Have you met Doctor Barnardo? You know-- the young man with the lantern? Or maybe you don't know who he is?
He used to go out in the night carrying a lantern and look for street children in London who slept on back alley rooftops, under tarps at shipping docks, and other hideaways. He would bring them to his own homes for orphaned boys and girls.
During about 30 years, he and his co-workers provided a home and education for about 60,000 homeless children. About 17,000 were relocated to Canada for new opportunities not available in the UK. The motto for his orphanages was, "No destitute child ever refused admission."
You can read the fascinating story of Thomas Barnardo's life and work among children in the last 3 decades of the 19th century, in the book, Father to Nobody's Children, by David E. Fessenden.
His name is not often mentioned among other well-known Christian workers, such as David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Amy Carmichael, and Dwight Moody, though his lifespan overlapped all of theirs. I'm not sure why, because his story is amazing-- it is one that displays God's providence and leading, and his ministry to children-- and later to adults, too-- certainly had a large impact on the London streets where he worked.
This book was a read-aloud for us. It was excellent! Well written, and very interesting, as well as being an example of what kinds of good things can happen when a person lives his life dedicated to God and according to His leading.
At the time Dr. Barnardo began his ministry, there was much poverty in London and he was a teacher to poor children in what was known as a "ragged school." But he himself (and most of the rest of the city dwellers) had no idea there were children who had no one looking after them, and who slept outdoors on the streets year round. How God used this one man to begin to care for these needy children is an incredible narrative.
So if you haven't heart of "the young man with the lantern" be sure to look for this book!