Updates from September, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • ivanildotrindade 11:23 pm on September 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alzheimer's, john denver,   

    Pat Robertson: proof that God isn’t there? 

    There is an old John Denver movie in which he walks into a Pentecostal service in which the preacher is stumbling all over his message and walks right up to the preacher and whispers something into his ears. I don’t recall all the details but if my memory doesn’t fail me, the preacher gets all excited and announces to the congregation that “this brother has a fresh revelation from the Lord,” something to that extent. The people get all excited and the John Denver character grabs the mic and says, “Preacher, God wants me to tell you that you are embarrassing him!” With that, he walks out.

    Well, somebody needs to scream in Pat Robertson’s ears that he is embarrassing God. The man who wanted to assassinate Fidel Castro, the man who blamed abortionists and gays for 9-11, this same man is now saying that someone is justified to divorce a wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, because Alzheimer’s “is a kind of death.” You may follow the whole thing here, including an excellent response from Dr. Russell D. More, Dean of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Make sure you watch both Pat’s and Russell’s video clips.

    Okay, all my atheist friends out there: you need to look no further for evidence that God isn’t there. The fact that Mr. Robertson continues to make statements like this on behalf of the Almighty should speak against the existence of the Almighty. Or perhaps it could only prove that the Almighty is NOT like Ivanildo. I would have shut Mr. Robertson up a long time ago… Or maybe it proves that God is the most tolerant being anywhere in the universe.

    All I know is that as long as Mr. Robertson continues to speak as a “respectable” voice of the evangelical movement, we are in danger of becoming the laughingstock of this world. And the media does not suffer from Alzheimer’s.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    P.S. Note to Mr. Robertson: God wants me to tell you that you ARE embarrassing Him.

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:23 pm on September 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Run Interrrupted 

    Knowing how busy I was going to be today, I decided to run my my 10k in the morning. I wanted to run at race speed since I am running a five man relay next Saturday to raise money for the ministry of G.R.O.W. (By the way, if you want to donate, go here. We want to buy land and build a couple of homes so we can rescue more children from the sex trade industry in Thailand).

    At the start of the second 1.6 mile lap of my 6.4 mile race, I heard someone calling, “Pastor Ivanildo!” Instinctively, I stopped. Not a good idea if you are running at full speed. It was a kid from church. I knew immediately what I was dealing with. A little kid early in the morning running towards you with a big yellow envelope in his hands? Must be a fundraiser! I started to turn around to continue running, and shouted, “Catch me later. I’m on a timer!” Which was true. But instantly, I felt guilt, stopped again, and came toward the kid. I put my arm around him and asked him what he wanted. He told me his mom thought he should offer me his coupon book from his elementary school. I said, “How much?” “20 dollars,” he said.

    Just then I saw one of my neighbors coming around the corner. I knew she had seen the entire scene and heard what I had said. She must have seen that I changed my mind. I felt proud of myself. “Oh what a good impression I made.” Then another thought came to mind, “Did I change my mind before or after I saw her?” I worried: “Maybe she will think that I only changed my mind because I saw her.” I reviewed the sequence hard on my mind and positively concluded that I didn’t change my mind because of her. But I had no idea what she could be thinking.

    I told the boy to look for me in church the next day. His mother came driving and I told her where to find me in church. Just then I noticed another neighbor walking her dog from the opposite direction. This was the same neighbor whose dog I had run involuntarily over with my truck a couple of years ago, but that is a story for another day. She came to us and had a 20 dollar bill in her hand. She said to the kid, “You dropped this. I thought it might be important to you.” I thought, “She must have heard the whole thing too.” Now I was really happy I had changed my mind. I thanked her. And thought, “Just like that, my reputation could have gone up in smoke.”

    I thought about the main reason I run — to help rescue little kids from the sex trade industry in Thailand. Then I thought about the kid I had in front of me. A Chinese boy, maybe 10 years old. A single mother who lost her husband to cancer a couple of years ago. I could have crushed his heart.

    For a second I could have revealed for all to see that I cared more about my running than about people like this little boy. What a tragedy that would be. I could have killed the enthusiasm of this little boy who was knocking on the doors of strangers asking them to buy a discount book. I could have told him that finishing my run in a good time was more important than attending to the needs of that brave little boy.

    Most of all, I could have disappointed my God, who cares more about people than about what we do for people (like running to raise money for people).

    Yes, when I did try to resume my running my left knee began to hurt, no doubt from the abrupt stopping. I tried to pick up my speed again but I was mentally and physically out of it. Instead of running 6.4 miles, I ran 3.2. Instead of a record time, one I would never post on Facebook . But I was much happier than the time I broke my personal best running the 10k in Cleveland last May.

    If there ever was such a thing as getting high on doing the right thing, I think that happened to me today. Now if I could just come up with $20 tomorrow!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 12:18 am on September 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , stuff of life, trivial stuff   

    “We’re all gays here” 

    Yes, I have done stuff most normal people will never do. In my childhood, when times were tough and we couldn’t afford to buy toothpaste, I learned to brush my teeth with soap. This was a great help later on when my mother would put a bar of soap in my mouth every time I said a bad word!

    At some point someone showed me how to make powder out of charcoal and wrap it inside a cloth, then rub it against your teeth, get rid of all the black spots and voilà… the teeth were as bright or brighter than brushing a whole year with Colgate! Never mind the throat cancer you might get years later, what matter was bright teeth at zero cost.

    An older boy on my street taught me to be one step ahead of the pack. One day we were walking down a street when this young guy came riding his bike, zigzagging toward us, acting like he was going to hit us. My friend suddenly made a sudden forward movement toward the cyclist when he came at us and startled the guy almost making him fall out of his bike. I said, “What did you do that for?” He said, “I did it because if he had fallen he would have accused us of doing that anyway…” Thank God I never became good at that type of street smartness. I  was too afraid of my mom to try anything considered less than proper.

    One day, after I was already married, I was on the side of the road with another friend getting a tire fixed by the local repairman. In Belém it is typical to have those guys with stands by the side of the road making a few bucks fixing tires or simply using their compressors to air tires that got too low. On this day, it was my friend’s car whose tire needed attention. We were standing there on the side of the car facing the street, a bad idea considering how bad the traffic is there.

    Suddenly, a black car spun around us and stopped, tires screeching, facing the incoming traffic. A young man who appeared to be so intoxicated he seemed ready to fly, lowered his window, looked at us and said, “Is there any MAN here?” My friend, realizing the man was itching for a fight, remarked, “No, we are all gays here.” The guy hit the gas, spun the car one more time, and left another layer of his tires on the road, kicking dust and thinking about what his next mischief was going to be. I am just thankful the guy was not homophobic either. My friend probably saved us from a fist fight, a gun shot or possibly being run over by a car. Or all of the above… I marveled at his presence of mind at that moment.

    Most of the time I am not that quick. I am more like those who think of an answer hours later when they hit the pillow. That’s okay, I guess, since most of the things above are simply trivial. They are also intuitive and this can’t be taught or bought.

    I am impressed, though, at some of the street abilities some people have and wish I could have some. But I am reminded that it is not through clever means that we achieve greatness in this world. Rather, it is in giving up control and allowing God to take over that we achieve a fulfilled life. I am the freest when my will is yielded to His will. No amount of trickery can substitute that.

     
  • ivanildotrindade 12:03 am on September 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: lessons from strangers, walking on busy srteets   

    All the right moves 

    Today I continue my list of things useful or not that I didn’t learn in school. I also continue to encourage you to post your story here. I will select the best one, based how creative, funny and useful your idea isOnly comments posted here on the blog will count. The best entry will win a free book, which I will mail to you.

    So let me tell you about how I have saved embarrassing moments on busy streets in some of the biggest cities in the world. It started on a busy street in my hometown of almost 2 million in northern Brazil. I was walking amidst vendors, mothers with strollers, men on business suits and women hurrying to get to the gym. It was hard to move and each time I inched forward I was bumping into someone intent on getting somewhere in the opposite direction.

    Suddenly, I made a move to the left and there she was — an older lady who came from nowhere and was now next to my face I could almost smell her breath. She didn’t smile. She didn’t scream. She didn’t flinch. She didn’t blush. As she managed to avoid the meeting of our faces, I could hear her saying, with the same monotonous tone as that of a university professor, “To the right, son; my father always told me to move to the right.”

    I decided to try that the next time I was navigating a busy street and to my surprise I moved faster than ever and avoided “reaching out and touching someone,” which I appreciate, especially on hot, muggy summer days like we have in Belem, Brazil. Since then I continue to follow that practice and only rarely do I get stuck when I go to the right. And to that I have to thank a polite lady who only passed by my life for a couple of seconds and yet gave me a tip that remains with me to this day.

    What kind of lessons have you learned from complete strangers?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     

     
  • ivanildotrindade 2:50 pm on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fixing break lines, fixing cars, outrageous car mechanics, uses of drywall screws   

    Drywall screw to the rescue! 

    My friend, Jim Hocking, sent me this entry to my little contest going on for the next couple of days. He is traveling through the Democratic Republic of the Congo right now with limited or no Internet, so he asked me to post it for him. I hope many of you will send your stories as well. I am sure you have stuff you learned outside the formerly hollowed grounds of learning. Why not share your insights with the rest of the world? (the world of my blog, that is!). By the way, Jim, you should send this to the Car Talk guys.

    “Hardly any internet here in Bandoundu, RDC but thought I would write one small thing here for you and hope to be able to come up with more in the future. Could you post this for me since i can not get on the web to answer comment for you? Take a look on Google earth and find where I am. [I did, Jim. How much did Internet cost you there?].

    I was traveling with one of my local mechanics and we had a brake line break while I was a missionary in the Central African Republic. As I was contemplating what to do they said, “No problem, mister; you realize that a car will stop with less than 4 wheels worth of brakes, right?” “Okay, sure I understand that but it is not really safe…” I said. They responded, “That is okay; here, let us show you how to fix this.” So first they took loose the line and put the head of a screw in between the solid line and the broken line and then since we did not have any more brake fluid they mixed soap in water and poured that in the Master brake cylinder and sure enough…we had brakes!   

    Now this may seem drastic but it really works and a few years later while traveling with one of my team with Integrated Community Development International (ICDI), we broke a front caliper and so we had to use the “screw” method… Thankfully I had gotten in the habit of carrying some brake fluid with me so we added brake fluid and continued our drive. The one man traveling with me was so impressed with the way I used a “drywall” screw to repair a brake line that he sent me a 20lb box of dry wall screws!

    Well,  now you know how you can fix your brake line if you bust one while on the road there in the USA…might save you a towing bill and repair bill….smile.

    Jim Hocking, CEO, ICDI”

     
  • ivanildotrindade 12:07 am on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: not-so-useful learning, silly lessons, , useful learning   

    My own first responder: comment and you may win a free book 

    Hey, I want to do something different here for the next couple of days. A somewhat silly exercise.

    Here it is: I thought about the fact that a lot of things I’ve learned along the way I didn’t learn in school, church or even at home. I learned on the streets, or street corners, from people like myself who were never even told me they taught me something worth remembering. So I thought, “Why not share about some of the trivial things I learned along the way that have served me (or not) in this journey called life?”

    And I want you to share about your experiences too. Learned something silly or trivial from a peer? Share it with us by way of your comments! I will select a winner and send you a free book. So, since I don’t have such a wide readership, your chance of winning is very high! You will be judged on how creative, funny and useful the thing you learned is. Only comments posted here on the blog will count.

    Okay, so when I was about 12 I dropped a glass in school and broke it. Yup, tile floors, the glass had no chance. This older guy saw my frustration and came to my rescue. You see, back in those days you would get at least a scolding for doing that and your parents would be informed of your “mischief.” And God knows you didn’t want to mess with my Mom. So I was in trouble.

    Well, clumsy as I am, that guy actually taught me something that has stayed with me to this day. It has saved me from breaking expensive plates, fancy light bulbs, decorative figurines, and even a $2,000 light on a movie set once. You wanna know what this guy told me?

    He simply showed me how to use my foot to shock absorb the impact before the thing hit the floor. “Use your foot as a landing pad,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Most of the stuff you drop will not break your foot.” That was it. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? My foot, a first responder?

    But it works! I started doing it from that day on and kept on doing it to this day. It has become second nature to me. When (not “if”) I drop something, the right foot automatically extends itself to catch the flying object. Of course, a couple of times I have also tried to catch the wrong objects, like the day my foot tried to rescue a brick. So my foot suffered a little, but only on a rare occasion. Overall, it has been a very good thing that has saved me a lot of grief, some money, and maybe even my marriage… And to think I learned it from a complete stranger.

    In fact, I say jokingly that I will know when I am getting old when I no longer have the agility (or guts) to extend my right foot to catch a flying object. But maybe by then I will be so stationary I won’t be able to be clumsy anymore…

    Tomorrow I will share with you about how I learned to walk on a crowded street.

    And who will be the first to post a comment with something you learned but not in the usual places of learning? I can’t wait to see!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to th next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:18).

     
  • ivanildotrindade 10:26 pm on September 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 10th anniversary of 9-11, 9-11, immigrants   

    9-11 has messed me and blessed me 

    I flew from Cleveland to L.A. the day before 9-11 on the last plane that left that day to the West Coast. I was still in bed when my sister called from Ohio and asked me to turn on the T.V. What I saw shook me to the core — the result of 24-7 meticulous thinking about evil for years and planning to wreak havoc in the most horrific way possible. If there ever was a “Satan workshop,” what we were seeing was the result of it. I knew that was the last day with no fear of terrorism in America. It was the end of life as we knew it. The curtain closed on airports as free zones and it was open season on people who fit the profile of a Muslim terrorist.

    In fact, in the days following 9-11, many terrified international families of minority origins kept their children at home and dared not go outside for fear of being attacked. I lived in Simi Valley at that time and on one of my evening jogs I had a couple of guys drive their truck very slowly next to me, hurling insults at me, and telling me to go back where I came from. I kept on jogging, looking ahead and not to the side, sweating profusely, not from the exercise but from fear of being attacked. I knew fully well that if I even attempt to say anything, I could have been shot on the spot or run over by a green beat up pick up truck.

    I don’t know whether it was 9-11 or my own propensity to be neurotic about this stuff, but I know that to this day I have a hard time sitting with my back to the front door when I am in public places, especially restaurants. I should probably go to see a counselor, but it’s a lot cheaper just to get there a little before everybody else and pick the spot facing the door.

    But this is only a sort of silly repercussion of 9-11. For me there were more serious ones. I had e-mails from international friends from all over the country, asking me advice about what they should do. I had churches that dropped their support of our ministry because their people were no longer willing to give to “people who attacked their country.” One family stopped hosting a hay ride at their farm because they were afraid international students would bring anthrax and kill their animals.

    People who loved this country everywhere were outraged at the thought that some who had received a warm welcome into this country were the very people who had attacked us. I joined the ranks of those who were outraged. But 9-11 was not only outrage. It also taught me to learn to differentiate between a small minority of nuts who intend on hurting us and a vast majority of people who have embraced this country as their own and join their hearts with the hearts of those who were born here in remembering and honoring the life of those who perished on that infamous day. And I join the ranks of such people as well.

    Thank you everyone who has welcome me and my family to this, our adopted country. We’ve had 17 great years here.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     

     

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:02 pm on September 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: death of a child, death that can be avoided, dying young, meaning in suffering   

    When death cuts like a guillotine 

    I was amazed at the number of responses from my post yesterday. I had by far the highest single post viewership since I started blogging here and I want to thank all of you for your e-mails and Facebook posts. Feel free to post your comments here, for some reason people are not yet picking up on the idea that once you are here you can leave your comments on the blog, but you can do whatever you want.

    Based on the reaction from yesterday, I can tell that several of you have also lost a child at some point in your life. And that may be a reason why this touched a nerve with so many of you. Death is already impossible to deal with but death of a child tends to make us plunge into oblivion. Faith or no faith, you will falter and you might cry out for mercy. No one can withstand alone the blows of a death that could possibly be avoided. No one can escape the regrets. No one has survived it unscathed.

    My friends Jim and Stephanie Fish find themselves in that sea of grief today. I just attended the memorial service for their son, Evan Fish, who died a tragic death last week at the tender age of 21. No words can describe the range of human emotions present in that room in our church today. I compare it to cutting raw flesh. If you’ve ever had a razor accidentally penetrate your flesh you will know what I am talking about. But instead of a razor, think of the blade of a guillotine severing not only your head, but cutting through your soul bit by bit. That is the nature of the torture that comes from the tragic death of a child.

    There are too many “if I had’s,” “if I had not’s,” “if I should’ve,” “if I sould’ve not” to drive anyone insane. No  matter how many times you try to put the puzzle together, the pieces are always missing and though you might try a life time would not be enough to figure out what could have been.

    The biggest mistake I made with regard to my son was to think that somehow I was immune to that kind of suffering. There are people who, having looked upon the suffering of the world, conclude categorically that there cannot possibly be a God. They cannot see any meaning in suffering. That is no different from the mistake I made. But remember: the fact that YOU can’t see any meaning in suffering does not prove that there can’t be any meaning in suffering. My son’s death strengthened my faith and built character in me. It brought me closer to God and to my family. It allowed me to be in the most vulnerable position I had never been — one of a fragile, shattered vase that needed to be put together by forces other than his own intellect and charm.

    These were Jim’s words to me today,  “I would lie to you if I said I am not struggling,” but then he added, “But I am trying to bring glory to God through all of this.” God will get the glory, my friend, just keep being real and don’t be afraid to grieve.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 9:01 pm on September 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Though dead, he yet speaks 

    Most of my readers probably don’t know this, but I have another son besides Joshua. I say I have because I do believe in the immortality of the soul. Caleb would be 23 this October. My first male child, he lived too little but taught me so much with his short life.

    My son was born with a lung deficiency and the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck didn’t help matters. He lived in the warm womb of his loving mother then moved to the cold womb of an incubator. A few days was all he had.

    I was out-of-state when my wife went into labor. By the time I heard the news he was already too ill. I went to the airline to buy tickets so I could be with my family and while there I met a college roommate who had come back to our hometown to be at the funeral of his teenage brother who had succumbed to cancer. Little did I know that in a few days I was going to bury my son. I was absolutely certain that my son was going to be okay. After all, I believed in God, I was serving Him and I erroneously had it on the back of my mind that these things didn’t happen to people like me.

    I gave my friend my condolences and never once mentioned that I was going to travel to see my sick son who had just been born. Part of the reason was that I didn’t know how serious his condition was. The other part was simply confidence that God would not let me down.

    I arrived in the hospital and saw my son first from a distance, then from so close I could almost touch him. He had a sweet face, peaceful, almost oblivious to everything happening around him. He had four medical specialists taking care of him. His family was surrounding him with love and prayers were being offered by everyone. Next to him was a boy who never stopped crying. He had the lungs of a soccer announcer screaming “goooooollllllll!” Nobody paid attention to him. Not a one. Not even his mom. I learned later she was a 16-year-old who delivered him and fled the hospital.

    You can’t miss the irony: on one corner, the baby everyone wants, surrounded by love and care, but fighting for his life with his every breath; on the other, the baby no one wants, living life fully and annoying everyone with his every breath. In the end the one with the collapsed lung died and the one whose heart would one day be broken lived.

    The grief that followed my son’s death was the most intense feeling I ever had in my life. But it was also the time I felt most loved by people in our church. Out of utter darkness came the brightest light. And with every new day hope was restored brick by brick. I never lost my faith in God and never once blamed Him for taking my son.

    Sometimes I feel the breeze on my face when I am driving my car with the windows down. For some reason I think of Caleb in those times and tears come down my face. I think of his beautiful face and the smile he would give his mom when she got close to him and talked to him. My son recognized his mom’s voice and his smile was love displayed in soft strokes.

    My son never lived to consciously teach me anything, but his short life and swift going taught me that there is no depth of suffering in this world that can’t be overcome with the hope that we have in Christ. And I am glad I found the way and keep finding the way every day out of the mess which I tend to make around me from time to time.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • ivanildotrindade 10:29 pm on September 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I checked your blog, Bonnie, and was very touched by it. God’s peace to you and blessings in all you do. Thanks.

    • Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective 11:07 am on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      “You can’t miss the irony: on one corner, the baby everyone wants, surrounded by love and care, but fighting for his life with his every breath; on the other, the baby no one wants, living life fully and annoying everyone with his every breath. In the end the one with the collapsed lung died and the one whose heart would one day be broken lived.”

      You are right…sometimes the irony is hard to miss…

  • ivanildotrindade 10:45 pm on September 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , doing the right thing, integrity, youngest sibling   

    Children who lead 

    If your family is like mine, every year we take our obligatory family Christmas picture. We usually stand by the Christmas tree and goof off. Being who I am, I try to get that done as quickly as I can so I can get back to eating Christmas food again… I don’t know exactly why we do that. We don’t really share the picture with others, we don’t even share it with each other sometimes. I guess just the thought that the picture is archived somewhere gives us a good feeling that we Christmas was complete…

    Well, as the years have gone by, we’ve added others to our family picture. First we added Wandy, my son’s formerly cute and small yorkiepoo (he is rather round and scary now), then we added Izzy, Carolina’s always beautiful cockapoo. And last year we finally added another human, Paul, our beloved son-in-law.

    Trying to get humans and animals in pictures is a ticket to bizarre land sometimes. So it happened this past year that in one of our pictures, the one we thought we all looked good in, Wandy decided to pose, but not for a Christmas-rated picture… I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that the flash of the camera may have gotten Wandy a little too excited as he stood next to Izzy. (I mean in the picture he is no longer standing). It happened so fast we didn’t see it… until we all checked the picture on the digital camera!

    We all started laughing pretty hard and one sibling, who shall remain unnamed here, requested the picture so she could post it to her Facebook page. My son, 17, (he will be 18 in November), rebuked his sister and told her that this is the sort of thing you should never post anywhere publicly.

    I can’t tell you how proud I was of his resolve. That day my son taught me that integrity is not related to age, order of birth or experience. He showed me that what the Bible says is true — sometimes God uses the lips of the “little ones” to talk sense into the heads of the older ones who should know better.

    From the time he was little, my son has always been very focused on doing the right thing no matter what. Sometimes I want him just to relax, but deep down in my heart I pray that he will remain this way throughout his entire life and will continue to lead many by his young but wise hands.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
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