Rev. Carl Joseph Ballestero
Apostolic Ministers Fellowship
Reverend Carl Ballestero was born on December 6, 1919, in East, Los Angeles, California. His father was Catholic, and his mother was Assembly of God. During the Depression Carl became a gang leader of the “Crypts and the Bloods”. As a young man he ran away from home. One day he jumped on the box-car of a train, and got trapped for (24) straight hours and could not get off. The sound of the wheels on the track created the rhythm, (clickty-clack, clickty-clack, clickty-clack, clickty-clack). Carl heard a message within the rhythm, that seemed to be saying to him, “You gotta get right, you gotta get right, you gotta get right with God”. He made a deal with God that night, that if He would intervene, and allow the train to stop so that he could get off, that he would start going to church.
In 1939, after visiting a church pastored by Charles Price, Carl received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. His old gang friends did not receive the news very well. After a period of time, Carl went back into the world, and became caught up in the web of a sin-filled life. He did some prize fighting while trying to survive. Carl spent two years in San Quenton Prison, and while there, his cell-mate was given a tract that he did not want. Carl read the tract and received the revelation of baptism in Jesus’ Name. While in prison, Carl received his call to preach. One day while standing in the court-yard of the prison, he preached his first sermon to the other prisoners. His subject was, “Though thy sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow”.
Carl went from prison to a civilian, conservation corp, an organization for the rebuilding of America. He then joined the military. Being able to type (90) words per minute on a manual type-writer, Carl became the private secretary to the Colonel. He searched for two years for someone to baptize him in Jesus’ Name. After being transferred to Oregon, he discovered a Jesus’ Name church. There, he found Andrew Baker and was baptized in Jesus’ Name.! Brother Baker was one of the early fathers of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Content (Connie) Faith Gleason was a niece to Andrew Baker, and this is where Brother and Sister Ballestero first met. They were subsequently married in 1943. Brother Ballestero was discharged from the Army and went full-time into the Apostolic ministry.
Brother Ballestero pastored for (25) years and evangelized for (25) years. Altogether, he pastored nine churches. His first pastorate was in Clinga, California, followed by tenures in, Aneheim, and Vista, California; Yakeymo, Washington; Columbus, and South Bend, Indiana; salt Lake City, Utah; and Sulphur, Louisiana. He was in South Bend from 1960 to 1972.
Brother Ballestero made visits to the Azusa Street Mission, and to the house on Bonnie Brae Street, where the Holy Ghost was first received in Los Angeles. There he spoke to some of the people who knew first hand of the events that had made history in 1906. In his early twenty’s, he would visit Sister Amy Simple McPherson’s, Angelus Temple, in Los Angeles, and listen to her preach.
Brother Ballestero will always be remembered in the annuals of Apostolic history as one of the spiritual Giants of the 20th Century. One of his most famous sermons was preached in San Antonio, Texas in 1964, during the UPC General Conference. The title of his sermon was, “The Handwriting on the Wall”. On September 11, 1994, after battling Alzheimers, Brother Carl Ballestero completed the race that he had so nobly began and endured. It could be said of him, “Another Soldier has come home”. Carl J. Ballestero was inducted into the Pentecostal Hall of Fame in 2013.