The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 33 - 37


A man needs a lifetime to convert. It doesn't happen quickly, etc."

Thus my sigh was heard. I had a text for the coming Sunday evening, namely Acts of the Apostles 9, 7 - 19. I had nearly six days in which to prepare. The forest hill was my sanctum where I could contemplaate the conversion of the Apostle Paul and study. Sunday evening came. The meeting house was quite full. I spoke with great joy about the conversion of Paul and the conversion of F. Schlümbach, the editor of a Bachus newspaper who served as an officer in the Civil War. After the war he visited his former general on a Saturday afternoon and he had to remain there until Monday because there was no train on Sunday. Everything made such a wholesome impression on him that he seriourly sought the Lord and on Monday he was a true Christian. The general sent him then to a seminary and he became an influential preacher.


Then I told them about my own conversion with such joy that many tears flowed. The spirit of the Lord works mightily. Now I gave some illustrations for the contrite assemblage and showed how one can suddenly consecrate himself to the Lord and how readily and quickly the Lord renews the heart and purifies us in his true blood when one is truly repentent.

"I don't anything about you," I said, "I don't know if you are converted or whether you have done true penance or not. But I know one thing quite well; tonight before you go to bed perform true penance and turn to the beloved savior with a contrite heart in devout prayer. You will receive forgiveness for all your sins. It is an error to teach and to believe that man needs an entire lifetime to convert to the Lord. Amen."

From this time on through the four week interval I had to hold all meetings for the religious pamphlet vendor. Two weeks after my departure I received a letter asking me to become their preacher and to live with them in the city of Hornberg.


11. My Experience as General Sunday School Superintendent

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In the ten years I was General Sunday School Superintendent I had many and varied experiences. Little issues would arise from time to time in Sunday school which the Sunday School Superintendent could not or would not resolve. More often if the superintendent did not take the ox by the horns they called the General Superintendent. Teachers have been dragged over the coals when someone saw them coming from places which are inappropriate for teachers to be and other times when they weren't seen at prayer hour. Others go to saloons and their horses stand for a long time before the tavern. I could name some but it wouldn't make things right.

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12. The Lord hears Prayer and All good Things proceed from It.

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We had an aunt who lived in Cincinnati and who would hear nothing about conversion. At her urgent request my sister decided to pay her a short visit.


But since Marie would not go the the theater with her within the short time the relationship became a tense one. Quite unexpectedly I received word to fetch Marie because she was sick. I immediately made my way to Cincinnati. Upon arrival I discovered that she had left the hospital that my aunt had taken her to a full week ago. Oh God, where had the girl gone! I looked for her in all cities between Cincinnati and Buffalo, in all sick and lunatic assylums including in Buffalo but without success. I prayed like never before. For three months she was lost to us. Then came the temptations. Someone told me to go to Syracuse to see a clairvoyant who could tell me where my sister could be found. One of my aunts said, "Karl, Marie is under lock and key and can't get out. I have made something with a black coal and the bible which will allow me to make a prediction." A while back I had befriended a Presbyterian preacher by the name of Potter. I went to him and complained of my temptations and my need! He knelt with me in his room and prayed that the Lord may create a path so that my sister would be found.


Then we got up off our knees and he comforted me with these words: "Charles, don't ask the devil where your sister is, if you do, you will never find her."

I was unsure on my feet and in dispair as I came home from the prayer hour. Alone with a troubled heart I opened the bible. My eyes fell on 5 Moses 18, 9 - 15: "When you come to the land that I, the Lord, will give to you," etc. These words saved me from doubt and I trusted the Lord and his help with a faithful heart. The Lord saw my grief, heard my plea and helped me. The help came to me in the following way.

A journeyman baker, who worked in St. Louis, decided to travel to Buffalo on foot as a German journeyman does. He buckled his pack to his back and went on his way around the time Marie started her trip back to Buffalo. As Bosch, as the journeyman baker was named, made his way through Cincinnati and Columbus from Ashtabula he saw bad weather coming as he neared the last city and he heard loud thunder. He was compelled to return to Ashtabula.


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

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks