Geronimo was born in 1820 near Gila River, close to present-day Clifton, Arizona. His father was Taklishim and his mother was Juana. Geronimo would grow to become one of the most feared Chiricahua warriors and the last Apache Chief. He was a master warfare strategist and was held in awe by his own people for his supposed medicine powers.
On September 4, 1886, Geronimo surrendered to General Nelson A. Miles. The small band of Apache warriors, including women and children, along with 394 other tribesmen, were loaded into railroad cars and shipped to Fort Marion and Fort Pickens, Florida. Eventually Geronimo would be relocated to Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he died from pneumonia on February 17, 1909. He was buried in the Fort Sill cemetery and in 1931 a large rock monument surmounted by a stone eagle was placed over his grave.
In 1903 Geronimo was thrown from his horse and severely injured. For a while he was giving deep thoughts to Christianity. He had seen many of his warriors make professions and saw their lives change, including Chatto and Naiche. In July of 1903, a "camp meeting", was held on Medicine Bluff Creek and many Apaches attended. Geronimo slowly made his way to the meeting and sat inside the tent, with Naiche taking a seat beside him. Geronimo spoke in Apache and Benedict Jozhe interpreted:
"He says that he is in the dark. He knows that he is not on the right road and he wants to find Jesus."
At this, as the missionaries remembered it, "Naiche's fine, strong face blazed with joy." During the succeeding days, they spent much time with Geronimo, explaining the tenets of their faith, and at the last service by grace he received it.
"I am old," he told them, "and broken by this fall I have had. I am without friends for my people have turned from me. I am full of sins, and I walk alone in the dark. I see that you missionaries have got a way to get sin out of the heart, and I want to take that better road and hold it 'til I die."
One of the missionaries examined him and found that underneath his apparent indifference he had long been listening and learning. He was baptized a week later. After the ceremony his people crowded around him. Naiche embraced him, and the women and children clung to his hands. As the missionaries told it afterwards, "his face softened and became bright with joy."
Geronimo believed Christianity to be superior to his own religion and advised all of his people who were not Christians to study that religion, because, he said,
"It seems to me the best religion in enabling one to live right."
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for salvation from sin. The gospel message of the Eternal, Sinless, Son of God coming to earth, being clothed with human flesh to die a cruel death on Calvary's cross, then being buried and rising again the third day and ascending to the Father's right hand, being highly exalted, "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
A gospel tract from W.G.C.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”