Testimony of Paul Bolpa
My testimony is that at 32 years old I was suicidal, self-destructive, and was lost and undone. I was divorced and out of the military which I had been in for seven years. Prior to that, at 26 years old I was happily married and had a healthy baby boy, the only brand new house on the block, and two brand new cars in the garage. One night my wife and I were up late at night trying to figure out where we were going to get the money to extend our patio out because our next door neighbor was extending theirs. That’s when my life started to unravel. I questioned where my life was going. What? Move across town to a nicer house and bigger mortgage? Is that it?
Up to this point in my life I had totally bought into the American dream: the military, college, marriage, family, and career; and in about six months it was all gone. Five years later, I spent an entire year in extensive psychotherapy seeing two different therapists once a week. Also during that year, my goal was to read a self-improvement book each week, which I did. I was determined to get well and fix myself, but I just got deeper and deeper into self-destructive behavior.
Shortly after that I was at a stream in Southern California with birds chirping, and beautiful green foliage. I believe I was all alone and called or actually screamed, “Would somebody please help me!”
Three days later I was window shopping on Hollywood Blvd, and I was bored to tears. The only thing I had going on in my life was working at my job. I loved my job. How was I going to make it through the weekend until I could be back at work on Monday? Soon I was approached by a brother from the Tony Alamo Christian Church. He asked, “Would you be interested in coming to church to hear about how Christ died on the cross so we could have eternal life?” He also mentioned something about a meal, and I remember that his presentation was sincere. Being in sales, I appreciated a good presentation. I asked where his church was. He told me it was in Saugus, CA. When I realized it was near Lancaster, I started thinking that if I went to church, it would help me kill 4 or 5 hours of the weekend. So I got on the bus and went to church.
When I got there, I remember walking through the doors of the church and felt like a spark of hope. I didn’t get saved my first visit, but came up for two weeks straight to services. Finally, I bent my stubborn knees and got gloriously saved. It was like a huge weight was removed from me. The guilt and the pain were no longer there, and I felt a clarity which I hadn’t felt in years. I was a new born creature in Christ Jesus. Psychotherapy and the self-improvement books were no longer a confusing factor. I had a personal relationship with the almighty Creator. There was a peace about me. The Lord had put me in the most loving, nurturing, caring environment where for 28 years I have come to grow and know of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you, Pastor Tony, for being my spiritual father all these years.