The New Year should be a time for remembering and forgetting. In God’s Word, we are told both to remember God’s provisions of the past, and to forget its failures. Remembering our blessings encourages us with how God has worked in our lives (Joshua 4:1-7, 1 Samuel 7:12). However, we can’t allow ourselves to dwell on past failures or even rest on past successes (Philippians 3:13-14). We must move forward to the fields of service He has for us!
Reports from “alumni missionaries”: This year has been special with reports coming in from even more
“sent out ones”. Melva and I counted at least seventeen “alumni” and their families we know of serving in various ministries around the world. Most recently we heard from Levi Gill and his wife serving in Jackson, MS and Neil and Dara Bartel sharing Jesus in the Denver jails and children’s ministry. Bush and Ginny White are serving with Colorado Christian University and Greg Buscarello and his wife in their church in Denver. Paul and Sarah Muirhead dropped by to report they have finished their training with Frontiers and are seeking the right team to serve with in the Middle East. Your prayers and support have allowed us to invest in these lives! You are as much a part of their ministries as we are.
December started well with a wonderful time of sharing in Guthrie, OK. It was Bible Conference time and we “unpacked” the book of Philippians together. The sad part was the passing of our soon-to-be-born grandson Ethan James Barton. On Christmas Eve we had the privilege of leading a service at our old church in Gunnison. On New Year’s Eve I prayed with 70 ski instructors before we skied down in our annual torchlight parade. There were many positive responses! Please pray the Lord will work in each life.
Upcoming: Lord willing, I will resume teaching skiing after we return from our grandson’s service in Los Angeles January 19). On February 2nd I teach the annual wildland fire refresher for the Crested Butte fire department and distribute firefighter New Testaments and devotionals. February 5-12 we conduct revival services at 1st Baptist Church in Delta, CO. 40 people in the church have devoted themselves to pray for the meetings each day for 40 days! Will you join us in prayer please? February 21 we hold our 5th annual Evangelical Pastors and wives dinner and prayer time. We invite all the pastors and their wives from Crested Butte, Lake City, Saguache and Gunnison to an evening of fellowship and prayer. Last year we had 38 in attendance. Please pray that this time will continue to foster a spirit of unity among the churches. March 1, I begin three days of leading worship at a men’s Bible/ski conference in Beaver Creek.
Family: Our family has drawn even closer during this time. We sense the Comforter in a special way.
Finances: Because of your faithful support we have been able to minister locally as well as support “alumni” fellow workers serving around the globe. We all say “THANK YOU”!
May you have a blessed and Christ-filled New Year! Rick and Melva Barton
Some Remembrances of 2016
January: I led prayer for 70 ski instructors on top of Crested Butte Mountain. (I’ve done this for over 35 years). The Lord allowed me to speak at a men’s retreat near Montrose CO then we flew to Dallas to pick up a donated vehicle. While there we met with several supporters.
February: I helped lead worship at the High Ground Men’s Bible/ski retreat at Beaver Creek, CO.
March: We sponsored our 4th annual pastors and wives dinner and prayer time for couples and singlesfrom three communities. We also held our Appreciation Dinner with supporters in Colorado Springs, CO. I taught forest-fire refreshers in Gunnison and Crested Butte and passed out Firefighter New Testaments. Our friend and Board of References member Jerry Bridges went to join our Savior in heaven.
April: I was invited to speak at a men’s retreat in Westcliff, CO. Then we travelled to Texas and Oklahoma where we met with a chaplain at Baylor University about the possibility of speaking at an upcoming chapel service. We then held Appreciation Dinners with supporters in Dallas and Oklahoma City. We held our annual board meeting during the OKC dinner. While in OK we held weeklong revival services in Guthrie and sang at a senior center in Amarillo, TX on the way back.
May: We shared the Word at the Pitkin Community Church in Pitkin, CO.
June: We were blessed to speak at the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters family camp in Ashville, NC. Travelling to Hawaii, we held a chapel service for Melva’s family reunion.
July: Returning to Colorado we conducted our annual Rodeo church service in Gunnison, CO. (We’ve been blessed to do this for over 30 years). We were also invited to speak for the Norwood, CO Rodeo Service.
August: We spoke at New Song Church in Gunnison, (a church the Lord used us to start over 40 years ago.) and preached at the Tin Cup Community Church in Tin Cup, CO.
September: We sponsored a 1st Responder Appreciation Ceremony and Luncheon for 100 fire, police, and EMS from Gunnison and Crested Butte, CO. A couple of days later I was dispatched to a forest-fire assignment in N. California where I was able to give out firefighter New Testaments (In less than 2 years we’ve given out over 8500 copies free of charge all over the world)!
October: I was privileged to preach in Lake City, CO and hold a hunter’s chapel in a camp outside of Gunnison. The next week we were invited to hold a hunter’s church service in Norwood, CO. At the end of the month we conducted our nieces wedding in Denver, CO.
November: Melva and I attended a Leadership Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center, “The Cove” in Ashville, NC and then met with our friend Tom Phillips at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC.
December: I returned to Guthrie, OK to speak at a 5 day Bible Conference and conducted a Christmas Eve Service in Gunnison. Our grandson Ethan James Barton went to heaven shortly before his birth.
This is only an overview. The Lord also gave us the privilege of conducting funerals and memorial services for local families as well as teaching our Saturday evening worship services and training new workers for service.
Currently we know of “alumni missionaries” working in Kenya, Haiti, Mexico, Thailand, Peru, Jackson MS, several cities in Colorado and various Middle East countries. Praise the Lord!
“To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Has Done!”
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Rick Barton Ministires