“For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you!” (Isaiah 55:12a). In Isaiah 55 we see 1. God calling people to Himself, 2. questioning their chasing after things which cannot/will not satisfy them, 3. telling of the effect His words will have in their lives, and 4. sharing the wonderful things that will happen when we respond to Him in love and obedience. Talk about a passage filled with truth and wisdom for us!
The month of June included several of those aspects in our lives and ministry. We have sensed Him 1. calling us and those we minister to into a closer walk with Him, 2. He challenged us to examine our motives in the ministries we do, 3. let us see lives changed as we teach His Word, and 4. let us experience His joy in wonderful ways! Your prayers have helped us in each of these. Thank you!
June Happenings: The end of May and the first three weeks of June were exciting! We shared twice in Pitkin CO, once in Tin Cup CO and once in Esterbrook WY. These are “summer-only” churches that we’ve had the privilege of sharing in for years. They are summer-only because snow prevents access to most of their homes in the winter. Esterbrook, a community with a population of 50, had over 100 in attendance for “Buckboard Sunday”. What a blessing to join with these congregations in reaching out to the lost and encouraging the saints. A wonderful policy of these churches is that they give over 70% of their offerings each year to missionaries!
A Time of Celebrating God’s Faithfulness! On June 20th, we “officially” celebrated 50 years of God’s faithfulness to our ministry. Over a hundred friends showed up representing the 1970s to today. Included were “alumni” missionaries, pastors, and folks from communities where we minister. A huge “Thank You” to everyone who attended or sent notes of encouragement! A special treat was a power-point presentation with pictures of our ministry through the years. If you would like to view these photos, just send us an email address. We can give you a link to “dropbox” the album, the file is too large to email. We also handed out a draft of “The Freight Train Chronicles”, a book of testimonies Melva and I compiled of God’s faithfulness to us over the 50 years. We can mail you a complimentary copy if you’d like.
Humility and blessings: Just before preaching in Esterbrook, I joined a trail ride with some of the church members. Shortly into the ride I was thrown from my horse, landing on my bad knee, ugh! (and bruised my ego badly). The service went great but my knee remained stiff for two weeks. I needed to take the firefighting “pack test”, (a two-mile timed march with a lead vest) to be certified to go on the fireline. After much prayer and some trepidation, I took the test and passed😊. Thank you for praying!
In Memorial: Last month, two of our “alumni” and good friends, Norm Artes and Aaron Ramburg, went to be with the Lord. Please pray for Norm’s wife Karen and Aaron’s family. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones” (Psalm 116:15).
Upcoming: July 7th we share at Rocky Mountain Chapel in Cripple Creek CO. This is a wonderful church we’ve been sharing with for over 30 years. July 11-13, we hold Cowboy Sanctuary services for rodeo performers and July 14 we have our annual Cowboy church service in the grandstand. September 29-October 2 we hold services at First Baptist in Delta CO. November 3-6, we return to Central Baptist Church near Crescent OK. Plus, we have our regular Saturday night services, several funerals and West Elk Bible Institute classes. Please pray for these opportunities to share the gospel.
Sabbatical: As many of you know, Melva and I aren’t very good at taking time off. Our last extended time away for rest and study was in 1993 when I completed a Master’s degree in Evangelism at Wheaton College. So, Lord willing, we will leave July 24th for a month-long sabbatical! We will spend time at the Billy Graham Training Center in North Carolina, a few days in Louisville at Southern Seminary, visit the Ark and Creation Museum and end up at Glen Eyrie, the Navigator’s conference center outside of Colorado Springs.
Family: We had wonderful visits this month from our son Steve, wife Annie and grandson Samuel, as well as our daughter Bekah, husband Nick, and granddaughter Kailani. Tim, Sara and Elizabeth are doing well in Los Angeles. Please continue to pray for Elizabeth to gain weight and continue to grow stronger. Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan are staying busy in Scotland with school, work and ministry. Please pray for Hannah’s leg and foot to straighten out. Big News! Steve and Annie announced that they’re expecting a second child, a daughter in November. Please pray for a healthy pregnancy. Melva and I are healthy and going strong. Thank you for praying for our family!
Finances: This month you helped assist widows and families in need, provide scholarships to students attending Christian Universities and Seminaries, and help deliver clothes and furniture to churches on a reservation in New Mexico and flood victims in OK. Your investments are making a difference in many lives! (*Note: Due to the sabbatical, your August donation receipts will run a little late.)
Alumni Missionaries: Diane Johnston (Child Evangelism) as well as David and GayLynn Horn (Youth With A Mission) were able to join us for the 50-year celebration. Brad and Gina Shaw (SIM-Peru) are staying in our basement “missionary apartment” for a month and Cathy (CRU in Asia) will be visiting as well. Please pray for alumni serving in China, India and Nepal as there is increasing persecution of Christians in these countries. Also, pray for “alumni” serving in Mexico-Africa-Costa Rica- and throughout the United States! Your prayers and support allow us to train workers for His fields and assist them financially. Thank You!
Prayer requests: In addition to the requests mentioned above, please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we share, for our sabbatical to be a time of refreshing, renewing and ministry to others, and for Jesus to be glorified in and through us! Your prayers sustain us each day, thank you!
May the Lord Jesus richly bless you! Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires