“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Have you caught your breath after the end of 2018? As the year ended, Melva and I found ourselves going on “reserve”. Church services, visiting the sick and working 13 out of 14 days teaching skiing over Christmas wore us out. But many blessings came! As our friend Dr. Bill Bennett used to say, “I’m too blessed to be depressed, too anointed to be disappointed, too chosen to be frozen and have too much to shout about than pout about!” (Bill was pastor of 1st Baptist of Fort Smith, AR when we became friends.)
As we shared last month, we have seen the faithfulness of our Lord in so many ways. Protection as we travel and as I ski, financial needs met, health, and most of all the presence of His Holy Spirit in large and small ways each day. The privilege of being able to pray with a saint nearing their “homecoming”, praying with fellow workers at the ski area, hearing reports from our “alumni missionaries” as they continue in our Lord’s harvest fields, and seeing new doors open to share our Savior’s gospel and love. All of which constantly remind us of Jeremiah’s words in Lamentations 3:22-23, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”!
January happenings: As soon as the Christmas rush ended, Melva and I travelled to Branson, MO for 8 days of rest and relaxation. Last year we bought a one-year timeshare “sampler” and had used a total of 2 days. We made up for lost time by staying for 7 nights at the beautiful Big Cedar Lodge. We were able to visit friends and prayer warriors Mary Jane Bever and Art Buecher who were in our ministry in the past. Mary Jane is helping her granddaughter and husband who are raising 11 children, many of whom are precious special needs children from around the world. Art and his wife Brenda are active in small group ministry in Branson. Our former associates, Rich and Shelba Townsend, joined us from St. Louis for four days and we had wonderful fellowship, prayer and seeking God’s will about this year’s ministry.
Melva and I were blessed to be invited to sing hymns and gospel music at the Morningside Senior Living complex in Branson. We also visited the College of the Ozarks which is known as “Hard Work University”. This is a fully accredited Christian College in which the students work each week on campus in a variety of jobs ranging from agriculture to a 4-star restaurant. As a result, they graduate debt free!
We even made a “grand entrance” at the chapel at Big Cedar. We went to the wrong door which turned out to be locked. No problem, the pastor opened a window which we crawled in, in front of the waiting congregation! Upon returning, we taught our Saturday Night worship service, taught skiing and made hospice visits.
Finances: We’ve already begun to hear from the “alumni” missionaries and pastors you helped us send extra support to last month. For one it meant the funds to replace a refrigerator, for another to finish the floor in a meeting area, you helped a seminary family pay their rent, and others to build their emergency/retirement fund. Each recipient was made aware that the gift came from God through you and were asked to pray for you! You provided Christmas presents and food for several families in need. You helped us travel to minister in small churches and visit hospice patients.
In the past year you have sent out several thousand fire, police, EMS and cowboy New Testaments and devotionals around the world. You helped Christian workers with medical expenses, and encouraged countless souls to walk with our Lord. As the Bible declares, “You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us” (2 Corinthians 8:11). Every need is met, our ministry is blessed to carry no debt, and we are thankful to God for working through you!
Family: This month we start with Rebekah and Nick in Edwards (Vail) CO. They are expecting their first child the first week of March! We are thrilled and ask you to pray for a safe delivery and healthy baby. Tim, Sara and Elizabeth (4 months) are doing well and ask that you pray for Elizabeth to gain weight. Steve, Annie and Samuel (19 months) are going strong with Annie being able to job-share her school teaching to spend more time with Samuel. Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan are back to school after Christmas break and Stephen preached in England a week ago. Please pray that Hannah’s leg and hip will be healed.
Upcoming This Month: I teach a fire class for the Crested Butte volunteer fire department and we host our 8th annual evangelical pastors and wives dinner on February 12th (38 have signed up from Gunnison, Crested Butte and Lake City). February 21, we share with the university Christian Challenge, and February 27-March 1, I help lead worship for the High Ground men’s Bible/ski retreat in Beaver Creek, CO. We share in Pitkin, Tin Cup, Guthrie OK and Esterbrook WY this spring and summer. Please pray the Lord will anoint each of these and allow us to share His good news in the Holy Spirit’s power!
Prayer Requests: For campus pastor Joe and Angela Ricks as well as their children as Joe undergoes another round of chemotherapy. This is a difficult time physically, emotionally and even spiritually. The reports indicate the Lord is restoring Joe so please keep praying. Please continue to pray for the right vehicle for the Taylors, and for Owen Pennington’s leg to regain mobility. Owen is a miracle baby, the son of Christian workers Daniel and Krista. Owen almost died last summer. He is fully recovered except for one foot which is still immobile. And please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon Melva and I as we share on the mountain, in churches and throughout the community.
Save the Date: Thursday, June 20, we’re celebrating 50 years of God’s faithfulness to our ministry! It will be a day of celebration here in Gunnison followed by a dinner. We’d love to have you join us!
Thank You for being such faithful prayer warriors! We love and appreciate each of you!!
Rick and Melva Barton
We send out monthly newsletters. If you would like to be on our mailing list, enter your email address and click the "Subscribe to Newsletter" button at the very bottom of this page.
Rick Barton Ministires