Francis's heart was racing. They had arrested Judge White! Were they coming after him next? He must run! He did not know where he was going, but he must hide somewhere. After hours of running, he looked around. Mud oozed from his shoes. He was lying in the swamp. His clothes were filthy, and his face streaked with tears. The disgusting smell seemed to match his mood. He had tried so hard to do what was right, but everything had one wrong. The church had division, and now he was hunted like an enemy! All his dreams lay in ashes.
The story of Francis Asbury should be told to all of our children. It is a story of the American holiness movement, and the price involved.
When Francis Asbury arrived in the American colonies in 1771, it did not seem like he would be able to do much. He had failed at many things. He had dropped out of school as a child, never to go back. He was not the most poplar preacher. He was sick a lot of the time. But Francis was successful at being a circuit rider and getting others to ride, too.
So Francis rode. He rode miles trying to keep peace in the church, miles visiting the farms throughout the American colonies. Sometimes he stayed upright on his horse by his sure will. He rode on and on - even with fevers, colds, coughing fits, and swollen glands. He prayed, sweated, worked, and talked to the people - sleeping wherever he could find a place. He would get on his horse whether his stomach was upset, his throat was sore, or his ulcers were bothering him again. He crossed the Appalachian Mountains to get to his people about sixty times and went up and down the seaboard coast multiple times. He felt like he had a message that all the people needed to hear. He told his preachers, "Preach Christ crucified and the resurrection and that will conquer the world."
When Francis came to America, ten preachers came to the first meeting. There were only 1,160 members of the Methodist church. Many communities did not have churches and prayer was not heard in countless homes. By 1816 after years of Francis Asbury and his host of circuit riders traveling up and down the continent, there were 700 preachers and 214,235 Methodist members. America was changed!