Rick Barton Ministries, PO Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230 | 970-641-3583 | firstname.lastname@example.org
"FALL FLOODS AND FANTASTIC FRIENDS!"
Fall Floods: As many of you know, the front range of Colorado was hit by a "100 year" flood in mid-September. The day the flood destroyed over 1200 homes, I received a call to go on a fire assignment in California. Unexplainably, that order was cancelled and hours later I was dispatched to the flood zone as a line safety officer. Our assignment was to open roads so residents could evacuate. It was a long week, but a blessing in so many ways. Our team was kept safe, we opened several roads and I was able to pray with residents and co-workers and give away firefighter Bibles. A huge "thank you" to all who prayed for us!
Missionary gathering: A week ago we hosted a number of current and soon-to-be missionaries in our home for fellowship and exchanging insights on mission related topics. As you know, the Lord has allowed us to help a number of workers go forth from Gunnison around the world. That afternoon Brad and Gina (Peru), Mark, Karen, and Kelly (Mexico), Dave and Melissa (France), Betty (Indian groups from Mexico), and more were present. Your prayers and investments assist us in helping workers who are called to go forth!
Fantastic Friends: We are the most blessed people of all time. We have sooooo many friends who have loved, prayed for and supported us for almost 45 years of ministry. We continue to hear from folks who were in our ministry in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and into the 2000's. We have seen the children of our "alumni" now praying for and supporting the work. Thank you for being our friends and prayer warriors!
"All Risk" Pastors: Our forest-fire Incident Management Teams (IMTs) have become "All Risk" teams. That means on any given day we may be dispatched to a forest-fire, a flood, hurricane, tornados, ice storms or even events such as the space shuttle recovery and 9/11. Some missions we're relatively comfortable with and some we feel totally out of our element. But we're called to serve and so we do.
As I was reading my Bible this morning I thought of how much this is like a local pastor's role. He may be pretty comfortable with preaching and teaching God's word, but at a moment's notice he may be called to sit with a family at the bedside of a dying loved one, try to talk someone out of suicide, or help a couple salvage a marriage. I also thought of his wife and children. One "preacher's kid" told me that he had read that over half of pastor's wives hated the ministry after a few years because of the pressure on their husbands and families. Our IMTs go home after 14 days, but the faithful pastor and his family stay on the field year after year.
October is set aside each year as "Pastor Appreciation Month". 1 Timothy 5:17 instructs us to show "double honor" (financially and otherwise) to hard working pastors. I encourage you to write a note, send a check, and make a phone call to your pastor and his family. Let them know how much you appreciate them and the "All Risk" ministry they fulfill!
Rich and Shelba Townsend: While I was on the flood assignment, our associates Rich and Shelba received word that one of Rich's sisters, Alice, had developed serious medical issues and they needed to go back to MO as soon as possible. Alice has suffered from medical problems for some time but this was a serious turn for the worse. By God's grace she is improving. Please pray for Alice. Rich and Shelba will conduct a hunter's chapel up on the Cochetopa and then be leading a team of workers to Mexico to assist Mark and Karen Higgins in their mission. Then, they will assist me in teaching our West Elk Bible Institute classes.
Marriage Enrichment Seminar: Last weekend we sponsored an "UltiMate Marriage" conference for over a dozen couples from several churches. Our friends from the Navigators ministry came up from Colorado Springs and encouraged us to more Christ-centered and fulfilling marriages.
Upcoming: This weekend, we have our monthly men's breakfast, women's breakfast, Saturday Evening Worship, and preach in Pitkin, CO. Then, Melva and I head to Las Vegas to a family reunion where we have the privilege of holding a chapel service for Melva's family. Upon returning, we start teaching our West Elk Bible Institute. In November we will be hosting home groups using Billy Graham's "My Hope" program. Then Melva and I hope to take two weeks off and travel to California to visit two of our children and their wives.
Family: Stephen and Joy (Hannah and Bethan) continue to serve in Scotland. Stephen is preaching more and more and is confident that the Lord will soon reveal the church God is preparing him to pastor. Rebekah and Nick are on their way to Africa on a belated honeymoon, Steve and Annie, Tim and Sarah are working away in Los Angeles. Melva has been substitute teaching almost non-stop and managed to catch a cold as well as irritate her sciatica. She has had to lay low for a few days but seems to be improving. My mom is continuing to receive treatment for multiple-myeloma but still on the go transporting folks to the hospital, nursing home and grocery store.
Finances: Once again, the Lord has provided all our needs through your faithful prayers and gifts! We pray that God will bless your gifts as "a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."
Prayer requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to fill and anoint us for His service; for Wendell and Paul, faithful lovers of Jesus in Ft. Smith, AR as well as Archer in Oklahoma City who are recovering from medical issues; for my mother's healing; for the upcoming "My Hope" campaign in Gunnison and around the country. Thank You!
Rick and Melva Barton Rich and Shelba Townsend