Margaret was born to Jacob and Helena Unger on October 3, 1932 in Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. She was the youngest of twelve siblings. Her mother passed away when she was three years old. Her father remarried and a half brother and half sister were later added to the family. Since Margaret was quite a bit younger than her other siblings, she really enjoyed having two young siblings to take care of.
In 1952 Margaret was baptized. Romans 10:9-10 was then, and always remained, her anchor of faith.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Margaret loved working with children; she desired to share her love of God’s word with them and started teaching Sunday school at the age of 16. She was involved in children’s ministry for the next 41 years.
In 1958 Margaret chose to go to Steinbach Bible Institute. Upon graduation in 1961, she applied to go to Mexico under the EMC Board of Mission. In October of that year she left for Mexico to be involved in teaching school and radio ministry. In February of 1965, Margaret went to renew her visa, but it was denied. She was given one month to pack up and leave Mexico. Moving back to Winkler, she started working at the new Bethel Hospital while also looking after her ageing father.
By 1972 it was evident that Margaret could no longer leave her dad alone while she was at work. Feeling a strong obligation to take care of Dad, she sought God’s will in what to do next. She became convinced that buying a large house, and filling it with challenged adults that needed care, would afford her the opportunity to take care of Dad as well as give foster care.
With God’s help and the help of her friends, Margaret opened the doors of her new home on November 15, 1972. Three young ladies and her dad came to live with her, and as time went on her foster family increased to seven. Eventually her dad had to go to a nursing home, but she continued offering foster care for 30 more fulfilling years.
In 2002, at the age of 70, Margaret closed her group home. Her attention now turned to looking after her aging siblings. Until the end, she remained active in serving others. Offering warm hospitality and encouraging many with her words and actions. Even in her retirement she continued to work by volunteering at the MCC Thrift Store a few days each week. She remained in good health for most of her final years and enjoyed numerous trips to visit extended family across North and Central America.
Margaret dearly loved all her nieces and nephews and their children. She often expressed her desire to be near to each one. Her prayer list was long – she so desired to see God answer her prayers for them.
Margaret’s final answer to prayer came when her Heavenly Father called her home. It was her desire to remain independent and be spared much suffering at the end. Her last minutes were spent at home working in her well tended garden.
Isaiah 40:31 sums up Margaret’s life but is even more true in her death:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”