The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 23 - 27


6. The Worst Sunday School of Four Hundred Students that I have ever seen

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For many years a Sunday school was operated by the English Baptists at the corner of Genesee St. and Jefferson Avenue, which I visited after receivng an invitation. As the superintendent recited the Our Father two boys were playing with marbles, which they threw to one another at one side of the room. I also saw six or seven young bengals sitting on a chest engaged in a spitting contest, seeing who could spit farthest. I was asked to teach a class for 10-year-old boys. During the class two wanted to jump over the bench. Since talking didn't help I reach out both arms and grabbed them by the collars. Then there was peace. Finally I addressed the students. The Superintendent asked the class "Do you want to listen to Mr. Boller?" A shout and bellowing erupted which remains unforgettable for me. "Yes, yes, yes, yes!" After this I told them of a lion in the West Indies and a hunter on horseback and I managed to speak to them for twenty minutes.


7. The Reward for Continued Diligence and Patience

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Through determination, courage and diligence one achieves his goal and accomplishes his plans. Many young men study very diligently and battle great obstacles in order to complete their tasks but in the end they solve their problems thus finding reward for their effort and diligence. Others who grasp things more quickly and expend less effort often fail in certain cases for lack of the demand for energy and sustained diligence. The story of the tortoise and the hare illustrates.

A tortoise was traveling to the Chautauqua meeting. A hare sprinted by who was going the same way. He stopped and asked the tortoise where he was going. "To the Chautauqua meeting." "That's laughable. You should have left a month earlier," said the hare. The tortoise responded, "Listen my dear rabbitfoot, I'll make a bet with you, you show-off, that I get there before you. Whoever's sitting in front of the grand hotel first is the winner and


the other must pay for lunch for both."

The hare was beside himself with laughter, took another look at the tortoise and thought: he's so dumb he thinks he'll win; the hare accepted the wager and said, "That is understood." The hare departed. It was a very hot day and the path led to a beautiful, cool forest. "Ah," the hare said to himself, "I'll lay down for a little while beneath this cool and shady tree. The tortoise won't be here for a long time. I can still beat him." He slept not as a hare usually does with its eyes open when it sleeps so he didn't see the tortoise overtake him. He slept and slept and finally awoke and thought he had only slept for a few minutes. He look behind himself and said, "he still won't be here for a long time," so he laid back down and fell soundly back asleep. He awoke again and rubbed his eyes and said "Hey, where did the sun go?" He jumped up, sprinted and leapt away. Amid great haste he arrived in front of the grand hotel and to his great surprise he found the tortoise happily sitting on a stool in front of the Chautauqua hotel.


"You're already here?" the hare asked. "Oh, yes. I've been sitting here for a while waiting for you," responded the tortoise. The hare had to pay for the lunch.

You still find such attitudes and dispositions today even in our Sunday schools in the beloved Evangelical congregation, which lacks necessary energy and sustaining discipline thus many fall short and never arrive at their destinations in time.

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8. An Address delivered in the English Language in Battle Creek, Canada

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A Sunday school convention was held here by the brothers of the Canadian Conference. S. Umbach was the chairman who asked me to deliver an address in the German language and I did this with the help of the Lord. My Sunday school ship encountered good winds so I could properly sail the lovely canal of Sunday school issues. The address made a good impression and it was well received.

At the close of this convention Brother Umbach sought me out to deliver an address in the English language since Brother Stäbler couldn't come as we had expected.


I answered, "Listen, Brother Umbach. I could not possibly do this for the simple reason that I cannot deliver public addresses in English." Brother Umbach responded, "Sure you can," to which I replied, "Only when I have to, then I try." My English address was very short and impressive. I warned the many people in the assembly and the first words were well understood. I took my text from one of our much loved and successful preachers, Brother Derring when he was our preacher in Buffalo. One time he related that a blessed and pious sister in the east, who was a member of an English congregation, could only speak two words in English. These words made such an impression during the prayer hour that everything went splendidly and the entire prayer hour turned into a sacred celebration. The two words are:
January — February — Thy God.
January — February — Thy Power.
January — February — Amen.

With these two words my English speech was delivered. The echo of this speech I later heard in the West, in Canada, in California and in Germany.


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

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks