Archive for Bill & Sue's Journal

Journal Entry: Tuesday morning, October 7, 2008


Today is my dad’s funeral. Even after so many years spent living far away, it’s still not easy being so far away and not being there to help support our family with our presence.


He peacefully breathed his last this past Sunday. He loved his Lord and loved going to church. I had to think how cool that this past Sunday had to be for him as he got to worship his Savior right there in His presence and probably even got to hold His hand.


My dad was a great man and good father. Scary sometimes to us kids, but aren’t most dads at sometime or other?  No matter what I-- or especially my sisters-- would put him through he would always love us. Shortly after I was born, my mom gave him an 8mm movie camera. We have lots of memories on celluloid going all the way back to me in a baby bouncer, but very few with him in them since he was usually the director/filmer.  He loved to travel so we had lots summer trips around the states or we’d go to the cottage on Lake Michigan. There was the summer I wrecked my car, he went out and walked the beach so he wouldn’t have to yell me, and later sat with me in court when I was fined. When I sang on Children’s Bible Hour radio show, each year he was in charge of setting up the ushers for the big October Rally at the Civic Auditorium. Later when I got married, I chose him to be  my best man.


He and my mom were always supportive of Sue and my endeavors, even if it meant letting us move to Brazil. He was a good Dutchman and therefore not very demonstrative in showing or expressing love, but we knew he loved us, and in the past couple years especially he’d give more hugs and say “I love you”.  He was just six weeks shy of celebrating his ninety-fifth birthday. 


Always a sharp dresser, he invested much of his life in men’s clothing and Niemeyer’s Men Store on the Plainfield Avenue in Grand Rapids. As he had with many other young guys, he gave me my first job working stock there. The store is closed now, but many in the north end still remember him and the clothes he sold them.


He loved to golf, and I remember him going out early in the morning to play nine holes before going to work (something I never really related to). Years ago, he made the sports page of the paper for making a hole in one.


He loved his grandkids, and I know it had to be hard for him and grandma to be so far from them growing up in Brazil-- not getting to celebrate birthdays, go to plays and games that they were involved in. But as our kids started heading to the states for college, Grandpa and Grandma became their support group there, especially for Joel, our first to head out. And they’ve all lived in Grandpa’s upstairs apartment at one time or another since returning to the states.


He was so excited when he got to hold his first great-grandson about a year ago. Jordan became the one bright spot in a very difficult year of losses and transitions for him and Mom.


There’s so much more I could write, but now, he’s gone and it hurts. No matter how often I think that some day we’ll see each other again in Heaven, it’s still hard on this side.



Journal Entry: Monday evening, October 13, 2008


These past couple weeks seem to have been meetings, meetings and more meetings. We just finished another planning meeting this afternoon-- I mean, how much more can be planned?!  Pretty soon, if there’s any time left over, we’ll be having a meeting to plan the planning meetings.


Now, some meetings are great, like the new Thursday morning small group we started this past week. Everyone involved is excited about the study we’re doing. We are out with small groups both morning and evening on Thursdays, but this one was also Sue’s birthday. Since she doesn’t like regular cake, she made cheesecakes (a cherry one for the morning and a blueberry one for the evening) for each group, but she had to put up with them singing “Happy Birthday” each time.


Thursday, on our way to the first small group meeting, we went to the golden arches for breakfast. That may seem weird to people who have restaurants around that serve breakfast, but we don’t have them here, and this is the first week that our McDonald’s is serving Egg McMuffins and McGriddles plus good cappuccino, so it was a special treat to start the day.


Now, Friday was another day of celebrating Sue’s birthday.  We had a group of friends over in the evening for a party. She got roses, mums and plants plus, from folks that know she doesn’t have a green thumb, a painting and candles. It was fun with lots of visiting, goofing around and laughing, and of course, cake and ice cream.


Now, you would think the partying ended there, but no…There was a family game and pizza night at church on Saturday.  There were groups of all ages playing Dominos, Uno, Dutch Blitz, and other games plus some people making puzzles, and even kids bowling. The pizzas didn’t arrive until almost ten o’clock, and that hungry crowd descended on those like vultures. But later, when leaving, everyone commented on what fun it was.


Other exciting things are going on as well. A week ago, we had an Ordinance Sunday, giving the right hand of fellowship and presenting each of the fifteen recently baptized folks with certificates (something so important in this culture that they are often hung up on the wall at home). The teens than presented a group reading about Jesus’ compassion on the night of the last supper followed by the Lord’s Supper.  


Last night’s service was one celebrating Children’s Day-- down here this day ranks right up there with Mother’s and Father’s Days. The service started with a small group of kids in the beginning, but there was quite a group by the storytime.  Although everyone in the congregation participated, all the music was geared to children and a guest speaker from Child Evangelism came to talk with the little kids while the “bigger” kids, or adults, listened in. I’ve learned that it’s not hard to get the adults’ attention when telling a good story to children. It was a different, but fun service for everyone.


I guess all that we’ve done involved planning, thus planning meetings. Like them or not, I guess meetings won’t be ending anytime soon! For pictures of what's been going on, go to


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