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Guess What Moment I Think About, When I Drop Money Into The Pot.

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Guess What Moment I Think About, When I Drop Money Into The Pot.

It was such a pleasant Wednesday evening, that night in December of 1958. Daddy had just gotten home from a revival somewhere and we were so happy to see him. We lived in National City, California and had been attending the church pastored by Bro. Leamon Reynolds. Daddy was an Evangelist and we had based out of National City since June.

I was in the 9th grade. I was old enough to understand that money was hard to come by and that we had none, to speak of. We had just come through a period of time where there had been very little food in the house for the last several months. For a month, or so, we’d had nothing to eat but pinto beans. We had eaten the beans without salt or seasoning, because there wasn’t any. Mother’s gift of imagination was contagious as we all acted like we were eating fried chicken or corn on the cob while eating the beans. We learned to laugh about it too.

Tonight was extra nice though, because Daddy had made it home. He’d been gone for a month or so. Tonight was Christmas Eve. There were no decorations to be seen. There was no tree. We’d never had a Christmas tree. We never missed not having one either. There were no presents on display. Our gifts were family, shelter, and enough food to keep body and soul together. All was well with the world, for us.

All of our clothes and shoes were from the Goodwill or some Thrift store. My shoes especially looked like Goodwill shoes. I had on old men’s shoes. Other guys my age wore ‘White Bucks’ or some cool looking ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. I wasn’t cool and I was OK with that. My Mom and Dad were doing the best for us children and we knew it. Most of all, we knew we were deeply loved. Our parents often did without food, so all of us children could eat. I noticed that, and it made it hard for me to eat very much.

We all sat in the living room talking. My two youngest sisters were not much more than toddlers. They were so happy to see him they crawled all over Daddy’s lap while he sat on the couch with Mama.

Mama always treated Daddy like a King. He always treated her like a Queen. We laughed while Daddy held her in his arms and sang a song to her, made popular by the McGuire Sisters. “Sugartime.”



Sugar in the morning
Sugar in the evening
Sugar at suppertime
Be my little sugar
And love me all the time

Honey in the morning
Honey in the evening
Honey at suppertime
So by my little honey
And love me all the time

Put your arms around me
And swear by stars above
You’ll be mine forever
In a heaven of love

Sugar in the morning
Sugar in the evening
Sugar at suppertime
Be my little sugar
And love me all the time

A knock on our door interrupted the moment. Mom and Dad looked at each. We weren’t expecting company. This was Christmas Eve. Everyone should be home tonight. This was special family time for most people.

All my family joined in behind me as I opened the door. Standing there were faces I had never seen. Six of them stood there, dressed in neatly pressed Salvation Army uniforms. They all smiled. In unison, they said, “Merry Christmas”

They each held armloads of sacks and packages. They said they were for us. They came into the house and began laying sacks of groceries on the counter on the table and on the floor. They brought in so many sacks of groceries, that my mother cried.

Then they brought in presents and clothes for all of us children. They had our names written on all of the presents. I never did find out how they knew our names. We never told them.

My sisters each got a doll and some doll clothes, among other gifts. I got a bat, a baseball glove and a baseball. I also got a toy model to put together.

Somehow, someone had guessed the approximate clothes sizes for each of us. My sisters got dresses, skirts and blouses. I got jeans and shirts. We all got shoes and coats.

The Salvation Army people stood grinning, as they looked at our faces. They smiled at my mothers’ tears. All of us children sincerely thanked them. My Dad and Mom thanked each one of them too.

So, today, when I walk into a store and see a red Salvation Army kettle hanging on a tripod with a bell-ringer standing behind it, guess what moment in time my mind goes back to? Guess what I am thinking about as I drop some money into the pot?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 5, 2011 at 1:01 am

Posted in Treasured Memories

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The Unwanted Girls

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The Unwanted Girls

The news story told of 285 young Indian girls that had chosen new names.

“Nakusa” or “Nakushi” (two variations of the Hindu word meaning “unwanted”) were among the names abandoned in an effort to promote their self-worth.

“Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy,” a 15-year-old girl told the AP after the ceremony. The teenager was formerly named Nakusa by her disappointed grandfather, but chose to be called “Ashmita,” which translates to “very tough” in Hindi.”

Girls hold certificates stating their new official names during a renaming ceremony in Satara, India, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. Almost 300 Indian girls known officially as "Unwanted" have traded their birth names for a fresh start in life


Reading this story made me very sad. Their culture devalues women. An unborn baby girl might well be aborted if the parents knew its gender. It’s heart breaking to me. The very thought, is unthinkable in my family.

I have been blessed more than most men to have been surrounded all my life by loving and amazing women.  Their lives are blessed of God. My life has been blessed to the highest level because of them.

In my family, the women and girls are cherished, and loved. They are also respected, listened to, and honored. I always want them to know that!

Each of the married women love and honor their husbands and treat them like kings. No wonder each husband finds it easy to treat his wife like a queen and cherish her.

The daughters love and honor their fathers. They treat him with great respect. They in turn are loved and doted on. They have never felt unwanted, but rather are treated as if they were a princess.

The same is true for all the grand daughters.

It would be a near impossibility to find a family that loves it’s women more than the Ballestero family loves theirs.

With all of the above in mind, today I wish to stop and honor the women in my world.

I want to tell all of you that I love you, I honor you, and I cherish you, and I am proud of you. You all have me forever wrapped around your little fingers. I have you wrapped around my heart.

You are so gifted and talented. You are:

  • Singers
  • Song Writers
  • Musicians
  • Music Teachers
  • Choir Leader
  • Speakers
  • Writers
  • Authors
  • School Teachers
  • Recording Artists
  • Artistic
  • Designers
  • Business Owners
  • Leaders
  • Beautiful
  • Loving
  • Nurturing
  • Tender
  • intelligent
  • The Best Cooks In The World.
  • The Best Mothers In The World.
  • The Best Wives In The World.
  • And… You really love the Lord.
  • (This list could go on awhile…)

You might often be embarrassed by me, but you will never be unwanted! I love you and pray God richest blessings on you in all you do! There will never be such a thing as an unwanted girl in my family!

Let me show my readers a picture or two of why I am such a blessed man!

My Mom, Mother-in-law, Wife, Daughter, Daughters-in-law, Grand Daughters, Sisters, Sisters-in-law and Nieces are shown below. Besides all these, there are my wonderful cousins, close friends  and “adopted” family members.

Every One Of These Ladies Are Wanted!!

It don’t get any better than this. I, my friend, am a blessed man!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 28, 2011 at 1:10 am

Thank You For Keeping A Smile On My Face For 46 Years!

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I’ve been in love with Marcia June Starr Ballestero since November 29,1964. Although it was 17,060 days ago, I remember that day very well. It was the Sunday night after Thanksgiving. That was the day my heart decided there was no one else in the world for me, but her. My heart was right.

I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the girl. I love her ageless beauty. I am forever enamored  with the sound of her voice. I could listen to her chatter for hours. She is my favorite singer in the whole world. Her practical wisdom has benefited our marriage too many times to count. Her children call her blessed, her grandchildren adore her, and I can’t imagine my life without her being the center of it. She still makes me beam from ear to ear when she calls me Honey.

I am so very proud to show her off in public. I delight in her company. There’s still not enough hours in the day when we are together. Her loving and tender words continue to melt my heart and turn it into mush. I’m more in love with her today, even after 46 years. Her beauty and charm still turns my head!

Some have heard me call her Sister Honey, and others have heard me call her Sugar Booger. For Forty Six years, I’ve had the great honor of calling her my wife. I still call her Baby.

We said ‘I Do’ on August the 14th 1965. Besides the day I received the gift of the Holy Ghost, marrying her was by far, the greatest day of my life.

That’s 16,802 days of married bliss, or:

  • 1,451,692,800 seconds
  • 24,194,880 minutes
  • 403,248 hours
  • 2400 weeks (rounded down)

She has voluntarily made me the King of her world and treated me accordingly. I have made her the Queen of my life. No one is like her. No one comes close. She is altogether lovely. She’s the Best!

She has held my hand, and walked faithfully through life beside me. She has been my constant support and life’s greatest pleasure. She has never complained about the hardships of our life, and ‘made do’ when there wasn’t much money to ‘do’ with. I will always be in her debt.

She sacrificed her health and placed her life on the line to give us five wonderful children that have made us both grateful to God and proud.

Marcia! Thank you for all you have done for me and for our family over the years. Thank you for every sacrifice you made in raising our family and keeping our home. Thank you for never nagging or being critical. Thank you for being so loving! You are amazing indeed!

Martyn & Marcia Ballestero


Thank you too my Darling, for keeping a smile on my face for 46 years! I Love You With All My Heart!

Happy 46th Anniversary!








Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 13, 2011 at 1:37 am

“I’m Gone!”

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“I’m Gone!”

Brother Verbal Bean put his arm around my shoulder in a conspiratorial manner, as we walked from the Dining Hall. For the third time that week of Hoosier Camp Meeting, he asked. “Brother Marty, tell me that story about the devil again.”

I was an Associate pastor with my Father, Carl Ballestero, and greatly revered Brother Bean. In my heart, I wasn’t sure if he was having more fun laughing at me, or at my story. Nevertheless, I began.

“I was twenty years old and preaching a revival in East Texas. One night during the altar service, a young single woman began to demonstrate signs of demon possession. She was always on the platform during service. She was a “Praise Singer” and also sang in a trio with the Pastor and his wife.

“This girl was well liked by all. I was greatly surprised at the demonstration. It was completely out of character for her. The saints were gathered around crying and praying. Some were giving prayerful support to her astonished parents.

“The Pastor asked me if I would go pray for her. (I later wondered why he didn’t pray for her and ask me to join him, but I was an evangelist and just did what I was told.)

“ I knelt down beside this young woman and began to pray very earnestly. “Satan, I command you in Jesus name to come out of her, she’s not yours, she has been bought with a price.”

“A low voice growled back at me, ‘She is too mine!’

“Without missing a beat I said, ‘How did you get her?’

“I stole her.” The voice said.

“I said, ‘Devil I rebuke you in Jesus Name. I command you now to release your hold on her. You will be bound for a thousand years, and I bind you now in Jesus Name. Come out of her!

“A high pitched, innocent sounding little girl’s voice sweetly said, “I’m gone!”

“Devil,” I said, “you’re a liar. If you were gone, you wouldn’t be talking to me. Now come out of her in Jesus Name.”

At that part of the story, Brother Bean started laughing so hard that he crumbled to the grass in hysterics. He rolled over on his back and with complete excitement. His arms and legs up in the air thrashing like a locomotive, while tears of laughter ran down his cheeks.

“I’m Gone! I’m Gone” I’m Gone!” He said and then laughed some more.

I stood there grinning, looked at the most esteemed evangelist in Pentecost. He was too weak to stand, and completely enjoying experience, my discomfort and my spiritual ineptness.

Till he passed, whenever he would see me at a Convention or a Camp, he would look at me with a big grin and say, in a high falsetto, “I’m Gone!”



Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 8, 2011 at 10:53 am

Posted in Treasured Memories

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