One Year Ago This Month

Jim and DadI sat straight up in bed, jolted awake by the images I had just seen in a dream.  I looked over at the clock and saw that it was 4 am, the morning of May 8, 2006.  I had just seen Papa Ost, my grandfather, putting on his suit jacket and hat and hurrying off, on his way to a meeting.  Immediately after that image, I watched Uncle Roy and Aunt Louise, also moving quickly out a door. I heard Aunt Louise say, “He’s coming, Roy; let’s go!”  Then I awoke.  I knew immediately that Dad was going home to heaven that day.  The tears began to flow down my face as I got out of bed and went downstairs to get a glass of water.  God had allowed me to see some of the faces that would be welcoming him on the other side.
At 9 am, I sent text messages to everybody in my cell phone.  It was a simple message:  “We are losing Dad today.”  I told only the family about my dream, and each time I related what I had seen, I wept.  “It’s today, guys; I know it is.”
Several weeks earlier we were still scrambling to attack Dad’s tumor by any means necessary.  The local oncologist who had been prescribing chemo was out of answers, and I had been leaving messages for the “quarterback” of Dad’s case at Houston’s MD Anderson Hospital, a brain surgeon.  Finally, I got a call from the Doctor’s asistant.  “What can we do?,” I asked.  “Do you want us to bring him up again for another look?”  She quietly said, “Jim, I’m going to give it to you straight.  When your father came to us, the Doctor said that this was a long shot case, like a long bomb at the end of regulation in football.”  “What are you saying?”, I asked.  “Jim, this is the end of the road; I’m afraid you will lose your father.  This tumor is too far gone, and, short of a miracle, it is out of our hands.”  “Oh no, don’t say that.  Please don’t say that.”  I began to cry, and then all the despair and agony came out in weeping and wailing.  “We tried so hard,” I said, gasping, “and that’s it?  How am I going to tell my Mom?”   “Jim, I lost my dad to cancer too, and I know what you are feeling.  He is in God’s hands now,” she said.
She stayed on the phone for a long time until I was able to pull myself together.  “Are you a Christian?” I asked.  “Yes”, she responded, and I would be glad to pray for you.  I sat slumped over in my desk chair, tears pouring down my face, as this wonderful Christian woman prayed in a quiet voice for Jesus Christ to bring me peace and be with our family.  When she finished, I said, “You will never know the difference you have made in my life today.”
After hanging up the phone, I talked to Jesus for about an hour, pouring out my disappointment and despair, letting Him know how helpless I felt.  Then I asked Him for strength and peace for the coming days.  “Listen to me now, Jesus.  I need you.  Please don’t leave me alone.  Please stand with our family.”
We gathered at the rehabilitation center where Dad had spent the last weeks, deteriorating in his ability to communicate and function.  Steve came by with Aunt Grace, who was headed for the airport.  For many weeks, Aunt Grace had been an angel sent from God to our family, caring for Dad and staying with Mom, but now she was headed back to Arkansas. 
After Aunt Grace said goodbye, Steve took Dad’s hand and wept.  “Thanks, Man, for all the years, all the friendship, for believing in me.  Goodbye, John.  Say hi to my Mom and Dad.”
This pattern repeated itself throughout the day, as over 100 people came to say goodbye and to thank Dad for his friendship and love.
As I sat by the foot of Dad’s bed, I kept looking up at the ceiling, wondering when Jesus would come and get Dad.  We sang hymn after hymn, and prayed together every time a new visitor came into the room.
I remembered Dad telling about the night he knelt by his bed at Taylor University, more than 50 years earlier, with his roommate, and prayed the words of the hymn, “Living for Jesus”: 
O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give myself to thee;
For thou, in thy atonement,
Didst give thyself for me;
I own no other master,
My heart shall be thy throne,
My life I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ for thee alone.
With that prayer, Dad had repented of his sins and accepted Christ as his Savior, and he had never regretted it.  All of his life he had loved and served the One Who had died for him and saved him that night as a college student.
I looked again above the bed.  “Are you coming, Jesus?  Are you taking Dad home today?”
Through the weeks, Dad had been talking about his desire to return to the Ukraine, and minister to those who had never heard the Gospel.  He had been planning trips to Mexico to encourage the pastors and workers, and had asked for the book, “Operation World”, to pray for the nations in the 10/40 window.
But just a day earlier, Dad told mom that he was ready to go to Heaven.  He was realizing that it was time to say “goodbye” was close at hand, but how do you say goodbye to your sweetheart, the one you have loved for 46 years?  Mom told us that, at one point during the day, he gripped her hand and said, “You are my greatest treasure.” 
At nine pm, the charge nurse told the dozens of church family that were lining the hallway and filling the lounge to leave the rehabilitation center. 
Now it was just the immediate family in the room again.  We gathered around the bed and began to sing the song we had been singing throughout the day, “When He Calls Me”
When He calls me, I will answer
I’ll be somewhere listening for my name
Dad’s breath became more and more shallow, and then he was gone.  Jesus had come and taken him to the reunion planned for him in heaven.  Steve quietly prayed and committed his body to God.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Dad and wish he were still here.  Dad was the most Godly, pious man I have ever known, and an outstanding son, husband, brother and father.  I miss our long talks together, our Bible studies, our fun times as a family, watching him laugh at my stories, seeing him play with our baby, Rachel, and, most of all, hearing him pray.
When he would see me down and discouraged, Dad would say, “Jim, something tells me you need a ribeye at the Mesquite Grill,” and off we would go for lunch.  The Mesquite Grill was closed for a long time, but they recently re-opened on Jackson and Trenton Road.  Maybe they have one in Heaven, too.
I remember that at one of the lowest points in my life, Dad was there for me.  I had just been “dumped” by my fiancé and girlfriend of 4 years, after moving across the country to California.  When the engagement ring arrived in the mail, I knew it was over.  I called Dad with the diamond in my hand.  He asked me, “You got the ring back, huh?”  “Yeah,” I said.  Then we just stayed on the phone, without saying a word, for 10 minutes.  Dad was just there, sharing my deep pain with me, and I will never forget that.  Finally he said, “Jim, you will feel better, and man, I wish I could take this pain away, but it’s just gonna hurt for a while.  Please let me pray for you.”  And then Dad prayed.  I’d give anything to hear him pray for me again.
I visited his grave out on Taylor Road on resurrection Sunday.  I read those beautiful words from 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul tells us

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

We miss you, Dad.  It’s been a year and it still hurts that you’re gone.  May God help us to “run our race” with the same passion and commitment that you did.
I’m so proud of you.


8 Responses to One Year Ago This Month

  1. Shirley Castillo says:

    Recordando a mi Pastor Juanito Ost

    Parece mentira que ya hace un año de la partida de nuestro querido hermano y Pastor Juanito Ost y sin embargo parece que nunca se ha ido. Parece que su vida continúa en su iglesia, en su familia y en sus hermanos en Cristo. Todos los que lo recordamos, siempre tenemos cosas lindas que recordar de él.

    Y nosotros, la familia Castillo recordaremos muchas cosas, desde el primer sermón que le escuchamos predicar y por el cual decidimos quedarnos en la Iglesia Bíblica hasta sus últimas alabanzas. Pero hay unos momentos muy importantes para nosotros que nunca olvidaremos. Cuando llegamos al RGV en Julio de 1992 veníamos “cansados del camino” por el ministerio de maestros 24/7 en una escuela bíblica en Matehuala, SLP. Búscábamos una Iglesia con tres características: buena eneseñanza de la sana doctrina, buena alabanza y visión misioera.

    La Iglesia Bíblica de McAllen recibió nuestro “ aprobación” con la primera predicación que escuchamos del Pr. Juanito Ost, un miércoles del mes de Julio de 1992. Aún recuerdo la cita bíblica: era Lucas 1:5-23. El Pr. Juanito predicó cómo Dios se manifestó a Zacarías en medio de la rutina; haciendo lo que tenía que hacer, siendo fiel en lo que Dios le había encomendado y nos animaba a que sigamos siendo fieles a Dios en las pequeñas cosas que hacemos cada día, en nuestra rutina y que en el momento preciso y menos esperado, Dios manifestaría su gloria en nuestra vida. Cuando salimos de la iglesia, Ariel y yo nos preguntábamos, cómo era possible que alguien haciera un mensaje de Zacarías que se aplique a nuestras vidas hoy! Y así fue cada mensaje que le escuchamos predicar de los pasajes más raros y desconocidos de la Biblia, él, con la unción de Dios, sacaba una aplicación práctica para nuestras vidas.

    Algo que marcó profundamente nuestra vida fue lo que sucedió una noche de invierno de 1996. Nosotros vivíamos con nuestros cuatro niños en una “frame house” sin calefacción y sin calentador, estábamos todos juntos en la sala tratando de calentarnos unos a otros dentro de las cobijas. Afuera hacía un frio terrible. El viento soplaba como nunca y penetraba por los agujeros de nuestra casa. Nadie sabía de los agujeros de nuestra casa porque nadie nos visitaba. Estabámos solos, sin familia. De repente como a las 9:00 pm tocan a la puerta. Nos asustamos un poco, porque no esperábamosa nadie y cuando abrimos la puerta nos asustamos más porque vimos a “un hombre blanco” con un sobretodo negro y gorra negra y no le reconocimos. Cuando nos saludó nos dimos cuenta que era el Pastor Juanito y le hicimos pasar. Nos dijo que alguien le había regalado un calentador pero que el pensó que nosotros lo necesitaríamos más. Y era verdad. No lo podiamos creer. Aquella noche era para quedarse en la casa, calentito debajo de una cobija y él se tomó el trabajo, primero de acordarse de nosotros, luego salir de su zona de comodidad y tomarse la molestia de llevarnos algo que necesitábamos. Esa muestra del amor de Dios vale más que mil palabras!

    También recordamos el último mensaje que le escuchamos predicar que fue en la boda de nuestra hija Viviane con Ulises. Hemos asistido a muchas bodas, pero las que el Pr. Juanito oficiciaba, tenían un tono de ternura inigualable. A uno le daban ganas de casarse de nuevo. Y nunca faltaban los repetidos chistes, que nos hacían reír una y otra vez, como ese de que un hombre dijo: “ Cuando mi esposa y yo cumplinos 25 años de casados y la llevé a Europa”. Y alguien le responde: Si eso hiciste a los 25 años que vas a hacer ahora que cumples 50 años de casado? A lo que el hombre respondió “ La voy a ir a buscar”. Nos sentimos muy priviliegiados por haber tenido a nuestro pastor Juanito officiar la boda de nuestra hija junto a su hijo Santiago Ost.

    Los recuerdos son muchos y el legado que él nos dejó es invaluable. Y él vivió lo que dice este dicho:

    “Cuando tú nasciste, todos reían y tú llorabas.
    Vive de tal forma que cuando tú mueras,
    todos lloren y tú sonrías.”

    Y sí lloramos porque le extrañamos. Porque en realidad no hay nadie que lo pueda sustituir. Lloramos porque somos humanos. Porque se ha ido, Y está bien llorar. Jesús también lloró por Lázaro. Pero no lloramos como los que no tienen esperanza. Porque si algo tenemos, es la esperanza de volver a verlo y celebrar con el cuando Dios le diga: “Juanito, buen siervo fiel, sobre poco has sido fiel, sobre mucho te pondré. Entra en el gozo de tu Señor.” Y sabemos que el mayor gozo que tendrá nuestro querido hermano Juanito es ver llegar a cada uno de nosotros a gozar la vida eterna con nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

    Le damos muchas gracias a Dios por habernos permitido el privilegio de conocer al Pr. Juanito y también le agradecemos a su familia por habernos regalado tantas de las horas que les pertenecían a ellos. Que el ejemplo de vida de nuestro querido hermano Juanito Ost nos inspire a vivir vidas dedicadas al Señor Jesús, vidas que valgan la pena ser vividas.

  2. clara ost says:

    It’s been a year ago that I released my dearest friend and husband to heaven. I remember so well asking him if he wanted to stay or to go to heaven. “Go to heaven” he whispered. I told him that I would not hold him he was free to go. And that I would join him there.

    For a long time I felt as though part of me was missing and the severing brought deep pain. I’m thankful for the wonderful day that I said, “Yes” to his proposal in 1959. He loved me as Christ loves the church. And I know that he would have given his life for me without thinking twice. He was a gentleman . Together we pursued God and were united in ministry. I miss the “coffee in bed” and his steel guitar renditions. He could make me laugh, too. These later years when I would return from shopping he always called out,”Welcome Home, Honey”. And when I go through the pearly gates I expect to hear him call out to me, “Welcome Home, Honey”.

  3. Deborah says:


    The pain is still very real. I miss Dad so much. It was hard thinking again about those last painful days. I’m so thankful that Steve and Loraine were there. I know that Steve’s pain was deep, but he was a calming influence on us (the children). Aunt Grace was such a blessing too.

    I sat and wept as I read your words, but the strangest thing happened as well. I sat there weeping and felt a sudden sense of calm. And the words came to mind that the “veil” between the two worlds is much thinner than we imagine. I remember Dad saying this. I’m not sure what that means practically, but it brought me peace. I know that Dad is with Jesus. A lovely poem has helped me found in “Streams in the Desert” (a copy Dad gave me)

    “..I will not bind my soul to grief;
    Death cannot long divide.
    For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
    Has blossomed on the other side?
    Death doth hide, but not divide;
    Thou art but on Christ’s other side!
    Thou art with Christ, and Christ with me;
    In Christ united still are we.”

  4. Ismael Fernandez says:

    I can’t believe it’s been a year already since pastor made his trip into heaven. There’s not one day that passes that I don’t think about Pastor. As I said it before, He wasn’t only my spiritual leader but my friend whom I could count on. I remember when I graduated from the police academy, Pastor attended my graduation. I graduated exactly one year to the day I lost my dad. It was tough to recieve my diploma and not have my dad there to see my dream fulfilled.

    But Pastor knew my heart was heavy and stood by me. Pastor told me, “You know Ismael, I have a feeling you’re dad is watching you”. Pastor never knew how much those words meant to me and how much I came to love and respect him.

    Thank you so much Pastor for being there for me so many times. I miss your fellowship very much. And some day very soon I will see you again along with my dad and everybody else in heaven.

  5. Jim Boscaljon says:

    Jim, that is a great memorial of your dad. He continues to leave the touch of Christ on the lives of others. My dad passed away this past January and I also continue to think about and miss him every day. You are all in my prayers during this time, and also look forward to that great reunion when we get to see our dads (and Sam) again. — Bosco

  6. […] My thoughts one year ago Tributes left by friends and family Video and audio of the funeral services […]

  7. juan garcia says:

    I knew Hermano Juanito and his dad also in Colima Mexico. My parents and them were good friends.
    And I think I was named after his, Juan Timoteo.
    what a testimony of life and also memories from
    the people that knew him. God Bless the Ost Family
    Will see you in heaven brother John.

  8. Plarium Stormfall Age Of War

    One Year Ago This Month | Word to the Wise

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