Updates from December, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • ivanildotrindade 8:07 pm on December 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , addicted to winter, cup of coffee, flies, make up air, , tall mocha   

    Dear Starbucks 

    Dear Starbucks,

    I am sitting at your store in Wooster, Ohio. Just so you know: I am a regular customer, so much so that when I come in the baristas normally ask me whether I am going to have my “usual.” Tall, non-fat, no whip, 180 degrees mocha. That’s my drink of choice. I am easy to please…

    I am sitting at my usual corner, sipping my coffee before I head to work, watching as a friend of mine, an engineer with many years of experience, keeps checking your front door and trying to close it. It is December in Ohio and though the temperatures have been unusually warm, it is still cold and it will not get better until sometime in April, or later…

    I have noticed for a while now that your front door keeps staying open, a crack, a gap, enough to get enough cold air into my hot cup and my cold bones. I have talked to several people here about this, including one of your managers. They tell me that they have tried to address this problem with the landlord. It looks like it is something related to the heater and ventilation system. If they crank the heater, they say, the door stays shut, but then everybody is sweating inside the store. If they keep the temperature right, the door refuses to be shut.

    I am writing to you because I simply refuse to believe that a corporation as big as Starbucks cannot take care of a problem that on the surface seems so easy to solve. I just can’t believe that this is going to go on for the rest of the winter. I am watching my friend and his wife sitting by the door and they seem to be ready to leave. How many other people will leave and not come back or drink inside their car where at least they can control the temperature?

    “Make up air.” That is the name of the problem you’re having, I found out. I mean, it is not even a real problem, it is a make up one. Make up a solution for it!

    But again, maybe not. I remember when you first came to Wooster. There was a typo on all your receipts. You spelled our town’s name “Wooser.” I was so appalled. If for no other reason, simply because it made it sound like “looser.” I kept mentioning it to the manager and anybody who would listen and it took you over a year to correct it.

    I think you have a great store. The employees are cordial, they are efficient and fast without compromising the quality of the product they serve. The sense of team building is obvious in this place. But I can’t stand the cold here, so I must leave.

    But don’t worry: I will be back. Your coffee is addictive. And maybe that’s what you are counting on with all your other customers — they will keep coming back just because you are Starbucks. Maybe they will, especially here since you are pretty much the only game in town. But is that all you want, that they should come back?

    Or maybe they will wait until summer, when the door will no longer be fighting make up air. That problem out of the way, they will only have to worry about all the flies that invade your store during the warmer months of the year. But I am not worried this time around: I got an electric swatter from Thailand and I can’t wait to start using it.

    Oh yes, if it is of any consolation to you, my friends haven’t left yet. They may be addicted too — at least to cold weather!

    See you at the drive through!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Renee Shilling 8:45 pm on December 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      That is so funny! I was in there on Wednesday and my toes became numb! They began to thaw as I walked to my car in 20• temperature.

      • ivanildotrindade 9:01 pm on December 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        funny, renee. i knew i should have asked a space heater 4 christmas, instead, only got gloves…

    • Harold & Sylvia Stoltzfus 11:21 pm on December 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Professor Ivanildo:
      There is a plethargy of caring for the customer in America. The responsibility for the “Make up air” lies not only at the feet of both the powerful Starbucks company, but also at the feet of the Landlord. Both the Landlord needs happy customers, as well as Starbucks.The sum is this: both need “rectum rockets” to get them to be responsible individuals serving their customers well and with pride.

      Is a regular occurance to find good service in America and it is often some little factor that irritates customers, like a squeaky door at the Wachovia bank or burned out light bulbs in public buildings.. By the way, I have chosen to lease properties thoughout my lifetime. It has amounted to thousands of dollars each year and have yet to receive a Christmas gift! A renter is a customer and holds the care of their property in their hands!
      Nonetheless, I hope Mr. Trindade is able to get a prompt response to getting that door closed!

    • ivanildotrindade 11:54 pm on December 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      i like your response, harold. it has the marks of someone who feels my pain. there are good and bad renters, good and bad landlords; and there are customers like me, who vent on the internet about trivialities. no one can cry alone anymore. happy new year!

    • ivanildotrindade 12:25 pm on January 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Jim Hocking commented via e-mail: Nice….you would be surprised about the “quality” of all the parts of what it takes to run a business.

      “Ivanildo…I can tell you that it has become a passion of mine to do the work with integrity but you have no idea what that entails in my work in the heart of Africa.

      However, back to your story, I love what you note and I want to congratulate you on stories well done and you are just so consistent! Thanks for what you do. I would love to be able to do that but I really feel that God has called me to concentrate on some other things that I must keep my nose to the grind stone on.

      Thanks for your blog and I trust that this new year brings you great joy as you serve our God in WoosTer.


      • ivanildotrindade 12:29 pm on January 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        jim. loved the way you spelled “WoosterTer.” should start spelling it that way. i can only imagine how “creative” you have to be in certain parts of the world to run a business or a ministry. yes, God has called you to other endeavors, but i am sure one day you will be able to carve out some time to write too. it will be beneficial to your supporters. in order to write, you have to rebel against what your schedule imposes on you. it is never easy and it never seems to matter, until you get a compliment such as yours, which means a lot to me. happy new year!

  • ivanildotrindade 10:22 pm on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: buying habits, church of the future, Netbook, tablets   

    Where Have All the Netbooks gone? 

    I’ve been looking for netbooks for quite a while. They have flown off the shelves everywhere.  I have a feeling they won’t be replaced any time soon. Tablets will take their space in the  stores. And I am sad. Now, I know netbooks are cheap and limited, but they are a great mobile tool for people who just  want to use it for e-mail and Skype. I  have bought several of those over the last few years and still think they are the best deals when it comes to computer these days. I mean, where also can you get a computer for less than $300? Tablets start at about $500 and though they have more options than the netbooks, they require more getting used to.

    I have a theory that we’re witnessing another example of how big manufacturers shape the habit of consumers. Today I overheard a salesman trying to steer a potential customer from a netbook to either a tablet or a regular laptop. The guy just wanted to do e-mail. He didn’t want to buy a fancy computer, he was not interested in watching videos, playing games or creating any documents with that computer. No, he just wanted a computer to do e-mail. But no, he had to hear a pitch about how netbooks have so many limitations.

    That has happened with T.V.’s and cell phones. I am just wondering what will come next. Cars? Will certain types of cars simply disappear from the show rooms of America? Are we going to be forced to buy some hybrid thing in the future? Look, I am all for clean and green but I also thing it should always be a choice.

    Since I am a church man, I wonder if this is also the way people approach where they go to church. “I used to go there but they don’t even use Power Point.” “It was his blog more than anything that brought me to his church.” “They didn’t even give me the option of giving online.”

    Some day church might become just another button to click on your computer. The pastor will be an avatar and the sermons will be songs composed by a teenager using a little tablet she herself made from parts she got from a dispenser outside her classroom. We will be reduced to little more than bobbing heads swaying left to right in front of a bright screen that threatens to swallow us if we walk away.  There will be no soldiers to form arms, no captains to steer ships, no cheer leaders to lead us astray. There will be no energy left after we pay our daily dues to the gods of technology. It will be the end of man as we know it.

    I am saying good-bye to myself, unless, of course, somebody can save me and I in turn can save the world from “virtualitis.” Meanwhile, I would just like to get two more netbooks.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 2:03 am on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Very Long Engagement, believing, , love and trust, Next Three Days, World War II   

    Love to death is more than an expression 

    There is an irresistible side of love. When a man loves a woman he can’t resist the temptation of stealing time to see her. He can’t resist spending a little more than he should just so he can impress her. He can’t resist looking at her and hearing her voice because the experience is like being in paradise. Most of all, he is hopelessly, sometimes blindly trusty. For him she can do no wrong. Love makes a believer out of the most cynical skeptical. Love debunks the matter plus time plus chance matrix. Loves infuses meaning, hints at purpose and teases with destiny. Love moves man closer to the realm of the supernatural. And I believe in love.

    But not any ordinary love. The Word says, “No greater love has one than this — that he should give up his life for his friends.” Last night I watched a movie titled “The Next Three Days.” In it the main character, played by Russell Crowe, is willing to put his life on hold and even learn the ways of violence in order to help his wife get out of jail. And why? Because he believed his wife was innocent of the crime she was found guilty of. Tonight I watched “A Very Long Engagement,” a french movie with Audrey Tatou as the main character, playing a young woman driven by the thought that contrary to what everybody believed, her fiancée was still alive somewhere and had not died during World War I. In spite of some brief adult scenes in the second one, I truly enjoyed both movies and in the end, both protagonists were proven right. They hoped against all hope and believed against the whole world.

    In both cases, you could say that it was love that gave them the motivation to deprive themselves of a normal life in order to pursue a plan few would ever even consider, let alone plan it and execute it with great precision. Love, you could say, propelled them to action.

    But however deeply committed those two were to their loved ones, their actions, though heroic, don’t come even close to the idea of giving one’s life for one’s friend. For that, you have to turn to a hill outside Jerusalem.

    Let love make a believer out of you.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 1:00 am on December 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: avoiding the holiday pounds, calorie count, Dr. Phil, Eating, eating smartly, eating well, food, Health, Holy Spirit, Human nutrition, morbid, obese, temple of the holy spirit, weight gain during holidays   

    Too Late to Eat Well this Holiday? 

    A friend of mine says, “Most people worry about the food they eat between December and January; instead, they should worry about the food they eat between January and December.” Well said.

    I don’t watch Dr. Phil, but I read part of one of his books on healthy eating. I couldn’t stand the “if you read this book and follow this plan, I guarantee you will succeed at eating well” attitude, but I did take away something that has helped me a lot. He said, “Stop eating before you feel full.” When I read that, I returned the book to the public library. I figured I needed a lifetime just practicing that part of the book, and I’ve been successfully using that principle ever since.

    There is one more thing I have learned, this time from my previous life of having little to eat. If there is a buffet, I have to watch so that I don’t overeat. If you grow up with little food, when you see much, you tend to grab as much as you can. I had some friends who grew up lacking like I did, who would go to parties, eat until they were totally full, go to the bathroom, get rid of some of the food, and come back for some more. To help alleviate that, eat before you go to a party if there is a a buffet on the menu.

    I know that everybody likes to repeat the old joke about being on a “seafood” diet — I see food, I eat it. Truth be told, though, there are many people who eat only because it is in front of them, not because they are hungry. That’s the reason the stores put all those “goodies” right around you when you are checking out.

    So, after the party, don’t leave trays with leftovers hanging around and if you are in charge of storing food, make sure you use foil and not clear plastic. And, if you really want to be savvy, move the healthy foods toward the front of your fridge and the not so healthy ones toward the back — or better yet, just get rid of most of them. I say “most” because with moderation you can eat anything, except okra…

    Finally, plan ahead. Knowing how much you plan to eat ahead of time helps you to know when to stop. It also helps you not to put more than one type of food on your plate at once. And if you are conscious about whether people are watching you eat, model your intake on the person who seems to be eating slowly and smartly. And if you are not conscious, maybe you should be. Trust me, I have heard comments people have made about my eating habits and they are not always complimentary.

    Bible-believing Christians should be most concerned about eating well. I mean, the Bible does say that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so you should ask yourself whether you would like to inhabit a land of diseased tissue, weakened muscles and morbid flesh (assuming you can do something about it). Well, if you wouldn’t like it, imagine the Holy Spirit…

    So keep moving my friends. And don’t tell me that “round is a shape,” as another friend likes to joke, right after he says that he is in “good shape.”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 9:41 pm on December 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2011, , crystal ball, , fukushima 50, japan earthquake, news coverage   

    Random Stories from 2011 

    The end of the year gives us a time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the New Year. I am not good at keeping up with media stories but I think one of the most devastating story in the media was the one about the Earthquake in Japan. I am not sure we fully understand the sacrifice of the “Fukushima 50,” the nickname given to the men who remained behind after 750 other workers were evacuated to clean up the crippled nuclear power plant in that part of the country.

    The story of the flooding in Thailand was the forgotten story of the year. That event, and the apparent mismanagement of it,  may still force a Prime Minister out and it will take years until things come back to normal in that country. When I was there in November, virtually all the factories were closed in Bangkok and train services and even hospitals had been severely affected by the consequences of the floods.

    As far as personal impact story, none could rival that of Aung San Suu Kyi, the woman who will probably become the president of Burma in the near future. I have written about this remarkable lady here.

    Looking through the Crystal ball, I would predict that President Obama will more than likely win re-election, Hugo Chavez’ health will probably not improve, which means that there will be big changes in Venezuela. My hope is that a full democratic system will be restored again in that part of the world.

    Unfortunately, Christians will continue to suffer in places like Nigeria, where a new rounds of violence that killed dozens just happened. The situation in Egypt for Christians will only get worse and that whole part of the world may still see more demonstrations on the streets, if more people decide to hit the streets on mass, demanding their rights against ruthless dictators who need to go away quietly.

    And there will be no peace in the Middle East. But on a good note, by the end of 2012, we hope to rescue at least 20 new children from abuse, abject poverty and sexual slavery, if we can find enough people to support them.

    Happy New Year!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 11:52 pm on December 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Be good to your Spanish 

    D.C. is a major construction and maintenance theater these days. The reflecting pool in the national mall is being completely re-done — there is no water in it right now. No water in and around the World War II Memorial either. One of the National Gallery Museums is being added on to. Many places are getting a face lift and others are getting some very invasive surgery. It makes it for an interesting walk around the city, with lots of missing sidewalks and many men with noise machines working hard to try to beat the bad weather which they know for sure is coming.

    As I walked around, and we did a LOT of walking to day, I couldn’t resist the temptation of coming in closely to listen to the accents of the laborers who are working hard to make Washington retain its charm and beauty. It didn’t take me long to hear enough to conclude: just as the Chinese built the rail roads, the Hispanics are now re-building D.C.

    Of course there were a good number of North Americans there too, but there is a great number of Spanish-speaking folks as well, no doubt the largest population being recruited now to work do some jobs that many of the indigenous population is no longer interested in doing.

    I say, “Be good to your Spanish…”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Bob & Linda 5:51 pm on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Ivanildo, Where in the world did you get your “crystal ball”? China????? Bob

    • ivanildotrindade 9:37 pm on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      funny, bob. i once bought my wife a purse in the central african republic because it looked so original, when i got home and gave it to her, she read the label and it said, “made in china.” i am sure my crystal ball, if i had one, would be made there. happy new year.

  • ivanildotrindade 12:10 am on December 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    On the road 

    I am in D.C. today and tomorrow, showing what I can of the city to my Brother-in-law and his daughter who are visiting from Brazil.

    We drove after work and arrived at the Old Colony Best Western in Alexandria, VA, where we stay when we come to these parts.

    To save money, we reserved only one room with quadruple occupancy… something I had only done once before in my life.

    When I got to the lobby I recognized the lady at the front desk, Suzanne, from the Cameroon. I had talked to her before and she shared with me about her physical challenges. I prayed with her and tried to encourage her not to lose hope. She also remembered me and my wife and we had a nice “reunion.” The result was that without us asking, she gave us a second room with a king size bed for a pauper’s price.

    As I like to say, befriend as many people as possible because you never know whether you might need them in the future.

    Important detail: Suzanne’s health is still not good. She just returned to work today, after a two week medical leave. I feel fortunate to be able to see her again and try to encourage her.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    Posted by Ivanildo C. Trindade via Blackberry

  • ivanildotrindade 11:17 pm on December 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , defeat, , siblings,   

    Forgetting the defeats 

    News can oscillate from elating to devastating, but all on the same day? Today was one of those days and I am exhausted just thinking about the twists and turns in people’s lives — some of which you only spectate, and others you can directly interfere and have good outcomes, if you are so lucky.

    The good news are we just got word that we can rescue six new hill tribe children at our home in northern Thailand. They are siblings and have yearned to come to the home for a long time since their siblings are already there.

    Kids have a funny age of bliss and aloofness. It comes and goes so fast you can barely notice. Our children who are currently in the home in Thailand are now passing that age and entering the age of awareness. They remember the siblings who are back in their villages and they are aware of what they have and their siblings have been robbed of.

    During meal times it is not uncommon to find one or more children crying. They weep for their little ones left in the land of uncertainty. They look at the food on their plates and think of the empty stomachs they once had. They put on their school uniform and remember the barefoot little brothers and sisters who will never hold a page, unless, of course, they are also rescued.

    But the task of rescuing children is tedious and predictably slow. It requires money, will power, and it is never free from politics. There are people who lie and cheat to get children into a home. Some are scheming to give their kids a little edge only to snatch them out of our hands in the future. The road is always full of unpredictable twists and turns.

    But it is always a great day when you finally hear that they can come. And today was one of those days. Oh yes, there were bad news to and they were related to some other children, but I would rather not talk about it right now. I want to end the day with the memory of a victory and not a defeat.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 9:56 pm on December 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: changing the world, church programs, community outreach, outreach, random acts of kindness,   

    Done Changing the World 

    So back in September I was at a conference in New York when one of the speakers made the comment that if churches were absolutely successful with the things they are doing, it wouldn’t have much of an impact in the world anyway. That made me almost stop dead on my tracts. I am a church guy, I am busy, I run some great programs and I have great plans for the future. But are all or any of these things really making a difference?

    He just might be and if he is it is indeed a disturbing thought…

    This year I led a couple of teams to Asia, where people from our church have helped rescued many children from poverty, abandonment, even sexual abuse and slavery. But until one or more of these children rises up to change the culture or lead a movement, we won’t know the impact we’ve had. Of course I am not computing the spiritual impact in the lives of these children, but should we desire more? This thought keeps me awake at night: for every child we rescue, there are thousands more who are being left behind.

    I was at a village in northern Thailand last year when a local pastor brought a folder filled with names and bios of children he personally knew who, unless they were rescued, they could end up at a brothel somewhere in Chiang Mai or Bangkok. The task is daunting and we are only scratching the surface.

    I lead an effort every month to go into our community and meet people’s needs in tangible ways. We try to cheer up older folks in a nursing home, do small home repairs, rake leaves, or sometimes just randomly go to a gas station and distribute free gas cards. But even though it is always a fun thing to do, the effort to get people there every month is Don Quixote-esque.  How can I know if I we are really having a lasting impact? Maybe if we stopped the program and people still kept doing it on their own because they understand that they cannot call them themselves “Christians” and neglect helping those less fortunate??

    I meet with a couple of guys every week for the purpose of encouragement and personal accountability. We want to be the best fathers and spouses we can possibly be, but I frankly don’t know if what we do on Monday mornings is actually helping us to achieve these lofty goals, though I hope it is…

    I counseled one couple this year for several months and they are now seeking divorce. No, I didn’t encourage them to do that, but in the end, after one or the other kept walking out of our counseling sessions, they decided to go their separate  ways. I guess that may not bode well for the couples I am currently meeting with… This year I became more convinced than ever that you cannot change people. People will do what they want to, unless their mind is completely transformed. And there is no lasting transformation unless it originates with a personal encounter with the living God.

    So I am done trying to change the world. I just want to find the next hurting and lonely person and see if I can help them to find hope once again. I too was once lost and now am found.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 4:36 pm on December 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atheist, Buena Vista Social Club, Cape Verde, , coladera, , God Is Not Great, Ibrahim Ferrer, morna, Omara Portuondo, polemicist, silencio   

    If I could "order" my own death… 

    Every end of the year a little cold travels up and down my spine as I anticipate the list of people who will die in the waning hours of the previous 365-day cycle. I know this is not backed by science, but it appears that the end of the year is propitious for the angel of death to come calling. I’ve said before: I don’t want to die at the end of the year or during a major Holiday. As long as I have to die, I would rather go quietly in the middle of the night, after eating Brazilian barbecue the night before.

    Yesterday, I heard the news that the journalist and polemicist, Christopher Hitchens, died after a battle with esophageal cancer. Mr. Hitchens was a famous atheist who wrote the book “God is not Great.” Though I vehemently reject his views of the world, I read the book carefully and learned from it a whole lot about the atheistic viewpoint, and more specificaly about a more militant form of atheism that wants to pass as “objective” science. I never wished him ill will and do lament that he is no longer around us because people like him make people like me want to stay fresh and not lose the edge.

    Today I heard that a living legend in the Portuguese music world, Cesaria Evora, the so-called “Barefoot Diva,” also passed away. She sang “coladeras” (dancing music) and was especially known for “morna” (the blues from Cape Verde), a melancholic type of music that celebrates lost love and deep longing. Because I am melancholic, I have all her music. She sings with such depth of sorrow and feeling that I have, at times, wept as I listened to her — for no reason other than empathy for the characters whose lives she sometimes sings about.

    Speaking of sentimentality, since I was feeling sad, I looked for the music of The Buena Vista Social Club. I first heard them on a long flight to Brazil, as I watched the documentary that made them famous in the U.S. I almost never watch movies on plane trips, but the music these guys performed was purely intoxicating. I couldn’t stop watching. I knew then that I was watching some of the best musicians anywhere. They were seasoned and knew how to have fun.

    If you know Spanish, you can appreciate the depth of meaning in this song, “Silencio,” by Rafael Hernandez, one of the most beautiful duets by a man and a woman I ever heard. Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo sing with so much sentiment about life’s sorrows that I dare say this recording should come with a warning: listen at your own risk. What a beautiful experience listening to it several times today. You will not regret if you listen to it here, even if you don’t know Spanish.

    The translation is English goes this way:

    “The gladiolas and the roses, the white lilies are asleep in my garden/ and my soul is so very sad and heavy/ from the flowers I wish to hide the bitter pain/ I wouldn’t want the flowers to know/ About the torments that life gives me/ For if they should know what I am suffering so/ They would cry for my sorrows too/ Silence [I ask], for they are sleeping/ The gladiolas and the lilies/ I wouldn’t want them to know my sorrows/ For if they would see me crying, they would die.”

    Sentimentality apart, though, what difference does it make to die in December or to die in July? In the end, we all have an appointment with destiny so we better be ready to meet our maker. I wonder: Did Christopher Hitchens ever think of that? Maybe yes, maybe no. From what I heard, he insisted on his atheistic outlook to the bitter end. But even though Mr. Hitchens would not hesitate to call me delusional, I still can’t wish him ill.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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