The Ballestero Blog

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The Night The Blind Lady Ran The Aisles

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The Night The Blind Lady Ran The Aisles

The grandfather’s clock struck 12:30am as the CB radio crackled with static and mundane conversation. A female voice called, “Pastor Ballestero?”

I picked up the microphone and responded. The caller was Mary Swift, a blind lady. With a voice choked with tears Mary said, “I really need God. I want to repent. Tell me how to be saved.”

I was ready for bed and completely caught off guard by her interest in God and her request for guidance. I sat down in my Lazy Boy chair and began to answer her questions.

Mary was someone who I mainly knew from Amateur and CB radio. I had heard her voice for several years. None of her family was in church, nor did they seem interested. Mary’s midnight call was a major event in her family.

I carefully explained to Mary about the need for repentance, baptism in Jesus Name and the Holy Ghost speaking with other tongues. I knew that many were listening to our on-the-air Home Bible Study. I read several verses from the book of Acts chapters 2, 8, 10 and 19.

Every time Mary responded, I could detect sniffles and hear the tears in her voice. When I finished, it was about 1 am.

Mary asked, “Can I be baptized tonight?”

“You sure can,” I said, “I’ll meet you at the church at 1:30!”

My wife Marcia and I met Mary and her husband John at the side door. I baptized Mary in Jesus Name and she received the Holy Ghost while still in the water.

That was Wednesday night; it was also our Bible Study night. At church, I stood at the pulpit and announced the wonderful news of our new baby ‘sister’ in Christ.

I looked at Mary. With unseeing eyes, she was beaming with joy. Mary was sitting beside one of the most precious older women in the church who immediately had taken the new blind lady under her wing.

When the church heard the news of Mary’s hunger and midnight conversion, they yelled with excitement and began to run the aisles.

Mary, new to Pentecostal worship and demonstration, asked the older woman beside her, “What are they doing?”

“They are running the aisles,” was the reply.

“Why?” Mary wanted to know.

“Because you got the Holy Ghost.”

“I want to run the aisles too.” Mary said, “Here, take my hand and lead me.”

The older sister beside Mary was always responsive in worship, but was not one to run the aisles. Tonight however, she had no choice. She took Mary by the hand, and together they ran several laps around the church.

For years some had depended on excuses to exempt them from running the aisles. Tonight saw a blind Sister Mary running. They knew they didn’t have any excuses now. They all got up and ran with her.

That was the night every body ran the aisles. The blind led them in praise and rejoicing.

That makes me ask the question, “What are we waiting for?”

Why do we hold our praise and demonstration in reserve?

Are we waiting to feel condemnation before we worship too?

Worship is everybody’s business.

There are no excuses not to praise the Lord.

Mary continued to worship every service and never tired of running the aisles assisted by her friend.

When she told me they were moving south, I shed tears. Her husband wanted to buy a farm down in Arkansas and she had little choice in the matter. John has never gotten in church to my knowledge.

Thank you Sister Mary Swift. Your desire to lead in worship lingers heavy on mind after all these years. What an example you were to us all. Bless you!

Worshippers are the ones you miss the most.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm

8 Responses

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  1. Bro. Ballestero, I was there that night. I was just a young child but I remember Sis. Mary very well. This post brought tears to my eyes when I remembered something I hadn’t thought of in years. It also made me ashamed of myself for the services I have not put everything into because I was too tired, down, not feeling well, etc. Thank you for reminding me that no matter your situation God is worthy to be praised!

    Crystal Smith (Morris)

    August 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

  2. Thank you so much for this. It is always encouraging to read stories of faith and inspiration.


    August 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm

  3. Tears running down my face!! Such a wonderful story! Thank you Sis Mary Swift!


    August 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  4. Thank you for sharing/reminding us… I had forgotten some of the details… What an incredible lady Sis Mary is!

    Ellen Gentry

    August 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  5. I told this story to her son, who is insured with my agency. It brought tears to his eyes too!! Love this story!!

    Carlene Branham

    August 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm

  6. As always you never cease to amaze me! Wonderful words of encouragement.Never lose your zeal to bless others~

    Brenda Lawrence

    August 4, 2011 at 1:10 am

  7. Ahhh…. “Worshippers are the ones you miss the most.”

    Johnny King

    August 4, 2011 at 9:41 am

  8. Loved this post! You preached this past week in AR on the glory of God and a comment you made in that service both reminded me of this post and prompted a question in my mind… You said that you remember when saints shouted with the joy of the Lord on their faces, but now they just look like they are in pain. I am 28…I’ve seen a few elders shout and a lot of the younger generation shout. And you are correct…the older generation exhibited joy and “we” don’t. Are we missing something in our experience of worship? Just wondering…


    August 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm

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