Uploaded: September 8, 2008
Fires, Bears and “Klamath Death Marches”: Greetings from the most blessed family in the world! The end of July and first half of August was a blur as I fought two fires in N. California. Although I was prohibited from holding a chapel on the first fire, I was able to give away firefighter New Testaments and pray with several firefighters.
My second fire assignment was as a line safety officer on the Klamath National Forest. We were flown into a remote spike camp by helicopter and had a steep, two hour “death march” to and from the fire each day. On the final day we did a five mile hike out and a bear was kind enough to pose for me. As I was checking out of the Incident Command Post to come home, a firefighter noticed my Christian Firefighter t-shirt. That started a conversation and I was able to give away the last firefighter New Testament I had with me! On the way home I even came across a truck with its engine on fire and was able to extinguish it.
An interesting side note: Between those two assignments I was called to return to CA to work with the same team I had just worked with. I felt led to turn them down. The Lord was directing me to rectify some strained relationships I had with two Christian brothers. A couple of days after I had turned down the assignment, one of the helicopters on that incident crashed killing 9 firefighters. I believe the Lord was protecting me and that your prayers are integral to that. Thank You!
Shortly after coming home I was approached about serving on hurricanes in the south. However, the order didn’t come through and I ‘m headed back to California for another fire.
Hero or Victim: Recently I was in a conversation with a fellow pastor. He commented that a particular man always made himself out to be a “hero” or a “victim”. It struck me that I have to be careful to take responsibility for my sins and shortcomings. I hope that when you read these newsletters you realize that I don’t always do the right thing at the right time. Many times I miss opportunities to share Christ or allow my pride to take away my witness. That’s just one more reason I need your daily prayers.
Family: Melva’s health continues to improve. Lord willing, her October tests will show that the blood clots in her lungs are gone and she can come off the medications. She has been substitute teaching, feeding underprivileged folks and helping me with all our ministry activities. My tests continue to show that my cancer is gone! Joy and Stephen are doing well in Scotland. Joy is expecting in January and we hope to go out in March. Stephen is starting a new job soon with increased pay and more stable hours. By God’s grace, he will be able to begin his Master’s program and find the church the Lord wants them to serve in. Rebekah is doing well in many areas except for her walk with the Lord. Please continue to pray for her. Steve is working away at the Community Church and Tim at his job in Los Angeles.
Upcoming: Our college ministry is up and running. We have a group of young leaders rising up as well as great “veteran leadership”. Thanks for your prayers for these men and women. Almost every month we hear from former students who are serving Christ around the world. This week it was Dave Rische from the 80’s. Dave is an elder in his church in Dallas, teaches Bible studies, and has been happily married for 17 years. Yea Lord.
We hope to travel to San Diego this fall and teach in the Horizon School of Evangelism, as well as visit our son Tim in Los Angeles. Our “40th year of ministry” dinners will be in Colorado Springs (Oct. 24), Dallas (October 28-tentatively), and Oklahoma City (October 31). We share at Horizon Christian Fellowship of Denver (Oct. 26). Please call or email us for directions and times. (970-641-3583, 970-209-8006, firstname.lastname@example.org). Come join in our celebration of the faithfulness of God!
Prayer requests: Please pray for the Lord Jesus to fill us continually with His Holy Spirit, that we will walk in His anointing, and that we may have the privilege of making disciples wherever we go. For our family to grow in our love for the Lord and each other. For Melva’s and my continued healing. For our college workers, especially Levi Gill (Campus Crusade) and Stephen Newman (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). For Joe Bugg, a wonderful brother who is battling cancer, and for Edith Thresher, a faithful prayer partner who is recovering from a bad fall.
Finances: The Lord is soooo faithful! Even though we are running behind last years numbers, every need is still being met. Thank you for your love, prayers, and financial support! As some are unable to continue their level of financial investment, others of you rise up. Thank You. Because of your help we are able to give away Bibles, hold chapels, conduct campus ministry and support Christian workers in need.
A special note: last month we asked to you to pray for the families of missionaries Kurt Van Gordon and Bob Schaff. (Kurt needs surgery and Bob and Robin’s home was destroyed by fire.) Several of you responded with special gifts and they are very grateful.
We love and appreciate each of you, Rick and Melva Barton