June 13, 2011
Belated June Greetings!
Ahoy Mates! Yesterday Melva and I travelled across 9 time zones, flew over 5,000 miles and were up 24 hours as we returned from Istanbul, Turkey to Colorado. But what a great ten days we had!
On June 2 we flew from Denver to Athens, Greece. While on the plane we were able to share the gospel with a woman sitting next to Melva. Once arriving in Athens we met with Dr. Gene Getz and 50 wonderful Christians. After touring Mars Hill where Paul shared the gospel with Greek philosophers, we boarded the Star Clipper, a large, four-masted sailing ship and began retracing the footsteps of the Apostle Paul around the Aegean Sea. Then it was on to Corinth, the Isle of Patmos where the exiled Apostle John received the Book of Revelation; Ephesus, where we sang in the stadium where the disciples were almost stoned by the followers of a pagan goddess; Philippi, Troy and Istanbul.
Our responsibility was to lead worship on the ship as well as during the daily tours. What a blessing to walk in Paul's footsteps. And yes, we celebrated our 40th anniversary on board with a surprise cake and serenade from the ship's crew. By the way, four of the ship's crew approached me during the voyage and we were able to share the Lord with them. One young girl on the tour saw me talking with a crew member and told me she was praying as I shared!
May blessings: Our Saturday evening service has grown to over 30 regular attendees with a high of over 60! We baptized 3 new believers in May! Each month we give over 50% of the offering to missionaries who we have helped send out or know personally. May's offering went toward the $5000 cost of a sea wall for a mission in the Philippines. We know Pastor and Mrs. Tarlit and are concerned as the sea slowly eats away the shore toward their school and church. Please pray for the remaining $4000 needed for the project. Our "Called to Missions and Ministry Breakfast" continues strong with up to a dozen men and women meeting each week preparing to go out in service around the world.
Good Soil: Jesus taught that when the "seed" of the word of God falls on good soil it will bring forth much fruit (Matthew 13:1-23). On our way to Denver we met with the Williams family in Buena Vista, CO. Jim had come to Christ during a meeting I shared at nearly 30 years ago. Since that time the family has grown in Christ and affected many for the Savior. What we didn't know was that their daughter Heather had attended the same meeting as a ten year old and given her life to Christ as well. As she grew older she became a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ around the world as well as a school teacher, godly wife and mother! Your prayers undergird us as we go forth scattering the seed of God's word!
Family: Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan are doing well in Scotland where Stephen works for the government while preaching in various churches and praying for the right pastorate. Bek just returned to Vail from a trip to Cuba. Thank you for continued prayers for her to turn her life fully to Jesus. Steve is working away in Hollywood and growing in his walk with the Lord in neat ways. Tim and Sarah are going strong in Los Angeles as well. My mom is still active at 84 and serves the Lord daily either at church or driving ladies to doctor appointments.
Rich, Shelba, and Paul: When we are gone these three take on extra responsibilities such as leading meetings and visiting those in need. Paul had the privilege of sharing about his mission in India with a church in Pagosa Springs recently. He has begun raft guiding and Lord willing will start an outreach to guides soon. Rich and Shelba will spend the month of July preaching in St. Louis. Please continue to hold our entire team up in prayer!
Finances: By the grace of God we remain strong. Summer months are typically hard on ministries in general; people travelling on vacation, etc. But the Lord is meeting every need and allowing us to restock Bibles and materials for give away as well as help others in need. Thank You! We felt awkward about using ministry money for the "Journeys of Paul" trip so we used our savings. Dr. Getz's ministry paid just over half the cost which was a great blessing. Please Note: Because we were out of the country, your donation receipts will be delayed.
Fires: While we were on our five week ministry trip this spring and the "Journeys of Paul" cruise, I missed several fire calls to Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Now that we've fulfilled all our promised commitments, I expect to head out on an assignment soon. Please pray for the Lord to guide, protect and open many doors for witness!
Thank you again for your faithful support and prayers! We know the Lord will provide each day as He leads us, and we thank you for being a wonderful part of His blessing! May He richly bless each of you!
By His grace and to His glory,
Rick and Melva Barton