Today we walked the grounds where William Booth started his ministry, now almost 150 years ago. First stop was at the Blind Beggar Pub in the East End of London. A famous place for Salvationist because it was on the sidewalk near the pub that Booth preached the gospel. Colonel Richard Munn shared some stories of the beginning of the Army, and pointed towards the significance of the neighbourhood, at that time notorious, overcrowded and very poor. It was here that William Booth found his people, and therefore so did we!
We prayed near the pub, at the statue of General Booth, just a few metres down the road, and at the old Quaker burial ground (now a small park). On these ground the first tent meetings were held. Close to this spot was also the Army’s first rescue home for girls and women, who were trapped in prostitution.
Because I grew up in an Army family I am familiar with our heritage stories. The stories of the gospel preached on the streets, in tents, and dancehalls. As well as stories of the music to attract people, and the fire with which the officers and soldiers testified about the grace of God on their lives. The story of William Booth calling out to his eldest son to 'do something!' about the destitute situation of the people of London. The stories came to live as we walked the streets of the East End. It made me realize how privileged I am to serve in the Army of Salvation. And once again I was reminded about our God-given task to bring Light in dark places. When William Booth found his people, so did we!