For a while now, I’ve been casually reading American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists by John Wigger. I’m enjoying it, but I also recently began reading Asbury’s three-volume journal (Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3).
Asbury begins his journal talking about a conference that took place on August 7, 1771 where he made himself available to go preach on the American continent. Life and ministry in America is certainly what defined Asbury’s legacy.
Asbury, who received John Wesley’s blessing, wrote, “I am going to live to God, and to bring others so to do” (12).
Asbury embarked for America on September 4, 1771 and landed in Philadelphia on October 27. Upon his arrival, he reflected …
When I came near the American shore, my very heart melted within me, to think from whence I came, where I was going, and what I was going about. But I felt my mind open to the people, and my tongue loosed to speak. I feel that God is here; and find plenty of all we need. (14-15).
Once in America, Asbury was here to stay, in spite of the looming revolutionary war. At the time, Asbury didn’t know how long he would be in America. On his way to America, he noted, “If God does not acknowledge me in America, I will soon return to England” (12).
Asbury never returned to England, and he oversaw the growth of Methodism in America. In January 1772, Asbury prayed, “Lord, keep me faithful, watchful, humble, holy, and diligent to the end.”