PROLOGUE TO A PORTRAIT
This is a very different article from anything we’ve done so far, but you might find it to be one of our most interesting. For one thing, it’s all video. For another, it’s very, VERY long. You’ll most likely want to listen to it in chunks. I suggest you think of it as a “book” for your ears.
You’ve already met Dr. Ostten in the article “Denham Springs, Louisiana – We’re Here!” He’d just returned from a week of preaching and pulled into the parking lot of the Lockhart Road Baptist Church almost at the same time as we. In between his speaking engagements, he lives in the “mission house,” next to the church. This time, he’s home for a couple of weeks. He introduces himself as Pastor Lee Ostten’s father and invites us to a delicious etouffee dinner at Lee and Roberta’s that night. From the first Louisiana drawl, I know this is one person I want to get to know better.
One of the first things we learn is that their name is pronounced like “Osteen,” which is the way it was originally spelled. The story goes that, after Ronald’s father, Walter Lee, submitted his paperwork to the social security office, it came back with his name spelled as O-s-t-t-e-n. After several attempts to correct it failed, he just went with it, but they all continued to pronounce it correctly.
THE SIMPLE INTERVIEW THAT WASN’T
This story began as a simple interview of an interesting gentleman with a charming Lou’sianna accent. However, within one session, I knew that Dr. Ostten’s persona was as much a part of the story as his “factual” history. You won’t have to watch much of the videos to find he is a “called” and gifted preacher. But, to capture the true passion and spirit of the gentleman and the gospel he preaches, you have to meet and hear the man. So, the three of us sat down in the pastor’s study about 6 times for fun conversations, and now you’re invited to eavesdrop.
Family and friends have been asking him for years to write about his life, but frankly, I think he’s been too busy. Even at 79, he travels between half and two thirds of the year, speaking at churches and conferences across the country and into Canada. We arrived in Denham Springs on January 18, and by February 2, he was off to Toledo, Ohio. He returns on the 20th. Last year, he preached 258 sermons. And that’s the way his life goes. I smile to hear Dr. Ostten say he plans to write his own book. I’m not sure he’ll ever find or take the time, but we can all hope.
To cover what he speaks of in all the videos, I’d have to write his book, and I’d still probably not capture him well on the page. By the time we finished, we found him to be as genuine, humorous, tender and passionate as you’ll see on the four videos. I encourage you to hang in there till the end. Block out about an hour at a time, and you’ll be blessed.
Larry has uploaded the (lightly) edited originals to YouTube. Here, they can be viewed, in total, by the hundreds of friends and family who’ve been waiting for him to tell his story. The videos are simple and straight forward conversations with no fancy camera work and quirky cuts to make you dizzy. You can listen to all or any of the four parts by going to Dr. Ostten Video. Video 2, Video 3, Video 4
Here are just a few highlights:
- Raised in the Louisiana swamps
- Dropped out of high school at 17
- Voracious reader
- Meets, falls in love with and marries a 16 year old full Cajun beauty in just 15 days
- He calls her Cajun Baby
- Does his share of carousing
- She prays and prays that he will come to know God
- Gets saved 5 years later and feels called to preach
- Missionary to Canadian Maritime Provinces
- Earns four doctorates
- Reads the KJV Bible through close to 150 times (by my calculations)