Rick Barton Ministries, PO Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230 970-641-3583
March Madness! March is typically one of our busiest months and March, 2012 was no exception. In one week I helped lead worship for a men's Bible/ski retreat, taught skiing, preached on Saturday night and conducted a funeral service for an old family friend in Grand Junction. Then I flew to West Virginia where I had the privilege of teaching a class on "Faith in the Fire Service" at a Fire Academy and conducting a chapel. These were especially exciting because it was the first time this academy held such a class and the first time they had chapel services. The response to the class and the chapels was encouraging. The Lord really used a group of local Christian firemen and women to set up these programs!
A very exciting moment occurred when a non-Christian firefighter I had met during the Texas fires sat in on our class and followed along in the New Testament. When he left, his daughter who is also a firefighter broke into tears. "That's the first time I've ever seen my dad read a Bible", she said! Her dad also attended the chapel service the next morning. Your support allowed me to go and share Jesus with these folks!
As I returned from West Virginia our spring break ski crowds arrived at Crested Butte. The rest of March stayed busy as I taught skiing every day as well as firefighter safety classes for Crested Butte, Gunnison and Forest Service firefighters. Your daily prayers and the help of Melva, Rich, Shelba and Paul, kept me going!
Our ski area Bible study filled a real need as some of those attending had to work during normal church times. One week we were studying the Word and a ski film producer walked by. He saw our Bibles and asked if he could join in.
The West Elk Bible Institute: As we finish our second full year of classes we have much to thank the Lord for. Between the class I taught in Gunnison and the one Rich taught 40 miles away in a ranch house, we had over two dozen students from three churches! We offer the classes free of charge and are seeing wonderful fruit!
Speaking of Fruit This week we received an email from two former students. Adam, Lorraine and their children are settled in a good church in Cedaredge, CO where Adam has been asked to serve as an elder! It's so encouraging to hear from students the Lord has sent out!
Family: Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan continue to serve the Lord in Scotland. Stephen was recently invited to preach at a small church an hour away from their home. Now they want him to come several more times. Thank you for your prayers as they seek a church to serve in full-time. Bek and Nick continue to work in Vail, CO and plan their fall wedding. Steve has been given more responsibilities in his TV production work in Hollywood and is growing in his walk with the Lord. Tim and Sara continue to flourish in LA.
Wedding Bells! On March 31st we all travelled to Pueblo, CO where our intern Paul Muirhead and Sarah Juba were united in marriage. What a blessing to participate in the joining together of two wonderful Christians who have committed their lives to serving the Savior! We hope to keep Paul and Sarah around at least through the summer as they seek the Lord's will for missions and ministry. A special highlight was to see many students who had been in ministry with us over the years continuing strong in the Lord!
Upcoming: April 12th we leave for a series of Appreciation Dinner meetings with friends and supporters in Colorado Springs (April 13th), Dallas (April 16th) and Oklahoma City (April 21). If you didn't receive your invitation please call us (970-209-8006) for details! Lord willing we will preach in Guthrie, OK April 22-29 and sing in Amarillo April 30. We travel to St. Louis May 20th for our associate Rick Townsend's ordination and preach in Pitkin, CO May 27th. In between I hope to work on the DMin and of course fight forest fires.
Rich and Shelba will join us for the Appreciation Dinners as well as conduct weddings and of course help in our regular ministry meetings in Gunnison. They continue to serve in so many capacities here with us.
Paul and Sarah return from their honeymoon in time to cover the meetings here while the rest of us are on the road. In May Paul begins his raft guiding job.
Finances: One of the ways the Lord has directed us over the years is by providing exactly what we need to do what He wants us to do. If the resources are there we go, if not, we stay. He is so gracious and always faithful to provide every need. A wonderful example of this is that when the funds are running out, someone feels a prompting of the Spirit and sends exactly what we need when we need it! Thank You!
Prayer requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to continue and increase as we share Christ! Please pray for Bek and Nick as they prepare for marriage, and that they will turn their hearts and lives to the Lord! Please pray for our Saturday Evening Worship group as it grows in numbers, that it will grow in its love for the Savior. Please pray for Paul and Sarah as they begin their lives and ministry as newlyweds. Please pray for me as I make some decisions about my Doctor of Ministry program. It is very difficult to balance ministry, outside work and the DMin project.
Thank You for all your love, prayers and support!
Rick and Melva, Rich and Shelba, Paul and Sarah