One of our favorite Christmas Carols is “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Melva and I want to be counted as those who are faithful, don’t you? We want to be among those who gather at the feet of our risen Savior and adore Him. Not talking, not even singing, just worshipping Him. To be immersed in the glow of His presence.
Favorite Christmas memories: Some of my fondest memories are sitting in our living room near the woodburning stove and listening to quiet Christmas Carols. Watching the snow softly fall and thinking of what it means that God came to earth for us. I think of how He took two unworthy college students and by His grace saved us, filled us with His Holy Spirit, and has allowed us to serve Him for over 50 years. All I can do is be filled with wonder at His love and compassion, all I can do is adore Him. Will you join us in adoration of the Savior this Christmas?
Another favorite memory is the Christmas when I found myself between jobs and a family of 6 to feed. I took a job washing dishes at KFC until the ski area could open. As Christmas Day approached, we had no money for presents for the children. I prayed the Lord would give me enough income Christmas week that I could buy presents and have $100 to give Melva to buy anything she wanted at the supermarket. Christmas Eve came and the extra income didn’t. My mother drove up from Denver to join us that night and as she unloaded her car, it was filled with packages. Her adult Sunday School class had chosen us as a missionary family to make Christmas special for. There were gifts for all of us, and, and an envelope. I felt sure it contained the $100 dollars for Melva, but I was wrong. Inside was a supermarket gift certificate for $175!
A third memory took place during our year pursuing a graduate degree at Wheaton College. Melva and I and our two boys had miraculously been provided this privilege. Living in family housing, we saw students who had left their home countries to prepare for ministry and were barely able to afford their food, let alone Christmas presents. We took the boys shopping for these brothers and sisters, then placed food and gifts outside the door, rang the doorbell, and hid in a staircase. To see the reactions of the children was priceless!
What are some of your favorite Christmas memories? As someone said, “Once you begin to grasp the incarnation (God becoming a man), believing in all the miracles He does is easy.”
November Happenings: After we finished 8 wonderful days at First Baptist in Delta CO, we headed to Guthrie OK to share with our long-time friends at Abell Community Church. We had planned an eight-day Bible Conference covering the Foundations of the Christian Faith. However, as we arrived in Oklahoma, we received a message from one of our folks in Gunnison that they had been given a serious medical prognosis. We were able to “condense” the conference to four days and return. But, thanks to everyone’s prayers, they were a wonderful four days. We love the folks at Abell and have for over 30 years! Please pray for Jared Rhea and family here in Gunnison. He has the serious illness.
Upcoming: It looks like we’ll stay close to home for a while. Lord willing, I will start teaching skiing soon, focus on our Saturday Night Worship Service and do some writing. I have two funeral services to lead in December as well. We hope to start up our ski area Bible study and mountaintop chapel services soon.
Sharing the blessings: Our wonderful Saturday Night group packed 62 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child setting a new record for us. We will be delivering Thanksgiving Dinners as well as Christmas presents to less privileged families as well. It is truly a joy to pass on the blessings we have received.
A HUGE milestone in New Testament Distribution: Approximately nine years ago Biblica-International Bible Society, stopped printing the Answering the Call New Testament for firefighters. We felt the Lord prodding us to order a special printing of 12,400 copies. By the grace of God working through many of you, we were able to pay for them to be printed.
As we sent out our last 200 copies, the Christian publishing division of Harper Collins informed us that they were going to resume production that Biblica left off years earlier. As of this month, RBM has been able to purchase and send out over 40,000 copies of fire and police New Testaments at no charge to chaplains and churches around the world with requests coming in every month! In addition, we have been able to send out several thousand Fire/EMS and Police daily devotionals. You are a huge part of this blessing.
Chaplain Milton Smith from Tampa called me today and told how someone gave him a copy of Answering the Call at a Chaplains conference. He then passed the word on to other chaplains and this year over 1000 copies have been given out. God is so gracious!
Family: Stephen and Joy (Hannah and Bethan) have accepted a call to pastor a church in London. Please pray for them as they transition. Nick and Rebekah (Kailani) have returned to Edwards CO after a much-needed vacation in HI. Steve and Annie (Samuel and Abigail) are busy with Steve working on TV production and Annie teaching school in Los Angeles. Tim and Sara (Elizabeth and Sydney) are also working in LA, Tim in warehouse distribution and Sara in Accounting. Thank you for your prayers for our family!
Finances: When we started our ministry 52 years ago, we were committed to staying debt-free and being honest about our finances. By God’s grace we still are. We promised you that we would tell how the finances were, good or bad, and never try to manipulate giving. Within RBM we have four funds; “Sue’s Bible Fund” which provides for the purchase and distribution of first responder New Testaments and devotionals, the “Philippians 4:19” benevolence fund, the “Saturday Night Worship Fund” which goes completely to missionaries, and our general fund which pays our support and other ministry needs. We are grateful to report that as we end 2021 every need is met. Thank you for being God’s instruments. May the Lord bless you as He promises, “For in the same measure you give, it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:38b)
Prayer Requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us as we share publicly and one-on-one. For healing for Jarod Rhea, Art Glesky, and Owen Pennington. For the ski area Bible studies and chapel services. Thank you! We depend on and experience the effects of your prayers each day.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift-O Come Let Us Adore Him!
Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires