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Archive for the ‘Treasured Memories’ Category

She Put Her Gum In The Offering Plate!

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She Put Her Gum In The Offering Plate!

Agnes was mad, she was really mad! She had long ago gotten past being upset. She was irritated by what was happening in her world. Her world was out of control. This was not the life she had planned for herself.

Her family was by far the richest in her hometown of Bolivar, Missouri. They owned the entire town. Well, at least most of it was theirs. Her maiden name of Burke was a name that was well-respected in Bolivar. It got respect because it carried most of the money.

Everything had been wonderful in her world up till now. Her husband Bill was not rich nor did he come from a moneyed family like hers, but he wasn’t afraid of hard work and was a good provider. They loved each other. They had recently moved to the Riverside, California area.

When Agnes found out that Bill had somehow wandered into one of those Pentecostal Holy Roller churches, she was mortified. They were good Baptist people from a long line of Baptists. This should not be happening.

When Bill came home from the little Pentecostal church, he was acting differently. He said he’d gotten the Holy Ghost and had talked in tongues.

Agnes was not happy and went through the roof. She argued. She ranted. She raved. This was unbelievable and totally unacceptable! She had to find a way to get Bill back on track and away from all of them low-class Holy Rollers.

She finally decided to go to the little church with Bill and see if she could fix the mess Bill had just gotten them into.

The ladies looked horrible to her with their long hair, long dresses, and long sleeves. The women had their hair all done up. They looked old-fashioned and out of date. Agnes knew she would never fit into a church like this one. All of the women in the church dressed that way. Agnes refused to comply. She was determined to show her disdain for their manner of dress. She was determined to never be part of something so ridiculous.

She seldom missed a service, however. Her attendance was not because she was interested. She wasn’t. She despised everything about this new religion of Bills. Somehow, she had to get him away from this craziness.

To express her disdain for the ‘holiness’ dress code of the holy rollers, she wore things she knew they would disapprove of. She wore sleeveless dresses to church. She wore slacks. She even wore mini-skirts just to get a reaction from them.

She hated everything about these holy rollers. She criticized Bill’s involvement. She made his life a hell, at home.

At church, Agnes purposely didn’t smile much. She just sat there and chewed her gum. She always did. She knew that chewing gum in a church was considered disrespectful, but what did she care. When the offering was being received, Agnes would take her gum out and press it into the dollar bills in the plate.

She was pleased to watch the church secretary try to separate the gum from the paper dollars. It was one of the few things she enjoyed about going to this church.

Her husband Bill had laid on the floor, she found out, when he was praying to receive the ‘Holy Ghost,’ or whatever it was called. He evidently thrashed around quite a bit and rolled back and forth so much that the Pastor, Carl Ballestero, actually sat on him to hold him still so he could receive the Holy Ghost. How stupid, she thought. For six months now, Agnes had constantly shown her disdain and disrespect for the Pentecostals.

One night, a visitor came. The visitor was an old woman who had been in the original Azusa Street Mission. The presence of the Lord fell and people began to worship, but not Agnes. The old lady came to where Agnes was standing and even though she refused to pray, the old sister began to minister to her. In a few moments, she laid her hands on Agnes and prayed. God immediately filled her with the Holy Ghost.

She soon dropped to her knees, and then fell on the floor talking in tongues. She rolled. She rolled down the aisle. She rolled up under the piano and lay there for two hours, talking in tongues. She couldn’t stop.

Bill took his wife home drunk in the Holy Ghost that night. She went to sleep still talking in tongues. At 3 am, Agnes got out of bed and went next door to her neighbors, and beat on the door.

The neighbor lady said, ‘Agnes, what are you doing beating on my door at 3 am? Is something wrong? Do you need something?” All Agnes could do was speak in tongues. She gave up and went back to her house. She spoke in tongues for three days straight.

In time, God called Bill to preach the Gospel. A transformed Agnes and her husband, Bill (Wild Bill) Yandris, went to Merced, California and built a beautiful church to the glory of God. The Apostolic Tabernacle.

Bro. & Sis. Bill Yandris

The very godly Sister Agnes Yandris and her beloved Bill, have now both gone home to their glorious reward. Their children are carrying on this glorious message!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 11, 2018 at 11:22 am

The Skid Row Church

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The Skid Row Church

A flashing red neon sign interrupted the dark.  The Salvation Army Rescue Mission across the street was hard not to notice. The homeless drifted up and down the sidewalk looking for a hand-out. The window of the new storefront church had a hand-scrawled welcome sign inviting one and all to come in.

As the door opens, the smell of fresh paint announces the recent renovations. Battleship Gray paint was on the walls, the old wooden floor and on the home-made benches. Everything in the church was painted gray except the pulpit and the piano.

The piano had been pushed up against the wall on the main floor. Sitting close to the six-inch-high platform. It was positioned to the left of the pulpit. The pastor’s wife played sweetly. It was like she was anointed. She sat facing the wall, but when she looks into the antique mirror fastened on the old upright, she can see her husband, the pastor and watch for his direction. Oh, how they sing! They sang with all their heart. The presence of the Lord was easily felt.

There were no songbooks or microphones. A tambourine and the rhythm of hands clapping complemented the evening worship service. The pastor’s small children sat respectful and quiet. They knew not to play during church.

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There are five children in the pastor’s family. The oldest was barely in his teens. They live in a migrant farm workers camp. The one room, clapboard shanty has been their home for a year. The shack they live in has no running water, no electricity, but it does have a wooden cook stove. The restroom facilities are about 200 feet away. One double bed, a built-in bunk bed, and pallets on the floor provided sleeping arraignments for them. Their little “house” looked just like the 75 or so others in the worker’s camp. Unpainted, no lawn, no porch, just shelter.

The whole family had picked apples in the local orchards when they had first arrived. It was harvest time. The ladders that the fruit pickers used, leaned tediously against the tree limbs. Canvas bags were strapped around the laborer’s necks that held the apples and became very heavy very fast. It was not easy work. It was piece rate labor.

Everyone one else living at “Schwarter’s Station was Hispanic. Their light skin stood out. The pastor finally got a day job at Libby’s Cannery and his wife worked nights at Del Monty’s Cannery to help make ends meet. Their 14-year-old son learned to help cook for the family on the old wood cook stove.

An older retired couple had lived in town for several years and had not gone to church anywhere because there was not a Jesus Name church in the area. They had grown cold spiritually. Now, they had rejoiced over the prospect of having a church in town. They were more than glad to help the new pastor start a church.

They found pails of old gray paint in the barn and felt, that though it might not look pretty, at least it would make the place look clean. There also was enough lumber in the shed to make a small platform and eight benches.

Counting the old drunk on the front row that only came inside because of the weather, there were ten people present and five of them were children. The drunk awoke during the altar call and left. The faithful few gathered around the front. They were disappointed that one got away. There was always the next time, if Jesus tarried.

 

The small group had no support from anyone, just a burden for souls.

This was Home Missions 1958.

(The Skid Row Church was in Yakima, Washington, and is still thriving today.)

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.”

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Almost fifty people sat in the little wooden church house in Lunita, Louisiana. They had come to a Youth Revival to hear nineteen-year-old Marty Ballestero from South Bend, Indiana. Pastor Kirkland had announced revival services for the next nine nights.

There was only one musical instrument in the church, a piano. The pastor’s sixteen-year-old daughter played the best she could. She was backslidden, but they needed some music, and that’s all they had. No one else could play the piano.

The year was 1963, the month was November, and I was out in the sticks. There was not a traffic light or a stop sign to be found for miles. There was not much to be seen here, but piney woods. While praying in those woods I got 59 chigger bites in one hour. I spent the rest of my prayer meetings indoors. It is easier to scratch indoors.

The song service was started with the ‘choir’ coming up on the platform to sing. The ‘choir’ consisted of whoever wanted to come up. Only a few remained seated in the audience. No one shouted during the revival, nor seemed to be overly blessed by the singing or the preaching. But everyone was friendly and said nice things to their guest.

The crowd was made up of hard-working but poor, salt-of-the-earth kind of folks. During prayer requests, names like, ‘Sis. Turtle’, and ‘One-Legged Willie’ got mentioned. No one seemed to be amused by the unusual nicknames.

The offering pan was passed every night and the change clanging on the bottom was very noticeable.

I stayed in the side wing on the left side of the church, right next to the auditorium. My room had a bed and nothing more. An outhouse was not far from my side of the church. A white building now stands in its place. The wing has been more than doubled in size and everything is enlarged and bricked now.

The woods came right up beside the church house back then. The trees came so close it was almost possible to squirrel hunt sitting on the platform.

Bro. Kirkland, the pastor, lived in a mobile home with his wife, his daughter, and son. The trailer was parked to the right of the church. It sat in the tree line as well. He drove a casket delivery truck for Batesville Casket Company. I rode with him a few times during the day for fellowship.

At night after church, I would be invited to eat at their house.

I had never had much of an opportunity to eat Cajun cooking before. I had spent too many years out west and up north. One night, Sister Kirkland said, “I hope you like gumbo, brother,” as I entered her house.

“Oh yes ma’am,” I said. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t, but when you are only eating one meal a day, you don’t get too picky, because it’s 24 hours until they invite you over again.

I watched how my hosts ate their gumbo. It was served with a whole egg in it on one side and a generous helping of warm potato salad over on the other side. The rue was dark. I was hungry and ate mine up. The taste was a little different, but then I’d never had gumbo before, so I didn’t know what to expect.

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.” The pastor’s fourteen-year-old son said. Did you like it?”

I didn’t want to say I liked it because the inward shock of being told I’d just eaten ‘possum was one thing, but to knowingly lie was another.

“It tasted pretty good whatever it was.”  (I don’t think I would have knowingly wished to eat ‘possum, but I did.)

I had been gone from home a little over a month and had been preaching a few nights here and there. This was my first revival since going full-time.

Since the sixteen-year-old piano player was backslidden, I chose not to have any music for altar service the entire revival. I had to give altar calls without music. I wanted her to pray through and knew she couldn’t play and pray at the same time. She did pray through on the last weekend.

I didn’t know, till after service one night, that President Kennedy had been assassinated two days before. There was no radio in my room or newspaper in Lunita to keep me informed.

Sixteen young people prayed through during those nine nights. Many of them were backsliders.

The last night, Bro. Kirkland announced that an offering had been taken every night for the last nine nights and that a total of $4.65 had come in for the evangelist. He said that he would like to have the church vote to give him permission to take $.35 out of the Ladies Auxiliary Fund to raise the total up to $5.00.

All those that were in favor of the evangelistic offering being increased stood to their feet. It was the first election I had ever won.

After church, I said my goodbyes and went down the road a few miles to Deweyville, Texas, on the Texas/Louisiana state line that night. I spent $3.50 in a phone booth for a 3-minute call to my dad, telling him about my first offering. I then bought 5 gallons of gas at the Billups service station for $1.00, for my ’55 Ford and drove across the street to Nick’s Restaurant. There I ordered a $.35 Cheeseburger and spent my last $.15 on a large Dr. Pepper.

 

I left Deweyville broke and happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

She Still Calls Me Honey

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She Still Calls Me Honey

She Still Calls Me Honey

 

She Still Calls Me Honey

 

A Tribute To Marcia June Starr Ballestero

Who Has Been My Loving And Romantic Wife For Fifty Years.

 

No man has ever deserved a love so sweet as hers. Fifty years ago, Honey, was the first sweet name she called me when we fell in love, it’s what she still calls me now. I was very thrilled then and today I still am.

It started from the beginning when we both told each other, “I Love You!” Somehow, before the conversation was over, my new name became, Honey. It was just that easy for her!

 

  • It was exhilarating to know I was a Honey to the girl I loved most!
  • I felt cherished. I felt wonderful. I wanted to boast!

 

I’d never been anyone’s Honey before. I started walking around with that new Honeyfeeling and it created a tingling in my heart. I felt different. I acted different. I was different. I was her Honey!

For fifty years or so, whenever I’ve heard that name called in a crowd, I immediately turn because I know it must be me being called. After all, I now am the man named, Honey.

 

  • If I were a cowboy, the name wouldn’t have fit.
  • Had I been a Marine, I would have suffered a bit.

 

How does one become a Honey?

How did I become a Honey in her eyes?

By the way, what is actually the definition of someone who is a Honey?

 

Webster says that a Honey is “a person for whom one feels love or deep affection; a sweetheart, a darling.

Honey is an affectionate term of address to a romantic partner, lover, or sweetheart.”

“Something sweet, delicious, or delightful.”

“An affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or romantic partner.”

“To call someone Honey is to talk flatteringly or endearingly to.”

 

By calling me Honey

  • She is calling me her Sweetheart.
  • She is saying I am her Dear.
  • She is confessing I am her Lover.
  • She is bragging that her Heart belongs only to me.
  • That my Heart belongs only to her.

 

Even though by now she knows how imperfect I really am, she still calls me Honey. There have been days when lemon or persimmon would have described me much better, but she still called me Honey.

 

  • “Honey,” I like that better than… “The Old Man,” or “Dodo.”
  • It sure feels much nicer than… “Quail Head” or “Bozo”

 

Oh yes, when our babies were little, for their sake, she also added the name of Daddy in her vocabulary when they were in the room.

But now, even though our children are grown it is still the same. In our private moments, when she could call me whatever she really thinks of me, she still calls me Honey.

 

  • When I am upset or stressed, my name is still Honey.
  • When I have no money, my name is still Honey.

 

I have no memory of her ever starting a fuss. Yet, even when I was out of sorts, or out of line she still called me Honey.

  • When I’ve embarrassed her and myself, she still called me Honey.
  • When I needed to be put in timeout, she still called me Honey.
  • When I had zits on my face too horrible to kiss, she still called me Honey.
  • When I lost my hair, she still called me Honey.
  • When I didn’t preach well at all, after church she still called me Honey.
  • When some old friends criticized me and walked away, she stood by me and called me Honey.

 

She seldom ever calls me by the name my parents gave me. I’m always Honey to her. What makes her use that word? What have I done to deserve such a sweet name? Even when I’ve wrong, she still calls me Honey.

 

  • How do you get mad a girl who calls you Honey and means it?
  • How do you not respond sweetly to her words of endearment?

 

When I wake up, she says, “Good morning Honey!”

When I walk in the door she welcomes me home with, “Hi Honey.”

The sweetest words I can ever hope hear when answering my phone is, “Hi Honey!”

  • It still fires up my furnace and turns all the lights on in my heart!
  • I can still hear the Love oozing in her voice!
  • I can still see the Love radiating in her eyes!
  • I can still sense Romance as it walks into the room!

 

  • She doesn’t throw that word around like a waitress in some cheap diner.
  • She saved that word for only me, the one she chose to walk beside her.

 

Some say when a wife uses the word Honey that it soon becomes expensive for the man because some time and labor will certainly be involved. But, there have been no HoneyDo-Lists drawn up for me by her. I draw them up myself.

The things I do for her are the things I get to do for her as my way of showing appreciation and saying thank you for calling me Honey.

 

  • She says it like she means it with her voice so soft and sweet.
  • It’s the word romance is made of, there’s nothing that can compete

 

When she says Honey, she means it. She says in a way that:

  • Softens the harshness of life
  • Melts the feeling of pain
  • Creates a spontaneous smile
  • Nurtures the weariness
  • Embraces the hurts
  • And Comforts the soul

 

I have stood on the platform before huge crowds and referred to her publicly as “Sugar Booger.” Some people smile and shake their heads because they are embarrassed for my wife. There are many thousands and more who only know her by that name.

She has never bristled or looked embarrassed in public when I spoke those words. She knows that is not the name I use when we talk. When we are together and I am looking at her it only makes me think of words gentle, loving, soft and sweet, so I try to say them.

  • There is nothing harsh about her.
  • She doesn’t speak unkind words.
  • She doesn’t ever nag.
  • She never starts fights.

 

  • Her touch is soft and gentle; her words are just the same.
  • I am blessed to be around her and hear her call my name.

 

At this major marriage milestone of fifty years and counting, my bragging rights are still securely in place.

My special name is sealed forever in her heart and mine. I am the man she calls Honey… and I absolutely love it! I wouldn’t change it for the world!

She has spent fifty years calling me by the sweetness name she could think of. Her wondrous love for me could never be matched.

 

  • So as your Honey, I thank you from the depths of my soul.
  • Your love has nourished me and made me feel whole.

 

No man could have been made to feel his wife’s love than I.

No man ever deserved a love so sweet as yours.

No man could be happier with his marriage than I am.

 

Thank You, My Darling Marcia June Ballestero, For Loving Me Totally Without Restriction Or Reservation!

You’ve Made Fifty Years Of Loving You And Being Married Seem Like Just A Few Days…

And By God’s Mercy, It’s Not Over Yet. Because…

When We Get To Heaven And Start Looking For Each Other, The First Words I Want To Hear From Another Mortal Is You Saying,

Hi Honey!”

 

I Truly Love You,

Marty, (Your Honey)

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 1, 2015 at 3:55 pm

“How ‘Bout Cha Droopy Drawers, Gotcha Ears On?”

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“How ‘Bout Cha Droopy Drawers, Gotcha Ears On?”

In the mid-sixties, Brother Verbal Bean, preached a long and powerful revival in Port Arthur, Texas for Elder Verbal Bean 1977Pastor Murray Burr. The church experienced a mighty move of God during that time.

I was taking care of the church in Silsbee, Texas while the pastor; Brother H.B. Morgan was on vacation. I only preached the regular service nights, so that gave me the opportunity to go a few miles down the road and hear Brother Bean on my off nights.

I sat in the audience and listened intently to this mighty man of God. We all were awestruck with moving of the Holy Ghost in the service. I’d never heard anyone preach like Brother Bean.

Heavy conviction was felt throughout the building as we stood for the invitation to come forward and pray. We all stood there feeling the strong pull of the Spirit, when the unbelievable happened…

An eighteen-wheeler passed by on the highway in front of the church. The trucker’s over-powered CB Radio blared through the Church’s loud speakers with, “How ‘bout cha droopy drawers, gotcha ears on?”

The moment for most was destroyed. Smiles and stifled laughter advanced to the next level. The service was officially over.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Treasured Memories

Tagged with

The Ballestero Interview

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Earlier the year, I was honored to be with Pastor Shannon Burgess and the Jesus Name Pentecostal Church of Chehalis, Washington. Bro. Gabe Baker, the Youth Pastor, took time from his busy schedule to interview me. He asked many questions about my life and ministry. I am humbled by his interest and efforts. I also thank him from the bottom of my heart for including me in his passion to help other young ministers.

Part 1

Part 2.

Part 3.

_____________________________________

For additional media, follow this link to the Jesus Name Pentecostal Church website.

http://jnpc.org/media-center/video-gallery.html

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm

One Of The Most Wonderful Gifts A Man Can Give His Children!

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One Of The Most Wonderful Gifts A Man Can Give His Children!

It’s not money.

It’s not expensive gifts either.

It’s not giving them all the latest toys and gadgets.

It’s not even giving them a large allowance.

I am not talking about giving your children something that only rich dads can afford. I’m talking about giving your children a gift that every father can give to his children, if only he would.

  • The most wonderful gift a man can give his children?
  • The answer is simple!
  • It’s hanging right there in front of you like the nose on your face!
  • You want to know?
  • You really want to know?

Love Their Mother!

That’s It! Love Their Mother!

Let your children hear you say something like, “I love you Baby,” to their mom. Then watch them smile approvingly. Let them see you kiss her and hug her. Let them see you brag on her. Kids aren’t dumb. They can tell if you really love their mom.

Let your sons see you be tender with their Mama, and they’ll grow up being tender to their wives too. Let your daughters see how a woman is to be cherished and loved. There not much more you can do to bring peace and comfort to your children, than for them to know they grew up in a love-filled home.

Your house may have cost 100’s of thousands of dollars. But if love was not shown or felt, then all you really have is an expensive daycare center for your children.

Both of my parents have now gone on to be with the Lord. But my father left me many wonderful memories and examples of him openly expressing his love to my mom.

In my mind I can still hear him singing love songs to her that seemed to blurt out of nowhere. Songs like:

  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart.
  • Sugar In The Morning, Sugar In The Evening, Sugar At Supper Time.

You get the idea. Mom would always smile and walk into his open arms. All of us children would smile and nervously laugh our approval. Sometimes we turned our heads. Sometimes we watched.

Many times I’ve walked into the living room, kitchen or dining room and seen them in a tender embrace. Sure I walked back out, but I saw it! I saw that my dad truly loved my mom. For a little kid or even a big kid, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Do you forget things like that? Absolutely not! You remember it so well, that you do the same things when you get married. Then, you let your children see you be loving and tender to their mother.

If you will do that, you have just increased the odds that your children will grow up knowing the secret of a happy home life.  And your grandchildren will grow up in a loving home as well. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

≈≈≈

(Now sir, go tell you wife right now how much you love her, and let your children hear you say it! Wrap your arms around her and give her a big smooch! That’s your homework for tonight. Class dismissed.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 14, 2012 at 1:14 am