Marcia and Marty
I guess we all have our stories of how we met and how we got together and they all mean quite a bit to us all. I often would ride to Rally’s with Dad and it was getting more fun in my teens to do that. Daddy was District Supt. of Michigan and so often he visited churches for to show interest and support.
This time was in November 1964 at a Rally in Paw Paw, Michigan. I don’t remember much about that Rally because we got there the service started quick and we left quick after church. I did not know the young evangelist, Martyn Ballestero was there or anything about him . Later I realized that his dad, Carl Ballestero had preached for my dad and I vaguely remembered him. I testified that night and evidently gave the impression of having quite a bit of intelligence….oh well I didn’t realize that either.
After church, I soon went to the car and Dad got in the car and said the Evangelist here tonight was Martyn Ballestero of South Bend, Indiana. He is the son of Carl Ballestero. I remember blankly looking at dad as he went on to say I am going to ask him to come for a revival, and I said good. He went and made the plan and dad claimed I acted rather excited. Well I had a boyfriend at the time and never thought I would meet someone else that could change that. I was always quietly looking around to see what might be my Life Story in the area of Love but I thought it was already happening.
I was still in my Senior year of High School and headed for graduation and to be honest , sorry to bother you but, College was not in my plan at all. I just was hoping to someday soon get married and have a family and live happily ever after. And it almost happened totally like I expected and wanted it to. I thought about College, and figured I had already learned how to read and write and count and there was nothing in College that interested me enough to make me want to go. I am telling the truth. Somehow I even didn’t expect to go to Bible College. Exactly as it happened… well back to the gradual meeting and getting acquainted process.
Mom began getting acquainted with the young evangelist and would mention he was so easy to talk to. I was in school everyday, but at dinner time he would be invited to dinner at our house. I remember thinking he probably will think I am going to chase him because he is a preacher. I don’t want to come across as fast, and I am scared to hardly speak to him, so that will be that. I made sure I sat at the other end of the table so he would not feel like I was trying to sit by him.
Gradually I could look at him some and thought I would like to get to know him and felt he might feel the same about me. I began thinking and feeling that I am really interested. Scottie and Jenny Teets came to the revival and came to our house for lunch afterward . Marty and Scottie had been good friends and Jenny was my first cousin and they broke the ice. From then on the courting began and I realized I think I can fall in Love with him. I am leaving out some information, but I had to be oneness all the way that was just me so I had a goodbye and God Bless you to do. I wanted to be free in case my new interest worked out.
That was not all that easy because I had to be sure if I really lost Gilbert Davenport I was going to be okay no matter if this new interest did not pan out. Mom and Dad really like Gilbert alot and I thought I was serious and now I was confused. Mom had taught me to be honest and not to be two faced about dating and I could not feel good about playing those games that some girls do . So , I took my chance to try to do this right. Well I about need to insert Marty’s story of “A Remembrance of falling in Love,” right here. Maybe I will attach it here someday so you can read it. I am sure he has it in his blog. He writes about me in such a wonderful way. His romantic manner won my heart!!
When just talked during the Revival without any kind of date idea. We were just beginning to break the ice and communicate and he had a policy of not dating or courting during his preaching a revival. He bungled up our first time to be together alone. After church one night when we got to our home mom had ordered pizza from Pizza Pete’s. She ask if Marty and I would go pick them up. Marty trying to be careful not to break his rule of dating during revival said ,”I would be glad to do that but I don’t mix dating when I am preaching a revival.” Mom said , “That is fine I will have someone else go pick the Pizza up.” I was embarrassed . Marty said why don’t we take one or two of the little sisters? Mom reluctantly allowed it to be done that way, but not without mom saying oh no we will pick the Pizzas up. Whew, I thought well this will be the end of this aquaintance. Well, we went on and got the Pizzas with two little sisters along and made it through that tense, but not stopped .
Marty was romantic and has kept his romantic manner to me for almost 45 years now. We did not get to be together ten times before we were married. I was seventeen when I met him and was 18 two monthes when I married him. We both were raised with parents that were very careful in their teaching us and there was strong Godly living along with good home environment. Our Parents could have told us to stay away from each other and we would have.
I got married young with the approval and guidance of my parents. Our Courtship was sweet and most of that happened right in the living room just enjoying family and church . We got acquainted and fell in love right in the middle of family and I had four little sisters that added to the joys of it all. Well sometimes I wished they would just give us a little space. They enjoyed Marty and felt as important to him as I thought I was supposed to be. I have a few story’s of secretly asking them to go play somewhere else. That request rarely worked in fact it would make them want to be there more. LOL
We did alot of letter writing because he Evangelized and the phone and letter writing became our communication. Actually it was not long phone conversation either because long distance was costly and we were careful, plus I was young enough that I wasn’t out of school yet and talking much after midnight was a no no. Marty and I wrote letters a couple times a week and more. I couldn’t wait to get his letters at the post office. I have saved them to this day. He could write and he is still a good writer.
After the revival ended in Albion not long later Marty went to Lansing and preached a meeting at Grandpa Starr’s church. Back then folks would go to support other revivals if they were close enough. Bro. Hunt in our home church like Marty’s preaching and mentioned he was going to visit a service. He said I could ride along with them , he knew I wanted too. It was Marty’s birthday time and we were courting then about two months. I bought him a plaid shirt with lots of red in it. I never thought to read the label about washing it. It said will bleed red when washed. He washed the shirt and it bled red on his whites and all were pink. It was funny and not funny. So my first gift to him did some damage on his clothes. That was a fun trip to hear him preach. Bro. Hunt is in his mid 80’s and still reminds me of his part in our courtship.
I have to thank God for our relationship. He is still so caring and expressive of his affection and love for me. Daddy would say my girls need men that know how to say I Love You a lot and give compliments, because I raised them that way. He would ask me if Marty was a Pentecostal Romeo going Church to church breaking the hearts of girls. I declared he wasn’t. I am so glad to tell you that we have a wonderful loving marriage and our courtship is still going on. I get sweet words a lot and Marty is so generous and mannerly still. I feel Loved and he tells me I am so important to him and treats me like I am . He is the most handsome man in the world to me and I have always had eyes for only him.
We have lived through starting a church and the hardships of no money, and all that goes along with being young and beginning a family . We have had some normal adjustments throughout our life as a couple, but disagreements come and go with love still in tact. Our courtship is still going on.
When he ask me to marry him it was late one night after church. I hadn’t heard from him for about three weeks. dad was feeling bad for me because he realized I hadn’t heard from him. Dad rarely got involved and let mom handle all the problems with us girls. One day he told mom, “June you help Marcia write a Dear John letter to Marty.” I was alarmed
because somehow I knew Marty still cared for me. Of course I didn’t voice that to dad, but I did to mom. She said we will write him and it will be OK. She said it IS wrong that he hasn’t written when he has been writing so steady. Marty later I found out, felt very serious about me and wanted to try not having contact to see if he could forget me or would be bothered so he could check to see if he really loved me. Anyway, mom helped me write a very gentle Dear John letter. Marty got the letter but not before he called me late one night and ask me to marry him. I said “Yes” without even asking him why he had not written or if he had received the Dear John letter. He ask me on April 21, 1965. When I got done with the call dad appeared and as well did he ask you to marry him. I felt so scared then and I said yes. Dad said “what did you say”, I said , “Yes” . Dad just said OK and went on back to bed. Whew…I made it through that. Marty came up a few days later and took me out to Win Shulers our best dining place around because he wanted to do it more fancy. I was happy no matter what. I have been a blessed girl from the start. I am still in love and God has been the center of our lives. We have been blessed as a family with affection and love for one another.