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January 6, 2009

January 2009
May We Have a Spirit-Filled New Year!

Blessings: This week I received a phone call from a couple in OK. “Rick”, they said, “You performed our wedding on top of Crested Butte Mountain 25 years ago. We wanted to call you and tell you it worked!” On New Year’s Eve I led a prayer for 50+ ski instructors before we skied down the mountain in a torchlight parade. “Angie”, one of our long-time instructors told me that she always cries when I pray. Please pray for Angie that she will come to know the One who is touching her heart. “Jackie”, the instructor who we asked you to pray for last year when she was dying of liver failure, has been off dialysis for several months and is even teaching skiing part time. She is only the second person with her condition that the doctors in Denver have ever had come off the machine. They told her that it wasn’t them; it was “the Man upstairs”. Thank you for praying for her salvation as well. Joe Bugg continues to recover from cancer of the esophagus, another miracle.

Baptisms: This fall, several of those we have helped disciple have been baptized in their local churches. It is exciting to see these men and women follow the Lord in obedience. Sadly, it seems there are many who have professed Christ but ignored this important act of identification with our Savior. Happily, many respond once they understand God’s command.

Babies: On Christmas Eve our daughter Joy gave birth to Hannah Joy in Inverness, Scotland. Mom, baby (and dad) are all doing well. Thank you for your prayers! As you may remember, last spring the Lord led me to pray that Joy and Stephen would be given a child before Melva and I returned to Scotland. A few weeks later they discovered they were expecting their first child after several years of prayer. Our God is wonderful! Steve and his friend Mikaela, Tim and his friend Sara, and Bek all joined us for at least part of Christmas break. How blessed we are! (Of course, pictures of Hannah are available upon request.)

Upcoming: My teaching at Southern Seminary was cancelled when the class was dropped, but the Lord brought other opportunities instead. February 1-4 we share at First Baptist in Delta, CO. February 9-13 I attend a Doctor of Ministry class at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY during the day and speak at Lakewood Baptist in the evenings. I share at Cragfont Baptist in Gallatin, TN, February 15th. At the end of February I help with the High Ground Bible/Ski Conference in Beaver Creek, CO. In between, Melva and I work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the college, teach a weekly Bible study on Sundays and I teach skiing. Our weekly “called to ministry” group continues to draw around a dozen students and local business people.

Finances: The Lord continues to meet every need according to His riches in Christ Jesus! You have each been so faithful in walking with us through prayer and financial support. A special note to those who can’t support us financially but pray for us, THANK YOU! You are just as important a part of the team.

Prayer requests: Please pray for the Lord’s anointing as we enter these wonderful fields of harvest. Please pray for our health and strength. After 40 years of ministry, ski instructing, and firefighting, I get a bit weary. Please pray for our family to continue to draw near to Jesus. Please pray for Clyde Cunningham who has cancer, and for Linda Stewart, wife of our Christian football coach, who was involved in a terrible car accident and needs neck surgery. After many months, the insurance hasn’t come through and she is in much pain. We are starting a fund to help with the $25,000 need. Please pray for Jon O’Neal (former Campus Crusade missionary) and our son Steve as they attend a Christian film production conference.

Another prayer request: Each day we receive updates from missionaries around the world, some of whom we helped get started in ministry. Many have been impacted by the world’s financial crisis as their costs have increased while their financial support from home has decreased. Some are on the brink of having to leave their posts and some have already had to do so. Please remember that we are the Lord’s hands (and “wallets”) and join Melva and me in praying for our missionaries and giving extra to them as the Lord provides.

A thought: The New Year is a wonderful time to re-evaluate and renew our focus on Jesus! Rather than wishing you a “Happy New Year”, I feel led to pray that each of us may have a Holy Spirit-Filled New Year! During these times of financial and political unrest, when Israel is once again fighting for existence and godliness and holiness seem almost non-existent, we have the most wonderful opportunity to be the “light of the world” and the “salt” that Jesus has called us to be. I’m not sure that “happiness” or “success” should be our goal this year, but rather lives of holiness and significance for our Lord and Savior!

Thank You for your love, care and prayers for us! You truly lift us up even as we grow weary and face trials. We sense your prayers daily whether in tough times or great victory.
In His Grace and Love,
Rick and Melva


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