This installment will once again focus on a couple of people that most of the current LPC membership do not know. Gene and Margaret were an older couple from Georgia who coincidentally were parents of a classmate of my father JT Johnson. Gene and Margaret were missionaries to South America and frequented Homestead Church of God when they were in the US. They stayed in a little one room home behind the church and worked in the church while they were in town. They were some of the strongest examples of dedication and volunteerism, and were committed to seeing the lost saved.
Gene was a really nice fella. He was always “Johnny on the spot” when something broke at the church. He worked on toilets, appliances, replaced lightbulbs, and did electrical work. This was very important considering the church budget and the state of the large mortgage on the relatively new sanctuary (built in 78). Gene ALWAYS had a grin on his face. He always had a kind word to say and a very pleasant demeanor. I remember his hard physical work at the church. In particular, he would set up shaky scaffolding in the sanctuary so he could climb up to the mercury vapor chandeliers about 30 feet in the air. I would get a little nervous seeing him up at the top with nothing to hold on to while it wobbled around. It was quite a feet for someone who could see, but Gene was legally blind! He said that was part of why he wasn’t afraid of the heights.
Margaret worked with the children’s church and had a heart to tell the little ones about Jesus. While many of her methods are now outdated (flannelgraphs, some of the puppets, and the style of the songs she taught), she was actually skilled as a children’s minister. One of her best talents was the lost art of ventriloquism. She could have a conversation with herself! She would sit with her wood puppet on her lap and tell Bible stories, demonstrate by example how to tell friends about Jesus, how to pray for someone, how to treat each other, and also would tell the children about all the other people around the world who dress and sound different than they do. I remember she would try to teach me how to be a ventriloquist, but it never quite worked out for me. Margaret could cook as well and was always ready to cook a nice meal for church guests and volunteers.
I lost touch with Gene and Margaret sometime around the late 80’s, and I cannot tell you where they are or what they are doing now. But I can tell you that we would all do well to be as selfless, to strive to share the gospel message, and to work as hard as Gene and Margaret Hadsel.