Testimony of Jerry Walsh
My full name is Gerald John Walsh, I go mostly by Jerry. I was born February 12, 1965 in Sisters Hospital in Buffalo, NY.
I was christened as a baby by the Catholic priest and even made my first communion at Saint Josephs Catholic church in Angola, NY as a young boy. I began acquiring a taste for alcohol around the poker table. As my dad played, I would take little nips of his bottle of beer.
Alcohol in any form was and still is an accepted beverage for any occasion in my family from weddings and get-togethers to funerals and anything in between. This would prove disastrous for me. At the tender age of thirteen, my drug use would begin to include marijuana, and eventually pills, and cocaine, alcohol remained my drug of choice though, because it was so widely accepted among friends and family and easiest to acquire.
By the time I was 16 years old I was what I call a knock down drag out drunk, my school bus driver would drop me off at one of the local taverns and there I would drink under age, I was known by everyone. After I got my license it got really messy.
Many days I wonder why God didn’t just take my life and put me in hell what with twisted metal around telephone poles and trees.
Alcohol played a major role in most of the disastrous events that took place in my life and in the lives of many of my own family members who almost lost their lives to alcohol and some did lose their lives. I had come to the place in my life where I had lost nearly everything meaningful, my wife and young son, my job, my morality, my license, my sanity, and it almost took my life with a rope around my neck or a gun to my temple. I could never bring myself to it though for I feared what I might face on the other side.
One morning after a couple beers I remember thinking there’s got to be something better than this, I was sick and tired of what I had become. I was determined to have a new life, you know turn over a new leaf, I had tried this many times but this time was different, it had to be.
At this point I had already tried religion, My wife and I started going to church where we were married, The United Church of Christ in Castile NY, I became active in that church serving as an elder, a Sunday School teacher among other things, but nothing changed, I was still the same drunkard. Many Sunday mornings I would be swallowing Alka-Seltzer trying to sober up from the night before. I began going to AA meetings at the same church, I made it 30 days without a drop of alcohol, they gave me applause, a little gold medal of accomplishment, and a pat on the back. I was so excited I went out and celebrated. Back into the same rut. My wife couldn’t change me though she tried, religion, the court systems, the psychiatrist, Alcoholics Anonymous, nothing could change what Jerry Walsh had become.
Then one day an old friend called to tell me of the terrible loss of his father who was a God fearing man, but of whom I never had the privilege of knowing. The conversation rocked on and upon finding out I was without a job, he invited me and my family to his home in South Carolina. I had to get a borrowed truck together and with one of my last unemployment checks, we headed off to South Carolina.
Upon arrival we were invited to go to church with him and his family. They were attending Calvary Hill Baptist Church, I sat through the Sunday morning service with them, but was never moved by the Holy Ghost.
Not long after we left South Carolina to go to Florida to see my in-laws and then back home to Western New York from there. While there in Florida, the little Ford Ranger that didn’t have a single place on it without a dent from a roll over, died! My in laws talked it over and decided they would take us back as far north as South Carolina, but no further, so the next day we all climbed into their S-10 pick up truck. My father in law and mother in law and my 18 month old daughter rode in the front, while me, my wife and my seven and a half year old son rode in the back, from Lakeland Florida to Cross Anchor, SC, my wife lost the only shoes she had going through Columbia, SC.
When we got back to South Carolina I was offered a job by my friend, framing houses with him and his brothers, I did not take the offer because New York was all I ever knew and I wasn’t ready to leave it. My dad came to South Carolina picked us up and took us back to Western New York. My friend did not let me leave without letting me know the job offer was good if I decided to come back. At that point I couldn’t see that happening.
When we got back to New York it was still cold, my unemployment ran out, I couldn’t find work and we were out of wood. I started tearing down the barn for wood to try to heat the house. Two weeks later I found myself on an Amtrak train leaving Rochester, NY headed for Spartanburg, SC, I had to borrow the train fare from my 14 year old sister.
The train pulled into Spartanburg about 4am, he was there to pick me up and as soon as the sun was up, we were working.
They were still going to Calvary Hill Baptist Church, so I started going with them. My wife and children came down two months later, and we began to attend as a family. I sat under that foot stompin, paint peelin, shingle strippin King James Bible preaching for eight months, finally one Sunday morning preacher Pickel preached on the second coming of Christ. During the invitation the Holy Spirit of God began to deal with my heart about my lost condition, and how I needed Jesus. I gripped that pew and argued with God, because over the last eight months I had become very active in the church attending three services a week, showing up for Thursday night visitation, and Saturday night prayer meeting, but God said that wasn’t good enough, I needed to be saved. Sunday night rolled around, I went to church, during invitation time God drew me but I was afraid of what people might say. Wednesday night was the same, but after church Preacher Pickel asked me who was my visitation partner for the week, I didn’t have one yet so he asked me to go with him. While on visitation that Thursday night October 13th, he asked the question of all questions, Jerry just when exactly did you get saved? I told him right then and there Preacher I’m not even saved. He pulled that old church van over and I asked Christ to come into my heart and save my soul, and he did! Jesus didn’t only save my soul though, but my life and my marriage too. As soon as I heard 2 Corinthians 5:17 it became my lifes verse because Jesus did what no other man made method could do. He changed me, it’s been over 17 years since booze of any kind has passed through my lips and all because of Jesus.
Hope my testimony was a blessing, and I would love at any time to come to your church and tell it, for me it’s the greatest story ever told.