Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230, 970-209-8006 (C) 970-641-3583 (H)
January 1, 2014
"A New Year Means a Fresh Start"
Happy New Year! As you may know, I like ushering in a New Year every 12 months. On New Year's Eve I have the privilege of praying with 100 of our ski school and other staff on top of Crested Butte before we ski down in our annual torchlight parade, AND, Melva and I along with Rich and Shelba, take time to re-evaluate our lives and ministry for the new year. The start of a new year is also a reminder of what God's word tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If any man is in Christ he is a new creature". When we turn from sin and turn to Jesus for salvation, God doesn't just clean us up, He makes us new creations!
The month of December was a busy one as I had the privilege of preaching three times a week at Trinity Baptist Church in Gunnison as well as conducting a "Hanging of the Greens" and "Christmas Eve" service. What a blessing it was to share God's word fourteen times in twenty-five days, as well as teach at our Bible Institute. During Christmas, Trinity Baptist takes a special offering for world missions. We were prompted to double the original goal and God graciously went even over that! Fortunately, with Melva, Rich and Shelba, and wonderful volunteers from the church family, things went well.
Speaking of Rich and Shelba, Shelba's lung infection flared up again and now she is on a waiting list to be evaluated by National Jewish Hospital in Denver. Please pray that God heals her even before she goes. They had to postpone a trip back to MO to visit family but we believe that God is working even during this time. Rich has been preaching locally and continues to be used of the Lord in many fruitful ways. Rich and Shelba's Cochetopa Pass rancher's study has been going through the "Truth Project" with great response. We have been teaching through the book of James on Saturday evenings.
Ski Season: December saw the resumption of my teaching skiing at Crested Butte. This is my 45th winter of teaching with 40 seasons at Crested Butte; and this was after the doctors told me I'd never ski after being hit by a car in high school! God delights in using us in our weaknesses. Each year I'm able to share Jesus with both co-workers and guests. Please pray that I will have a fruitful witness this season.
On December 18th, the Crested Butte News ran a very positive article on us that has opened doors to share our life and ministry. (If you're interested, the article can be viewed online by going to www.crestedbuttenews.com and clicking on the "online extra" tab at the top of the webpage.) I've cut back my teaching again this season in order to devote more time to my Doctor of Ministry project and save my knee. By the way, the Lord provided me with a new "high tech" knee brace which has taken almost all the pain away as I ski! I believe this is an answer to your prayers. Thank You!
Upcoming: After teaching thirteen of fourteen days over Christmas break, Lord willing, I will take two weeks off to care for my mom and study and speak in churches in Denver and Elizabeth, CO. Then, I hope to lead the worship for the annual High Ground Men's Bible/Ski Retreat at Beaver Creek, CO at the end of February.
Family: We had a quiet Christmas with my mom who turned 87 on Christmas Day. Bekah drove over from Vail to join us. We are so thankful for each of our family and their love for each other. Shortly after New Year's my mom fell and had to return to the hospital. We're waiting for the next step; some rehab time in the nursing home or full-time home care. Please pray for wisdom as we make those decisions.
Melva has recovered from her sciatica and is substitute teaching again. Stephen and Joy (Hannah and Bethan) continue to prosper in Scotland with Stephen preaching in various churches almost every weekend. Rebekah and Nick are working hard and doing well with their restaurant in Vail, Steve and Annie traveled to celebrate a late Christmas with us, and Tim and Sara stayed in Los Angeles with Sara's family to celebrate Christmas as well as the successful kidney transplant of Sara's dad.
Prayer Requests: Please pray for my mother, Martha Barton, that the Lord will restore her health and strengthen her legs. Please pray for Rebekah and Nick to enter into a full relationship with Jesus. Please pray for Shelba Townsend's full healing. And most of all, please pray that we will be used of the Holy Spirit to share the "Good News of a Great Joy which will be for all the people"; the message of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord! Please pray that the Lord will give us more college students to train for ministry as well as direction for the New Year!
Finances: By the grace of God we continue to move forward with no debt and every bill paid. In addition, you helped us provide 100 New Testaments for a Christmas Day community dinner! We rejoice that some of you who were students in our ministry are now supporting it. We are humbled when missionaries who have gone out from Gunnison feel led to send back support.
May the Lord richly bless each of you!
By His grace and to His glory,
Rick and Melva Barton Rich and Shelba Townsend