Rick Barton Ministries, PO Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230 | 970-641-3583 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Stop the Presses! Can it really be August? After this spring and summer's ministry tours and the busy July, I think we missed a large part of summer! Up in the mountains, we cherish each summer month and the special beauty it brings. But, what a wonderful spring and summer it's been so far.
Rodeo Service: For around 30 summers we've held a Rodeo Service Cattlemen's Days. On July 14th the Lord blessed us with another good turnout. We had testimony and song by local ranchers Howard and Margaret Funk, lots of music and the opportunity to share Jesus. Each year we give the offering to the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys to help youngsters attend Rodeo/Bible Camps and this year we were able to send $300. We had visiting cowboys from several states attend and I believe the Lord moved!
Seminary Update: As soon as the Rodeo Service ended I drove four hours to Denver where I caught a flight to Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. On the way I encountered a three hour delay in Detroit where the Lord had me sit with a young man returning from a student atheist conference. Even though I arrived at the seminary around 3am, it was worth getting to share with this student.
The week at the seminary was good. The new leadership of the Doctor of Ministry program realized they had confused and frustrated almost all of the students. In fact a number had considered withdrawing from the program. Realizing this, they encouraged us to come for a week-long writing retreat where they sat with us and explained the new format and direction for the program; reviewing and offering suggestions while we worked. As a result it looks as if I can finish within a year!
While in Louisville I had the privilege of speaking at Lakewood Baptist Church; a wonderful fellowship I've shared with over the years. A special highlight at Lakewood was hearing from folks who pray for us each morning on the way to work. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
In addition, I was able to spend some time with our friends Dr. Robert Coleman and Dr. Tim Beougher. Dr. Coleman has served many years with Billy Graham and as a seminary professor. He's written classic books on evangelism and has a huge heart for Jesus. Dr. Beougher is an associate dean at Southern Seminary and has been a friend and RBM Board member since our time at Wheaton in 1994.
Rich and Shelba update: Rich and Shelba spent two weeks on the road ministering in MO and TX. Now Shelba is busy teaching women's Bible studies and Rich is preaching in surrounding communities as well as helping on Saturday evenings. They are such a blessing as we complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. The ministry is much fuller with their help! Thank you for praying for them.
Health update: A big "Thank You" to those who pray for our health. Melva's sciatica is much better and my knee is holding up. Please keep praying. I've checked on having stem cell therapy as an alternative to knee replacement. I'm in the "poor to fair" range for success (higher if I travel to the Cayman Islands). I'm still tempted but at this time the cost is prohibitive.
Upcoming: We're hosting a marriage enrichment conference with the Navigators in September. In October, Rich and Shelba lead a team to Mexico to work with Mark and Karen Higgins. In October we start our West Elk Bible Institute. (Each year has seen an increase in interest with 25 students from three churches attending last year.) In November, we're participating in the Billy Graham "My Hope" outreaches. In between, we'll be busy with local ministry, work on the doctorate and fire assignments.
Saturday Evening Worship is doing well although attendance is down for the summer. We continue to teach verse-by verse through books of the Bible and almost every week some of our "alumni" missionaries share their stories. Recent visits include Christian Challenge and Young Life, the Gideons, and Cathy G. (Asia). Coming up; Brad and Gina (Peru), Julie (Chad), the Brushfire Christian Coffeehouse (here), and the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Our Saturday Evening Worship group gives 60% of its offering to missions.
Family: Tim and Sara are doing well in Orange, CA but request prayer for Sara's dad Ken who needs a kidney transplant. Steve and Annie had a great trip to France and Great Britain to visit some of Annie's and our families. Bek and Nick are having a busy summer with their restaurant in Edwards, CO and Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan are going strong in Scotland. Stephen is preaching more and more in churches throughout Scotland and England and we trust that he soon will be assigned by God to a church pastorate.
My 86 year old mother Martha, is completing one year of chemo for bone marrow cancer and is still going strong. She's still driving folks to the doctor, to their shopping and to visit friends in the nursing home!
Finances: Our recent ministry trips have placed a burden on the finances, along with the loss of some wonderful supporters who have gone to be with Jesus. However, by God's grace and your faithful support every need continues to be met. Thanks to you we can serve in various ministries such as Ambassador at Large for the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters. Your investment is paying eternal dividends!
Prayer requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to increase; for increased opportunities to share with and train college students; for safety on fires and while travelling; for the spiritual growth of our Saturday Evening Worship attendees; and for our country to turn our hearts back to Jesus!
May the Lord Jesus richly bless you!!
Rick and Melva Barton, Rich and Shelba Townsend
Newest Board of Reference members Gay and Sue Reynolds- retired president- Fellowship of Christian Firefighters.