On 18 October 1877, Vincent went to Amsterdam's Walloon church, which he referred to as the French church. The service was held in French, but this was not a problem for Vincent, who had lived in Paris for a time. He heard a fine sermon by Rev. Ferdinand Henri Gagnebin (1816–1890) and decided to call on the minister in order to pick Gagnebin’s brain and practise his French. In preparation for the meeting, he rose at two o'clock in the morning to finish a map of Paul's travels to give to the minister. Vincent respected Gagnebin:
“he’s a clever man from whom I may get good advice later on, once he notices from one thing and another that I take it seriously.” Read the complete letter
Although his father had advised Vincent to spend more time with members of the clergy, he did not approve of his associating with Rev. Gagnebin. In a letter to Theo, Mr Van Gogh wrote that the minister only caused "errors in Vincent’s thinking".