When sixteen and a half years old, I was persuaded to preach in the villages. Once started in lay-preaching around Cambridge - where I was am still assistant in a school - I put my soul into the work. Having been invited to supply, for one Sabbath, the Baptist Church at Waterbeach, I did so; I was invited to continue and have now been the minister of the congregation for one year and four months. The chapel is always full, many profess to have felt the power of Divine grace, and residents in the neighbourhood say that there is a visible reform manifest. I preach thrice on the Sabbath; and often, indeed, almost constantly five times in the week-nights. My salary being insufficient, I still remain in the school. Though the congregation is large they are poor - though their kindness may be judged from the fact that I have been to sixty-two different houses to dine on the Lord's Day. Thus are your words in part realized.
Your words spoken in season have been good to me; and if I am of any use in the army of the living God, I owe it in great part to you that I ever enlisted in it. I am not nineteen yet; and need, and trust I shall have a mention in your prayers. With the greatest respect, I am, Yours truly, CHARLES SPURGEON.I read the letter mostly because the meeting was a Mission Festival and Richard Knill was a pioneer missionary whose discernment was not only of historical significance but speaks volumes about our continuing need to discern God's call on others and ourselves. But note the details - preaching eight times a week while still teaching at school. A village on its way to being transformed - an extraordinary story of God at work. And 62 different houses - he had counted them! That's hospitality.
Before I move on I shall try to find something about Richard Knill's response. I am sure he found this a massive 'beam of encouragement'!