G O D I N A G O D F O R S A K E N L A N D  33 Each Friday as Peter pulled into the mining yard he’d yell at me, “Will we see you on Sunday?” “Ja,” was all I could say. The Sunday dinners became such an important part of my life. Peter and Anna along with their chil- dren became like my family. I realized how much I missed my family in Germany, and Peter often spoke of his brother still in Germany and how he missed him. I suppose we became almost like brothers as well. We would visit long into the afternoon on Sundays. Peter and Anna had emigrated together after being married in Germany. They had left their families since neither of them were prima- ry heirs, which meant they had little future ahead of them in Germany. “I hauled spools of thread in my father’s shop, now I haul black American coal,” I smiled at Peter. “And I brought wood from the forest in Germany to our little town, and now I bring beams to hold the mine tunnel. I hauled for my father and worked for my older brother. Now I hold a job and have been promoted twice.” Peter was small in stature, much as myself, yet his frame was strong, and he had incredible strength for his size. Mostly he could calm horses and convince them to do the heavy work required of them, winning their con- fidence and devotion. Both our lives had changed, yet we felt unfettered in this new land, ready to go in any direction we pleased. I traveled with an acquaintance from Peter’s church to nearby St. Louis where there was a Lutheran seminary. There I was in- troduced to Pastor Strasen. Pastor Strasen seemed to have faith in me and believed that my growing Christian faith was impor- tant, not only to me personally but to others as well, “August, you ought to study to be a pastor or teacher. The need of the church is very great. There is a shortage of workers.” His stern white- bearded face seemed to see into my very soul. “ButIamjustacoalworker,Ihavenoeducationorexperience.”