"I asked, ‘How long has this excitement continued?’ ‘About seventeen years,’ was the reply, ‘ever since Pastor Harms came among us.’ A stranger is apt to regard the villagers as living almost altogether for the church and missions. ‘Are there not some unbelievers in the parish?’ I asked my landlord. ‘There is one, only one,’” was his reply."
Meanwhile the Hermannsburgers were proving by their own experience that “religion is a commodity of which the more we export, the more we have remaining." While they were so diligently engaged in sending the Gospel to the heathen, the windows of heaven opened, and showers of blessing descended upon the work at home. During the whole period of Louis Harms' pastorate there was an uninterrupted revival in Hermannsburg parish, in which it is said 10,000 souls were brought to a knowledge of the truth. Prof. Park, who spent three weeks with Pastor Harms in 1865, says:
“I supposed for a time that the parish was then in a state of special religious excitement. I asked, ‘How long has this excitement continued?’ ‘About seventeen years,’ was the reply, ‘ever since Pastor Harms came among us.’ A stranger is apt to regard the villagers as living almost altogether for the church and missions. ‘Are there not some unbelievers in the parish?’ I asked my landlord. ‘There is one, only one,’” was his reply.
Louis Harms was a model pastor. He was a profound scholar of broad culture and refinement, and his people simple-minded German peasants, yet he lived among them as a father, preaching to them in their own dialect, and concerning himself with every detail of their daily lives. Though engaged in such vast enterprises, both at home and abroad, he nevertheless found time to devote to pastoral work as well. Each day, from 10 to 12 A. M. and from 4 to 5 P. M., the parsonage was open to the people, who came in great numbers, being admitted one by one to his study for a private interview. From 10 to 11 P. M., when his family devotions were held, the parsonage was again open that all who wished might spend the hour with him in prayer and praise. It was, in reality, a daily prayer meeting. He never married, being, as he said, "too busy for such pastime" His home was presided over by his sister, a finely-educated lady of great culture.
The religious life at Hermannsburg was so perfectly blended with the secular that there was apparently no separation between them. All was done to the glory of God. Prof. Park has given a beautiful picture of some of the quaint old customs introduced by Harms, combining religious fervor with the performance of the common duties of daily life. He says:
Over many a door in the village is printed some verse of the Bible or stanza of a hymn. At sunrise, sunset, and midday, the church-bell is tolled for a few minutes, and at its first stroke men, women, and children stop their work wherever they are—in the house, or field, or in the street —and offer a silent prayer. Once I saw a company of seventeen men on their way to a wedding at the church, when suddenly they stopped, took off their hats, and seemed to be devout in prayer until the bell ceased tolling. Often during the evening, as men walked the streets, they sang the old church hymns.