Posted by: calloftheandes | August 4, 2017

What Missionary Peg Johnson Wanted: ‘To Glorify God in My Life and in My Death’

The Johnsons (left to right) Erin Corniea, Peg, Zach, Judd and Whitney Dauer.

Judd Johnson reached out via Facebook in early June, seeking some help on behalf of an Ecuadorian friend struck by a vehicle. The man’s recovery time extended beyond what his finances would cover.

Helping when and where they could was how Judd and his wife, Peg, operated. Mission work was to them a core value. As Peg once wrote, “Judd and I have both been interested in missions since early in our marriage.” They served the Lord by serving others in Ecuador and then Haiti.

Just a month later on Tuesday, July 4, the Johnsons themselves needed help. Asking Facebook friends to pray, Judd wrote, “Peg was just diagnosed with a pancreatic cancer that has spread to her lymph nodes and liver. This is a very recent condition, actually confirmed later in the day that this pic[ture] of our kids and grandkids was taken.”

He added to his post one of Peg’s favorite Bible verses, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV).

“I have no words,” replied Phil Quinn. “Our whole family is praying for you and your family.” Quinn had helped Johnson and others to provide amplified sound at numerous concert venues around Ecuador.

The high-volume audio service, Altos Pasos, had been launched even as Judd was working as a construction supervisor during Reach Beyond’s 1987-1996 expansion of Hospital Vozandes-Quito (HVQ), Project Life. Later on in Ecuador, Judd also worked independently, with construction contracts that included buildings for the U.S. embassy.

Another friend posted that praying for Peg’s restoration was right because, “Lord, Peg has vital kingdom [of God] work to do.” Many others offered an “Amen” along with confirmations that they too are praying. Later echoing Quinn’s sadness and bewilderment, English Fellowship Church pastor Len Kinzel, said, “We have no words. So many of us in Quito are sighing, aching and groaning with you and for you.”

The Johnsons spent the ensuing days in and out of local hospitals, culminating with a visit to the emergency room at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Sunday, July 16. There they learned that despite Peg’s willingness to undergo chemotherapy, she was not a candidate for such treatment. Judd deemed the following evening as “really hard.”

Left: Peg & Judd Johnson Right: Peg with daughter Erin

“Our whole family was there,” he said, “as we didn’t expect her to be alive in the morning. As the medical teams gathered, she was asked what she wanted, and she replied, ‘To glorify God in my life, and to glorify God in my death.’”

Life for Peg began in Mora, Minn., with her birth to Elmer and Eleanor Lindeen on March 17, 1952. Raised in Grandy and Braham, Minn., she graduated in 1970 from Braham High School. She and Judd were married in 1972. Peg attended the University of Minnesota and in 1976 graduated from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a degree in special education. She taught in the Cambridge, Minn. school district.

The Johnsons arrived in Ecuador to serve with Reach Beyond in 1987. Afterwards, Peg wrote, “As our family has attempted to learn more about and blend into Ecuadorian culture, I have enjoyed watching the growth of our daughter Erin in this area.”

Judd said Project Life offered the joy of “seeing development of the Ecuadorian workers from general laborers to skilled workmen.”

“They’re becoming very good at their trade,” he noted during an interview in 1992. “I’ve also appreciated watching the men grow spiritually and in their relationship with each other.”

Resigning from the mission in 1997, the Johnsons continued living in Ecuador where Peg taught at Alliance Academy International and they later served with Samaritan’s Purse. Then they worked with that mission in Haiti following that country’s devastating earthquake in early 2010.

In December 2012 they returned to the U.S. where Peg became a substitute special education teacher in diverse classroom settings in some 20 district schools. Peg often said that “Haiti prepared me to be a teacher in such a multicultural environment.”

Even as the Mayo Clinic nursing staff prepared Peg to return home to Maple Grove, Minn., for hospice care, friends either had made their way or were en route to Minnesota. Traveling from Ecuador, Elaine Childs arrived to be with Peg. Dorothy Nelson had also made the trip from South America to spend time her children and grandkids and could be with the Johnsons.

Another Reach Beyond missionary, Lynette Weir of Buffalo, Minn., joined them at Peg’s bedside. Family and longtime friends accompanied Peg during her last days of life. She died on Wednesday, July 26, at the Johnson home, surrounded by family and friends.

“She is drifting away to Jesus; He calls her home,” Dorothy wrote. “Peg hears that voice, she is not alone.” Lynette’s reply revealed how Peg went from a friend’s arms to Jesus’ arms: “We hugged and said, ‘See you on the other side at home.’”

Peg was preceded in death by her parents. She is missed by her husband, Judd, along with daughters Erin and Whitney, a son, Zach, and two sons-in-law and grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at Stanchfield Baptist Church in Stanchfield, Minn. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the Johnson family suggests donating to a ministry dear to Peg’s heart, For His Children, that cares for Ecuadorian children. “We lived on a property in Quito, Ecuador, shared with For His Children and helped build some of the infrastructure for the foundation,” Judd said.

To give, visit http://www.forhischildren-ecuador.org/donate-now, click on the “Donate” tab and designate your contribution as a “legacy gift in honor/memory of Peggy Johnson.”

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Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing the story, Ralph. Wouldn’t have known otherwise.


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