In 1765, John and Mary Fawcett went to minister in Wainsgate, a rural English community, described as: “farmers and shepherds, poor as Job’s turkey; an uncouth lot whose speech one could hardly understand, unable to read or write; most of them pagans cursed with vice and ignorance and wild tempers. The established church had never touched them.”
They began to minister from house to house and built a small congregation. Eventually they had four children, but at Wainsgate they struggled with very little money. Eventually John was offered a pastorate and a very good salary at a famous church in London. They decided to accept the offer.
After preaching a farewell sermon, John and Mary and their children had a cart loaded with all their belongings. People gathered around them and were crying and hugging them. Mary said: “I can’t stand it John. I know not how to go.” John responded: “Lord help me, Mary, nor can I stand it! We will unload the wagon.”
Then John told the people: “We’ve changed our minds! We are going to stay!” And everybody began to rejoice and celebrate. Later John wrote a song about the unity and love that his family experienced with the believers at Wainsgate.
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts is Christian love.
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder past
It gives us inward pain,
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
The Fawcetts stayed with the people in Wainsgate for the rest of John’s life letting the rivers of living water flow there for 54 years in all. John said: “The Lord is a fountain of life, of strength, of grace and comfort.”
Here’s one of John’s prayers: “O blessed Jesus, Your love is wonderful! It is the admiration, joy and song of glorified saints. The experimental sense of Your love on earth sweetens the bitterness of life and disarms death of all its terrors!”
Here is how John taught people to stay strong in the love of God: “Love to Jesus is maintained and continued in its warmth and fervor – by frequent meditation on His adorable person, His dying love, and His infinite excellence and preciousness. If we lose sight of Jesus as the spring of all our happiness, and of His ineffable glories, the fervency of our love for Him will be abated.”