Archive for Bill & Sue's Journal
  Thursday Morning, September 17, 2009


I see that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. Not really much to write about beyond the day to day life. 


Today started very early for us – and not the first time this week – with breakfast at five-thirty, to get to the hospital to be with one of our church members before her surgery.  Sue is staying with her for the day, since the husband has to work.  Since it’s a hospital only for females with all kinds of entry restrictions, I wasn’t allowed to stay. Of course that doesn’t matter since I have another meeting at nine.  Tomorrow another church member has early morning surgery, but not sure who’ll cover that one.


Tuesday was a celebration. Thirty years ago, on September 15, 1979, we arrived in Brazil. It was one of those times that can only be explained by how God works in mysterious ways.  


Having gotten our full support in eighteen months, and having waited for six months for a visa into Brazil, receiving invitations to work with other missionaries on other fields in the world who had heard about our situation, we finally learned that having a baby in the country guaranteed a permanent visa.  Though we were assigned to work in the Amazon jungle, we finally received a two-year temporary visa by accepting a teaching position at the Pan American Christian Academy in the city of São Paulo.


Leaving both Grand Rapids and New York, God had to have closed the eyes of the airline authorities to allow Sue (with her “little” baby bump at almost eight months pregnant) onto the plane. Then our visas and passports didn’t arrive from the Brazilian consulate until the morning we were to fly out.  We, along with four year old Joel, said our good-byes to family and friends, got on board the plane and flew away. Even hurricane David hitting the upper east coast of the states that night didn’t delay the journey. 


Crates and barrels packed with things to use in the jungle, had to be put into storage, ready to be shipped. Because of the type of visa we had we were not allowed to bring anything extra down, so we arrived here with six suitcases and two small boxes to start our new life.  Rather meager beginnings.  With continuing government restrictions, those crates and barrels never saw the Amazon.


Anyway, Natali made her appearance six weeks after we got to Brazil, but in the end it took another three year struggle to get that permanent visa we needed to stay. That process is a whole other tale. But here we are today, thirty years down the road, still plugging along.


Someone said to us that all of this must seem like yesterday.  No…it really seems like thirty years ago. Two characteristics we’ve learned to survive as missionaries – flexibility and faithfulness. Those of you who have been with us through this thirty year adventure have seen us flex in various places, circumstances and ministries. In the moves we’ve made, God has been so faithful to us wherever He’s placed us, and our response has been faithfulness to the calling He’s given us.


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