Review: Margaret Register and STAR Ministries

Register, Margaret. A Place for People, Puppets, and Cockroach Soup: Pioneering Delightfully Over-the-Top and Seriously Under-Budgeted Christian TV Productions. [S.n.] : CreateSpace, 2012.

Once again, Margaret (Maggie) Register delights us with an outstanding memoir. This time she chronicles, with humor and pathos, the formation of STAR Ministries, an Assemblies of God World Missions television and radio production studio. Margaret Register speaks in a conversational tone, drawing the reader first into her experience in Guatemala where 18,000 children came to a basketball stadium to see the “stars” of Lugar Secreto, the children’s show she and her husband, Joe, produced. She is authentic in describing, sometimes with great humor, the struggles, setbacks, and joys of learning television production—first as “talent,” then as floor director, and finally as producer—and the unexpected traumas of life as a “foreign” missionary based in the States and working with dozens of volunteers.

After ten years as missionaries in Chile and Paraguay, South America, Joe and Margaret Register wanted to produce a television talk show in Spanish. But, how does one begin a first-time-ever ministry of Spanish Television and Radio? Joe and Margaret did not even consider doing a show for children. Not at first.

A Place for People, Puppets, and Cockroach Soup recounts amazing, funny, heart-warming, sometimes near-tragic stories of how God took His plan and wrapped it around the far-reaching dreams and hard work of a dedicated family—Joe, Margaret, daughter Crysti, and son Timmy—and a host of God-sent volunteers. They did not know how to build sets, run cable, operate cameras, develop “characters” or write scripts. They learned by trial and error, with a budget always stretched to the limit. But God gave creative ideas and sent gifted volunteers and delightful puppets. The result was El Lugar Secreto (The Secret Place), a series of award-winning shows for Spanish-speaking children.

These true stories display fascinating, unique events as God’s grace and wisdom astound Joe and Margaret as they developed a very successful television ministry that would eventually reach all of Latin America and be broadcast on fourteen satellites into 200 countries.

From language study in Mexico to the country of Chile and then to Paraguay, Margaret, in her first book, No Place for Plastic Saints, recounts vividly an earthquake, a dead body on a table, and chicken feet in soup. Joe and Margaret lived in Temuco and in Viña, Chile, and later in Paraguay, where they began a very successful television ministry that would eventually reach all of Latin America (the story she tells in this, her second book).

Margaret Register has done a great service to the body of Christ in writing A Place for People, Puppets, and Cockroach Soup. She excels in painting delightful and vivid word pictures so that you, the reader, feel you are there with her as she walks through each dramatic story. This is truly an authentic account of the good, the bad, and the miraculous in the life of a dedicated missionary family. This book is a must read!

Reviewed by Juanita Cunningham Blackburn, Assemblies of God missionary

Paperback, 273 pages. $17.99 retail. Also available in Kindle. Order from: Amazon.

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