Last month my integrity was tested in a small, yet important way. It involved the purchase of a set of tires for our vehicle. A tire dealer was going out of business and we bought the tires during his last week of operation. As we paid the man, he mentioned he had backdated the sales receipt so that we would qualify for a rebate. I was caught off guard and mumbled “thanks”. The Holy Spirit immediately began to impress us that this would be “bearing false witness”. We didn’t send in for the rebate. Two days later a man called and asked for counsel about being honest on an insurance claim. Can you imagine how I would have felt telling him not to lie, if I had? We want those who come behind us to find us faithful!
Thank You Veterans! On Memorial Day we paused to remember the sacrifice of so many who gave their lives for freedom, both here and abroad. As Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill said, “Memorial Day is a time for reflection, pause, remembrance and thanksgiving for patriots who gave up their own lives to protect the lives and freedom of us all – including the freedom of generations long gone and generations yet unborn. We owe the fallen a debt so enormous that it can never be repaid.” I believe it’s also a time for us to remember with gratitude the missionaries who have given their lives sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without their selfless lives of service, we and so much of the world would be lost.
May was a month with less out-of-town travel and a chance to catch up on the home front. We did make a quick trip to Colorado Springs as well as Montrose CO where I took (and passed on my birthday😊) my firefighter “pack test”. I conducted a funeral for a wonderful lady in her 90’s and led our Saturday evening services and men’s breakfast. Today (5/27) we sang and I preached in Pitkin, CO. We sensed your prayers as I had great freedom to share God’s word.
New Testaments and Devotionals: Requests for fire and police New Testaments and devotionals continues strong. The publisher of the devotionals reports that over 40,000 copies have gone out. The Lord has used your support to help us give away hundreds of these daily devotionals around the country.
This month we received a letter from a sheriff in South Carolina. He expressed thanks for the police New Testaments and devotionals they had been given after one of their officers had been killed in the line of duty. The Sherriff wrote, “We were able to hand these out at our (trauma) debriefing meetings. The deputies and officers have enjoyed reading them. It is nice to have something with so much meaning during this difficult time. They have provided much comfort to us and our families.”
In Texas, Ann Babb, the 90-year-old widow of a Dallas Fire Chief reports that she carries firefighter New Testaments in her walker and has given out many copies. Your support provides the funds for these!
“Alumni Missionaries”: This month we heard from Joe Packard, class of 2000. Joe had been involved in our Fellowship of Christian Athletes group. He tells us that he has served in ministry since graduation, at a Christian camp, then as a youth leader and now as an associate pastor in Ft. Collins, CO. Way to go Joe! Cisco and Naomi are back in southern Mexico leading their ministry, Josh and Sarah Dayton are running the Breckenridge Nordic Center and active in local ministry. Cathy G is on her way back to Asia, mentoring and training new workers and Amy Penn (just graduated) is serving as a women’s leader for Project Impact, a Christian Challenge program in Denver this summer. Your prayers and support undergirded all these workers as they served with us before being “deployed” by the Lord! Please continue to pray for them.
Upcoming: Lord willing, Sunday, June 3rd and 10th we share at Tin Cup Community Church. Then it’s up to Esterbrook WY to share at their “Buckboard Sunday” on June 17. On the way, we hope to spend two days in Ft. Collins working on two small book projects and meeting with friends and supporters.
Our history with Esterbrook is very interesting. In 2000 I took a Forest Service fire engine to WY. We were pre-positioned in this small community south of Douglas. On Saturday afternoon I told the station manager that if we weren’t on an assignment the next morning, I was going to walk to church. I would have my fire clothes on and my engine crew would pick me up if we were needed. The next morning as I headed out of the compound the manager told me that his wife was on the church board and they wanted me to preach if I came! With a one-hundred-yard walk to “pre-prayer” my message I wondered what God was about to do. Of course, He moved in a wonderful way!
Prayer requests: Please pray that the Holy Spirit will anoint us as we share the gospel in word and song. Please pray that hearts will be receptive. Please pray for travel grace and protection. Please pray for our work here in Gunnison, that God will give grace, direction and bring fruit to His kingdom. Please pray the Lord will bring us the right workers and help us train the ones He has already given us. “We don’t just believe in prayer, we depend on it!”
Finances: As our friend Gene Warr of Oklahoma used to say, “As fast as we shovel it out, God shovels it back in. And He has a bigger shovel!” By God’s grace and your support, we have been able to meet every need and assist others in reaching out. This month you are assisting a local Christian take a trailer load of donated clothes to hurricane recovery victims in Houston. Earlier you helped him do the same thing working with Navajo missions. You’ve helped a pastor in Kenya feed widows and orphans as well as allow us to serve small churches without charge. And of course, you’ve sent out thousands of Bibles. Thank You!!
Family: Tim and Sara sent the ultrasound of our coming granddaughter, cute already! Steve and Annie’s son Samuel just turned one. Nick and Bek are back in the swing at the restaurant. Stephen-Joy-Hannah-Bethan in Scotland are doing well and coming to join us in mid-July for a month. Melva and I are healthy!
Our prayer is that those who are around us and those who follow us will “find us faithful” to Jesus!
Thank You for your continued prayers and support! May the Lord bless you richly!
Rick and Melva Barton
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230