Written by MICHELLE GEORGE, the Eagle-Gazzette Staff
Evangelist and Firm Foundation Fellowship Church Pastor Lois Hoshor wrote "Spirit of the Soul," a book about her husband, Bob, and his heavenly experience. When surgeons were forced to stop the circulation in his heart for 21 mnutes in 2010, he remembers the beauty he experienced as if it happened yesterday.
When Bob Hoshor thinks of heaven, he thinks of a beautiful setting he can't describe in words, with a meadow filled with loved ones and angels larger than life.
"It's paradise -- the beauty here pales in comparison to what is there," Bob said. "Green is not green like we see it here -- it's almost like it's alive."
Most people only can imagine what awaits them after they die, but Bob said he doesn't have to wonder -- he already knows. That's because the Thornville resident said he had the opportunity to observe Heaven in 2010 when he was clinically dead for 21 minutes during open heart surgery at Fairfield Medical Center.
It's a story his wife, evangelist and Firm Foundation Fellowship Church Pastor Lois Hoshor, has helped him tell in her newly-released book, "The Spirit of the Soul," which is available at Praises bookstore in Lancaster.
"I want people to get an understanding that there is life after death," Lois said in regard to why she wrote the book. "There's only one way to heaven and His name is Jesus." While Bob's experience took place more than a year ago, he said he still remembers every detail as if it just happened.
He said he still can't reveal some of what he saw on that day in March 2010 when doctors were forced to stop the circulation to his heart for 21 minutes.
"There are things I know I'm not supposed to speak about at this time," he said of the experience.
What Bob already has shared with others is a story that begins with him standing directly behind his surgeon in the operating room. "I was behind (the surgeon) and I knew Jesus was behind me," Bob said. "I asked, 'Lord, what is he doing?' and He said, "He's massaging your heart.'" Bob said Jesus then put His hands right through the doctor's arms and hands.
Bob said he eventually found himself in a "paradise" where he saw his and Lois' family members approaching him through a meadow. He said he did not speak to anyone, just observed his surroundings.
When Bob "returned" to the hospital, he said he saw a type of purgatory with hundreds of souls all around him. Purgatory is believed to be a place or state after death in which penitent souls are purified and thereby made ready for heaven.
"There were an awful lot of them -- when you looked out the window, they were just wandering," he said.
Lois said she was surprised at the description her husband gave her of purgatory. As a Protestant, she said she always was taught that there is no such thing as being "caught in limbo."
"I was taught that your spirit goes to God and your body to dust, so this went against everything we've been taught," she said. "But I knew he was seeing what he was seeing."
Lois, who has written three other books, said "Spirit of the Soul" came out just a few weeks ago, but she's already heard feedback from several people who have read it, including an old friend from high school.
Bob said he even met another man who told him he'd had a similar experience. "We had close to a lot of the same things happen," he said.
Bob said the experience has taken away any uncertainty or fear he's had about death. He and Lois hope his story will have that same affect on others.
"We're hoping it draws people to the Lord," Lois said. "If you know Christ, you don't have to fear death."
Michelle George can be reached at (740) 681-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.