When A Cowboy Goes Home

Most everyone reading this knows of Mr. John Christie, our ranch foreman (a title he cherished) here at the Cross-Dubya. Mr. John came to live with us in 2022. The small two-room apartment in my workshop, with its own full bathroom and running water, gave him so much more than his living conditions before arriving here. More than someone who helped with chores, Mr. John soon became a part of our family. We shared meals, Bible study, lots of prayers, and good and bad times together.

In John Dewayne Christie, I found more than a friend and Christian brother. He proved to be a trusted companion who was always willing to lend a hand in every way he could. An experienced farm worker, ranch hand, and dairyman, I learned quickly that he was someone I could rely upon to get the job done.

Some of you may not know the story of how he came to become a permanent part of our Cross-Dubya ranch. Here’s a link to the story, told by Mr. Lee Habeeb, the host of Our American Stories radio program. I’ll always remember the look on Mr. John’s face when he listened to it the first time and I shared Mr. Habeeb’s listening audience size. Showing him the impact his testimony could have on so many people helped Mr. John see the importance of living a Christian life.

Link to The Story of the Quiet Cowboy (ouramericanstories.com)

The life we live as Christians becomes our greatest testimony of the power God has to change lives through salvation. #ChristianLiving #ALivingTestimony Click To Tweet

Mr. John Christie died in his sleep sometime in the early morning hours of Thursday, February 22, 2024. I noticed the large shop door was still closed when I went out to free the chickens that morning. Not thinking too much about it, as he would often walk his German Shepherd puppy “Mercy” around 3:30 or 4:00am and then lay back down and rest for an hour or so. I’ll always remember my, “Mornin’ Cowboy, we’re burnin’ daylight”, as I peered into his bedroom. When he didn’t rouse, I knew God had called my friend home.

Heartbroken, saddened, and grieving the loss of my “right hand man” is tempered by the joy of knowing he is now free from illness, weakness, fear, temptation, and sin. Oh, the great joy Mr. John must be experiencing with his Lord and Savior as he’s reunited with his parents and brothers in glory.

My mind drifts back to the many conversations, prayers, and times spent with Mr. John. Discipling and helping him to grow in his faith and learn to live victoriously as a Christian man will remain a humbling blessing in my life. Our Bible Q&A over breakfast to help understand something he had read the night before, weather updates, and reviewing the day before us remains cherished memories of our time together.

While “The Quiet Cowboy” will be missed around here, I’m certain that his legacy of love, faith, and devotion will live on as I see reminders of his imprint upon my life all around me. Great comfort is found in knowing that our friend Mr. John lived the remainder of his life in “God’s country.” God chose to use Ms. Diane and me to redeem his years. Thank You Lord, for Your calling upon our lives. What an honor it was to help Mr. John and bring You glory in our efforts.

When a cowboy goes home, he leaves a trail of faith, devotion, stewardship, love, hard work, and life lessons behind.

God’s blessings,

51 thoughts on “When A Cowboy Goes Home”

  1. Mr. J. D.,
    I am so profoundly sorry. Yet I rejoice with you that he is in heaven, healed and whole! I know you will miss him, but will see him again someday!

  2. So sorry for yours and Ms. Diane’s loss, JD. But so thankful for your faithfulness and the part you played to bring him Mr. John to Jesus and into your family. Rejoicing at his glorious Home-going. Praying for God’s comfort for you. Beautiful tribute to Mr. John. ❤️

  3. Dearest brother, I thank Jesus for how you and dear Diane welcomed Mr. John into your life. Q & A over breakfast is how Jesus taught His disciples. I cannot wait to meet you, your wife, and Mr. John. Still singing Carrie Underwood’s “Go rest high on that mountain” in honor of Mr. John and a few others. I forgot to mention that I heard that song for the very first time the day before I emailed to check to see if you had the celebration of life service yet. All glory to Our Sovereign God. Sending you a hug from Central Pa, JD.

  4. Kari L. Greenaway

    Hi, J.D., Ms. Diane.

    I started reading this post and, “The Blessing” was playing here in my office. Tears are still falling as I write this. I cry in thankfulness for your testimony of Mr. John and the years that were redeemed. I cry with joy that he is with, Jesus.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I know loved ones pass and that we’ll see them again, but it’s easy to miss their role in our daily lives. I pray many gentle smiles and shared glances between you and Ms. Diane as you go about your day’s remembering the angel in your midst.

    May love and mercy and abundance continue to overflow at the Cross-Dubya, and with all those whom you touch with your life and testimonies.
    In Christ,

  5. Tears. I know you will miss him in so many ways. What a blessing you and Diane were to him! I bet he won’t be so “quiet” when he greets you in heaven some day! I’m truly sorry for your loss, friend.

  6. Kathy Collard Miller

    So very very sorry to read of your loss, J.D. Your “spread” is going to be different. What a joy and privilege you had discipling him. Prayers for all who loved and valued him.

  7. Dear friend, my heart is breaking for you and Ms. Diane. I am so thankful that Mr. John was able to be with you all and learn more about God. Your words and actions showed Mr. John the love of God in every moment. Your wonderful descriptions of this special man made me feel like I knew him personally. May God comfort you and Ms. Diane as you grieve. Sending love and prayers.

  8. Though sad to learn of your loss I rejoice with you in knowing Mr. John is with the Lord, living the LIFE that we look forward to someday.
    The relationship between the two of you epitomizes godly friendships. You each blessed the other in untold ways I’m sure— you especially by discipling him into greater faith and victory in overcoming.
    I look forward to meeting Mr John in person someday.
    I pray you find another foreman soon. Of course
    there will never be another Mr John.

  9. The physical bond is broken with Mr. John for now but someday you will see him again. What a glorious day that will be. Be strong in the Lord my friend.

  10. J.D., I am so sorry for your loss. I remember when Mr. John came to live with you and Ms. Diane. More so, I loved the stories you shared as the companionship ran deep. I am glad Mr. John was not alone, but found a home in Cross-Dubya Ranch. May the Lord comfort both you and Ms. Diane. More so, may He bless you deeply for the gift of love and hospitality and Jesus you offered to Mr. John.

  11. Oh, J.D. I am so sorry. I know from the way you’ve spoken about Mr. John here that he was much more than a hired hand–he was a friend and brother. Though we rejoice when our loved ones are with their Savior in person, we miss them til we see them again. May God give you and Mrs. Diane and Mr. John’s friends grace and comfort in the days ahead.

    This verse was a comfort to me several years ago when our then-pastor died, seemingly too soon, humanly speaking: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss, friend. You and Mrs. Diane were the hands and feet of Christ to Mr. John. You showed him God’s unconditional love and were the vessel to teach him the Bible. And now he’s walking in heaven. May God comfort you and Mrs. Diane as you mourn the loss of your dear friend.

  13. so sorry for your loss, J.D.
    it’s just like God to bring precious people into our lives that enrich and inspire. to help us grow, teach and ground us.

  14. Saw this earlier this morning at a doctor’s office on my phone, but couldn’t respond. For some reason, I suspected that the personal tragedy you alluded to last week involved Mr. John, and our hearts ache with yours for the loss of your friend and brother in Christ, as well as your right hand man around the ranch. At the same time Diane and I rejoice for the impact that the Holy Spirit of God used you to make on Mr. John’s life. I remember well when you first mentioned him and shared the story of how the Lord brought the two of you together. What an incredibly moving and uplifting demonstration of God’s love in action that was, and how refreshing it was to see how you integrated him into the Cross-Dubya family and you he became so much more than a boss. It’s a rare thing in life to find relationships that meet so many needs and that demonstrate a shared faithfulness that has eternal rewards for all that are involved.

    None of us who are privileged to be included in your circle of friends are surprised at how your relationship with Mr. John unfolded. And because of the way you bring us down to Texas on a regular basis, you’ve allowed us to sort of know him. I think the comments above make it clear that we share your sense of loss and at the same time, rejoice with you in knowing that he’s with the One you guys talked about, prayed to, worshipped, and looked forward to seeing face to face. Diane and I love you, Brother, and as we remember the times when shocking losses came our way and how faithfully He provided everything we needed, we’re thanking Him for displaying that same faithfulness to you and everyone who knew and loved Mr. John.

  15. Oh J.D., I’m so sorry to hear about this loss to you and Ms. Diane’s life. I know Mr. John was a treasured friend and a great help to you on the ranch. But I also rejoice with you that he is with his Lord and is no longer in a body of suffering. May you find peace and comfort as you think about this man’s life and what he meant to you.

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m grateful you had such a wonderful time of sharing with Mr. John that blessed you as well. Blessings on you and your bride as you go through this difficult time.

  17. I’m so heartbroken for your and Mrs. Diane’s loss, but rejoicing with you both over Mr. John’s gain. Such a touching testimony. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  18. I’m so sorry for your loss, J.D. Mr. John was your dear friend, but he was so much more. I know you feel his loss deeply. I’m thankful that you both were blessed to enrich each other’s life. Praying for you.

  19. J.D. and Ms. Diane: I am so sorry to hear about Mr. John’s passing. I am thankful for the opportunity to have met him and to know about his faith in Christ. Thank you for making a difference in his life and for the friendship you and Ms. Diane gave to him. I know you will miss him in many ways. When my son and I were at your home, you could tell John was very proud of his new puppy, Mercy. Praying for you both and your loss.

  20. JD, Sorry for your loss, not just a ranch hand, but your brother in Christ. By God’s grace, you gave him a a chance to live out his final months with dignity. It may take a while to figure out how much impact he had on you, Miss Diane, and those at your church. He is now serving his main trail boss with a new body. Thanks for opening up your heart to him and sharing him with us here online.

  21. I am so very sorry for your loss. What a sweet relationship you had with his special person!!! I know you’ll miss him terribly. Thank you for being such a wonderful mentor in his life, as well as being a great provider for his last days!!

  22. Dear Mr J.D.,

    Ben Cooper and Ron Gallagher sorted it out pretty well from my line of thinkin’. Thank you for your gracious home welcoming you gave Mr John. I know only a small degree of your (and Ms D) hospitality but found it outstanding. I’d be the first to offer to come take over the chores, but we’ve family here in SC holding’ us down. Praise the good Lord for folks like you two.

  23. Diane Virginia Cunio

    Thank you, J.D., for you and Diane sharing Jesus with Mr. John. Condolences on your loss of one special cowboy.

  24. Starr Ayers Ayers

    I am so so sorry. I know how special he was to you May God grant you and Diane His overwhelming comfort and peace. Cowboy John was blessed to have you in his life.

  25. J. D. and Diane, I’m so sad to read about your friend. Losing a friend is hard. I enjoyed the blog posts with stories of your cooperative work on the ranch. I’m sure you two provided the best home, job, friendship, and mentorship during Mr. John’s walk with Christ. I praise God with you that he is face to face with his Savior. May we all glean lessons from your testimony of a life that was changed by Jesus and the investment you and Diane made in your friend’s life.

  26. I’m so sorry to hear the news about Mr Jim but what a beautiful story. I pray you can find more people to help live their best lives. Sending prayers and hugs

  27. I’m so very sorry! I enjoyed getting to know Mr. John through your stories. I’m praying for your peace and comfort. What a joy to know you’ll see him again.

  28. My heart weeps and rejoices with you and Ms. Diane. Praise God! He allowed Mr. John to become an employee and part of your family…and then a part of your “forever family.” Would that we would all have that kind of impact on those God allows in our lives.
    One thing I am learning from losses in my life…”Be still and know that He is God.”

  29. While I have yet to meet you, JD and your sweet wife, I feel I already know you. I was lucky enough to meet and stay in contact with Mr. John over the past 9 months. He spoke so highly of you both and I could tell by the way he talked, he knew he had been taken in by angels.
    He loved the ranch and the work he did there made him light up when he talked
    Oh, and the messages & pictures he sent about Mercy, his German Shepherd pup. There was no doubt she was his pride and joy Nothing was too good for her and he loved her unconditionally.
    It makes me so sad to know I won’t get those updates any more but overwhelmingly happy that Mr. John has moved on to a place where his happiness will never end.
    Thank you JD and “Mrs. D” for taking him in, loving him and introducing him to Jesus!!!

  30. Brother J.D. I feel like you have no regrets. Seems as if you helped Cowboy John prepare well for his final journey. It is wonderful that you and Ms Diane had a major role in the last chapter of his life. Accounts such as this encourages me to be better. Continue blazing a trail for others . . you do it well.

  31. I’m saddened to hear this, Friend. One thing that comes to mind is something my pastor used to repeat, “Christians die well.” I know this sentiment also applies to the friends and families of Christians: they suffer the death of loved ones well because they know they have actually gained eternal life. But that won’t stop you missing him.
    Blessings to you!

  32. Touching words and tribute to Mr. John. I remember well all the ways you’ve written about him and described his demeaner and Christian faith. I pray you and Mrs. Diane hold close your fond memories of him and know you will see him again. Praying for you. Make sure and take care of Mercy for him.

  33. Sorry for y’all’s loss, brother J.D. and Ms. Diane.
    Praising Father for the time you had together as He prepared Mr. John’s heart for his journey home.
    May Father bless you and guide you through this time.

  34. I’m so sorry to hear of Mr. John’s passing, J.D. but with you I’m thankful he was able to be a help to you for several years and you for him in his walk with God! The angels surely rejoiced at his homecoming!

  35. so sorry to hear about Mr. John, but it sounds like he left a wonderful fragrance of faith behind. I pray his legacy inspires many to look to the One he loved. and that your broken hearts are healed with the memories.

  36. When I saw the title of your post, I assumed Mr. John had decided to leave the Cross Dubya and go back home to his roots. I was curious as to your connection and what you would say about cowboys. I was so sad to read that you meant his heavenly home. So sad. I had been wanting to ask how he was doing with his heart issues. I know you rely on him for so much and now I’m wondering how you will manage. May the Lord lead someone else into your fold. I am so sorry Mr. John is now gone but what a way to go – in his sleep, being shown godly love, living with simple pleasures doing the things you love to do. What a joy for you to have been chosen to provide those things. I know you have been blessed and will be even moreso in heaven for the blessings you showed. I’ll be sad for a while for you, for Diane, for his German shepherd puppy, and for all of the animals on the ranch. Death makes life feel so short.

  37. I also add my heartfelt condolences to you and Ms. Diane as you mourn your friend Mr. John. What a perfect ending to his life. How sweet that you ushered in the opportunity for him to live and work on your ranch. I know you and the animals will miss him sorely. Prayers going up for you, dear friend.

  38. J.D., I’m so sorry for you, who are left behind to mourn, but not as ones without hope. What a wonderful testimony of how God’s grace affects both the conduit and the recipient. Well done, good and faithful servants!

  39. J.D., I’m so sorry for your loss. Mr. John played a big role in your writing too. We all came to care for him. But what a sweet way to go home. I’ve always hoped that if I’m not a part of the rapture that God will take me in my sleep. God bless.

  40. What a sweet tribute to your right-hand man, Mr. John. Thanks for sharing about him on your blog and on “Our American Stories.” I enjoyed listening to “The Quiet Cowboy.” May we all strive to leave “a trail of faith, devotion, stewardship, love, hard work, and life lessons behind.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top