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January 16, 2008

January 2008
“A Time of New Beginnings as Well as Harvest”


Skiing in the dark, new starts among firefighters, Special Forces for Jesus and more!

As the New Year begins, we have some blessings to report and prayer requests to pass on. Every New Year’s eve I pray with a group of ski instructors before we ski down in a torchlight parade (That’s where we hold lighted highway flares while coming down steep runs in the dark. What are we thinking?) The staff asked me to start this tradition of prayer over 25 winters ago and the Lord always seems to open someone’s heart. This year, after the prayer, an instructor approached me and said, “I liked your ‘sermon’. I’ve started praying myself”. As I listened, she said that she was praying, but didn’t know to whom. Please pray that Jesus will reveal Himself to N.

Other opportunities: We’ve had the privilege of preaching at Trinity Baptist Church in Gunnison and the assisted living center, as well as taking college students to sing at the nursing home. Our singing cds continue to be used by the Lord. One lady sends them to families who have lost loved ones during the past year along with some words of encouragement.

Last fall I gave a firefighter New Testament to Arlin, a visiting fireman. Three months later he called and said that his department wanted a case of them to distribute and that the men had asked him to start a Bible study at the fire station. Because of your support, we were able to provide the Bibles. Our local department has requested more as well!

Voices from the past: Several of our former college students have contacted us to report on what God has been doing in their lives. Matt went back into the army and has become a Green Beret instructor. He wanted us to know that we helped prepare him for that ministry. Chris is now a pastor on the eastern plains of Colorado and reported that his dad received Jesus and is doing ministry as well. Brian called and apologized for downplaying my faith while we worked together in the Forest Service. He came to Christ several years later and is now an elder in his church. Ron is a businessman and sees his young employees as his mission field. Brent has finished the Horizon School of Evangelism in San Diego and is now serving there in worship and being trained to lead home fellowships.

College Ministry: Lord willing we will start the New Year with two college student interns. Stephen will work with our Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the high school and Levi will continue helping lead Campus Crusade for Christ as well as our college FCA program. Josh, a recent graduate will help these men transition into their responsibilities. These are committed brothers who love Jesus. We ask for your prayers for them as well as all our student leaders.

Family: We had a pretty quiet Christmas with everyone but Joy and Stephen home. I had to work but we had a wonderful dinner and family time. Melva is fighting some type of virus or reaction that makes her hands and face swell and itch. The doctors haven’t figured out what it is. We would really appreciate your prayers for her. We are grateful that her blood pressure and blood clots seem to be under control. There were some very cold temperatures at the ski area during Christmas and as a result many of us picked up some type of bronchitis. Please pray that I will be back to full strength soon. We are thankful that my cancer tests are still clear.

Joy and Stephen are finishing their final semester of Bible College in Scotland and praying about where to serve. Beka is working in Vail and doing well. Steve took a trip to Illinois to visit college friends and is serving in worship and media at the Community Church here in Gunnison. Tim is enjoying his job in Los Angeles and looking for a place of service in his church. My mom continues to enjoy “retirement” while helping conduct services at a local assisted living center and serving as driver for all her friends. My father is doing well in Denver.

Upcoming: The class I was to teach this month in Rapid City has been rescheduled for May, which is probably a good thing since I’ve lost my voice with the bronchitis. I am still teaching through the book of Acts every Sunday for a growing group from several churches. Our college students are returning and those ministries will resume. At the end of February I go to Beaver Creek to help with the High Ground men’s conference. In late March we hope to visit Joy and Stephen in Scotland. (As you may remember, we were only there a few hours last year when we had to return because of our grandson’s death). In April and May, Lord willing, we will make ministry swings through the country and in June resume fighting forest fires.

Finances: Because of your prayerful support, we have been able to continue providing training and materials for college students, help pastors and missionaries in need, and distribute firefighter, cowboy, and sports Bibles. We joyfully report that we are current in every area financially and are in good shape to start the New Year. Thank you for being sensitive to the Lord’s leading! Every time there is a need, your gifts arrive.

Prayer Requests: For the Lord’s anointing as we share at the ski area, on the college campus and in the community. For N. and others who are seeking Christ. We ask you to pray for our continued physical healing and for us to know the Lord’s direction in our work and ministry schedules.

Something to ponder: Each New Year gives an opportunity to pause and refocus our lives and priorities. What better time for us to sit with our family and consider what He wants us to do? I find that I can allow “good” things to consume my time and energies and crowd out God’s “best”. We are reminded to, “Be still”, and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10). Or, as I recently read, “There is a God. You are not Him.”

Thank you for all you are and all you do! Thank you especially for your prayers! May you have a wonderful New Year blessed with lasting fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Rick and Melva


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