Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230, 970-209-8006 (C) 970-641-3583 (H)
January 9, 2015
New Year-New Opportunities!
I love the beginning of a New Year! It's a great time for Melva and me to regroup, rethink and reprioritize our life and ministry. Every year we begin the process with great anticipation.
In many ways I like the word NEW. In our Saturday Night Worship service we are in 2 Corinthians chapter 5. Verse 17 reminds us that when we come into a born-again relationship with Jesus, we become NEW creations. What an exciting truth! I'm not the same as before, I am set free from the power of sin, I have an eternal home in heaven, and I can follow Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. I am NEW!
The Bible Miracle continues. As we mentioned last month, we had the opportunity to order a special printing of 10,000 copies of the (discontinued) firefighter New Testament for $25,000. By the time we had to make the order, donations to the Bible fund had exceeded that amount and we were able to order 12,400 copies to be delivered the end of January! A huge "thank you" to all of you who prayed for this project and supported it!
We have already received requests from firefighters and fire chaplains in MI, Houston, Dallas, and Spokane WA for testaments to distribute. One of my ski students is part of a Rotary committee in Houston which is developing housing for firefighters undergoing cancer treatments at MD Anderson. She is interested in placing firefighter New Testaments in each room. In addition, the Fire/EMS daily devotional book we distribute is having a lot of response from fire and EMS personnel. I gave one to a man on a fire in 2013 and he just contacted me to ask for more to distribute to fire chaplains. When we told him we would send both fire New Testaments and Devotionals at no charge, he wrote, "I appreciate your help in assisting the Spokane County Sheriffs Chaplaincy Program. I'm sure these books will be as inspirational to them as they have for me."
Speaking of firefighters, this year's Billy Graham "My Hope" DVD features the true story of a fireman. We hope to conduct a dinner for these dedicated workers during which we will show the DVD as well as give out New Testaments and Devotionals. Please pray for God's leading and timing as well as receptive hearts.
Ski area ministry: I was privileged to lead a prayer for 100 or so ski instructors and staff on top of the mountain before we skied down in a torchlight parade. Once again the door has opened to share with instructors in the days since. We have had two of our long-time instructors suffer serious injuries. We will be praying with them as well as providing a financial gift to help with immediate needs. Please pray that this will open the door for the gospel. I have shared with several ski students as well.
Doctor of Ministry: I have reached the last stage of my writing. My advisor promises that he will work with me next week and help me plan the final project. Lord willing I will receive the degree in May.
Rich and Shelba Townsend: Rich and Shelba have recovered from their flu and are actively serving again. Their Bible study for ranchers on the Cochetopa has resumed with several families attending as well as Shelba's young wives study and Rich's work with men. This month they celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary with a trip to visit friends in HI. Rich will be preaching in Lake City CO February 8th. Please pray God continues to bless and anoint them! Feel free to send them a card which we'll pass on.
Alumni News: Brad and Gina Shaw serving in Peru among the Quechua people report "we are aware of how the Lord is growing us over the years. His faithfulness has been experienced and shown true in His children as He has kept each one." Diane Johnston, serving with Child Evangelism Fellowship in Jackson, MS, sends thanks for your prayers and support as do Rick, Colleen and Cathy ministering in Muslim countries.
Finances: By God's grace and your faithfulness, we are able to meet every need even as the opportunities to share increase! Thank you for following His prodding and for investing as He leads.
Upcoming: January 15th I conduct a funeral in Tulsa, OK and the 18th we share at First Baptist in Delta, CO in preparation for a week of services there February 1-8. February 8th Rich T. preaches in Lake City. February 19th I teach a fire safety refresher for the Mt. Crested Butte, Crested Butte and Crested Butte South volunteer fire departments where I will also give out New Testaments and Devotionals. February 25-27 I lead worship at the High Ground Men's Bible/Ski retreat in Beaver Creek, CO. In mid-May we hope to travel to Louisville, KY to receive my DMin and hold a week of services. Other opportunities are pending. Please pray for the Lord to move in these meetings.
Health: As part of my work at Crested Butte ski area, we all work extra days when the area is busy over Christmas and Spring Break. Unfortunately that usually means we get run down and catch colds, etc. I'm on week two of a cold and would appreciate your prayers to stop coughing and get my voice back? I've had to postpone my sleep apnea test because of ministry calls. Otherwise, we are all in good health.
Family: Melva and I are doing well. She is substitute teaching almost every day and I am teaching skiing. Joy and Stephen are keeping busy in Inverness Scotland. Joy is involved with Hannah and Bethan's school activities as well as their church. Stephen is preaching in various churches on the weekends as well as working full-time. Bek was able to join us for Christmas day and she and husband Nick stay busy with their restaurant in Edwards, CO. Steve and Annie are happy in LA with Annie teaching special needs children and Steve in-between TV production jobs. Tim switched jobs recently in LA and is finishing his training while wife Sara continues as an accountant with Dell. Thank you for your prayers for our family!
A prayer request: 2014 was a wonderful one with several honors and successes, yet I'm concerned that we aren't reaching as many lost folks as we should. This week we saw 6 local residents pass into eternity, only two of which we knew were saved. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will give us a fresh anointing in the area of sharing the gospel and seeing folks enter into His salvation. Thank You!
Rick and Melva Barton Rich and Shelba Townsend