John’s zeal for missionary work extended beyond the youthful prayer group and long before he joined the Church. He became friends with an older gentleman who had a critical wife. The man attended church and prayed to be able to endure. When the man’s wife died, he married a kind woman who was easy to live with. Soon the man forgot the Lord and spent his time in the pubs, drinking heavily. John called him to repentance. The man felt ashamed and began to attend church again. He didn’t drink any more.
Because of John’s understanding of the Bible and his ability to preach, he was called as a local minister in a town several miles from Penrith. This was a great honor and responsibility for he was only seventeen and still working as an apprentice to a furniture maker. One Sunday while he and a fellow church member walked toward the town where he was to preach, John stopped on the road and told his companion, “I have a strong impression that I have to go to America to preach the gospel!” From that time on, John looked forward to life in the Americas.