positive note, I was able to share the Lord with several firefighters and gave away a number of firefighter New Testaments. I also had the joy of running into several other wonderful Christian firefighters and chaplains.


Before the fire Melva and I had a wonderful 2 week trip of ministry and meeting with supporters in TX, OK and AR. I had the privilege of preaching at
Covenant Community Church, Abell Community Church and Chapel Hill Methodist Church in Oklahoma. What a blessing to share God's Word and renew friendships in these great churches! In Texas we were able to meet with dear friends and spend an evening of worship and fellowship with a youth group from 1st Baptist of Dallas. Then, in Van Buren, AR we shared with First Baptist's adults and Senior High's.

Upcoming: I am scheduled to arrive home from this fire assignment on November 13. The 14th we leave with 6 college athletes to spend a weekend in Protection, KS sharing with the youth in several small churches. Please pray for us! After Kansas, we'll head back to CA to spend Thanksgiving with our son Tim at Biola University and I'll be sharing at the Horizon School of Evangelism in San Diego. Again, we'd really appreciate your prayers. Then, it's back to focusing on our college ministry and teaching skiing. Lord willing, I'll take another class in January which will help me prepare for starting my Doctorate.

Finances: Thanks to your prayers we are within a month of catching up on our ministry finances. Would you please pray that the Lord will help us catch up by the end of the year? The best scenario will be that we carry a surplus into the new year which will enable us to continue to expand our training ministry to our college students.

Special Prayer: Our friend Tom Freeman, a missionary to cowboys and Native Americans, is fighting cancer. Please pray that God will heal him and provide for the medical expenses that exceed his insurance. If you'd like more information, please call Melva and I.

Thank you for your partnership with us in the Lord's work. May He richly bless you!!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies they never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness!" Lamentations 3:22-23

Rick Barton Ministries • 401 Ute Lane Gunnison, CO 81230 • barton@gunnison.com • (970) 641-3583
Site Managed by www.onewaywebdesign.com 2002-2003