Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230
"Blessings in the Midst of (a few) Trials!"
Blessed New Year! I really like the fact that we celebrate the New Year. First, it gives us a chance to review the past year, evaluate our lives and ministry, and refocus and realign as needed. Secondly, I look forward to the New Year because for the past thirty ski seasons I have been asked to pray with nearly one hundred of our instructors and others on New Year's Eve before we ski down the mountain in a torchlight parade. This year I can confidently say the Lord answered our prayers and lives were touched for Jesus. Sadly, I wonder if this may be the only Christian prayer many of our staff participates in during the year. There is still much work to be done!
Ministry Activities: Our schedule remains wonderfully busy and, we pray, productive for the Kingdom of God. Tuesday evenings our West Elk Bible Institute is experiencing a meaningful time of study in basic Christian theology. Thursday mornings, our "called to ministry and missions breakfast" continues strong. On Thursday evenings, Rich, Shelba and Paul teach the West Elk Bible Institute theology class to ranchers up on Cochetopa Pass; and our Saturday Evening Worship continues to grow as we go verse by verse through the book of Acts.
One of the assignments we give to the West Elk Bible Institute classes is that each person pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily and then ask God to lead them to someone they can share Jesus with. We ask them to document their encounters during the week. The purpose is to help each of us become intentional about being filled with the Spirit daily and looking for the opportunities the Lord gives us to share. This week I was able to share the Lord with a lift operator, a children's ski instructor and an adult instructor!
Coming up: Lord willing, February 29-March 2, I will help lead worship at the High Ground Men's Conference at Beaver Creek, CO. Then March 9-11 I've been asked to speak on "Faith in the Fire Service" and conduct a chapel service at the West Virginia Fire Academy. Of course I'll be teaching skiing, forest fire safety classes and our other ministries as well. Your prayers and support allow us to serve in these opportunities. Thank You!
Family: For the first time in several years our entire family was able to come together for Christmas as well as celebrate my mother's eighty-fifth birthday! Joy, Stephen, Hannah (3) and Bethan (15 months) came from Scotland. While he was here Stephen was offered an internship with a local church-please pray for God's direction. Steve (and girlfriend Annie) came from Hollywood where he is a production assistant on the "Intervention" TV series. Tim and wife Sara flew from LA and Rebekah drove from Vail. Niece and nephew Caitlin and Alex joined us from Denver as well. Rebekah announced her engagement to Nick which is a wonderful blessing. Please pray that she and Nick will walk closely to the Lord and be active in His service.
Finances: Last month we asked you to pray since we were running behind in ministry finances. Thankfully, we are almost back to even. We are grateful for each of you who faithfully support us in prayer and giving.
As you can imagine, some wonderful supporters have had to cut back because of the economy. If you are one of those, please remember we have always desired your friendship and prayers even more than your financial support. Even if you cannot support us financially at this time, you are still a vital part of our team!
And, we'd like to give a special welcome to those of you who have recently joined in investing in this ministry!
Trials: At the end of November I had a painful bone spur removed from my foot. That curtailed my activities for about three weeks. As soon as I started back to work at the ski area I developed a bad cough which turned out to be pneumonia. As a result I wasn't able to return to work until the day after Christmas. I'm still a little weak and have only half a voice. This, coupled with the slowdown in finances tempted me to become discouraged. However, thanks to your prayers and the wonderful help of Melva, Rich, Shelba and Paul, all the ministry duties were carried out and I was able to rest in Him! (I know, I am praying about trimming my schedule?. Please pray that I have the wisdom and guidance to follow the Lord's leading in this area.)
Rich and Shelba Townsend, Paul Muirhead and Sarah Juba: Rich received word that his home church in St. Louis (South County Baptist) plans to officially ordain him May 20th in recognition of how God is using him out here! Paul and his wonderful girlfriend Sarah announced their engagement over Christmas. With such a godly helpmate, Paul's ministry will be even more effective. Thanks for your prayers and support of each of these.
Prayer requests: Please remember Diane Johnson, worker with Child Evangelism Fellowship in Jackson, MS (double knee replacement), Cathy with Pioneers who had to return from Asia to be with her father during emergency surgery, Rick and Colleen who are serving in difficult circumstances in the Middle East, and of course for my strength and voice to return and for us to walk in the Spirit's anointing. Most of all, that everything we do will bring glory to the Lord!
May you sense His love and leading each day of this New Year! You are loved!
"It is ministering to souls who live in the midst of mountain grandeur, but who never lift their "eyes unto the hills" from whence their help might come; who enjoy God's placid lakes, tumbling streams and majestic waterfalls, but who have never drunk of the Water of Life; who shepherd the sheep on a thousand grassy hillsides, but who do not know the Good Shepherd; who reap the golden grain from the fertile plains, but who are starving for the Bread of Life." (Our friend Nicy Murphy wrote this about ministering in Colorado.)