“Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." (James 4:15) January didn’t go exactly as we planned but was a blessing in many ways! The month started with the privilege of praying for over 70 of our ski school staff on top of Crested Butte Mountain before skiing down in our torchlight parade on New Year’s Eve. Then, I had two very full weeks of teaching skiing with opportunities to share Jesus with students and staff.
On January 19th we held a small family service for our grandson Ethan James Barton in Los Angeles. Ethan passed away in the womb two weeks before his due date. Thank you for your prayers for Tim and Sara as well as all of us. The morning after we returned to Gunnison we received a phone call that our friend Pastor Van Hudson in Guthrie, OK went to be with the Lord. We left the next day and conducted his service. What a wonderful outpouring of love and support for Pastor Van and his wife Sally as the church building overflowed with Christians and non-Christians alike showing their appreciation for this faithful pastor.
A day after returning to Gunnison, we conducted two more memorial services; one for our friends Daniel and Krista Pennington whose baby Josiah passed a week after Ethan and the other for a local family.
The month ended with my teaching skiing once again as well as a forest fire safety class for the Crested Butte Fire Department. Sometimes people ask how we find strength to serve in the areas we do. The answer is simple and found in Philippians 2:13; “…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” If it wasn’t for His grace and strength, in answer to your prayers, we couldn’t do this. Thank you for your daily prayers!
More special blessings included the opportunity to help a friend find the Savior in a personal relationship. He had approached me at the ski area and asked to meet. As we talked he shared that even though he was a pastor’s son, he had put off making his own decision for Jesus. He was now retired and facing a health issue. As we shared about the difference between “religion” and a personal, saving “relationship” with Jesus, the Holy Spirit opened his eyes and he placed his trust in Jesus! The same week a Vietnam Veteran/retired law enforcement officer asked me to help him return to the Savior of his youth!
Upcoming: February 5th we begin eight days of services at 1st Baptist Church in Delta, CO. Then February 17th we speak at a chapel for the Rock Solid High School in Littleton, CO. February 21st we host a dinner for evangelical pastors and their wives. This is the 5th year we’ve done this. Pastors and their wives come from Gunnison, Crested Butte, Lake City and Saguache, CO to enjoy a wonderful meal and evening of fellowship and prayer.
We pray for each other’s families, various ministries, and for the valley. So far this year we have at least 38 pastors, associates and retired pastors and their wives attending from nine churches. Your financial support allows us to sponsor this event which has proven to be a wonderful time of building unity among the churches.
March 1-3, I help lead worship for the High Ground Men’s Bible/ski conference in Beaver Creek CO. On March 31, I have the privilege of returning to Westcliff, CO to lead a men’s retreat. Also, coming up are services in Cripple Creek (April 30, and Tin Cup CO May 21). Please lift each of these services up in prayer and join us as the Lord allows!
Family: Taking the forefront this month are Steve and Annie in Los Angeles. They are expecting a babythis summer! Stephen and Joy (Hannah and Bethan) are serving the Lord in Scotland. Hannah (8) and Bethan (6) are becoming talented artists and receiving awards for their kindness to others! Nick and Bekah are doing well in Edwards (Vail) CO at their restaurant. Tim and Sara are back to work and appreciative of all your prayers. All of us except our Scottish clan were able to come to Ethan’s service.
Finances: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
We continue to see God’s blessings on every hand, in every way. Last month we gave extra support to 17 of our “alumni” missionary families who have come through our ministry, mostly as students. That was the largest number we have sent support to at one time. Reports have been coming in from the USA and across the world how the money came at “just the right time”. The missionary in India who had unexpected expenses, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes worker who needed money to help his students, the workers in Indonesia, Haiti and Mexico, as well as Peru, all say “Thank You” to each of you! In addition, you helped a drought-stricken Kenyan pastor with food and medicine, not only for his family but other pastors as well. (He emailed this morning that they had received some rain last night! PTL.)
The Lord continues to graciously provide for all our needs as well through your prayerful investment. Thank You! The promise of our Lord is: “ Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
Prayer requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to abide on us as we share His glorious gospel! Please pray for Tim and Sara as well as Daniel and Krista Pennington and Sally Hudson in their grieving. Also please pray for our friend Dr. Robert Coleman in his sorrow over the passing of his wife Marietta. Please pray for my foot, knee and hamstring to heal. Please pray for the right facility and leadership for our Bible Institute.
Thank you all sooooo much! May the Lord Jesus richly bless you!
Rick and Melva Barton
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Rick Barton Ministires