In a previous essay, Moving, I mentioned the elderly Dutch couple who were part of the Chapel’s congregation long ago. They were known as Papa and Mama Johansen. This previous mention of them centered around Mama Johansen’s attitudes regarding cleanliness. Thinking of them, I remembered that Papa Johansen was a very interesting study also and worthy of an essay of his own.

A thorough Dutchman, Papa could not pronounce the letter J correctly, it came out as a Y. The Johansens were dear friends with Jack Julien, a member of the Chapel who was a dentist, and his wife, Delsie, who was a nurse. Jack owned a Jeep, and when referring to it Papa came up with Yack’s yeep. Pretty hard to keep a straight face! Before World War 2, the Japanese were great copiers of American products which were often pretty shoddy. Papa’s description of their products was Yapanese yunk. More effort to keep a straight face.

But Papa was no ignoramus, and he was a very talented and productive finish carpenter, having a powerful work ethic. Since I was always doing carpentry and was very interested in it, I would quiz him about his experiences. Remember, when Papa was active as a finish carpenter there were no power tools. He still had his complete set of finish carpenter hand tools.

I will never forget an event he told me about. He was employed by a contractor who had gotten a contract to build a hospital of considerable size for that day. He and another finish carpenter were assigned the job of hanging the multitude of doors. At the end of the first day he had hung eighteen doors (incredible, though it was probably a 12 hour day). His boss came and accused him of loafing, as the other finish carpenter had hung twenty doors. Papa knew that the other carpenter could not have hung more doors if they were done right. He took his boss to the area where the other man had worked, grabbed a door and pulled it right off the jamb! The other man had pounded the multiple screws almost home with a hammer and then tightened them with a screw driver. With only a couple of threads holding, Papa was able to rip the door off with ease. The boss fired the other carpenter, apologized to Papa, and asked him to redo the improperly installed doors. “Be sure your sin will find you out,” Numbers 32:23b.

Papa became sick, and Delsie Julien, whom Papa called “Nursie,” came to their home as his care-giver. As he became sicker, he became unconscious, and death seemed near. But he regained consciousness and, seeing Delsie, he burst out crying. Delsie ran to his bedside and asked him what was the matte? With much effort he explained that he had been in heaven with Jesus, enjoying such peace and joy as he had never imagined. When he woke up and saw his familiar home and Delsie in the room, he knew he had come back to earth, and it was too much for him to bear. Delsie loved on him and told him Jesus had just given him a preview of heaven so he could look forward to going to his eternal home. In just a short time he did make that final journey, with all of us left behind rejoicing as he returned to the place he so didn’t want to leave. This was the first time I had been involved in a so-called out of body experience. It wouldn’t be the last!