40  G E N E R . S TA R K Hans and I had never discussed our faith, and he asked, “Do you feel so strongly about your faith that you want to devote your life to preaching?” “In the past month, I have come to realize how important my faith has become.” “Perhaps you feel as strongly about this choice as I feel about being a coal miner?” Hans queried with a wrinkled face and slanted head. “I thought that maybe after the accident, you might aspire to another occupation.” “Now I am even more convinced that I should be a miner and see to it that other miners are safe.” Indeed, now I began to understand more of what my decision to become a pastor was all about. Just as Hans now had a calling in the mines, I had a calling in the church. In the fall of 1869, just after Hans received a promotion to be- come a foreman in the mine, I began study at the Lutheran Semi- nary. Hans would lead a group of mostly German-born workers. He continued to advocate for safe conditions in the mines and accomplished a great deal to help the new immigrant workers labor under safer conditions. My study began five years of training, after which, I too, hoped to lead immigrants—mining for souls and helping them discover their spiritual lives. Somehow I always felt a kinship with Hans as he worked underground while I worked aboveground. * * * And so I had come to St. Louis in the midst of Reconstruction; a place caught in-between. I, too, was caught in-between, with God’s will my only guide as I reconstructed my life. The semi- nary I attended seemed caught in-between as well. The old was yielding to the practical needs of pastors embarking upon a new mission in a foreign place. We would serve a people on the move,