“Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God…” (1 John 3:1) As I write this I’m overcome with gratitude for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! The words to great old and new songs of faith come to mind. “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23), “The Longer I Serve Him, the Sweeter He Grows”, “I Can Only Imagine” and more. That God loves us, and demonstrated His love to us by sending Jesus to die for our sins, and that the risen Jesus and the Father would send the Holy Spirit to indwell us, is beyond my finite mind. Please pause with us and give Him praise!
February happenings: February started with my teaching skiing and as well as a forest fire class for the Crested Butte Fire Department. Then we were blessed to hold an eight day revival at First Baptist
Church of Delta CO. We have been friends with this fine church for nearly 20 years. Pastor James Conley is one of the most loving men we know and the church is making a real impact through AWANAs, Celebrate Recovery, men’s ministry, and more. The meetings were well attended and several made decisions to follow the Savior. A special treat was to hear of the long-term results of our meetings there two years ago.
Following the Delta meetings we had the privilege of sharing at the Rock Solid High School in Littleton, CO. What a wonderful and receptive group of students. Afterward, both students and faculty gave positive reviews. Upon returning home we hosted our 5th annual Evangelical Pastors and Wives dinner. Twenty-five men and women attended representing ten churches from Gunnison, Crested Butte and Lake City. The agenda is a simple one; letting the pastors and their wives get to know each other, pray for one another and their families, pray for each other’s ministries, and pray for the communities they serve. Your prayers and support allow us to underwrite these dinners as well as travel to share the gospel. Thank You!
Our former associates, Rich and Shelba Townsend, joined us for the dinner and spoke at our Saturday Night Worship service. The Lord is using them in a wonderful way in St. Louis, serving as missions/discipleship pastor and bringing fresh life to an older church family. They send their love and thanks for your prayers!
The following day we conducted a funeral for a local cowboy and I was able to share the gospel with over 150 ranchers and cowboys. Speaking of funerals, I have several folks who have asked me ahead of time to do their services when they pass. Please pray that I will be able to share Jesus with those who don’t know the Savior. Melva once commented that we are able to share Jesus with more unsaved people at funerals than in any church services we’ve held. She’s right, of course☺. I’m so grateful that the ski school gives me time off to conduct all these services.
Upcoming: This week I help lead worship at the High Ground Men’s Bible/Ski Retreat in Beaver Creek CO (March 1-3). Then we get very busy at the ski area and I expect to teach pretty much straight through for several weeks. On March 31-April 1 I lead a men’s retreat in Westcliff, CO. On April 30 we share in Cripple Creek, CO, May 21st we’re in Tin Cup, CO and May 28th Pitkin, CO. Somewhere in there I may have surgery on a toe as well as at least one funeral and a fire class for the Gunnison Fire Department. Your prayers are soooooo important to us! Thank you for remembering us daily!
Family: Joy and Stephen, Hannah (8) and Bethan (6) continue to do well, although weathering colds. Stephen would appreciate your prayers that the Lord will continue to open doors for him to preach and especially to direct him to the place of full-time service He has prepared for him. Rebekah and Nick are still busy with their restaurant in Edwards (Vail) CO and I hope to see them this week. Steve and Annie are preparing for their first child in late June and Steve is praying about a full-time job in TV production. He has been staying busy with temp work at Disney and DreamWorks but would like to settle into one company. Tim and Sara are back to work and really appreciate your prayers during this time.
Alumni News: Recently we were able to send special “love gifts” to 17 missionary families who have gone out of Gunnison around the world. Your faithful support provided the way for alumni Tim Brotherton to take 25 inner-city students in Pueblo to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet where they heard the gospel. It allowed MJ and Annette in Asia to replace a much needed refrigerator when theirs went out. You blessed Corey and Tiffany in drought stricken Kenya, Julie in Chad, Cathy in Asia, Brad and Gina in Peru, Diane in inner-city Jackson MS as well as many more! You are a very real part of each of their ministries as well as ours. They send their heartfelt thanks!
Finances: For the past several years we have tried to send special love gifts to a few of our alumni missionaries. However, this year we sent something to all we knew who are donor supported. It was the largest amount we had ever given out. I admit I was a little nervous. But, having cleared it with the leaders of our board, we sent the gifts out, trusting God to bless them and to replenish our ministry finances. Two weeks after we sent them, an unexpected check arrived which covered almost the entire amount! So, once again our finances are stable with every need met through your prayers and gifts.
Other blessings: Zondervan-Harper Collins Christian Publishing contacted us and they have decided to reprint the firefighter New Testaments we hand out beginning next December! As you know we had a special printing of 12,000 made two years ago when they ceased printing them. We have given away over 8000 free of charge around the world. We will run out about the time the new printing starts! Lord willing, we will continue to purchase them and give them to chaplains and churches who can’t afford them but this means we will be able to purchase only what we need and not have to rent storage space.
One of the students in our Saturday Night Worship service shared her need for finances to go to a summer discipleship training program. During this past weekend’s service a couple anonymously paid her entire cost! Our God is truly great and greatly to be praised!
Prayer requests: Please pray that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will abide and increase as we share the glorious gospel of Jesus! Please pray for health and safety as we travel. Please pray for Abell Church as they seek the man God has chosen to be their new pastor. Please pray for our family! Thank You!
We love you! Rick and Melva Barton
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Rick Barton Ministires