July 11, 2011
"Fireworks and Work on Fires"
What's been happening: Since our last update the Lord has answered prayers in wonderful ways!
We returned from the "Journeys of Paul" sailing trip and dove into our ministries here at home. We've seen the Lord do mighty things in the lives of men and women in the Gunnison Valley. On Thursday mornings at 6:30, a group of men and women gather with one purpose; to better equip themselves for missions and ministry. Currently three are helping with a Christian camp in France, two have just returned from Mexico, and another should be back this week from the Dominican Republic. On Saturday evenings a growing group gathers to worship and learn of the Savior as we go verse by verse through books of the Bible. So far, several have given their lives to the Savior and more are opening up each week.
Rich and Shelba Townsend, our co-workers, are in St. Louis for a month of preaching and teaching at their home church. They report the Lord is touching many hearts. They spent a week in OK where Shelba finished her training as an ESL leader!
Paul Muirhead, our newest co-worker, is river raft guiding and taught for us while we were gone on Thursday's and Saturdays; as well as preach for two churches.
On June 23, a few days after Melva's tooth implant surgery, I made myself available for fires. An hour later I received orders to head to AZ and NM. There I became part of management teams working on the Wallow Fire (the largest in AZ history) and the Las Conchas Fire outside of Los Alamos. Your prayers sustained me as I worked 230 hours in 15 days!
I had more opportunities to share Jesus than ever before on a fire assignment. Literally, people were asking me every day about the Lord! Let me share with you a few highlights. As I picked up a rental vehicle the agent mentioned that his son was a new firefighter; I was able to give him a firefighter Bible. On the first fire I met a Forest Service security guard who rejoiced when she found out I was a Christian. She had asked her husband to pray she would meet someone to fellowship with. As I brought a Bible to her at the checkpoint, her co-worker asked for one as well. At that point they discovered they both knew Jesus. We sang "Amazing Grace" and prayed before I left.
After leading a group of television reporters around the fireline, one came back to thank me and ask for prayer. Another man pulled me aside; he had been the #1 draft pick for the LA Dodgers a while back and recently had become a believer. We prayed together. I was able to hold a chapel service, pray with several others and ended my flight home by sharing with a deputy sheriff from Tucson!
One more blessing; I met a "Hotshot" firefighter who had been present when I spoke at the AZ Wildfire Academy. He reported that "Oscar", a fireman who had received Jesus at the meeting was still walking with the Lord!
After a series of long days, I began to grow weary. Still, the Holy Spirit kept bringing interested agnostics, women caught up in immorality, and fellow believers into my path. Your prayers strengthened me! We're sending out more Bibles and devotional books this week since I ran out on the fire! (Below are pictures of the forest-fire chapel attendees and Melva and I after climbing the mast on our sailing cruise.)
Family: Melva is in good health and having the opportunity to share Jesus with people almost every day. She starts teaching a women's Bible study soon. Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan continue to grow in God's grace in Scotland. Bek is doing well in Vail, Steve's six week job in TV production continues after 6 months, and Tim and Sarah are going strong in LA. My mom turns 85 this Christmas and Lord willing all of us will be here to celebrate with her. By the way, she's still the designated driver for all her friends.
Finances: Typically, summer is a tough time financially for ministries. By God's grace and your faithfulness, we are seeing every need met. We are giving away more Bibles and Christian books, training more workers and sharing in more places than ever. Thank you for your prayers and investments!
Prayer requests and answers to prayer: My voice has returned to at least 85-90% strength, more doors than ever have opened to share Jesus and more workers than ever are going out. Please pray that we will continue in His will and anointing. Please pray for Rebekah to fully commit her life to Jesus and discover His plan for her life. Please pray for me as I return to the firelines and for Melva, Rich, Shelba, and Paul as we each use those opportunities the Holy Spirit gives us for His glory.
Upcoming: This week I share with our "called to ministry breakfast on Thursday, a Calvary Chapel group from Denver on Friday, pray for the fire department cookout and hold a worship service on Saturday and hold a rodeo church service on Sunday. Then it's either our regular local ministries or forest fire ministry. Thanks for your prayers, we depend on them!
May the Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you; and work in and through you! By His grace and to His glory,
Rick and Melva
Rick Barton Ministries PO Box 1155 Gunnison, CO 81230 email@example.com 970-209-8006