Josie and Ron Martin
Ron & Josie: Their brothers and sisters’ keepers

By Stanley O. Williford
Director of Publications

Ron and Josie Martin don’t have regular jobs, but they are never without work, mostly volunteer work. Wherever they go they get involved in helping others.

For the past 20 years South Africa has been a mission field for the couple. By aligning themselves with several churches in that nation, they hold workshops and conferences for youth and have fed orphans in various townships. They also minister to senior citizens and hand out reading glasses through their I Can See program. They most often fellowship at Grace Bible Church in Soweto where Bishop Mosa Sono is the presiding bishop.

For eight years, they stayed in a guest house owned by Judge Deloris Ephriam Mablean of Divorce Court television fame. They now rent executive apartments during their stay, since Judge Mablean has sold her property.

Josie and a team of ladies traveled to Johannesburg in July to conduct three God’s Dream Girl Conferences and ministered to more than 2,500 teen girls. In November she and Ron will be returning to South Africa together.

Josie is the president and CEO of the DREAM Girls, Inc. nonprofit (Daughters Relating Esteeming Achieving Ministries), which began in Los Angeles and continues both in Los Angeles and in Soweto. She teaches young females on such subjects as finding their purpose in life, training for the future, understanding their worth and keeping themselves pure.

Ron for years was president of the Distinguished Gentlemen, a nonprofit that he established in both countries. But after 15 years he retired the program.

Both love the ministry of helps.

“Helps ministry is a passion for me,” Ron said. He had become so involved in it that Josie asked him one night if he realized how much counseling he did on the phone.

“I remember when I found in scripture about helps ministry,” Ron said. “I have probably been in many of the helps ministries Crenshaw has had – the choir, counseling, Faith Messengers, a teacher in children’s church, wherever I was needed.”  

Said Josie: “At one point I was involved in most of the helps ministries – the choir, counseling, the bookstore, the Women’s Fellowship board, Interest Group leader, Home Beautification, Photography . . . . “

Both Martins came to California at a very young age, Ron from Dallas at two weeks old and Josie from Chicago at two years old. Ron is a charter member of the old West Washington Community Church, from which Crenshaw Christian Center was birthed. He and Josie met at the former CCC location at 9550 Crenshaw Blvd. and married 41 years ago in 1978.

After having been members for years, they left to assist with the newly founded ZOE Christian Fellowship of Cerritos (now Whittier), where Ron became an elder and Josie was administrator for Pastor (now Bishop) Ed Smith and the ZOE Association International. And for a time, they served on the Church on the Way praise team, but they continued to attend Bible study and other events at CCC.

In February, Ron replaced DeeDee Blaylock as auxiliary head of the Seniors Fellowship, a group he has been dedicated to for 10 years. Blaylock stepped down because she was moving farther away to be able to spend time with her grandchildren.

Josie volunteers for the CCC administration on most Tuesdays.

“For me personally, the volunteer bug hit me as a teen-ager,” said Ron. “I would see these men and women come in and give of their time, and I would reflect on how beneficial it was for me personally when I was a young boy with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In the Baptist church they were good for taking care of one another. I was taught as a youngster that it was better to give than to receive. It has stuck with me all my life.”

“I’m a PK (Preacher’s Kid),” said Josie. “My dad pastored the Upper Room Missionary Baptist Church, so church has been a major part of my life. I remember even as a child just wanting to serve the Lord. I served in many capacities in church.”

Josie attended Linfield College in Mcminnville, Ore., where she studied psychology. She is a Human Resources Generalist with a certification from the University of Phoenix.

Ron has a degree in interior design from Woodbury University. But for years he operated a bridal shop called A Love Story Bridal Showcase, where he designed bridal gowns, in Palos Verdes and later in Los Angeles on Slauson Avenue. When he has an opportunity, he assists two realtors with the design and the staging of homes. At CCC, he designed and decorated The Lounge, which is attached to the Cafeteria. 

Ron is a caregiver, and he half-jokes that he is still recuperating from being caregiver to his father, who passed away a year ago.  But his father was not the only one Ron has helped care for over the years. He did the same for his for godmother, grandmother, and several to whom he was not physically related.

“I did what I had to do as unto the Lord,” he says.  

In his early years it seemed that Ron would always be the one who needed care. Having juvenile rheumatoid arthritis had crippled him to the point where he could not walk. When he was 12 years old, a doctor told his grandmother he would never walk again. 

“When I heard him say that, I said, ‘Yes, I will,’” Ron recalls.

He was treated at Children’s Hospital for a month and then spent a five-month stay at the hospital’s rehabilitation center. The center’s Sunday School teacher introduced him to the Oral Roberts radio program, an introduction that would prove to be life changing.

One day he heard Roberts tell listeners about living a miracle and asked them to put their hands on the radio as a point of contact, which Ron did. Although he was confined to a wheelchair at the time, he began attempting to walk around his bed at night. That experience caused fluid to develop in his knees and proved very painful, but after a few months he was moving better.

The hospital staff noticed the improvement. When Ron asked his doctor if he could start walking on crutches, the doctor said, “Yes, if you think you can.”

Ron’s response was: “I know I can.”

Shortly after that he was doing well enough to be sent home and enrolled in middle school. But in middle school he tried to force his rehabilitation to the extent that he had a setback.

“The process of physical therapy had to be repeated,” he said. “I was no longer being fed by Oral Roberts.”

Still, when he was 13, the miracle was on its way.

“I found out that he [Roberts] was coming to California for a miracle tent revival in the San Fernando Valley,” Ron said. “I asked my grandmother if we could we go, but by the time we got there the afternoon session was over. The next meeting wouldn’t start until about seven in the evening.

“My uncle wanted to leave, and I began to cry. I had gone there to receive my healing. As I’m standing outside the car with my grandmother, a lady who was part of the team came up and asked what was wrong. The crazy thing is the place was closed down, and she just seemed to come out of nowhere.

“I explained that I had come to have Brother Roberts lay hands on me to receive my healing.”

“She told me he was gone for the day, but she invited me into the prayer tent and told me she would pray for me. 

 “I’m thinking, I didn’t come here to see you. I came here to see Brother Roberts.

“My grandmother, this lady and I went into the tent. I said again that I came to have Brother Roberts lay hands on me. She said, I’m a believer and the Bible says that the believer can lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. So as I’m sitting in the chair, she lays hands on me and says in Jesus’ name rise up and walk.

 “Now? I asked. She said yes.”

“I grabbed my crutches, but she said, No, without the crutches. She said, just stand up. I stood up. She said now walk over there. I walked to where she told me. Then she said walk back to me, and I did.”

That was the end of the crutches.

Both Ron and Josie have been walking by faith ever since.

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