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From Catholic to Christ
by Dr. Greg Boyle
Dr. Greg Boyle was reared in a loving home with a strong family
emphasis. He was baptized as an infant and raised in the Catho-
lic church. Greg attended Catholic school through the 6 th grade.
He was a very sincere Catholic and served as an altar boy. At
one time he thought that he might become a Catholic priest.
lic church. Two
weeks later they
left for Okinawa
to establish their
In elementary school Greg developed a very severe stutter.
Many times he was laughed at and made fun of on the play-
ground and in the classroom. He was often discouraged because
of the stutter.
Greg had been
transferred as an
unaccompanied single soldier, so
they had to apply
Greg & Patty Boyle
sponsorship when they got to the island. Greg hand carried his
paperwork through the chain of command and got sponsorship
right away. At every stop he was told he was excess and there
was no reason for him to be on the island. He was also told that
housing could take a year and they would have to extend and he
was excess so he more than likely could not extend. After look-
ing at off base housing, they decided to put in for an extension
and apply for housing. Two weeks later they were given keys to a
house in the Machinato housing area.
During high school he became involved in a non-denomina-
tional youth group that met at his high school. It was during
that time he was encouraged to read his Bible. While reading
his Bible, he had many questions and at one point he went to
the priest at his parish to seek answers. He was told to read the
Bible to get indulgences but not to interpret it on his own. Not
understanding how it was possible to read the Bible and not
interpret it, he decided to just keep on reading it, hoping to gain
knowledge about God. While attending a camp sponsored by
the non–denominational group, Greg realized that he needed to
make a decision to trust Christ as his Savior so that is just what
he did; he decided that Christ was his Savior.
After graduating from high school, Greg enlisted in the US Army.
Still dealing with the stutter, he was determined to be the best
soldier he could be. He attended basic training at Fort Ord, Cali-
fornia, and went to AIT at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapo-
lis, Indiana. Graduating at the top of his class, he was given his
choice of assignment, which was Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Wash-
ington. Stationed only 50 miles from home, he was able to spend
time with his family on his days off. During this time he met his
future wife, Patty. Desiring to fly helicopters in the Army, Greg
applied for Warrant Officer training in Fort Rucker, Alabama. His
request was denied because a slot for the training was not avail-
able at the time. It was suggested that he re-apply later. His Com-
manding Officer asked him what he wanted to do because he had
orders for him for Okinawa, Japan. Greg decided he would go to
Okinawa and re-apply for flight school from there.
On May 27, 1974, Greg boarded a plane in Seattle, headed to the
island of Okinawa. His orders were for 18 months, so he said
goodbye to his family and told Patty they would talk about mar-
riage when he got back. Upon Greg's arrival at the Machinato
Service Area (now Camp Kinzer), his NCOIC looked at him
and said, “What are you doing here? This base is closing and you
are already excess! We do not know what to do with you. The
computer you work on is not even on the island!” Not sure what
his job would be, Greg settled into the barracks and immediately
became involved in the Catholic chapel teaching teen classes.
After being on the island for six weeks, Greg asked Patty to
marry him and come to Okinawa for the remainder of his tour.
On January 10, 1975, they were married in Seattle in the Catho-
Their neighbors, David and Janie Pereda, were praying that they
could share the Gospel with the new family that moved into the
house. It was not long before they befriended the Boyles as the
new family in the area. They asked them if they were Christians
and the Boyles said, “Yes!” After all, Catholics are Christians.
Many conversations took place and the Peredas talked of their
church, Maranatha Baptist Church. The Boyles told the Peredas
they were busy at the Catholic chapel, teaching teens and hold-
ing teen events. The Peredas smiled and kept praying.
As Greg and Patty read their Bibles, they started to realize they
needed to share their faith with everyone even non-Catholic
teens. So they started inviting the teens from all the denomina-
tions on base to come to the Catholic teen events. One day the
priest called them into his office and told Greg they could no
longer invite non-Catholic teens to the activities. Greg's response
upset the priest when he told them that Protestant teens needed
to be saved also. After a long conversation with the priest, the
Boyles were removed as Catholic teen leaders, and parents were
called and told that the Boyles were dangerous and to keep
their children away from them. Feeling shocked, Greg and Patty
decided they would find a church off base and go back to their
parish in Seattle, Washington, when their time on Okinawa was
over. They attended every church imaginable and found nothing
that filled their desire to know more about the Bible.
One Sunday morning the Boyles decided to give their neigh-
bors' church a try. It was the last Sunday of the missions
conference at Maranatha Baptist Church. Dr. Don Sisk was
the speaker. They had never attended a church like that before.
People were friendly and talking to everyone and Greg and Patty
were used to going in and sitting quietly until the service began.