Rick Barton Ministries, P. O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230
May 10, 2011
"MAY the Lord Bless You Abundantly!"
"Count Your Many Blessings": As Melva and I returned from sharing Christ in 5 states over a 5 week period, we rejoiced in how many blessings we have received. Of course, our salvation has to top the list! Then we think of our children and their spouses; our grandchildren, and the privilege of sharing the Great News of the Gospel in so many places.
One of our greatest blessings is friends like you! To know that you are praying for us continually, and to see and hear of your love and support for us, is a wonderful blessing that we don't take lightly.
April "showers of blessings": Our first stop on the "tour" was Waynesville, MO. We were excited to return to Faith Baptist where we held services last fall. It was a real blessing to see a mother and daughter who had received Jesus as Savior and Lord last fall, active and growing in the church! While I was replacing my cell phone, I gave a firefighter New Testament to a clerk for her fireman husband. The next day the husband called and asked for 20 New Testaments to give to his department! Our friends from Branson, the Peterson Family Band joined us and gave a wonderful concert.
On leaving Waynesville, we drove to Springfield, MO and made a quick stop to see Bill and Mary Jane Bever, longtime friends and residents of Gunnison. They shared how Jesus had healed their granddaughter in answer to prayer. Then we drove to Oklahoma City and flew to Tucson, AZ.
In Tucson we had the privilege of sharing with Vistoso Community Church. This was the first time they had held a conference focused on reaching their unsaved friends. We were blessed with much prayer, great preparation, and good turnouts. We believe the Lord touched several lives in answer to your prayers and theirs. While there, we were able to reunite with folks we had ministered to in campgrounds, churches, and our Billy Graham friends Ed and Arlene Eddy. Ed recently turned 90 and is still serving Jesus! Mark and Karen Higgins, former business owners in Gunnison, now missionaries in Mexico, drove up and joined us as well.
Upon flying back to OKC we met with our Board of Directors and then drove to Van Buren, AR to share with 1st Baptist Church. What a great work God is doing there. One of many highlights concerned a "divine appointment". We had run out of "Motorcycle New Testaments" to give away. A car pulled into the hotel parking lot with a Christian Motorcycle Association placard on the door. Sure enough, they had just obtained 16 cases and gladly sold us one! After a wonderful time in Van Buren, we headed for Guthrie, OK.
In Guthrie we had the blessing of holding seven services with our friends at Abell Church. This small church has been hit with several serious illnesses and setbacks. Yet, they are close to finishing their new church building. We ask you to pray that the Lord will help them finish it and begin a fresh chapter of outreach into their community. We prayed during the services for rain to hit the surrounding drought stricken areas. As we held a sunrise service on Easter morning, the rains fell!
Easter afternoon we packed up and drove to Amarillo, TX where we sang for a senior's complex and met with old friends Nicy Murphy, Bob and Charlene Lawrence and Charles Barrett. Then it was on to Colorado Springs for a week of rest and a dinner with supporters. (I had developed a sinus infection, bad cough, and lost my voice.) Upon returning home we "reloaded" and headed to Cripple Creek, CO to preach. We are providing 25 Firefighter New Testaments and a number of Firefighter devotionals for their fire department!
Upcoming: Now that we're home, Melva is substitute teaching; I'm writing, teaching and preaching locally and anticipate going on a fire assignment soon. May 29 we hold a service in Pitkin, CO; June 2-12 we lead worship on a "Journeys of Paul" trip with Dr. Gene Getz, July 17 our Cattleman's Day rodeo service, and interspersed fire assignments. In the fall I hope to return to Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY for a few weeks to work toward finishing my doctorate. Please pray over each of these opportunities!
New Co-Workers: Rich and Shelba Townsend officially joined RBM full-time May 1! Rich and Shelba came to Gunnison two years ago as missionaries with a local church. For much of that time they have helped us as well with teaching Bible classes and working with students. They have such caring hearts that the people in the community absolutely love them. At the end of their original commitment, they felt led to join us and expand their roles. Rich will become the dean of our fledgling West Elk Bible Institute as well as preach and teach for me when I am out of town and handle much of our administrative work. Shelba will serve as Rich's helpmate in all areas and help us with the Bible Institute. Paul Muirhead has also joined our team as an intern. Paul was active in our "called to ministry" group while a student at Western State College. He was then appointed to lead the Brushfire Christian Coffeehouse and Bookstore. Most recently Paul served for over five months in India. His desire for this summer is to minister to his fellow river raft guides, work with Rich and me in the various ministries we conduct, and seek the Lord's direction for long-term ministry. Your prayers and support allow us to continue to expand into fields of service the Lord seems to be opening before us. Thank You!!!
Finances: Currently all needs are being met. We have been restocking Bibles and materials for give-away and the upcoming Bible Institute classes. As you know, we never charge for our services or Bibles and materials we distribute. We are not planning to use ministry funds for our upcoming trip with Dr. Getz. His ministry is supplying half the cost and Melva and I will take the rest from our savings. It will be a wonderful ministry opportunity and a great way to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (June 6)!
Thank you again for joining with us in these wonderful opportunities to serve our Savior and Lord. Your investment in prayer and resources is bearing great fruit!
Rick and Melva