I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Lk 15:7.
Today Bobby Montgomery feels the joy of heaven. For the first time in ten years, he had a face-to-face conversation with his only daughter, Grace. “I never thought it would happen,” says Montgomery, “but I had hoped for it for years.”
The road to this reunion was a long one for Montgomery. He grew up in the Chelsea area. His dad was more often in prison than not while his mom tried to raise the family. “My Dad was ‘the dope man’ Montgomery explained, “so I was in or around drugs my whole life.” Montgomery started using at the age of twelve and was arrested for the first time at the age of fourteen. He married his sweetheart at the age of twenty-five and had four children, while at the same time continuing his use of drugs.
After eighteen years of being together, Montgomery and his wife divorced, and his life began to spiral out of control. He was arrested several times and wound up doing two years in prison. Two days after his release he was buying dope at the dealer’s house. Within two weeks, he knew he was in trouble. “I had no hope, no dignity, and no self-respect,” said Montgomery. Seeking help through another rescue mission’s program resulted in his being sober for about a year. It also introduced him to Jim Etheredge the current Executive Director at Brother Bryan Mission who was working at the other mission at the time. “Once I finished the other program I came to Brother Bryan because I knew Mr. Etheredge was there,” says Montgomery.
Montgomery worked a job and stayed at Brother Bryan Mission for eighteen months in their Exodus Program before getting a place on his own. However, once again he tried to help a girlfriend get off drugs, which only resulted in Montgomery returning to drugs himself. Recognizing where the path he was traveling would end he returned to Brother Bryan Mission and entered their residential recovery and job readiness program called the New Life Fellowship Program. Montgomery was in church one Sunday and realized that his thinking was wrong about what a Christian was. “I responded to the invitation to accept Christ as my Savior that day and was baptized the next week,” Montgomery revealed.
As peace and contentment filled his heart, Montgomery missed his children as never before. His next to youngest son had reached out to him through social media but once his daughter, Grace, found out about it she immediately blocked all contact with him. Montgomery kept praying for an opportunity. Six months later, Grace unblocked the contact and asked, “Are you a preacher or something?” She had seen where Bobby was now a student at Southeastern Bible College and was growing in his newfound faith. She had also seen where Bobby was a staff member at Brother Bryan Mission running their food services.
Grace had some business at the downtown courthouse and contacted Montgomery about a possible meeting. “I could have made a milkshake if I had some milk in my hands, I was so nervous,” Montgomery described. The meeting lasted only about fifteen minutes, and there was some awkwardness, but it broke the ice. “Seeing her blond hair top the hill made me feel something I never thought I’d feel again,” said Montgomery. “I think it was the joy of being a Dad to my daughter again,” added Montgomery. After ten years a prodigal Dad found a way home.