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WHO AM I?

I, Gary F. Zeolla, am the director of Darkness to Light. I was born in 1961. I am single (never married) and live in western Pennsylvania (about 20 miles NE of Pittsburgh).

I graduated from Penn State University in 1983 with a B.Sc. degree in Nutrition Science. Me squatting at Nationals in 1982While in college I was a member of the Penn State Barbell Club. In 1981, I was National Collegiate Powerlifting Champion in the 114 pound weight class. I was runner-up at Nationals in 1982 in the 123 pound class.

At that time, I held every Penn State and Pennsylvania State Collegiate record in both weight classes and one National Collegiate record. I also had won a whole wall-full of trophies.

If you had asked me back then who I was, I would have replied that I was Gary Zeolla, the Powerlifter. My whole identity was wrapped up in my athletic abilities. But in my Senior year in college it all came crashing down.

My health began to deteriorate, and I was unable to compete in Nationals in 1983. My last full competition was in July1982. As my lifting and health fall apart, so did I.

When I graduated I was quite a mess. As with many people, it took hitting rock bottom before I began looking up. But I was not one to "just believe" something to make myself feel better. So I began doing a lot of reading and searching on my own. I studied the teachings and integrity of the various religions and philosophies the world has to offer.

After about three years I became convinced the Christian faith was the only one that was logically and historically sound. But if the Christian faith was true, that meant I was a sinner, condemned before God, in need of a Savior. After much struggle over this admission, in the winter of 1986, God brought me to my knees as I repented of my sins and placed my faith in Christ.

Afterwards, I continued my personal studies. The pastor of the church I was attending at the time suggested I attend seminary. I decided on Denver Seminary.

Click for a larger imageSo in March of 1988, I moved to Denver, Colorado and began working towards a Master's degree in Philosophy of Religion. I also worked with the now defunct Shield of Faith ministry, authoring several articles for its newsletter The Shield. Unfortunately, my health worsened while in Denver, which lead to financial problems. As a result, I was forced to leave seminary with only two-thirds of the credits necessary for graduation completed. I moved back to western Pennsylvania in December of 1990.

After returning to Pennsylvania I joined Christ Community Fellowship, a member of the Evangelical Free Church of America. With the backing of this church I started Darkness to Light ministry. It began with the publication of a hardcopy newsletter, which was published from July 1991 to September 1998. I first set up Darkness to Light's Web site in July 1996. And I began to have books published in 2000. And I started a new email newsletter in September 2003. To subscribe to this newsletter, see Free Darkness to Light newsletter.

Also, as my health improved, I was able to get back into powerlifting. I now hold 15 International Powerlifting Association world records and am the #1 ranked master powerlifter in the USA in my weight class. I even set-up an additional Web site about powerlifting and other health and fitness related issues. It is called Fitness for One and All. But now, as a Christian, I can keep my lifting in perspective. It is important to me, but it doesn't define my existence.

So now who am I? As with other Christians, I can say I am a sinner saved by grace. Moreover, I am someone who is very thankful that, despite all of the problems I have faced in my life, God continues to enable me to perform ministry in His service.

For about me, see Director's Dating Profile. To contact me, use the comments form at Contact Information.

Who Am I? Copyright 2004-2006 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.dtl.org).

The above item was posted on this Web site November 1996.
It was last updated January 22, 2006.

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