It’s hard to believe that back in the 70s, George himself was a drug-addicted drifter, consuming cocktails of substances, as he searched for the answers to life in a syringe or at the bottom of a whisky bottle.
But, that’s the transforming power of God. That’s the awesome change that can happen when someone opens up to the Lord. And that incredible power is available for all men and women.
George’s life story is an inspirational one. Growing up, he felt that he didn’t ‘fit in’ and struggled his way through school – which he found ‘bearable’ – before working in a number of labouring jobs.
Even back then though, as a young man, George had a belief. He would often argue with people who were involved in Eastern religions, as he was of the strong opinion that if God was the answer, then it was the God of the Bible and nothing else.
By his early 20s, he was pondering the deeper issues of life. “The world didn’t make much sense to me,” says George, who first took LSD as he was “looking for adventure and answers.”
Restless, George wanted to experience more from life, and he got more – more drugs and more confusion. And his life got more and more out of control, as he took ever-increasing quantities of cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis, before eventually injecting heroin.
He was a broken man, rummaging around for a fix, when he realised just how dramatically wrong things had become. One day, while sitting in a friend’s flat, he had a profound moment where he thought “this just has to stop.”
George was able to kick the heroin but only by switching smack for drink and, ultimately, drug addiction for alcoholism.
However, God started to move in his life and, as he was walking down Aberdeen’s Union Street one Sunday, he was approached by a woman who asked if he would be interested in going to church that night. George thought he’d give it a go and he ventured off to the city’s King’s Community Church.
While there, George heard that international evangelist, Luis Palau, was heading to Pittodrie Stadium and that astronaut Jim Irwin – who had a powerful revelation of God during a trip to space – was speaking at the city’s Music Hall the night before.
Inquisitive, he went to hear James Irwin, whose story stirred something within him, so he made his way to Pittodrie the following day to listen to what world-renowned Louis Palau had to say.
And what Louis Palau had to say, quite simply, changed George’s life. All the questions he had been asking about the meaning of our existence were answered in one short preach and he gave his heart to Jesus in the stadium that evening.
From that day, George has dedicated and devoted himself to helping disillusioned, hurting and confused people find the path to abundant life in Christ.
For many years, he worked with Aberdeen Cyrenians, managing the homeless charity’s night shelter – a role that George says he relished: “I quickly found that I loved that kind of work. I enjoyed helping people; many of whom were really good folks who had tragically suffered some catastrophic loss in their life.”
Not only has George helped local people break free from addiction but his compassion for the broken has seen him travel to Hong Kong to work with addicts within the renowned Walled City, alongside missionary Jackie Pulinger.
Today, he’s a Support Worker at Sunnybrae and has been a key part of the team here since the centre first opened as a Teen Challenge facility in 2003.
Asked what he enjoys most about his job, George says: “The opportunity to work with people and see their lives be transformed.”
And, tapping into his wealth of experience, he provides a nugget of advice for those working with the lost, hurt and broken: “Remember where you came from. We’re not experts. We’ve just been rescued because Jesus came and scooped us up.”