More than just a paratrooper’s exclamation, “Geronimo” this Indian was an outlaw, an entrepreneur, an entertainer and an advocate. Who could have ever imagined that this fierce warrior would one day end up preaching to a hundred or so contrite and crying Indians, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”
In 1902, Geronimo was approached by two Dutch Reformed missionary pastors and invited to attend services held on the Ft. Sill reservation where he was a prisoner. Geronimo reluctantly agreed and showed up at an evening meeting where the pastor preached on the atonement.
After the sermon, Geronimo declared, “The Jesus Road is best, and I would like my people to travel it. … Now we begin to think the Christian white people love us!”
However, it was nearly a year later before Geronimo officially took the “Jesus Road.” After having spent the year vacillating between the claims of Christianity and his tribal religion, Geronimo found himself once again at the little mission. Recently injured from a fall from his horse, the old warrior limped into the service and heard the pastor preach a sermon titled, “Jesus Made Just Like Sin for Us.” Right then, Geronimo begged that the pastors would “pray that Jesus would give [him] a new heart.”
A week later, Geronimo was satisfactorily examined, displaying “more knowledge than anyone had anticipated” and subsequently baptized into the Dutch Reformed Church.
“No consistory of our church,” explained Dr. Walter Roe, the examining pastor, “could refuse to admit this man into membership.”
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