Why are the Wends?

How it Really May Have Happened

by Weldon W. Mersiovsky

Now, it came to pass, as the Lord looked down upon the children of the sons of earth, he saw in the midst of the land of the Sons of Armenius, west of the Oder-Neisse River and along the Elbe and Spree Rivers, especially in Upper and Lower Lusatia, a faithful group of Christians, followers of the teachings of Martin Luther. They called themselves Wends as had their fathers and forefathers before them. In faith they were “Old Lutherans.”

The Lord looked to afar and saw on the earth a devout, young, Wendish, Old Lutheran minister and proclaimed, “Jan Kilian, I am the Lord your God who called to Moses from the fiery bush, who led the Children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt into the promised land filled with milk and honey. I am the one who sent Jesus Christ to save the world from sin, the same whom they crucified, who died and who rose again on the third day. I am the Lord your God who delivered Martin Luther to free my people from the spiritual darkness in which they lived and who taught them what the prophets and apostles knew, that the just shall live by faith and by faith they are saved, not of themselves, it is a gift from Me, not of works, lest any person should boast.”

And young Jan said to the Lord his God, “Was willst Du mit mir?” (“What do You want with me?”) And the Lord said, “I have looked down upon the earth that I gave to Adam and Eve and am sorrowful for all the wickedness that is therein. For that reason I sent the flood but saved Noah and his family and repented that I should never send a flood again. I sent Jesus Christ that mankind would have hope and salvation. The apostles and others testified to that and also were killed. My people that I love are scattered far and wide and many are still dying without my free salvation and I have heard their cries for help. America will come of age during your lifetime and will be the most powerful nation the world has ever known and I need faithful followers telling people in America about my grace and salvation. They must know that all power in the world comes from the God of Jacob and Abraham yet that power is not what brings salvation. They need to know that I am the Lord their God and that they should worship me. Jan, lift up your eyes to the hills. Is that where your strength comes from? No, your strength comes from Me for I made the heavens and the earth.”

And young Jan said to the Lord his God, “What does that have to do with me?” And the Lord said, ”There is a remnant of my Old Lutheran people in Saxony and Upper Silesia. They are ready to follow my commands. Like my people of old I have been preparing them for a journey that will test their faith severely. Through the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, the famine, droughts and depressions, persecutions and oppressions I have sifted and resifted the wheat from the chaff and they are almost ready. One group of Old Lutherans I will send to Missouri, Ohio and other states – they are Saxons and they are ready. I have found for them a leader – your classmate – C. F. W. Walther. He does not know it yet, they all think that Martin Stephan is their leader. He suits my purposes, but Walther is their real leader even though he knows it not. Other groups I will also send with other leaders. Now the Wends are ready, yet they have no leader.”

And young Jan said to the Lord his God, “What do you want with me?” And the Lord said, “Jan, my son, these people need a strong leader, a man of devout heart and upright spirit, a man of courage and convictions who knows that the Lord is his strength and shield, a man who will fall on his knees like David of old and praise and honor My name, a man like My apostle Paul who has a vision to proclaim My message to the world, a man like Abraham who lived by faith and a man like Moses who lead my people to the promised land.”

And young Jan said to the Lord his God, “Where will you find such a man? I will surely go with him.” And the Lord thundered as He said to Jan, “You are the man for whom I seek and of whom I speak. You will need no one to go with you for I am always with you. I will guide you in the ways that you should go and where to lead My people. If you stray I will lead you back to Me as a good shepherd leads his flock. Do not fear for I will be with you, even to the ends of the world or Texas.”

And Jan said to the Lord, “If you please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past, nor recently, but I am slow of speech and tongue. Please, Lord, send someone else. Send someone else who has the qualities that you seek. Send my brother for he can do a much better job.” The Lord thundered, as He said to Jan, “Du hast kein Bruder! (You have no brother!) Go then! It is I who will assist you in speaking and will teach you what you are to say. When you receive a call from Dauban you will know that it is I and your time has come, for my people will be ready.”

It came to pass that there went up from the congregation in Dauban in Upper Silesia a call for Jan Kilian to be their pastor. This call went out when Carl Lehmann was presiden t of the congregation there. Jan Kilian heard this call and with the vision of the Holy Spirit recognized it as the sign from God and went down unto Dauban and all the villages around and ministered unto them as the Lord had commanded him to do. He told the people of the task ahead of them and what they were to d oand where they were to go. There was grumbling among the people and Jan said to them, ”Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the feelings that you have for the Fatherland and your fear of the unknown. And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord your God, choose this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

And of the people who had gathered around Jan Kilian about a third said, ”We won’t go!” Another third said, “Count us in!” And the last third said, “Ya’ll go on over there and tell us how it is. Cut the wood and build the towns and till the fields and when you tell us how good it is, then we will come.”

They sent out from among them scouts to see if the land was good and whether there were giants in the land. Among these scouts were Christopher and Maria Krause, John and Matthew Matthijetz, John Schmidt and others. Each family was responsible for themselves and to get news back to the Fatherland. The journey was perilous, a storm came and they found themselves on the coast of Cuba. But God delivered them to Texas and they settled in Texas near Frelsburg, Swiss Alp and Industry. The land proved to be good and bountiful. They did find some Indians in the land but they did not find any Giants, Braves, Dodgers, Yankees, or Red Sox because baseball had not yet been invented. In the new language of Texas they wrote back, “Ya’ll come on over here now, ya hear!”

The Exodus began, about 600 strong and they left the land of their fathers to go to the land the Lord had promised. Up from the land of the Kings of Saxony and Prussia came the Kilians, Lehmanns, Teinerts, Kieschnicks, Moerbes, Bamschs, Hohles, Lorentsks, Beckers, Schattes, Schelnicks, Vogels, Zwahrs, Noacks, Zochs, Kaspers, Fritsches, Miertschins, Reinhardts, Symmanks, Urbans, Kurios, Pampells, Dubes, Pilaks, Kokels, Neitschs, Mickans and others. And the Lord their God went before them by day and by night. He continually tested the people to strengthen their spirit and prepare them for His work. About 80 died on the trip, fathers, mothers and children. He tested their resolve by taking loved ones, by giving them stubborn oxen for the journey, muddy roads for the trip, mosquitoes and disease. Yet they stood by the Lord because they were His faithful people and he strengthened them. A remnant survived.

It came to pass that Jan Kilian and God’s Old Lutheran people settled along the Rabbs Creek in Bastrop County, Texas and called the place the Lower Pinoak Settlement and in time built a church at a place they called Serbin. Jan asked the Lord for rest for God’s people and the Lord said, “Now it is time to go to work. All up to this time is preparation. You are now ready. Serbin is your new home and will always be a favorite resting place for Me and for you but there are people in other parts of Texas who need to hear My word. Train My people how to witness and how to spread My story and how to start other churches in other communities and settlements. I will be with you even to the end of the age.”

The Word of the Lord grew and many left Serbin to go to the ends of the earth. Many more came to Serbin from the land of their fathers – Schmidts, Walthers, Schurcks, Bohots, Jurks, Mersiovskys, Jakobiks, Buchhorns, Menzels and others – so many, so quickly and the church in Texas grew. They came to Texas, settled and formed places like Walburg and Warda, Giddings, Paige, Manheim, Winchester, Lincoln, Fedor, Loebau, Dime Box, Philadelphia, Ross Prairie, Lexington, Hochkirch, Thorndale, La Grange and Fayetteville. And the Word of the Lord grew and new churches were formed at The Grove, Greens Creek, Albany, Copperas Cove, Bishop, Vernon, Port Arthur, Taylor, Houston, Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland, Austin, Dallas and Brenham. And the Word of the Lord continued to grow and even more Lutheran churches were formed in other places. Then it came to pass that the Lord came to Jan and said, “It is all good but it is not yet done. My work will never be done till at the last day I will raise up both the living and the dead and I will separate those who love me from those who don’t. Then work will stop and praises and glory will reign forever and ever.”

Jan said, “O Lord My God, I in awesome wonder behold your universe and all your gifts displayed. You are truly great in the heavens and on earth. There is no other God but You and it is in You that I live and breathe and have my being. I am getting old and weary and my eyes grow dim with age. Tell me Lord, before I join You with all Your saints, what will become of the Wends of Texas and our fellow Old Lutherans in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and other states?”

The Lord said, ”The time is coming when I will take you, my trusted servant, to Myself in Heaven. Hearken now to these My words which you will hear and tell them to my people. In years to come I will bless those who love My word and love to tell My story and their purpose will be to bring the news of My son, Jesus the Christ, to the nations of the world. The Wends of Texas and the Lutherans in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and other states will henceforth be known as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. As long as they love to tell my story to their friends and neighbors and support the work of My church they will bring Christ to the nations and I will give them peace. But if they fail to train their sons and daughters in My ways and how to tell My story and fail to trust in Me then I the Lord will take away all that I have given to them and My people will be sore oppressed and they will have no peace or rest. I will test my people so that they will yield to Me, stop their sinful ways and go tell others about Me.”

And Jan said, “Lord, it is good that you are a gracious Go

And the Lord looked kindly upon His servant Jan Kilian and because of his faith in Jesus called him to His bosom to join Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Martin Luther, and others. The Lord looked kindly upon the Wends and others and caused them to prosper each in His own time and His own way in the Lord’s vineyard and in their own vineyards. The Lord has promised to continue to test His people to make them strong in Him.

As long as they continue to tell His story and trust in His word and instruct their sons and daughters in the righteous ways and faith of their fathers the Lord will lift His countenance upon them and give them His Peace.


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