March 16, 2013

Many of Rachel’s friends and family have asked about what happened on March 16, 2013. Here is a brief summary from Andy Horlings:

We arrived [in Accra,Ghana] from Nigeria Friday evening and stayed with Rachel’s friend, ‘Cat’. Saturday morning we took the bus to Cape Coast.  Rachel met us there.  She took us to the Cape Coast fort where we waited for her team to return from sea.  About 4 PM we returned to the hotel in Elmina. She said she had a project for me the next morning which was to scan all the notes (hand written) from the notebooks of each team member into the computer.  When we got to the hotel we set up the printer and computer to update the software and make sure it was working.  The first indication of something strange was when Rachel complained that she was getting some small shocks from the computer (she was on the cement floor with bare feet). This happened twice and she pulled the printer USB cable out of the computer.  Almost immediately she let out a cry  and said  “I can’t let go!”.  I immediately pulled the USB cable out of the printer but by that time she had already collapsed on the floor, like in a seizure.  Two of her team mates immediately began CPR.  We rushed her to the nearest hospital (all the while her teammate continued performing CPR).  The drive to the hospital was a long 20 minutes.  At the hospital, the doctor did his examination and declared our Rachel ‘BID’ (Brought in dead).


44 Responses to March 16, 2013

  1. Letta Gorder

    Dear Horlings Family

    Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of you as you mourn the loss of daughter, sister, wife, friend. Please know that we remember Rachel with you.

    An old friend of the family
    Letta Gorder

  2. John and Sandi Franken

    Andy, Linda and family:
    We first heard the news when I had to lead a congregational prayer. Wayne Stronks asked for prayers for the family. I felt the shivers go up my spine and knew I would need strength to include this in the prayer before God’s people in Telkwa. We have continued to uphold you in our prayers since.

    We just finished listening to service on line and give thanks for hearing the powerful witness Rachel gave and lived of the power of Jesus in her life. May His peace surround you in the coming weeks and months.

    John and Sandi Franken

  3. Just heard about Rachel’s passing. Very sorry to hear the news. My prayers will continue to be with the entire family.

  4. I just heard of Rachel’s passing. Very sorry to hear the news. My prayers will continue to be with the entire family.

  5. Dr. Luret Lar(Nee Shown)

    I knew Rachael way back at Hillcrest School in Nigeria, where she was a grade or 2 below me, but her ever active and jovial spirit will ALWAYS remain fresh! Shocked at the passing on sign I saw as I went to buy gas at the Horlings, but strengthened by her Dad’s extraordinary reaction as I went to see him. For us as Christians, death is just the beginning of a more fulfilled life at the bossom of Our Lord! God’s continued peace to the Horlings and her husband, Al.

  6. Benjamin Dapel Matawal

    When I heard about Rachael’s passing on, it was an acute devastation within me, it was difficult for me to accept what happened. In the end, I have to accept the will of God and purpose for which God took her at her prime age, the Scriptures Isaiah 57:1-2 flashed in my mind immediately.
    Rachael, you did not choose it, but God choosed that for you for his purpose, that is my consolation. May you rest at His bosom. May God give the family the heart to bear this unrepairable loss and to bring healing of been devastating as a result of this loss. Christ is the resurrection, and this is our comfort as Christians, we shall one day meet at the bosom of our Redeemer never to part again. Adieu!!

  7. Dear Andy and Linda and family,
    We extend to you our deepest sympathy and send our love in this great time of loss. May our great God, who is our Peace and our Comfort, carry you in these very sad and difficult days.
    With much love and prayers,
    Del and Leona McEwen

  8. Delinda Merry

    Dear Horlings family,
    My name is Delinda Merry and I am the Children’s Ministry Director at Redeemer Church of Knoxville. On behalf of the Staff and Church Family at Redeemer, we send our love and prayers and deepest sympathy for your family in the loss of your dear Rachel. We love Bryan, and are all so blessed by his being a part of The Body of Christ here. We pray you will know the comfort of our Lord as He promises to be close to the brokenhearted and to bind their wounds. With much love and prayers,

  9. Roslyn Vandenacre Hayes

    Linda, Andy and family, It has taken so long to write a note, because the loss of a family member is sometimes beyond words. I am so sorry for your loss. I have been following this page and I find that you have certainly lost a beautiful, faithful daughter. What a blessing for you, to know that she lived her life for Jesus Christ, and there are no doubts that she is now sitting with Him, in perfect peace. God give you all that you are in need of in the coming weeks and months. We sing a song in our church that is one of my favorites, and I would like to share a verse with you: Song for the Nations

    May we be a shining light to the nations,
    A shining light to the peoples of the world.
    ‘Til the whole world sees the glory of your Name
    May your pure light shine through us.

    From what I’ve heard and read of Rachel, she was truly one of the shining lights! I’m glad I got to learn about her and the life she lived for Christ.
    God be with you.

  10. David Quint

    To my friend Al, his and Rachel’s family , I am so very sorry for your loss. I first met Rachel when Al introduced us which I at the moment I can’t remember when but it was at SU. I do remember some time after that first introduction seeing Rachel as I walked down Euclid street on a summers evening from campus. She remembered me and we had a very nice chat as we both walked down Euclid. She asked me about my research and was genuinely interested in what I had to say. I think the most sticking thing that I remember from that moment about Rachel was her kindness and openness to me as a person. Talking with her that day left the impression on my that she was a unique and beautiful person and this is how I will remember her.

  11. Joyce Hyslop

    Dear Horlings family,

    Upholding you all in prayer through this difficult time.

  12. Joyce Hyslop

    Dear Horlings family,

    Upholding you all in prayer through this difficult time.

  13. Lori & Jim Larson

    You may not remember us, but I taught kindergarten to Sarah in Jos. I am so saddened to hear about Rachel. I can’t imagine the sorrow of losing a child. Please know that will pray for your family during this extremely hard and questioning time.

  14. Trish Lowney

    To the Horlings family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you..

    I had the pleasure of working with Rachel on some grant applications while she was a student at Maxwell. Comments from others very much resonated with my own memories of her: – a huge smile, a big hug, and a how are *you* doing?

    Christ’s strength will be with you, now and always.

    May this overwhelming good news be your comfort in these hard days, Linda and Andy. On Monday I will think in you and pray for you all the day around.
    May the Lord be bearing you and your entire family in His caressing hands through this time!

  16. Jan and Renee de Bree

    Andy and Linda,
    Our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your daughter.

  17. Tim and Wilma Palmer

    Dear Al, Andy and Linda, Cal and Crystel, Brian, Sarah and Brian, Aaron and Stacy,
    You are all in our prayers. May God continue to wrap each of you in his comfort and care. We will especially be thinking of you on Monday as the Memorial service for Rachel takes place. We rejoice in the hope that in life and in death we belong to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ!
    Our love and prayers are with you,
    Wilma and Tim

  18. Cathy and John Kalverda

    Dear Andy and Linda;
    Losing a child is something no one wants to experience. As parents we can only imagine the pain and loss this brings into your life and we are holding you up in prayer as you find your way to accept what you have been asked to bear.
    May our Father in heaven bring all that you are in need of, to walk this path, for He is the only one that can make this burden bearable. Blessings to you and your family as you move through the days and weeks ahead.

  19. Tittle Abader

    Dear Horlings Family,

    Please accept our sincere, sincere condolences on the passing away of Rachel. It is still very shocking to us all and very, very sad. Only Jesus can comfort you and heal the hurts. Please know that you are loved and prayed for.

    Tittle Abader
    and Family


    Those who have given of themselves to others, live forever within the hearts
    of those they have touched. May you be comforted by the love of family and friends during this sad time.


    Those who have given of themselves to others, live forever within the hearts
    of those they have touched. May you be comforted by the love of family and friends during this sad time.


  22. After he’d been in graduate school for a while, Al told me about a woman he met. When he introduced me to Rachel, I was touched by her glow and her quiet presence. I know why Al later said she was “the one”. The last time I saw Rachel was after she got her Ph.D. We were chatting about how and she and Al were doing. I asked her what she was going to do – what her future held. I can clearly remember the smile on her face as she said in a quiet yet confident and joyful voice that she didn’t know – “it was in God’s hands”. Rachel taught me a lesson that day that has stayed with me – about living in faith. My prayers are with Rachel and all she loved and touched with her presence.

  23. Dwight & Miriam Singer

    Andy & Linda,
    We were so sorry to hear of this very sad news. You have been on our hearts and minds much in the last 2 weeks. We pray that God will be your source of comfort and strength and more during this very difficult journey.
    Love & Prayers,
    Miriam & Dwight Singer

  24. John and Delores Keizer

    Andy and Linda,
    Our hearts are heavy with the sad news about the death of your wonderful, loving and gifted daughter Rachel. We are praying that all of your family will daily experience our Jesus’s loving and strong arms holding you during this time of deep grief. We send you our love.

  25. John and Wendy Reaume and family

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. As a family we will keep all of you in our prayers, knowing that He holds your hearts.
    With love,
    John and Wendy

  26. Jim and Pat McDowell

    Andy, Linda, family: Please know of our love and respect for you dear folk, knowing you have been so faithful in your calling over a lifetime. To have learned of this loss is so sad as we think of the family, Christian and human loss in this tragic event. Thank you for sharing the story as you have, and we pray for grace and peace over you through all that must ensue.

    What a beautiful picture of Rachel and her husband.

    Love in Christ.

  27. Abe and Carol Vreeke

    I have two distinct memories of Rachel. The first was when she was 4 years old. For about a year the Vreeke and Horling families lived together on the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria’s Secretariat Compound, just outside the town of Takum located in east central Nigeria. Rachel loved to play and our daughter Mary, who was 5, often played with Rachel. Mary was being homeschooled so Rachel would wait by our house until Mary completed her lessons. Rachel enjoyed the outdoors where she wanted to play with her friends as much as possible.

    We moved back to the United States when Rachel was 5, so the next time we had contact with her was when she was a high school student attending Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria. Each year the mission organized a weekend retreat for CRC missionary children. This retreat took the place of weekly catechism classes. During Rachel’s senior year I was asked to lead the retreat. We spent the weekend developing a Christian world view. It was pretty heavy stuff, but Rachel did a great job developing a Christian world view in her own words. She shared it with the whole group which was a great encouragement for everyone.

    The following Sunday the CRC mission was responsible for the Hillcrest evening chapel service. After some strong encouragement, we were able to convince Rachel to share her worldview with the Hillcrest community. Rachel was a quiet person who was not excited one bit to stand before a rather large audience many being her classmates. But she did it. It turned out to be a strong and deep testimony of her Christian faith. I remember the whole auditorium listening attentively. I know that many there that night were strengthened in their faith and were much encouraged.

    Abe and Carol Vreeke

  28. Margaret DeVries

    Continuing to lift you up in prayer. As others have said – words fail at a time like this. Our heavenly father knows our hearts – and the spirit intercedes for us. May you feel His arms and feel His peace.

  29. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Rachel, except through the wonderful stories I’ve heard about what a great woman she was, but I did have the pleasure of knowing her husband, Al, first as a runner friend and then as a member of SU Physics, for many years. My heart goes out to Al and his and Rachel’s family at this difficult time. Truly this is a loss to the world. Wishing you strength and peace.

  30. I am so terribly sorry about Rachel. I didn’t know her well-we’d chat whenever I saw her around the neighborhood when I was walking my dogs-but seeing her always cheered me. It was so easy to see she was a kind soul. After all, even though one of my dogs has taken a blood oath against your cats and the other is way too rambunctious, she always made a big fuss over them and petted them. I will miss seeing her smiling face. A very bright light has been extinguished.

  31. Ann Marie & Steve Alao

    Dear Andy & Linda,

    We are deeply shocked and sad about Rachel. We pray that the Lord bestows on you and your family comfort and peace.

    Love & Prayers,
    Ann Marie & Steve

  32. Stan & Jean Starkenburg

    Andy and Linda, we are so saddened and sorry for you. Our hearts go out to you, and we hold you in prayer.

  33. Greg Sinclair

    So sad to hear this news. Nelly and I will continue to pray for you to have strength in the Lord and feel His presence and comfort. Our condolences to the whole family.

  34. Meredith DeVoe

    So very sorry for this great loss to your family. We are praying for grace beyond imagining for you. God bless you, Meredith, Bob and Sarah

  35. Gord and Florine Buys

    We were so sorry to hear the news about the loss of Rachel. We have been lifting you up in prayer and trusting God to give you strength and peace and comfort. May the celebration of the resurrection fill you with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. We plan to attend the memorial on Monday.

  36. To the Horlings family

    It is at time like these that one realises one can be completely short of words to say. Our hearts and prayers go out to you in this time of sorrow. The last time we in Botswana had contact with Rachel was when we went out for dinner at the Toronto SAfA meeting last year. We shall forever remember the great conversations and her radiant smile.

  37. Peter and Bette Verkaik

    Dear Andy and Linda,

    Our hearts go out to you in this difficult time. May the Lord comfort you, along with your other children, during this painful time. Our prayers are with you.

    Love and Prayers from Peter and Bette Verkaik

  38. Joyce & Paul

    Such a sad story and quite difficult. The Lord has a way of giving His children strength during tough moments like this. We are so sorry to hear about Rachel’s sudden death. We have not met Rachel in person but I (Joyce) know Cal & Christel; my wonderful friends who lived in Cambodia at the time I was there. We lift up Rachel’s family and friends in the hand of our Redeemer. We pray that Christ may live in your heart today along life’s narrow way. May the Lord rest Rachel’s soul in eternal peace, Amen. (The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you, Romans 8:11).

  39. You are in our prayers, Horlings family. I pray that God will sustain you in this time.

  40. So sorry to hear about Rachel, I saw her last back in January in England. Through a friend I have an offer of help from someone who met Rachel and I would like to get in touch with Rachel’s family to pass this on. Regards, Pete

  41. Jewell and Andrew Kidd

    We were so sorry to hear this news and we feel at least some of your pain. It is obvious the smiling little Rachel I remember from music classes and junior high choir grew into a wonderful young woman. It is also obvious that she touched many, many people with her love and enthusiasm for life, her studies, and her Lord. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of her various families and most especially with you.

  42. grietje Meerlo Renting

    Hallo Andy and Linn,
    We just have got a email from Margareth. She writh that Tammy has past away. And also tha your Daugther Rachel is dead by an accident with electric.
    We wisch you all the strengt and love you will need in this time .You know that she is in the Lord now, but you will mise here verry much every day.
    We will pray for you all,
    with love Jan and Grietje Meerlo

  43. Mawo& Janet Abaya

    Andy and Linda, we are praying for you. We do not have words to comfort you, but the Holy Spirit will do that. Know that you are much in our thoughts daily.

  44. #Indeed the Lord giveth and He has taken away.

    I am so deeply struck, sorry and saddened about Rachel’s passing –even moreso, as a member of the “Hillcrest family” to which she belonged/belongs. There are few words that can be said. Yet may our/her Lord comfort you and give you strength. May you find comfort and strength in the fact that her own JOY is NOW–and is eternally and exponentially greater than any pain felt on earth. God’s plans are always greater than ours. Hard to digest or even understand. You, Cal (whom I knew better than Rachel) and the rest of the Horlings have been in my prayers, and in the prayers of those in my immediate circle. Be of courage, sir.

    #Blessed be the name of the Lord.