Ebenezer: After God had given the Israelites a victory over the Philistines, "Samuel took a stone and placed it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, "So far the LORD has helped us." (1Samuel 7:12).
As Melva and I celebrate 50 years of marriage, we often pause to remember just how far the Lord has brought us. From committing our lives to Jesus as college students here in Gunnison, to serving Him today, it's been a miraculous journey. From sharing with students through Bible studies in our rented home (up to 50 in the living room) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus, to singing on a four-masted sailing ship following the journeys of the Apostle Paul, from preaching to groups of 10 and groups of several thousand, the Lord has blessed us richly.
In John 15:16, Jesus said that the Father wanted His followers to "go and bear fruit" ... "fruit that would remain." We marvel at the men and women who have passed through our ministry into the fields of harvest. God has sent them out in faith from Mexico to Mississippi, New York to New Guinea, India and Nepal, Chad to China, Peru, Kenya, Colorado and beyond. wonderful hand of our God has done all this and more! What Ebenezers do you have? We'd love to hear them!
Mid-July to Mid-August: As you have noticed, the last two newsletters, as well as receipts, have been running behind schedule. We apologize, but with a staff of two (Melva and I), activities sometimes overwhelm us. I late July,Melva and I slipped away to "Billy Graham Training Center-The Cove" near Asheville N.C. for 2 weeks of rest and renewing. What a privilege! During the trip we met with wonderful friends including Dr. Robert Coleman (retired Seminary Professor and author), Tom Phillips and Wayne Atcheson (with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte), Don and Josie and sister Karen (retired fireman and family who give out hundreds of 1st Responder New Testaments), and Dr. Tim Beougher (RBM Board member and professor at Southern Seminary). We hiked the beautiful trails at the Cove, met Christian workers from around the world, and marveled at the goodness of God! Our former co-pastors and now Board members Rich and Shelba Townsend graciously filled in for us here. Upon our return August 9, we hit the ground running with a zoom board meeting and preaching twice this weekend.
Upcoming: Lord willing, September 5th, we preach in Tin Cup, CO. On September 11, I've been asked to speak at a community service remembering the victims of 9/11 (You may remember, I spent a week at Ground Zero ministering to recovery workers), October 24-31, we hold service's at 1st Baptist Church in Delta, CO, and November 7-14, we return to Guthrie, OK for a week of services. I've been asked to respond to the major forest fires in our country and I may accept a dispatch since our crews are stretched thin.
New Testaments: So far in 2021, we've given away over $7000 worth of 1st Responder New Testaments and devotionals around the country. This week we sent New Testaments to New Jersey and Michigan. The New Life Riders, a Christian motorcycle group in NJ, asked for cases to give to police and fire stations around their state on 9/11. A fire chief in MI asked for a case of 50 to distribute and a chaplain in MI asked for a case. Your prayers and support allow us to be the channel of God's word to all of these.
Finances: By the grace of God working through you, we continue to pay every bill and every need is met. Our accountant mentioned the Bible Fund was running low so we prayed, trusting the Lord to provide. The next day a check arrived from a retired fireman that more than met the need. By the way, we've renamed the fund "Sue's Bible Fund", in honor of Board member Sue Reynolds who together with husband Gay, designed and helped produce the firefighter New Testaments and Devotionals before she went to glory this spring. You've also helped us assist families in need with car repair, rental assistance, as well as dental and medical assistance, all in the name of Jesus!
Family: As we mentioned last month, our children, grandchildren and their spouses, except for Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan in Scotland, were able to join us in July. Now, they are all back in their homes and we are grateful for our time together.
Missionary Visits: We were blessed to have "alumni" missionaries Cisco and Naomi (Mexico), Cathy (Asia and US), Diane (MS), as well as Rick and Colleen (Indian subcontinent), drop in and give updates on how the Lord is working in their areas of service. We know of at least a dozen more of our "alumni" families serving around the world currently. You are part of their work though your prayers and gifts! They each say, "Thank You"!
Prayer Requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon Melva and me as we share the Good News of Jesus. Please pray for our friend Gene Getz who is still recovering from COVID after 18 months, for Owen Pennington for his leg to be lengthened and restored, for Art-one of the great coworkers in our Saturday Night Worship Service who has been diagnosed with cancer, as well as those who have lost loved ones recently. Please pray the Lord will reveal who He has chosen to assist and fill in behind us when the time comes. Please pray we will see many disciples made to the glory of God! Thank you!
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Rick Barton Ministires