The fire season has started pretty strong in Western Colorado, but I haven’t been out yet. Yes, I passed the “pack test” with time to spare, my gear is ready and my health is restored. But I’ve not made myself available except for local fires. Why, because the Lord had different assignments for me! If I had been on a 14-day fire assignment, I wouldn’t have been able to help a father, son and local woman come to the Savior in Esterbrook WY. We would have missed the chance to meet with Joe Packard, a former student in our 2000 Fellowship of Christian Athlete group at Western. Joe left a life of wandering from Jesus to become a pastor. We wouldn’t have had the opportunity to answer a call from hospice to visit and share Jesus with a local ranching family. And, we wouldn’t have had the chance to be with and pray with a young couple whose child is in critical condition in Denver’s Children’s Hospital.
Last night (6/29) I shared for an hour and half on a Christian Truckers Network radio program, “The Lord’s Roundtable”. The gentleman who hosted the show called me this morning to say that one thing I shared really impacted him. It was when I said that if we change the letter “D” in Disappointment to an “H”, it becomes “His Appointment”. Is it hard emotionally for me not to be going out on a fire assignment right now? Yes. But as I look at all the wonderful things the Lord has done, I bow in gratitude. (*Update: just got a fire call and they’ll work with my tight schedule! My disappointment turned into His Appointment.) PTL
Answered Prayers: We shared earlier with you how a Christian couple had come to our meetings in OK and asked to be anointed with oil and ask God for healing (James 5:14-15). She was struggling with terrible headaches and he with cancer. We prayed. I talked with them today. The headaches have almost completely ceased and the cancer is going away! Praise the Lord! Yesterday a man called and asked for prayer because a forest fire was approaching their lodging, this morning he called to report the winds changed in the middle of the night and moved the fire in another direction. God answers prayer!
Last Month: June started well as we held services in Pitkin, CO Memorial Day Weekend and sensed a wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit. The next two Sundays we shared God’s word in Tin Cup, CO and the Lord brought Forest Service friends to hear and I believe respond to the gospel. Then on Father’s Day in Esterbrook WY we saw God turn “disappointment” into “His appointment”. It was to be “Buckboard Sunday” complete with horse rides, chuck wagon breakfast and buckboard rides to church. Instead, it rained for 3 days. No horses, no chuck wagon breakfast and no buckboard rides. Only half the normal attendees made it because the dirt roads became dangerous. Yet, when we shared the gospel and invited people to respond, three of the fifty in attendance gave their lives to the Savior including a father and his 14-year-old son. In addition, several recommitted their lives to Jesus! Your prayers were answered!
The next Sunday I was able to attend a service in Sargents, CO to hear Leonard, a man I had helped come to Jesus 40 years ago preach his first sermon! Your prayers and support have allowed us to do these things!
Follow-up: A few days after Esterbrook, we attended a “homecoming service” for Lois Dick in Lakewood CO. It so happened that the father and son who received Christ live in Lakewood. I was able to give the pastor their names and received assurance they would be followed up on! Wherever we share the good news of salvation, we also try to have someone local follow up on their commitment.
New Testaments: Daniel, a former inmate that we had sent a firefighter New Testament to, is now out of jail and requested 20 more to distribute to co-workers on his Forest Service fire crew. Sunbelt Fire, a fire truck manufacturer requested 50 more, they place one in each vehicle they sell. The Supply Cache, a fire gear supply company, requested 50 more to make available to customers. Please pray the Lord uses each one!
In Memorial: Lois Dick and Dr. Doug Stewart. Lois and her husband Wally trusted Christ in Gunnison in the early 1970s. Then they turned the largest bar in town into a Christian bookstore! They gave us free use of their facilities for our early Bible studies and went on to serve God in counselling ministry. Doug and his wife Marie were instrumental in the lives of many students at Western State here in Gunnison including Melva and I. They walked with us through our early ministry days and have continued to faithfully pray for us over the years. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants.” Psalm 116:15 NIV
Upcoming: Lord willing, July 7, Joy and our two granddaughters (Hannah and Bethan) arrive from Scotland for four weeks. Stephen will join us two weeks later. We’re looking forward to some great family time as we spend a few days with Rebekah and Nick in Edwards, CO as well as Steve-Annie-Samuel and Tim-Sara and “baby on the way” in Los Angeles. We conduct 4 rodeo services during our Cattleman’s Days Rodeo (7/12-15), and a multi-church service in Norwood, CO (7/29). Please pray for a book of my fire stories is compiled. Please continue your prayers for us as we travel and share!
Prayer Requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we share locally and out of town. Please pray for healing for 7-month-old Owen Pennington. Owen is the child of Daniel and Krista Pennington, faithful Christian workers here in Gunnison. He has been at Children’s hospital in Denver since June 13 with serious medical issues. Please pray for each of the New Testaments we’ve sent out, for the radio program I did and for the devotional spots I was asked to do for our local radio station; that they will speak to hearts locally and around the world! Please pray for all our “alumni missionaries” around the world, that the Lord will bless and protect them. For protection and blessings as we travel.
Finances: Each day we marvel at how the Lord provides for every need. Melva and I pray over each gift that comes, asking to Lord to bless the giver and show us how He wants us to use His money. Thank you!
May the Lord Jesus richly bless you! And may He help you see that your “disappointments” can in fact be “His appointments”. Rick and Melva Barton
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Rick Barton Ministires