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  • ivanildotrindade 11:17 pm on December 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: at-risk children, , 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 9:25 pm on October 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: at-risk children, , dealing with church boards, field of dreams, , orphanage, , surprise,   

    Field of dreams in Cambodia 

    “Men shall not live on dreams alone, but without dreams men shall not live.” No one famous ever said that, since I just made that up now. In June of 2008 I stood on top of a mound of dirt with a friend who had a dream to build orphan homes on that very spot in Cambodia. He was only a dreamer then, but he was not the only one. We prayed for a miracle on that corner of God’s earth.

    After I came home, I resolved to jump into that dream with abandonment. I shared an initial plan with our church board to build an orphan home on that spot, completely funded by our church. This was summer time and we had just approved a new budget. There was no money in it for an orphan home. Oh yes, that was also the calm before the storm — the Autumn of 2008, when the financial world faced a near meltdown.

    The naysayers came out of the woodwork: “The cost is prohibitive.” Yes, between construction and start-up costs,  it was upwards of $60,000. “There are liabilities involved.” Yes, there are always risks involved in this kind of work. “How are we going to find all the sponsors?” 40 children, at the tune of $120 per month. Surely a tall order but not as tall as some had originally imagined. “How’s this going to affect our overall budget?” Well, we didn’t know unless we tried it, but there are enough statements about blessing the fatherless in the Bible, I kept saying. And I don’t believe God is in the business of punishing those who do what He says we must do.

    One key leader in the church, who was also an important member of the finance committee, raised objections. He was not being a pest, just a consummate bean counter. And I lost count of the times I came home, after a frustrating day trying to answer more questions, and I told my wife, “I quit!”. But as  my head hit the pillow, I would think of the faces of the children and they gave me the energy to face another bean-counting day.

    After several months of countless meetings, numerous e-mails, fact sheets, international phone calls, and much aggravation, Mr. Bean counter himself delivered the final surprise. At the meeting where I presented my final proposal, he was the first to speak. He said he felt “passionate” about the project. “Passionate”? I never even knew that word was in his vocabulary! He told the committee he was convinced we had to do it. From then it was smooth sail — the committee approved the project, the board signed on, the pastor went to the congregation and the money poured in…

    Today we have two homes, one in Cambodia and one in Thailand, and the field that once stood empty is a lively place now, where 6 homes have been built and hundreds of kids run around doing what children were meant to be doing — being happy. Hopefully there will be dreamers from that harvest field and the work will go on.

    Tomorrow I will tell you about 30 minutes that changed my life — how I met a young lady from Thailand named Faa.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 11:40 pm on October 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AIDS, at-risk children, ,   

    A little boy with AIDS doomed me 

    Never have I been angrier than that day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The year was 2002 and I was making my first trip there, exploring the work a friend had started there among destitute children. Actually, I had no business being there, as my work at the time didn’t require that I leave the country. I went because I had a persuasive friend who would not take NO for an answer.

    While visiting an state-run orphanage I was struck by the number of children there. Over 100 crowded in a dilapidated, dirty, dark and depressing building resembling more of a prison than a place of rescue. After about an hour there I was exhausted. I was going back to the car when somebody asked me if I wanted to see the baby wing. Being the people pleaser that I am, I said, “Yes.”

    As I walked further into the belly of the building, I came across a whole wing where small babies were kept. 25 of them, all lying on mats on the floor, either inside the room or along the corridors. The smell of urine was strong, the babies were crying, coughing, wheezing, or simply sat or lied quietly, waiting for the inevitable. Some were emaciated and had the look of being already gone. I understood for the first time the expression “walking among the living dead.” Some of those children, even if they were not aware of it, were simply waiting to die.

    I picked up a little boy who appeared to be only a couple of weeks old. He had sores all over his body, a frozen expression of terror was stamped on his little face and his bony and skinny body was the picture of suffering. Through a translator, I was told that he was three years old and had AIDS. Back then, when women delivered HIV positive babies, the hospital officials simply “dumped” them inside state orphanages — out of sight, out of mind. I looked at this little boy’s unresponsive face, held him close to me and cried. I was angry at the whole situation, so I kept asking God out loud, “Why? Why? Why?”

    There was no audible answer, but I got a clear impression in my heart. I never got that boy’s name and never knew the end of his story, though I can guess what it was, but that little boy woke up the fighter in me. I told myself right then and there that from that time forward I would do everything I could to get into the fight to rescue at-risk children.

    I didn’t know what, how, or when I was going to do it, I just knew something for sure: I would not rest until I had made a difference in the lives of children like these. I was doomed for good and I was glad for it.

    Tomorrow I will tell you about what my first baby steps toward helping children in SE Asia looked like. Please come back.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 9:49 am on October 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: at-risk children, , ,   

    Count down to Asia 

    Eight days from today my wife and I will be leaving for Cambodia and Thailand, where we will be visiting and loving on our 80+ children that our church has rescued. You will not want to miss following our journey here, and starting today I will tell you how I got involved with at-risk children work in SE Asia. Come back!

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