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Hogans: Heroes

By Dan Betzer
Guest Columnist

CBN.com -- In October of 1956, I was working a weekend news stint for a local radio station in Springfield, Missouri. At about five o'clock one particular morning, I was on the news beat when I got a call from the state patrol. It was a report about a fatal accident 60 miles away. A teen-aged boy had been killed.

The dispatcher said, "The kid's name is Richard Hogan." I was stunned! Not THAT Richard Hogan? My fishing and football buddy from high school and college? It was him.

I attended the funeral several days later and watched J. Phillip and Virginia Hogan, Richard's father and mother, come in with their family. The Hogan family had recently moved to Springfield after serving as missionaries to China. That field had closed when the Communists took power, so they had been forced to come back to Missouri.

He has suffered two huge losses, a life's work and a son. About every other month, I have the privilege of eating lunch with J. Phillip Hogan. He is now 87 years of age. Since his son was killed, he has done the following:

  • Expanded a global missions movement that now embraces 160 nations;
  • Helped to launch a worldwide Decade of Harvest that has helped to grow the membership in the Assemblies of God to more than 40 million strong; and
  • Prayed through a concept of global correspondence with a man named George Flattery. Their dream has now merged into the largest distance learning school in the world.

He has done all of this and a few other things too numerous to list here. He and Virginia lost their work in China and a precious son in a traffic accident. On those twin disasters, they reached up and touched the heart of God and changed the world.

My friend, you can quit when things go bad, or, you can continue up the mountain. It really is your call.

Used with permission by author, Dan Betzer. Previously published on ByLine OnLine, copyright © 2005 Media Ministries of the Assemblies of God.

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