The Ballestero Blog

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“Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

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The Apostolic Tabernacle, located 905 S. Pike Street in Shelbyville, Indiana, was celebrating its anniversary. Bro. Carl Ballestero had just finished teaching the afternoon Bible Study. The service ended in prayer, and then the crowd was dismissed. Bro. Cavaness promised to feed his guests a BBQ feast and the crowd showed their excitement to go eat. Well, all except one teenager.

The dark-haired young man looked for a side room or a place to hide until the church emptied. He hoped that no one would miss him or come looking for him. He didn’t want to be seen by anyone right now. He couldn’t find a classroom.

Without anyone noticing, he slipped through a door that led him to the baptismal tank area. There, he bent over so as to remain unseen and moved to the side of the tank and laid down on the bare floor, flat on his back. He closed his eyes and waited. It seemed like forever before the sounds of conversations to died out and then he heard the front door close. He listened for any sounds of footsteps, but all was quiet. That’s when it started.

The boy began to cry, when I say cry, I don’t mean that there was a tear or two. I mean he began to sob. He wanted the same experience with God that his parents had. He felt shallow, empty, and unfulfilled. He wanted more of God. The sobs turned into groans and heartfelt travail. Time wasn’t important, food wasn’t important, getting something from God at that moment was all that mattered now.

Most of the afternoon the young prayed. His eyes were almost swollen shut. Some hours later, as folks gathered in for the evening service, he slipped out of the baptistery and into the Men’s room to comb his hair and wash his face. No one seemed to notice his earlier absence. His parents never mentioned it.

The young man became a pastor and many years later he invited Bro. Roger Evens to preach for him. One day, Bro. Evens said, “Do you remember the day at Shelbyville that you prayed behind the baptistery and didn’t go eat with everyone else?

The young pastor’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know about that?” he asked.

“I was there,” Bro. Evens said. “I came back into the church with your dad looking for you and making sure you had a way to go eat. That’s when we heard you crying out to God. I told you dad to go pray with you because I couldn’t go eat knowing you were crying like that.”

“Your dad said, ‘No, I can’t go pray for him.”

“Why not?” I said.

“Like a baby chick getting out of its shell, it has to do that by its self! If he doesn’t get this for himself he will never amount to a hill of beans.”

“With tears in your dad’s eyes and in mine, we walked out of the church that day.”

 

 

Fifty-five years later, all I can say now is, “Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Thank you again Pastor. A beautiful story of how God works to transform us! In all the years I’ve known you, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it!
    It makes me think of the song, “ Have you had a Gethsemane?” I can only pray that our young men of today will commit to God and have a Gethsemane experience for themselves!
    Bro. Denny Morris

    Dennis Morris

    March 19, 2018 at 2:16 pm

  2. Great testimony. Thank you for sharing it.

    Eric L. Garrett

    March 19, 2018 at 2:29 pm

  3. Loved this story. It’s a treasure and the first time I’ve heard it. Thank you for sharing!

    Carl

    March 19, 2018 at 4:36 pm

  4. Bro. Marty, I was with you Dad and Bro. Evens. I remember your travailing in prayer that day. Your ministry today reflects that moment in your life. However, I think that your life reflects that there was more than one time that you prayed like that.

    Aubrey W Buie Jr

    March 20, 2018 at 10:50 am


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