Thursday, August 21 Sarah and I drove north from Seattle and entered Canada. After spending a few hours in downtown Vancouver we caught a ferry over to Vancouver Island and camped for a few days. Saturday morning Sarah told me that the night before she had had a dream in which she saw Joshua Ortiz walking down the street. Holding his hand was Jesus.* Sarah has vivid dreams almost nightly, so neither of us thought too much of it. On Monday, August 24 as we were driving south through the rain of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, I dug out my phone from glove compartment. Finally being back in cell phone range, I began to check my messages.
"John, I'm calling to tell you that Joshua passed away this Saturday."
I pulled over next a marsh and sat outside and watched the Kingfishers and Herons fish in the rain while I tried to swallow what I had just heard. Josh, 17, who had been in youth group, who had played paintball with us at man camp, who I had tutored in english, math, and history, who I had picked up for youth group every Tuesday, my friend...was dead.
Yet as Sarah and I sat in the rain the same peace that I had experienced in the hospital room in Houston the last day I saw Josh seemed to come over us again. There were no words to be said just a heart of gratitude that Josh, who suffered so much rejection, abandonement, and physical pain in this world is now in arms of my precious Savior Jesus who by dying for, drawing to, preparing an eternal destiny for, and delivering Josh to heaven has loved and is loving Josh more than he could have ever known here on earth.
The last thing I said to Joshua is, "I love you and I will see you later." I still believe that. Joshua trusted in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay the deserved penalty for his sins. I made clear to Josh that must not just say these things now that he is sick and near to death without actually submitting his life to Christ as not only his Savior but also His Lord but truly believe and trust and acknowledge Christ's invasion and ownership of his soul, whether he lived another 80 years or 80 hours. I know as well as can be humanly known that Josh wanted more than anything to please his Jesus and that Jesus was pleased with Josh's dependence on Him.
It was an honor to know Josh as he passed through this temporal life and his eternal life will always be a reminder of why God has left me here on this earth for now.
In love with the One who is, did, enable, and is doing pure eternal Love