Archive for Bill & Sue's Journal

Journal Entry: Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our short trip up to the states was a bittersweet time. Sue and I headed up not knowing if we would even see my sister, Jewl Ann, alive. Delays both in the flight leaving São Paulo (only one hour, made up in the air) and the flight leaving Houston (seven hours in the terminal and another four and a half hours sitting in the plane on the tarmac) made things very uncertain.


Arriving in Grand Rapids around nine o’clock on Tuesday night (thirty-six hours after leaving our house in Bauru), we were met by our son Joel at the airport. He took us directly to the beautiful Hospice where Jewl was. God was so good. She couldn’t open her eyes or speak anymore, but when our daughter-in-law Lynne told her that we’d arrived, she smiled. Though she couldn’t communicate she could understand whatever we said. After a visit, we told her we needed to rest and she should too. Upon leaving, we said, “We love you” and she moved her lips saying “Love you.” The following day and night we spent at her side, On Thursday night, around nine forty-five, she went peacefully to heaven to meet her Savior. Our mission ABWE, has a special write-up about her life and ministry which you can read by going to   We are thankful to our mission which allowed us the time to make this trip, our church here which functioned well in our absence, and our sending church which helped with travel expenses.  


After the nights of visitations and a beautiful, God-honoring funeral service, much of our time was spent trying to help my parents adapt to the changes, as Jewl had been their primary caregiver in recent years. Although Mom and Dad are in good health, any change could be scary after living in the same house for over fifty-eight years. They were emphatic with us that they didn’t want to go into a retirement home, and when we returned to Brazil they remained in their own house.  


There were opportunities to see some folks in other “settings”, often taking Mom and Dad along. It seemed like we were out to breakfast almost every morning, usually with different people who invited us. I liked that since Brazil doesn’t do American breakfasts in restaurants. Over the years it’s been kind of complicated for us to get to family reunions, but we managed see some of the Spoelhof cousins and aunts at a breakfast one morning – for some it has to be more than thirty years since we last saw each other. At ninety-four years old, both Dad and Mom hold the record for longevity in their families.


While in Grand Rapids, we got to meet the newest member of Joel and Lynne’s family. His name is Bentley, a big white poodle (who’s afraid to go in the dark). We took Grandpa and Grandma over there to meet the dog and have pizza one evening. Of course, Grandma had to tell the story of how she always wanted a dog and never got one because they loved to travel and she was told she couldn’t have both.  Just a few more weeks and the next new member of their family will arrive. But no one knows his name besides Joel and Lynne, (and Jewl, who really wanted to live to see this baby and with whom they shared the name a few days before she headed Home).


One weekend we traveled to the east side of the state to spend some time with Natali. She and some friends were going to Cedar Point amusement park for a Saturday, and invited me to go along. Sue chose to stay around Ann Arbor and do some shopping instead of going on rollercoasters – which I don’t understand – and feed and walk Natali’s cocker spaniel Simon. It was a long hot day at the park with huge crowds and long lines for the rides, but the coasters made it worth it! We got on the last coaster ride – Millenium Force - almost at park closing time. It was a great way to end a fun day…and nice of them to invite the old guy along!


News from Aaron and Rachel in California was the sad since her new “pimped-up” old car (which had be stolen and then found a couple months back) was totaled in an accident. Thankfully, she was not injured too badly.


Sue celebrated her birthday just before we headed back, going out for breakfast, lunch and supper that day (and even got a free piece of pie out of the deal - at breakfast)! 


The flights back to Brazil went smoothly, but were fully loaded so there was no stretching out for the long night flight.  It was a holiday weekend here when we returned, with Children’s Day on Friday and Teachers’ Day on Monday (both days with no classes). Weekend services went well at church and it was good to see everyone again. Last night we went to Mario and Marta’s house for supper since she had the day off from classes (she is principal at the Baptist Academy), and a little more time to have folks in.   


Sue’s in class and the accountant for church is here with some documents so this must end for now. For other info and pictures, check out our blog –  Tchau!


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