G O D I N A G O D F O R S A K E N L A N D  35 music was to his ministry. I longed to hear again the pleasant strains of the hymns sung in my church in Germany. The words of Pastor Fick had led many to faith and he encour- aged me, too, in our meeting when he said, “August, the need is great, and you can witness to the new German immigrants in their own language.” The demeanor of Pastor Fick was one of re- lentless enthusiasm and drive. He would not back down or relent to negativity. Perhaps I saw a bit of my father in him, but only he was here in the new world, just as much of an immigrant as me, and also forging a life in America. It had been nearly a year since I had reached Collinsville. In fact, it was February 15, 1869 when my life changed forever in that small, tidy, scholarly office. On that day, I made the decision to enroll in a preparatory course in the practical seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Pastor Herman Fick was the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Collinsville, Illinois. His words always seemed sincere and direct. “Pastor Strasen tells me you have an interest in becoming a Lutheran pastor,” he began our meeting. “I have been encouraged in that direction,” I replied tentative- ly, trying to see the future but not succeeding. “When did you come to America, August?” “Just over a year ago.” Pastor Fick looked straight into my eyes and said, “I immigrat- ed to America in 1846, and I’ve seen many Germans come here and settle. Although they are all learning English, they are most comfortable communicating in the German language. I conduct German services here in Collinsville, as do other pastors.” “I have attended German-speaking services here in Collins- ville as well,” I replied. Pastor Fick then asked me pointedly, “How important was it to you to hear the Gospel in the language you grew up with?”