“Memorials Can Be A Good Thing”
Melva and I just finished holding Memorial Day worship services in Gunnison and Pitkin CO. The first, our Saturday Night Service, was a “drive in” service in a hardware store parking lot. The Lord graciously kept an approaching storm at bay while we worshipped. The Pitkin service was inside with everyone properly spaced, masks and all. It was wonderful to actually gather together to sing, pray and open God’s word. We paused to honor those who had given their lives in the fight for freedom. We prayed for every veteran and their families. We prayed for those in military service now, and we prayed for our missionaries who are giving their lives at this moment to bring true freedom to souls around the world.
In 1 Samuel 7, when the Israelites turned from their idol worship and returned to God, He gave them a great victory. Following the victory, Samuel set up an “Ebenezer”, a stone memorial to remind them that “The Lord has brought us this far”. In Joshua 3 and 4, Joshua leads the children of Israel across the Jordan River. After they cross, he instructs twelve men to take a stone from the middle of the river bed and build a memorial. In the years to come, when their children saw the stones and asked what they meant, the fathers were to tell them of the Lord’s mighty works.
“Memorials” can be bad if they become a stopping point! A point where we live in past experiences with our Lord and cease moving forward to new adventures of faith. As the Apostle Paul reminded us, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
What kind of memorials are we leaving our children, grandchildren and all those who come behind us? Do we tell them of how Jesus has brought us to Himself, and how He has carried us through the trials of life? Is our life a “memorial” that will lead them to trust and obey the Lord?
Personal Highlights: On May 14th, I gave Him a memorial of praise for 71 years of life. On June 6, Melva and I will give thanks to God for “bringing us this far” in 49 years of marriage and 51 years of ministry.
Alumni Missionary Homecoming: Our brother, Frank Goetschel, was “Promoted to Glory” on May 14th. Frank and Stephanie have been wonderful friends for 50 years. In fact, Steph prayed with Melva to receive Christ before we were married. She and Frank have been serving in Costa Rica for over a decade. Please pray for Steph as she adjusts to this new phase of life. “Precious (of great and valuable significance) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15).
Alumni Missionaries: Paul and Sarah are experiencing the joy of parenting with their first child, beautiful daughter Hope! Rick and Colleen have been feeding refugees in their country and seeing wonderful fruit for our Lord. Cory and Tiffany have been given more opportunities in leadership at the Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. Diane has seen a number of her young charges in Child Evangelism Fellowship-Mississippi come to the Savior. Please pray for these and all of our missionaries!
Some February-May Highlights (for our “quarterly readers”): Our ski area Bible study went very well with at least 6 attending weekly! In February, we hosted our 9th annual evangelical pastors and wives’ dinner with over 35 in attendance from 4 nearby communities. These dinners have helped form a basis for prayer and communication among pastors and their wives. We held revival services in Josephine, Texas with some great servants of our God. I had the privilege of helping lead worship for the “High Ground” men’s Bible/ski conference in Beaver Creek, CO. We received requests for over 1000 fire and police New Testaments and devotionals to be sent around the country. With your help, we were able to assist several small church pastors with financial needs due to the pandemic, provide meals for the hospital and nursing home staffs and assist local families with medical and other needs. We are sending out Bible studies on video and ministering to believers and unbelievers. Thank You! Your prayers and support make this possible!
Upcoming: Lord willing, we will be in Pitkin, CO again this weekend (May 31). Our Tin Cup service (June 7) has been cancelled. Lord willing, I share with a group of men in Westcliff, CO (July 10-11,). Our annual Cattlemen’s Days service is still scheduled for July 12 at 9 AM. We share with the Tin Cup church (September 6th) and 1st Baptist Josephine, TX, (November 15 and January 31-February 3rd). Please pray for the Lord to touch hearts and bring souls to Jesus during each of these meetings.
Finances: One of the great joys of knowing Jesus is the joy of giving. Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-- pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." (Luke 6:38). During this pandemic, we have seen the hand of God at work in finances as well as every other area. As we have the opportunity to distribute Bibles and assistance to families, the Lord keeps replacing the funds. As someone once told me, “If God can get it through you, He can get it to you!” People around the world are thanking God for the help and hope you allow us to provide!
Family: By God’s grace, all our family are virus-free and doing well. Thank you for your prayers!
Prayer requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us as we share both locally and around the country. For Stephanie Goetschel as she adjusts to life without Frank. For wisdom as we re-assemble in our Saturday Evening Worship service. For the man or couple the Lord is preparing to assist us. For the Lord to continue to teach us His ways and that we continue to grow in our love for Him.
May the memorials that each of us build each day, lead others to love and trust our Savior!
God Bless You! Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230