I asked them why they had joined Church Army. They told me their stories, how they had been inspired by an early film of Church Army, they watched Evangelists working with children orphaned in the First World War, they saw other Evangelists working with young women who were pregnant outside marriage and had been thrown on the streets by their parents, and they knew they were being called to help. Elsie said her life had been “an adventure” and although they never felt able or confident in each new post, they knew God would give them what they needed. Lily said her strength always was that she loved God, she knew he loved her, and she wanted to share his love with others.
Their energy and sheer life was infectious, I found myself sitting in the presence of two saints, and the world is a better place for their being alive. They told me story after story of people they had met, and shared God’s love with. Each of them had travelled with the forces in the 2nd World War and had been to Africa and India. Even now at their advanced age they are still sharing their faith with the staff in the residential homes where they live, and take an interest in the young staff who work there. They told me Church Army needed to root everything in prayer, and I was told on no uncertain terms, Church Army Evangelists were not to be “imitation curates!” I have met people 50 years younger with less life and optimism! I loved it so much, I stayed over an hour longer than scheduled!