My Visit to Heaven
By One Mission Society Retired Missionary, Os Heinrich, with Ed Erny
A year ago, a remarkable story of a small boy attracted nationwide interest, and the book, Heaven is for Real, was at the top of The New York Times best-seller list for months. The small boy, 5 years old at the time, was the son of a Wesleyan pastor. The child, during a period of extreme illness and unconsciousness, had a vision. In the vision, he was transported to heaven where he saw his grandparents and amazingly his baby sister who had died at birth and whom he had never seen … or even knew about. Nevertheless, he immediately recognized her as his sister.
Recently, Oswald Heinrich, who with his wife Kathy, served as OMS missionaries for 46 years retired in San Antonio, Texas. During a time of illness, while in a coma, Os also had a remarkable vision of heaven. Here is Os’ story.
I was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 194l. My parents, like so many Canadians at that time, were fugitives from the chaotic events in Eastern Europe. My father was Lithuanian and my mother was from Poland. Both spoke German, and I knew little English until I entered first grade. I graduated from high school with honors and received a scholarship to attend the University of Saskatchewan. Ours was a devout Christian home and as a result, I chose instead to enroll in Hillcrest Bible College. I sang in a quartet and for three years traveled in Canada and the U.S., representing the college. During my time at Hillcrest, God gave me Kathy, a beautiful Christian girl, also from a devout Christian home. We were married in 1962. This November we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.
We moved to Rudyard, Montana, a few years later, and I graduated from Montana State with a three-year associate’s degree in engineering.
OMS missionaries frequently visited our church in Montana. Kathy and I both yielded our lives to the Lord for missionary service, and in 1966, we went to Haiti to work with OMS’ radio station, Radio 4VEH. We remained there until 1980, when we were led to move to Greenwood, Indiana, to serve at the OMS World Headquarters. There, I assisted in the Information Technology Department, while Kathy headed up housekeeping and hospitality services, a tremendous task in view of the great number of missionary residents and visitors that pass through the OMS doors.
God gave us three children. Sharon was born in Michigan during our internship there before going to Haiti. Cheryl and Ronnie were born in Haiti.
Although we are retired now in San Antonio where our son works for the police department and our youngest daughter Cheryl works at YMCA, we occasionally return to Indiana to see our oldest daughter Sharon, who serves at the OMS headquarters, and to serve there during times of special need, particularly when various staff members are traveling or on vacation. This past February found us back In Greenwood. While Kathy and Sharon went to Haiti to assist on a work team, I worked in the Information Technology Department, assisting my longtime friend, Glenn Moon, the director.
With Kathy, my nurse gone, I must confess, I was remiss about both my lifestyle and taking my medication for my diabetes.
I went to church that Sunday and afterward, I took a bath. I was not feeling particularly well but had no idea how very ill I was. I actually passed out in the tub. Monday morning, when I did not show up for work, Glenn came to the apartment looking for me. There I was, still in the tub, totally unconscious and alarmingly ill. I was rushed to the emergency department of a nearby hospital. When the doctor finally brought me out of my coma, he informed me that I was “about one hour from death.” I had passed out because my sugar count had soared to over 800!
While in the coma, I had a vision in which I had entered heaven. I had no doubt at all that this was heaven, for the scene was beautiful beyond description. I saw myself lying on a grassy hillside and overlooking a shining city. I knew at once it was the Holy City of Jerusalem. The scene was beyond description. The hillside was covered with beautiful red tulips. Delighted that I was now in heaven, I jumped up and ran toward the holy city. The first thing that had come to my mind was that now, at last, I could see my parents and also my brother and sister, both of whom had died before I was born. Then, as I ran, I heard a voice behind me. I stopped, turned around and saw an angel. He said to me, “It’s not your time yet. You’ll have to go back because your service to God is not yet complete.” I was crushed with disappointment, so much so that I started to cry. The next thing I remember, the doctor was by my bed talking to me and instructing the nurse to give me pills for the pain.
Yes, heaven is for real. The Lord Jesus told us so when he said, “I go to prepare a place for you. If it were not so, I would have told you.” All of us who have the Lord Jesus in our lives are guaranteed a home in heaven.
I have always believed in heaven but never before had I been there. Now that I have seen it with my eyes, more than ever, death holds no fear for me and, in a very real sense, I look forward to “returning” to heaven.