Rick Barton Ministries, PO Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230 970-641-3583
May 3, 2012
MAY the Lord Richly Bless You!
Home again! After nearly 3 weeks and 3000 miles on the road we're back in Gunnison. Our trip started in Colorado Springs with our annual Appreciation Dinner. Prayer partners and supporters joined us for an evening of testimony and praise to the Lord for His faithfulness. Our good friend and Board of References member Jerry Bridges had successful heart surgery the previous day and missed the meeting; but his wife Jane joined us to give a good report! Dr. Richard Wells shared how the Lord led him to start the John Witherspoon College in South Dakota. (John Witherspoon was a Christian and signer of the Declaration of Independence.) John Witherspoon's great, great granddaughter Pat was at the dinner and they were able to meet. Others related how the Lord is using them in churches, schools, universities and outreaches!
From Colorado Springs we drove to Dallas where we met with another group of prayer partners. The Lord granted us several days to visit longtime friends and hear stories of how God is moving in their lives. A short flight took us to San Antonio where we spent a day being encouraged by two families who have supported our efforts for many years. From Texas we drove to Oklahoma City where we met with friends and our Board of Directors. We had the privilege of spending time on our knees with the employees of one business in Oklahoma City as we continued a tradition of committing their car rental business to Jesus!
In each city we were excited to share the fruits of God's work through your prayers and financial investments. What a wonderful God we serve! A special treat was to hear stories of how Jesus used our small efforts to encourage and equip folks! One man shared how his wife and children had been involved in a terrible car accident and the private pilot who flew him to join them had been led to Jesus through our ministry! Another shared how our Bible studies (which eventually became a thriving church) in Lake City, CO had been used by the Holy Spirit to change his life! Others shared how they were involved and serving in their local churches throughout the nation. How great is our God!
Guthrie, OK: We had the privilege of dedicating Abell Community Church's new sanctuary to the Lord's use and hold eight days of services in it. We have been sharing at this small and loving church for around 25 years. What a treat to see their new facility and sense what the Lord wants to do in their midst. After our last service I asked a young man preparing to leave if he had given his life to Jesus. He said "no" but that he wished to do so. We sat down, went through the plan of salvation and he began his eternal life!
Rich and Shelba, Paul and Sarah: This week, Rich and Shelba are training workers to use ESL (English as a Second Language) as a ministry tool. On May 20th Rich will be ordained by his home church in St. Louis! Paul has been covering for me in our services here and Sarah is leading a women's prayer group.
West Elk Bible Institute: We finished the spring semester with a total of 30 students involved in our Introduction to Christian Theology class; 18 in Gunnison and 12 on Cochetopa Pass! Your prayers and support allow us to teach these classes with little or no cost to the students. Thank You!
Family: Thanks to your prayers, all of us are healthy and grateful! Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan are doing well in Scotland with Stephen preaching more and more. I feel the day is drawing near when the Lord will open a pastor's role for him. Bek and Nick continue to work in Vail and prepare for their fall wedding. Steve continues to learn the ropes in television production in Hollywood and is dating a wonderful Christian school teacher named Annie. Tim and Sara are both working and enjoying their church in Los Angeles. (They're praying for a newer, more efficient vehicle-Sara's transmission is acting up.) My mom underwent surgery but is slowly regaining her strength. Of course she's still the "designated driver" for her friends needing rides to doctor appointments, shopping, etc. Please pray for her to return to full strength.
Upcoming: May 20th we travel to St. Louis for our co-worker Rich Townsend's ordination; May 27 we share in Pitkin, CO; June 17-20 it's back to Guthrie OK-this time to Harmony Church (pending).
Finances: Thank you for your prayers about the ministry finances! We are seeing the Lord's hand provide and our deficit is close to being caught up. A special welcome to those of you who are just joining our prayer and support team! In any ministry such as ours there is always a need for new folks to join our existing faithful partners, especially on a monthly basis. The Lord is opening more doors than ever to share the gospel as well as train and send out workers; and as the opportunities increase so does the prayer and financial need. We rejoice in His faithfulness and know that where He guides, He will provide!
Prayer Requests: Praise report: Melva recently had an ultrasound for gall bladder stones. The reports came back clear! Please pray that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will increasingly be evident in our lives and ministries. Please pray for each member of our family to love the Lord Jesus and follow Him with all their hearts. Please pray for Rich's upcoming ordination and for Paul and Sarah as they begin their newlywed lives! Please pray for our friend Dr. Gene Getz's back to be healed and for Jerry Bridges' full recovery. Please pray for each of our ministries: Saturday Evening Worship, Called to Ministry Breakfasts, West Elk Bible Institute, Forest Fire Chapels, and outreaches in churches. Please pray for safety as we travel and that the ministry finances will be abundantly supplied. Thank You!!!
Dr. Gene Getz (seminary professor, author, pastor) has joined our Board of References; those who have worked with us and endorse our ministry! Welcome aboard Gene!
Doctor of Ministry: There have been several delays in my progress toward finishing the DMin program. Please pray the Lord clears up the delays and provides the time and finances necessary to finish this year.
Happy Mother's Day moms, and may the Lord Jesus richly bless each of you! We love you!