September 5, 2011
Happy September! In Gunnison the evenings are in the 40's and daytime temperatures around 70-80. We have mostly sunny skies with some afternoon thunderstorms and showers. Overall, it's very pleasant. Texas and Oklahoma friends, I have been praying for gentle rains for you all.
August Happenings: The first week of August was busy with ministry here in Gunnison. This included our Thursday morning ministry group, our Saturday evening service, and a multitude of sharing opportunities in the community.
I was sent to another forest fire assignment in New Mexico; this time near Carlsbad. Upon arriving I was "spiked out" with several 20 person "Hotshot Crews" in a remote location on a hilltop for several days. My job was to oversee the safety of the crews working that division of the fire. It was a blessed time as I met two of the crew leaders who were believers and was able to give them firefighter New Testaments as well as our Firefighter/EMS daily devotional book. As they showed them to their crews, others came to me asking for copies. Please pray that the Lord will use His word in their lives. Your prayers and support allow us to buy these wonderful books by the case and distribute them free of charge!
A few days after returning from New Mexico, I was dispatched to a fire near Wheatland, WY. Shortly after I arrived I climbed a hillside with two Hotshot superintendents and the division supervisor. We had to make a decision whether to burn-off a dozer line that night. (I always pray that the Holy Spirit will give me wisdom when I give input on decisions like this, which can endanger firefighter's lives.) I felt a leading to counsel "no"; the crews had worked too many hours already and this assignment would keep them out all night. The division supervisor agreed and we told the crews to leave the hill. I'm sure there was grumbling. But, shortly after we made the decision, a strong wind hit the fire. The burnout could have caused the crews to be trapped as the fire crossed our line. Thank you for your daily prayers for us! Once again, the Lord opened doors to share with firefighters and distribute Bibles and devotionals in the days following.
Saturday, September 3, was a day of mixed emotions for us. Early in the morning I spoke to the Western State College football team at their pre-game chapel. Twenty or so players and coaches attended and I was able to give away Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bibles following the service. Then, at 2pm I had the privilege of leading a "Celebration of the Eternal Life" for Sarah Mitchell Gillis. Sarah was a young woman (33 years old). I had performed her wedding exactly 13 months previous to her going to be with the Lord and had the privilege of leading her husband to Christ before the wedding. She passed away unexpectedly and we were all in shock. The Holy Spirit truly came as Comforter and moved wonderfully during her service. An hour after the reception we held our Saturday Evening Service. There, in the midst of college and senior adults, a woman rose to share that Jesus is now her Savior and Lord! Our God is so gracious!
9/11 memories: This month marks the tenth anniversary of the demonically driven attack on our country by Islamic criminals. Some of you may remember that after the attack I was given the opportunity by Horizon Christian Fellowship (a great church in San Diego) to go and minister to recovery workers at Ground Zero. I will never forget praying with the workers who each day went into "the Pit" to recover bodies, as well as seeing the pictures of loved ones lost. One blessing that week was when a fire chief came up and asked me to provide 500 firefighter New Testaments for their department. With your help, I was able to say "Yes"!
Coming UP: September 14-16 we will return to Amarillo, TX to visit folks in a Senior's complex. My mom will accompany us and visit friends who have retired. September 19, I've been asked to preach at a citywide Tent Revival here in Gunnison. On the 21st I fly to Louisville, KY and work on my Doctor of Ministry degree as well as preach in Louisville and Gallatin TN. Then it's back to ministry here. Please pray for these meetings.
Rich and Shelba, our co-workers, are starting a two-year ministry training program online from Liberty University. They are proving to be real gifts from God in every way. Rich continues to develop his gifts in pastoring, preaching and teaching. Paul Muirhead is finishing up his river raft guiding and helping in all areas of ministry. He is prayerfully planning to stay and work with us through the upcoming year! Paul is exhibiting strong gifts in teaching as well as leadership. Please continue to pray for these wonderful helpers! Because of them, we are able to reach so many more for the Savior!
Family: Melva is back to substitute teaching and experiencing great health. Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan continue to serve in various churches in the United Kingdom and looking forward to the church God is preparing for them to shepherd. Bek is working away in Vail, CO, Steve is seeing his faith grow as he serves in Hollywood, and Tim and Sarah are doing well in Los Angeles. My mom's health remains good. By God's grace we are able to use my earnings from fighting forest fires this summer to bring everyone home for Christmas! We will celebrate Jesus' and my mom's (85th) birthday, and of course, our granddaughter Hannah' 3rd!
Prayer Requests: For the Holy Spirit's daily anointing as we share in so many areas of opportunity. Please pray for our family to love and serve the Lord, and especially for Bek to enter into a living, daily, relationship with Jesus. For our West Elk Bible Institute as we begin classes in October. For the unsaved ones attending our Saturday Evening Worship to make decisions to commit their lives fully to Jesus, trusting in His death on the cross as the sole payment for their sin! Thank You! We depend on God's Spirit working through your prayers!
Finances: By God's grace and your faithful support, we remain strong! Thank You! Our Saturday Evening service gives away 60% of the offering each week to missionaries God has sent out from among us! He is so wonderful!
By His Grace and to His Glory,
Rick and Melva