Rick Barton Ministries, PO Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230 970-641-3583
August 14, 2012
From the Fire Camp
First of all, my apologies for the late newsletter; I've been on a fire assignment.
South Dakota Assignment: I began writing this newsletter during a two week assignment near Custer, SD. Several hundred of us were mobilized to assist local firefighters who had been overwhelmed with a series of large wildfires. Even though no large fires broke out while I was there, God really blessed!
When I arrived at check-in, the person behind the table noticed my Fellowship of Christian Firefighters shirt and asked, "Where can I get one of those?" From across the same room a man called out to me. It was Dan, someone I fought fires with over 30 years ago. Dan is a Christian who now lives in New Mexico and was serving as the lead Safety Officer. And so the day continued. One brother or sister would tell another and pretty soon I had several coming and asking me for firefighter Bibles and devotionals. I gave away all I had and have a list of another 20 to send out! (Recently, a couple had sent money for us to purchase extra Bibles and devotionals, what timing!). The Forest Service District Ranger, another friend from many years ago, told me he had been praying for someone to do a chapel service, and the Lord sent me!
When Sunday came we announced a chapel service after shift. At the appointed time, another firefighter and I arrived and waited to see if anyone would come. You see, on a fire, schedules are constantly changing, crews are moving in and out, and in this case the Incident Command Post and fire camp were 20 miles apart. You never know who can or will come. I'll be honest; my faith was waning as the time grew near. But as the two of us prayed, an engine crew of four men joined us. Then others began to come. Before we finished, fifteen men and women were reading God's word, praying and singing of God's Amazing Grace. What a blessing!! Another miracle, one man in camp had a serious wound and could have bled to death in minutes. By the grace of God, four paramedics "just happened" to be nearby and after two tourniquets and emergency surgery, he lived. Thank you for your daily prayers!
Other July blessings: Our Cowboy Church service went great during Cattleman's Days with over 60 in attendance. We were able to give every family a cowboy New Testament and share Jesus with cowboys, rodeo contestants and tourists. Our Saturday Evening Worship service continues strong with around 40 gathering weekly. That's double last year. What a blessing to look around the room and see former drug addicts and alcoholics loving the Lord with businessmen, college students and seniors! I literally stand amazed at God's grace poured out on us.
Family: My mom has had a rough month health-wise. She had to have surgery and has spent the past two weeks in the hospital. Please pray for her full recovery. Stephen (along with Joy, Bethan and Hannah) returns this weekend for a second preaching engagement in England. Please pray for the Lord's will to be very clear to them. Bek and Nick are preparing for their September 16th wedding. The pastor doing the ceremony is a neat brother in Christ. Please pray for the Lord to use him in their lives. Steve is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and happy to be back at work on the Intervention television program. He and Annie are preparing for their September 22 wedding. (The two couples decided to have their weddings close together so our Scotland crew didn't have to make two trips.) Tim and Sara are doing well in Los Angeles. Please pray for Sara's father who had a kidney transplant a week ago.
Paul and Sarah, Rich and Shelba: Paul and Sarah just returned from a weeklong mission trip to Guatemala. They are enjoying being newlyweds and are starting their Bible coursework online through Liberty University. Rich and Shelba continue to thrive in serving the Lord in many ways. Rich is preaching in various churches in the valley as well as Saturday Evening Worship and preparing our Bible Institute for the fall.
Upcoming: I may take one more fire assignment before the weddings but it depends on how my mom is doing. After Steve and Annie's wedding in LA, Melva and I hope to drive up the coast to Mt. Hermon Christian retreat center for two days. Mt. Hermon has a rich heritage in Christian conferences and particularly in Billy Graham's life and ministry. Then, we start teaching at our West Elk Bible Institute and preparing for ski season. There is time for a possible ministry swing in October/November so we'll see what the Lord opens up.
Finances: Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a song in which there is a wonderful line; "Every need, He is providing, plenteous grace He bestows." That's exactly how it is with us. He always has, is now, and always will provide every need! Thank you for being a special part of that blessing!
Prayer requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us; and to increase; for my mom's healing; for the Lord to come upon our children's weddings and marriages; and for God's direction for Stephen and Joy. Please pray for Dave Ritchie who disappeared into the forest under the influence of depression medication; for Diane Johnson (Child Evangelism Fellowship) in her recovery from two knee replacements, for Rose who is recovering from serious surgery; and for the resources to cover our health insurance and all the ministry opportunities He is providing.
Thank You!!! Your prayers, letters, emails and support encourage us so much. May the Lord Jesus richly bless you. We love you!
Rick and Melva