February 17, 1963 - January 19, 2021
Johannes “John” Foster was born to missionaries Andrew and Berta Foster on February 17, 1963. He died of a heart attack on January 19, 2021, one month before his 58th birthday. He was a bachelor and had no children. He was the 2nd oldest of five children. He is survived by Andy Foster, Faith Haynes, Tim Foster and Dan Foster.
Because his parents were missionaries to the deaf, John was born in Mampong, Ghana and spent much of his early years in West Africa. In the mid ‘70s, his family moved back to Flint, Michigan, where John continued his elementary education at Flint Christian School. Despite his educational challenges, John was able to attend Gennesse Christian School’s special education program, and eventually graduate from high school. With his father’s encouragement, he enrolled in a Bible training program at Word of Life Bible Institute in Pottersville, New York. After leaving their program, John returned to Michigan and after his father’s death in 1988, he began working as an office assistant for Christian Mission for the Deaf, the mission organization founded by his father.
Although John faced many challenges growing up, his younger years were full of family, friendship and fellowship. Before he was ten years old, he outgrew his older brother Andy, eventually reaching 6’4” before he reached adulthood. Because of his stature, his father gave him the nickname Big John. He loved to throw a Frisbee or play basketball with his siblings and friends at home or during recess. He loved listening to music, especially Christian contemporary music and jazz. Every week or so, he would visit his local music store and pick up a new album, eventually amassing hundreds of albums. John was kind and friendly to everyone. He made friends everywhere he went, and even postal clerks and bank tellers knew him by name. Many of his friends remember him as “the Gentle Giant”.
John had a simple faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior. He made a special point to read his Bible daily, even though he didn’t understand the finer details of what he was reading. He was not perfect by any means, but where and when he made offenses, he would eventually try to apologize and reconcile. He was a faithful employee for Christian Mission for the Deaf, and saw his employment as service to God. He could always be counted on to remember details for scheduled tasks, even when his supervisors would forget. He faithfully attended church, and made a habit of frequently visiting several of his favorite churches so he could keep up with all his friends. He had a generous heart, giving sacrificially to missionaries and friends alike.
John’s health posed a number of challenges since his diagnosis as a diabetic in 1988. As time wore on, it became more and more difficult for him to navigate the complexities of making a healthy meal plan and keeping up with medications. His body’s deterioration due to diabetes, high blood pressure and frequent bouts with pneumonia often required him to stay in the hospital. But even then, he formed friendships with the doctors and nursing staff. One almost gets the impression that he liked being in the hospital because of all the special attention he got.
As his health continued to decline, he eventually required dialysis. His weakened body became susceptible to infection, and his bouts with bronchitis increased. He eventually contracted Covid in October 2020, and that put him in the ICU. While there, he contracted MRSA, and his body deteriorated even further, requiring the doctors to keep him sedated and intubated. He was showing slow signs of recovery after Christmas, but even still, he had a couple episodes where he became non-responsive and the doctors had to resuscitate him. On January 19th, at 7:30pm, he had a heart attack, and despite the doctors' best efforts to revive him, he slipped into eternity.
By the mercies of God, we are thankful that his end on this earth is also the beginning of his New and Improved life. We look forward to the day when we will be resurrected with new bodies, free from sickness, pain and handicap.
It is true that “to whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). John was not given much, but he made good effort to put his few talents in the service of his Lord and Savior. When he stands before the Judge of all the earth and is asked to give an account, he will not point at his accomplishments, whether they be few or many. Instead, he will point at his Savior and the work He did for him on the cross of Calvary, knowing that without Christ’s love for him and His work in John’s life, nothing John did would matter beyond his few years on earth. (Phil 2:12-13)
You and I have been given much in life. What will be our answer when our time comes to stand before the Judge of all the earth?
A Graveside Service will be held on Thursday January 28, 2021 at 2:00 PM.
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