Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230
"Behold What Manner of Love the Father Has Given Unto Us!"
What a Month! New snow, new faces, new strength and new opportunities to share Jesus around the country! Last night, our Saturday Evening Worship service had 40 in attendance! A wonderful but unsaved businessman we'd been praying for showed up and brought a family he works with! We spoke over the phone with our long-time friend and Child Evangelism missionary Diane (Vader) Johnson who just had double knee replacements and yet led a hospital worker to Christ during that time; and of course we shared God's word as we continue our verse-by-verse study through the book of Acts. It was a difficult night in some ways as some carried burdens for lost children struggling with addictions and yet rejoicing as others are breaking free!
Ski Area: New Snow finally arrived at the ski area and even though we're below normal it's much better. In January we resumed our Bible study for ski instructors and other employees and are seeing some new faces each week.
January Happenings: In addition to our ski area Bible study we continued our Tuesday (Gunnison) and Thursday (Cochetopa Pass-ranchers) night classes in basic Christian theology with over twenty attending each week. On Thursday mornings our "Called to Ministry Breakfast" for those sensing God's call to service is hovering around a dozen men and women (see picture below). And of course our Saturday Evening Worship is growing as well. Thanks for all your prayers and support which sustain us in these "fields of harvest"!
February Happenings: This month we continue the above outreaches and I have the privilege of leading worship at the High Ground Men's Bible and ski conference in Beaver Creek, CO February 29-March 2.
Upcoming: March 9-11, I fly to Charleston, WV to lead a class on "Faith in the Fire Service" and conduct a chapel for a state fire academy! While there I hope to distribute firefighter and police New Testaments as well as devotionals for emergency workers. Please pray that I may encourage these men and women in sharing their faith with co-workers, and that many souls may come to the Savior! March 31, our much-loved intern, Paul Muirhead, and Sarah Juba get married in Pueblo, CO! Both are strong servants for the Master and we covet your prayers for their new life together. They plan to stay here at least for the summer and continue to help us. Rich and Paul will be sharing at churches and studies in the area all summer. Also pray for me as I teach fire classes for both local and federal firefighters plus teach skiing.
Our spring ministry trip is finally starting to firm up. Lord willing we will be in Colorado Springs Friday, April 13 for our annual dinner/report to you who faithfully support us in prayer. Then we will be in Dallas on Sunday, April 15th through Tuesday the 17th. After that we meet with the International Board of the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters in Indianapolis, followed by a week of services in Guthrie, OK April 22-29. Tentatively we'll meet with our Board and friends in Oklahoma City the weekend of April 22 as well. Then we hope to sing in Amarillo, TX. On May 20th, our associate Rich Townsend will be ordained by his home church in Saint Louis.
Health blessings: After over 6 weeks of sickness and weakness with pneumonia I'm finally regaining my strength! Thank you for all your prayers. I've been teaching skiing since the end of December but am only now feeling strong. Melva is also doing well. This past week we received several unexpected checks back from the hospitals doing my foot surgeries. My ski area insurance paid the bills and our money was refunded!
Several of you have asked how my "slowing down" is going. To be honest, not as well as we hoped ?. I need to work at least five days a week at the ski area to keep our health insurance and so until we can replace that insurance I need to keep plugging away. I'd love to cut back to teaching skiing part-time (rest my voice and body parts-more time for my doctorate and ministry) but it doesn't seem to be the Lord's timing yet.
Finances: Thanks to your prayers we are catching up! We are still a couple of weeks behind but trust that will be covered soon. A huge "thank you" to all who sent gifts this month! May the Lord Jesus credit them to your account (Philippians 4:14-20)! Please pray for the upcoming ministry trips. As you know, we don't charge for sharing the gospel. Some places can't afford to cover our expenses or the Bibles and materials we distribute.
Family: Melva is substitute teaching several days a week and getting rave reviews from both students and teachers. Joy, Stephen and the girls continue growing in Scotland and Stephen has received several more invitations to preach in Scotland and England. Rebekah is busy in Vail planning her wedding to Nick this fall. Steve is plugging away as a production assistant on the "Intervention" tv show; yes, his name is now in the credits! Tim and Sarah are still prospering in Los Angeles. My mom is going strong at 85.
Speaking of Love: Please pause and ponder for a moment each day on the love that God has given each of us. He created us out of nothing. He breathed life into us and gave us a mind, emotions and a heart to know and love Him. His only Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins! He rose again three days later and lives forever. He called us to come to Him and gave us the privilege of being saved and having a 24/7 relationship with Him for eternity! He gave us His Holy Spirit to live in and through us. Wow, talk about LOVE!
May His love surround, fill and guide you!, Rick and Melva, Rich and Shelba, Paul