George Simpson Montgomery – January 14, 1851 – September 6, 1930
“In my infancy I was educated in our religious principals, but at fourteen I left my parental home and, leaving behind its Christian influence, slowly began to strive for a life of worldly pleasure and adventure.
In 1867 I struck out for California, with a vision as the sole purpose, a burning desire, to, as soon as I could, make a fortune and obtain for myself the pleasures of life, because I judged that happiness would come with riches, and with that money.
I took extraordinary risks in different enterprises in which I earned and lost great amounts of money.
Finally, I accumulated a great amount of money and wealth in the form of speculative mines, particularly in such land in California and exploratory silver and gold mines in Mexico. This was during the years 1875 to 1885.
Our mines and work were located in places infested with bands of robbers, the principal band being lead by one Heracilo Bernal. Throughout those years these robbers terrorized all of the surrounding commerce, attacking the towns and thousands of inhabitants, so that no life or property was safe.
Many times, after having successfully transported out our work we were forced to give up our bars of silver in order to save our own lives.
I returned to San Francisco, this time investing in businesses such as U.S. letters of credit and first mortgages so that in this way I could maintain during my absence what I had acquired in the past.
I decided to go to European – London, Paris and other parts – where I had many friends.
I established residence in London, where I dedicated my life to the “clubs,” since I had all, plenty of money at my disposal and whatever money could buy.
I would pass part of my time in Paris and other in the “regattas,” or the “yate” races, there a guest of a friend who possessed the best racing yates on the Mancha Canal.
Having everything that a man could desire – parties, dances, spectacles, concerts, etc., all my thoughts and time were dedicated to a circle of worldly pleasure and other fantasies, whichever I might imagine.
Some of my friends envied the “good times” they thought I was enjoying; however, they could not have imagined the real feelings of my heart and the disenchantment I was suffering – to the extent that my life had turned into a great fiasco!
Many times I returned to my room after a day’s pleasure, crying out in prayer: my God! Is this all the world can give me? Is this the best thing in the world? I had to confess that I felt that all I had ever dreamed about as life of happiness, was all that I believed there was.
I sat down, thought about it and said to myself: These sinful pleasures that you are enjoying now might be cut short; and what guarantee do you have to live more than only one day? I recalled that many of my friends had suddenly died; and, recently, two of my most intimate friends – the owners of a “yate” with whom I had passed some time – like this I would die.
Another time I thought: Suppose it is that I might live another 50 years, and I might, after all, be able to continue as I am, I would still have to die. A question struck me like a voice: “Where will you spend eternity?”
Many times the word “Eternity” sounded in my ear, to such an extent that it prevented me from thinking of sleeping. At times I got up to smoke a cigar or take a drink in order to sleep, before retiring again; such fatiguing experience continued for a number of years, being afraid to lie down unless it was with a drink or reading a frivolous novel.
Several years passed by, living such a way while my health breaking down, my life being consumed and shortened. At this point I returned to my house in San Francisco where I consulted with my doctor, who informed m that I had diabetes and prohibited me from eating foods that might contain starch or sugar. One can appreciate the great difference between with the best that French cooks could prepare and an insipid diet without delight; for better or worse, on this occasion I had to follow the doctor’s advice.
I wanted to know the worst from a one Dr. Christao (who was interested in the salvation of my soul), who informed me of the impossibility of my rehabilitation, assuring me that one could not hope to live more than six months and telling me that it would be good to put my affairs in order while I still had the ability to do so. This was a great surprise for me and caused me to think very seriously and solemnly.
I resolved then to make a maritime journey, and so I secured passage on the ship, “Pacific Mail,” that sailed to Japan.
After two or three days on the sea I had nothing else to do but to wonder why I had not met some other passengers.
Now I had reached the last year of my life. Yes, unless my health were restored, there would not even be six months left, if the doctor were correct in his diagnosis. Seated on my bed in deep thought and meditation, these thoughts came to me: “Is there any truth to the Christian religion and Biblical belief? Is heaven real? Yes, and if the soul were real? What would happen to you? Where would you pass eternity?”
I well knew that no one had the right to heaven. The thought came to me: “If God is omnipotent and complete love as the Bible says – I should seek Him with all my heart, then He will manifest himself to me. I reasoned like this. There, alone, before my bed, I went to my knees and fervently prayed, crying out to God that he reveal himself to me. I promised Him that if He were to save me, I would live for Him and give Him all that I possessed and my daily existence would be only to serve Him and help others like myself.
This precious promise, that is found in Verse 16 of the third chapter of the Gospel of John, came to me: “Because God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son,…” It seemed to me that God was speaking to me through this verse in a living voice, so I said “God, I believe.” In that moment all my sins of my life were forgiven and my life underwent a complete change. Jesus Christ became my true Saviour.
Old things passed away and a profound peace that I had never experienced came over me. The Bible speaks of this peace in a letter to the Philippians, Chapter 4, Verse 7: “The peace of God that passes all understanding.” now I knew at first hand what was the religion of Jesus Christ. This experience brought about a real change in my life. Now I understood for me the first time the significance of this declaration of faith, made to the Lord and recorded in St. John, Chapter 3, Verse 7: “You need to be born again.” I began to experience this change of heart. All fear of death was cast away from me because I knew that I had passed from death to life.
Sinful appetites were taken out of me, habits from which I was unable to free myself from before with my own strength. For many years I had been drinking moderately until it had become a habit; even my friends did not suspect that I was such a prisoner; however, from that day of my conversion- never, to his day, for more than 10 years afterward- have I had the desire to drink alcoholic beverages. I was also saved from the old vice of tobacco; I was a slave to even that for all of my past life. I could also mention other proofs of liberation.
After spending some time in Japan I returned to my house to die, now perfectly resigned, as I knew that because of the worthiness that death of Jesus Christ on Calvary gave to us, my sins had been forgiven, once crimson had been turned white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
I had a fervent desire to live to redeem some of my lost years -because so much of my past life had been egotistical, living a life only to please myself instead of being concerned with how to help and bless others.
After my return from Japan and to the doctor that I mentioned above, who, hearing happily about the story of my conversion, brought to my attention what seemed a special message: he told me how he had cured some of his patience through fasting and prayer. He gave me the following verses of the Bible to meditate on: “Is there anyone sick among you? Call the elders of the church to pray for them and…” (James 5:14) “… you will anoint with oil many sick and they will be healed.” (Mark 6:13) “That is why I tell you that whatever you as in prayer, believe it and you will receive and it will come to pass…” (Mark 11:24) “And I say to you, if you listen attentively to the voice of the Lord your God, and do all that is correct before the eyes of the Lord and submit yourself to His words and laws, and keep all his commandments, none of the sickness such as those that befell on the Egyptians will befall on you, because He is the Lord that took you out of Egypt…” (Exodus 15:26). …and say I the lord, I will take away your sins as sicknesses from the midst of you. (Exodus 23:25). He also told me that in their faith they would have been cured.
I spent several days studying these points and came to the conclusion that the doctrine of God’s curing was above all and that Jesus Christ is the only son of God, yesterday, today and forever, but one must have faith. I learned from the letter of Paul to the Romans that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” In this way I learned the secret of finding faith and within 10 days from that day I offered Him my prayer of faith (now 10 years ago) saying, Oh Lord give me the faith to be cured, I have been restored and God has given me the desire of my heart – that of living for others.
In ending, I say to you, dear reader, that no one can save you from your sins except He, Jesus, who came to find and save the lost. What will it merit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? The only desire I have is to relate to you my conversion that this might lead some soul to seek his Saviour.