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An Old School Lesson – “If You Can Take It, You Can Make It.”

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An Old School Lesson – “If You Can Take It, You Can Make It.”

I was mingling in the headquarters hotel lobby in Grand Rapids during the 1965 UPCI General Conference. At 21, I was a newlywed of two (2) months. I saw a familiar face, and turned to greet a treasured family friend, Bro. Howard H. Davis.

From my early childhood, the Ballestero and the Davis families have been close friends. Over the years, my father had talked to me in revered tones about all five of the Davis brothers. They all were Pastors or Missionaries. I grew up with an ingrained respect for them.

After we shook hands and hugged necks we greeted each other with small talk. He looked at me and said I’d like to talk to you a minute. I readily agreed.

Martyn & Marcia Ballestero 08/14/1965

He said, “Brother Marty, I know you’re married now and evangelizing. But you don’t look like you used to look. You’ve changed the way you comb your hair to one of these worldly hairstyles. I liked the “old” Bro. Marty better.

“You don’t look like a holiness preacher now. You don’t look like the son of Carl Ballestero. You don’t look like the Bro. Marty I used to know.”

I quickly tried to review in my mind, the reasons that I had changed to this “new look.” My wife had said it was “nice” and I guess that meant she liked it. There had even been a few compliments from friends my age. I really didn’t have a good answer why, except that I liked it. Maybe it was my vanity that started all this. I thought I looked “cool.” I didn’t consider if God was pleased or what injury I might do to my ministry, or lose in the respect of my Elders.

I knew in my heart that it took some love and bravery to walk up to the son of your friend and extend admonishment like Bro. Davis had, in hopes of helping me.

I was certainly caught off guard. Maybe the word stunned even comes to mind. I didn’t interrupt him. He was my Elder. He was my father’s dear friend. He then, in my mind, was my friend too by inheritance.

When he finished. I apologized for disappointing him. I told him how much I appreciated him loving me enough, and being brave enough to tell me what I needed to do. I told him that I would immediately go upstairs to my Hotel room and change my hairstyle back to the “Old Marty” look.

We hugged necks and I went to my room.

While I stood in front of the mirror, my wife asked in a gentle tone, “Baby, what are you doing?”

“I’m changing my hair back like I used to comb it,” I replied.

“But I like the other way,” she offered.

I replied, “So do I, Baby. So do I.”

When I was done combing my hair, I kissed her and left the room. I wanted to go downstairs to the Lobby again. When Bro. Davis spotted me from across the big room, he nodded my way and smiled. I nodded and smiled back.

Neither of us knew then, that someday he would become my Step Father-In-Law. I have privately thanked the Lord that I did not show a bad spirit or attitude that day. That I understood that he was brave enough to help a friend’s son stay on track. I will forever honor him for that alone.

Nearly twenty years later, 11 couples of pastors and their wives went together on a Caribbean cruise. It was the best trip ever! This was an opportunity to get better acquainted and relax. We all had great fun and enjoyed the fellowship of each other. I got a close-up look at Bro. Howard Davis. I watched him laugh, tell stories of his travels, and have a great time.

When we talked now, it really felt comfortable. I was no longer the little kid talking to grownups. I enjoyed the conversations, and camaraderie immensely.

Years later after the passing of their spouses, my Mother-in-law, June Starr and Howard Davis became acquainted. In private conversation one day with “Mom” Starr, I confided to her my opinion of Bro. Howard Davis.

I said, “If I was stranded on island for 6 months and allowed to have 3 friends with me, He would be one of them. He’s wise. He’s very knowledgeable about life. He’s balanced, He’s kind and He’s fun. He’s easy to be around. You’ll not be sorry if you marry him.”

One of my life’s happiest moments is when I was honored to walked down the aisle with my Mother-in-law on my arm to give her in marriage to Bro. Howard Davis.

He has become the father image in my life today. He’s a stabilizing factor  for me in a changing world. His wonderful ministry is probably the best-kept secret in Pentecost.

I Love Bishop Howard H. Davis with all my heart! When my father died, my Pastor died also. I felt vulnerable and alone. I believe everyone needs a Pastor in the their life. I asked “Dad” Davis to be my Pastor and submitted myself to him. I am happy to call him, “Dad Davis” and Pastor!



My ‘Other’ Mother, Sis. June Davis, has written a Biography Of Bishop Howard Davis. You will want to get this book.

The book is entitled: ‘Man With A Purpose’

The book is 119 pages of Howard’s history, from childhood to US Navy man, Minister, Church builder, member UPCI 60 years, Pastor {same Church 42 years}, world traveler, Ordained Bishop, and His Article, NIGHT OF CONFLICT; 8 chapters about the last night of World War Two, with Him as a teenage backslider on the USS Wiley, DD597,  a Destroyer under attack  at 2:30 A.M.  by Japanese Zeros and Bombers, at the Island of Okinawa.

Those of you who know him will want to get this book. If you are a Pastor, You will want to get some copies for your members.

Price: $10.00 plus $2.00 mailing, each book. Mailing for more than 1 book will be different.

Send orders to.
Marian June Davis
735 Greenwood Ave
San Bernardino, CA 92407

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 16, 2010 at 10:08 pm

7 Responses

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    Steve Epley

    October 16, 2010 at 10:27 pm

  2. Thanks Marty. This is a wonderful article. It shows your sharp insight to what he was saying. Thank you for taking it in the spirit that you did. By the way he has never changed his hair style. LOL

    Marian June Davis

    October 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

  3. Thanks for having such a wonderful spirit. You have been my hero through the year! Love you!

    Nila Marxer

    October 17, 2010 at 2:30 am

  4. I had forgotten that story…….so precious!!!

    Carlene Branham

    October 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

  5. Elder Ballestero!

    Praise Jesus!

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this personal story!


    Dr. Bernie Wade

    October 21, 2010 at 7:22 pm

  6. Loved the story! I admire that you did not get all offended with that elder in his little reprimand of your “hairdoo”….and wow, you DID have some hair back then huh? hehe :p


    October 23, 2010 at 11:44 am

  7. Thank you for taking time to do this. It is a tremendous blessing be able to read about these private stories.

    My wife and I love you!

    The Hollands

    Kelly Holland

    April 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

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