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May 7, 2006

MAY the Lord Bless You!

Hi Everybody!
Melva and I returned last night from a ministry swing covering over 2000 miles.  I had the privilege of helping lead a men’s retreat near Colorado Springs and then we drove to San Diego where I taught in the Horizon School of Evangelism.  Cisco, a former student in our ministry, is one of the leaders in this fantastic, 5-month program.  While there we spent a wonderful evening sharing with the leaders of E3 Ministries (Formerly Global Missions Fellowship).  This morning we preached at Grace Fellowship in Lake City, CO, a church we have worked with since it’s inception in the 1970’s.  We are soooo grateful for the privilege of sharing God’s word and for your prayers that undergird us.

In March, Melva and a couple from our church traveled with 18 college students to New Orleans to serve Katrina victims during spring break.  Here are some of her reflections.

 “As we arrived in St. Bernard Parish, it seemed to me like we were in the middle of Armageddon.  No children, no schools, no grocery stores, only sporadic electricity, with homes, buildings and churches destroyed.  We joined Campus Crusade for Christ’s effort in gutting homes. Our group gutted 4 homes filled with six inch deep mud and debris.  We left only the 2x4 wood frames and outside walls.  For protection, we wore masks, goggles and gloves. 

“Our housing was in a large warehouse where we used makeshift showers, outhouses, drank bottled water and ate minimal meals.  For example, one breakfast consisted of a nutri-grain bar, a tiny drink of O.J. and some dried fruit. We also served at a food distribution tent and observed the pain & sorrow of the people. We were grateful to be able to help. Many churches and Christians were there. They still need a lot of help, so I encourage you to go and share the love of Christ by serving at the food distribution sites, help clean houses, or whatever the Lord allows you to do.  They are asking for volunteers to replace the weary workers.   Thank you for your daily prayers for us!”

As I finished the ski season, we attended the Crested Butte Community Prayer Breakfast. What a blessing as 160 folks attended, including 24 that we had invited from the college and ski school.  Several of my ski school friends who don’t know Jesus yet came and were blessed as the heard the testimony of Eric Alexander.  Eric led his blind friend to the top of Mt. Everest.  Your financial support allowed us to provide tickets for many.

The first two weeks of April we traveled over 3000 miles sharing in OK, AR and TN.  The Lord was gracious to us in so many ways.  I preached 10 times in 8 days in Guthrie, OK. Attendance grew steadily as we went verse by verse through the book of Ephesians.  Christian college students from the University of Central Oklahoma shared their testimonies nightly.  Following the OK meetings we met with prayer partners in Fort Smith.  Then it was on to Gallatin, TN where we shared with several youth groups.   In route, we met with some of our board members to report on our activities. 

Coming Up:  This week I teach forest fire classes for federal and county firefighters.  Then I will be available for fire assignments for a few weeks.  May 28, we hold services in Pitkin, CO.  Melva travels to San Francisco to help with her cousin’s renewal of marriage vows, then we celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary June 6 at a fire academy in Cortez, CO.  We minister in Livermore, CO June 11, Rapid City, SD June 18, Cripple Creek, CO July 9 and Gunnison July 16 in the fairgrounds.  We hope to be able to join some of Melva’s family on Kauai for her cousin’s 50th anniversary in late June. (Melva was the flower girl and they’ve asked us to join in the celebration.)  We look forward to seeing many of you during these programs!  Please pray for the Lord to move mightily!

Family: Stephen and Joy continue to flourish in Scotland where Stephen is attending theological school as well as serving and occasionally preaching in a local church.  Rebekah is visiting with us for several days from Vail, Steve is busy working at a local church, and Tim is finishing another semester at BIOLA University in CA.  Melva is traveling with me in ministry as well as continuing to substitute teach.

Prayer requests and praises:  The Lord has really given us His anointing as we share around the country.  Please pray that we will walk in His will.  Please pray for the Chris White family who lost their wife/mom and one child in a swimming accident in HI.  They are active in our church. Chris was working in HI for a few months building houses.  Our college students have gone out around the globe to share Jesus this summer. Please pray for His protection and blessing for them.  Please pray for my knee, it is causing me more and more pain.  I need either healing or wisdom about surgery.  Thanks!
 
Finances:  The Lord continues to provide through the faithful prayers and support of each of you.  Thank You!  Note: We have undergone a change of accountants this past month.  Joan Tutor has retired from her firm and our previous accountant, Sally, has returned from successfully fighting cancer.  That means that some receipts from April and May could run a little late as the transition takes place.

We are sooooo grateful for you!  God bless you,

Rick and Melva

Rick Barton Ministries • 401 Ute Lane Gunnison, CO 81230 • barton@gunnison.com • (970) 641-3583