The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 18 - 22

They too came to Durlach in order to attend the conference.

When the blessed assembly was concluded I received invitations from nearly all the preachers to visit them and their congregations. One of these was P. Beck, currently eminent elder of the Atlantic Conference. It provided me with work for two months. I was not just busy on Sundays but they made two to three appointments for me during the week.

That first Sunday I was in Stuttgart. In the morning as I finished my address to the Sunday school, Preacher Erdle came to me and asked me to preach for him that afternoon at 3 o'clock during the main church service. I responded, "Really, dear brother. I'm no preacher so I can't agree to your request, however if you would like, I would be happy to address the assembly provided you make it known what I intend." To this he answered, "Yes, indeed I will gladly do this." "Good, then tell the people that a brother from America, a businessman, will relate his experiences in Christian life this afternoon." Brother Edle made this known. It yielded a very fine result.

At 3 o'clock the spacious church was well packed. About ten to twelve soldiers, who wore swords, were present. I had never seen so many before. This was the most remarkable assemblage I had ever seen. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of his children, especially in my own heart to such an extent that with the grace of God I gave witness with great joy for over an hour. I'm not quite sure if as a result nineteen people came to America in that year. Three families are to this day still good members of our first congregation in Buffalo. The bishop preached on Sunday after me and later when we met he congratulated me with these words: "Brother Boller, it was said to me that you had a larger assembly than I did." In a friendly manner I responded to him, "I can't help that."

At night as I thanked the Lord for his blessings and for the apparent success which he sent me I remembered the license which the eminent elder wanted to give me before I left America. Then I though how I would have blamed myself and finally brought shame to the Lord's cause and perhaps the Evangelical Congregation in

America if I had taken his well-meaning advice.

During my journey I visited Tübingen. Our congregation held its church service in a goat stall and I was quite disarmed by this. With the shipwreck of the Mosel the thought lived in me to do something for Tübingen out of gratitude for God's wondrous rescue.

"It's a fatal matter," an unbeliever said to Bishop Dubs, "when one so suddenly sinks into a watery grave." I asked an artist to paint a picture on canvas of the sinking of the Mosel, which he also did in minature. I later used this picture in connection with my lectures in many American cities to great advantage. The people in Tübingen have a beautiful chapel in a magnificent section of the city. Since that time I've visited Tübingen twice and found our work in a very promising and burgeoning condition.

In recognition of my loving service and as a warm and heartfelt expression of the gratitude of the Tübingen congregation they sent me a beautiful large picture of the chapel along with a note of thanks signed by each member

on the backside of the picture. Each time I look at it I rejoice over our work in Tübingen.

4. General Franz Siegel in the Civil War, 1860 - 1864


After the war and the victory General Siegel came to Buffalo. I went to the hotel at which he was staying and asked him to talk to the Sunday school class the next morning at 9 o'clock.The brave hero and victor accepted my invitation, appeared the next morning in the Sunday school classroom and delivered an enthusiastic speech. He said, "boys become the men who take our places and girls become the women who prepare the next generation for church and state. As you are now educated so you become." In battle he was under the command of a fearless general. When a battle was nearly lost he asked the general to let him have the command. His request was granted. With new resolve the German regiments charged and won.

At the close of his speech the students were so enthused that they cried out, "I fight with Siegle."

5. An Address to Small Children in Berlin, Canada


"Oh, what beautiful blue and black eyes you have. From whom did you get those magnificent eyes? And who gives us all good things?" "The loving God," was the answer. "That is right. From him you get those beautiful eyes. But listen. Why did the loving God give you beautiful eyes?" "To see." Again all together and quite loud,"to see." "That is true. And did loving God give you anything else?" "Yes, He also gave us ears." "How many?" "Two." "What do we use our ears for?" "To hear." "Now when Mama calls, 'John and Katie, come here to me' and you see her with those beautiful blue eyes but you do not go to her, are you using your ears to hear? Or when the beloved Savior beckons us 'Come to me' and you do not go to him, are you using your ears to hear? When Jesus calls you, give him your young hearts. He's calling you now. Come to him."

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Text provided by Lockwood Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, BX8080.B65

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks