Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230, 970-209-8006 (C) 970-641-3583 (H)
Spring is Here!
April is a Latin based word meaning "opening buds of spring, to blossom". And, thanks to your prayers, things are "blossoming" with us! Here are just a few examples.
What a week! Melva and I just returned from an action-packed week in Denver. The initial plan was to spend the week quietly studying at the Denver Seminary library. We did get time for studying but were blessed to spend time with some hurting friends; had lunch with the new Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) director for Southwest Colorado; and coffee with a returning missionary from Italy. Just before leaving Denver we were invited to join a small group for lunch with the President of FCA, Les Steckel.
Doctor of Ministry Program: Many of you have asked how the DMin work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is going. Here's the latest. My advisor, a good friend but very busy man, hasn't been able to communicate directly with me for quite some time. Last week as Melva and I headed to Denver, I was praying that I would hear from him. The night we arrived in Denver, he called and gave me hope! There is a possibility that I may graduate May 15th in Louisville, KY. Please pray as I continue to press on toward completion.
Firefighter Bibles: As reported in our last newsletter, in February we received 5000 of our 12,000 firefighter New Testaments. By March 1st we had sent out almost 2000 copies, free of charge to fire chaplains, firefighters and churches doing outreaches to firefighters. As of April 1 we have sent out 2500 copies all over the United States, Canada and Uganda. Almost every day we receive more requests.
Rich and Shelba Townsend have taken the lead in sending the New Testaments to first responders who are hungry for God's word. Someone asked, "What makes this edition so special?" The answer is that the pocket size fits in our uniform pants and is packed with fire and EMS related photos and testimonies. The remaining 7000 copies are on their way and we have started a Bible fund to prepare for another order as needed.
Skiing: In late March, when business slowed down at the ski area, I hung up my skis for the season. It was my 46th year of teaching. It's truly a "God thing" since 48 years ago I was told I would never ski due to a serious knee injury suffered in a car/motorcycle accident. (The same night they told my mom I wouldn't survive.)
The Lord blessed me with another injury-free season filled with opportunities to share Jesus and to pray with staff and students. I am so thankful for each of you who pray for our health and safety. Interestingly, many of the churches Melva and I share in are the result of friendships made with ski students.
Sadly, two weeks ago, a 33 year old man deliberately skied out of bounds and perished falling off a 200' cliff. We still have much work to do.
Family: Son Steve is making good progress recovering from his Achilles surgery and is working on a new TV show in LA. His wonderful wife Annie is finishing another year of teaching special needs children and enjoying her spring break. Daughter Joy and son-in-love Stephen (Hannah and Bethan) continue to prosper in Inverness, Scotland with Stephen preaching several times a month and working full-time. Joy is volunteering at the school the girls attend and praying about a teaching post next year. Tim and daughter-in-love Sara are doing well in LA and Tim says he's beginning to get a handle on his new job. Daughter Rebekah and son-in-love Nick finished a good season with their restaurant in Edwards, CO. Melva and I are doing well! We're still working on controlling my sleep apnea. I've started training for forest-fire season.
Rich and Shelba Townsend: The rancher's Bible study on the Cochetopa is taking a break for calving season. In the meantime, Rich and Shelba spearheaded a Sportsman's Banquet for Trinity Baptist with 60 men attending. Now he and Shelba are in St. Louis where he will conduct an Easter Son-Rise Service for their home church. Upon returning, they will help lead a mission trip to an Indian reservation.
Upcoming: April 11th, I preach at Grace Fellowship in Lake City, CO. April 17th we sing at a senior center in Amarillo, TX. We have our Board of Directors meeting in Oklahoma City April 18th. April 19-26 we hold services at Abell Church north of Guthrie, OK. May 15th, Lord willing, I receive my DMin degree in Louisville, KY. May 17-20th we hold services in KY followed by services in Pitkin, CO May 31st and June 7. Please pray for each of these services as well as our normal ministries in the Gunnison valley.
Finances: By God's grace, the finances are still strong. Thank you for your prayerful support! Because of the Lord working through you we can send out Bibles, devotional books, Bible study materials and do ministry here in the valley. Last month we were able to help some of our "alumni" start a discipleship training school in Haiti, help a young couple in ministry who just had their first child, and help some folks with medical bills. Many are giving praise to God because of you!
Thank You Dinners! Each year we try to visit several cities and host a "Thank You" dinner. This is a chance for us to show our gratitude for your love, prayers and financial support. It also gives us a chance to give you a report on all that's happened in the past year and what we see coming up. We hope you can join us and bring someone with you. The dinners are free and there will not be any fundraising, only "Praise Raising".
*Oklahoma City: Saturday April 18th from 5-6:30 @ Johnnies Hamburgers, 33 E. 33rd Street, Edmond, OK.
Call Jerry and Suzanne Bugg at (405)751-5867 to RSVP if possible ?
*Dallas: Monday, April 27th from 6:30-8pm @ Bill and Verdell Krisher's, 5915 Overdowns.
Call Bill and Verdell at (214)704-1422 to RSVP if possible ?
*Colorado Springs-Thursday April 30, 6-7:30 @ Mimi's Café, 7133 N. Academy,
Call Cliff and Sandra Ellis at (719)233-7716 to RSVP if possible ?
In Memoriam: Our brother in Lake City, Pastor Lyn Lampert, watched his Father, Ken, depart this earth and enter into his heavenly home this week. Ken was a medical professional with a wonderful legacy including starting a medical facility for the poor. Please lift up a prayer for Ken's widow Lois, Lyn and his sister Anne.
Prayer Requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us and all the wonderful opportunities we've mentioned above. Your daily prayers really do carry us along! Thank You!
Rick and Melva Barton Rich and Shelba Townsend