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  • ivanildotrindade 10:16 am on July 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , change, equator, , hometown, , progress, prosperity, rush hour, , traffic jam, trailblazers,   

    Brazil is on the move! 

    some of my nieces and nephews (my son josh is on the back row seated, blue shirt) — future stars of a country on the rise

    I am ending my third full week in northern Brazil (two weeks of work, one week of vacation) and as you can tell, there hasn’t been much rambling from here. I have been busy!

    My mind is full of vivid images of my time here. First of all, modernity has done something terrible to the city where I lived a good part of my life. My wife’s mom’s house, where I spent many hours courting her, which was two buses away from the center of town (that is, if you were lucky enough to have a bus show up when you needed it!), is now two hours or more bumper-to-bumper no prisoner-taking traffic. You could almost leave the car on neutral and roll it, so it seems.

    My country of birth has shot up economically and the dream of wealth has finally come true to more than the privileged few. Of course, there is still much poverty, but nothing like when I was living here. There are opportunities to make money everywhere and the people are making the most of it. This is my first trip here since moving to the U.S. where I saw the fewest number of beggars on the streets.

    My nieces and nephews, to give one example, are all on their way to become successful. The older ones have already or will be graduating from college soon. Physical therapists, lawyers, architects, medical doctors, teachers. They will go on to do great things, no doubt about it. And they are all connect with the rest of the world via Facebook and Twitter! My generation blazed the trail, now the kids are reaping the benefits, but the question is: are they even aware of the sacrifices their parents made?

    While the team from the U.S. was here, we went to a very poor neighborhood in Macapa, in the northern most State of Brazil, Amapa. We rode in three silver cars literally until the dirt road ended and stopped at a little house which the owner uses to do some outreach to the kids from the area — you had to continue on, walking on wooden bridges to get to where the children were. As we were getting out of our cars, I overheard one of the older kids saying to the other kids, “You suppose they could be from the Mafia?” I laughed hard at that and then I got quiet thinking about what kind of a life those kids have to have in order to come up with a question like that.

    I have heard so many stories of tragedies and triumphs, of hope and despair, but mostly I have been humbled by the resilient spirit of many of the people I have talked to. I could spend a lifetime just learning from them about the secret of contentment in the midst of apparently insurmountable challenges. Looking at the quality of the people I have met, I have no doubt that there is a bright future for this country which has perennially been teased as the giant that has never awaken. But watch out world: the giant is moving!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 9:14 pm on May 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: afraid of church, , change, , ,   

    Back To Church… After 1.5 Years — Part 1 

    I want to introduce to you Julie, my blogger friend. Julie blogs here. If you want to know more about nutrition, healthy choices, natural lifestyles, fitness, etc., you will need to read her blog. I have appreciated Julie’s comments on my posts over several weeks and have enjoyed her challenges to maintain a healthy lifestyle even in the midst of our busy lives. We’ve maintained a cordial back-and-forth in this sort of meta-virtual-word-fueled world, which may sound ethereal, but in this case has actually been a very enriching experience.

    When Julie told me she was returning to church after 1.5 years, I was totally intrigued. I am always captivated by people’s experiences in churches — I want to know why they first came, why they stopped coming, what made them come back, etc., etc.

    And this is not merely an intellectual exercise. Years ago, when I lived on the West Coast, a friend told me that she asked one of her friends, who was from a country south of us, to attend her church, which also happened to be my church at the time. The guy came and she asked for some feedback. Judging from what he wrote on the bottom of the church bulletin, it would be safe to say that he didn’t feel exactly welcome. He scribbled, “Your church gives me the creeps.” Enough said.

    Julie posted a comment about a famous quote attributed to Gandhi, which unfortunately has not been found in any of his writings, but was supposedly heard by Gandhi’s grandson. I responded, “Jay talks about that Gandhi quote in his book Go and Do. He says he used to see it as a call to action, to go change the world, but now he sees it more of a call not to wait around for others to change before I change myself. ‘I interpret it as an admonition to transform myself,’ which is, I think, the way you are seeing it.”

    I went on to talk about Julie’s church visit. I asked her to write down her thoughts and I would post them here on my blog. Graciously, she agreed to do it (thanks, Julie!) and in keeping with my promise, today I am posting the first part of her journey:

    “OK, bud, you asked for it. So exciting that you are actually interested, that you have all these questions. With most everyone, I believe, I’m like a kook for being so crazy about God and taking the church seriously. 

    But first, Gandhi commentary. Really cool that you expressed different ways of understanding ‘be the change that you want to see in the world.’ I just asked my project manager what he thought about it and he responded with another quote from Gandhi that I have never heard. It went something like, ‘Live today as though it were your last, but as though you had 1,000 more years.’ 

    I’m still trying to digest it. Oh… so how I get the ‘be the change’ quote: If I have great visions in the world, if I am gifted with seeing problems and solutions and having the heart and courage to change, then I must learn to live from the ground up. I can’t expand into the world until God gives the go-ahead. I can’t fully promote love until I am filled with love. I can’t promote the fullness of God until I am filled with the Holy Spirit. I can’t be a firm, reliable warrior until I am fully a disciple. 

    Basically, if I want to see love and nonviolence in the world, I need to get it and live it from the core of my being.  It needs to radiate out from the core of my existence. I need to be cleansed of my misdirected ambitions and manipulations first. If I want to see changes in the world, I need to drop all my weapons and let God mold me as He sees fit. Wordy and scattered, but it’s my best for the moment. ‘An admonition to transform myself’ was a much more succinct way of putting it. I also agree with Jay’s more recent understanding. 

    Now… my experience in church yesterday…” 

    For that, you will have to come back tomorrow and I guarantee you: it will be nothing like you are expecting it to be and it will make you wonder whether you have ever been to church yourself!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Julie 8:38 am on May 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What a joy you are, Ivanildo. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and thank you for having so quickly grown into one of my rocks… preceded by having been the first stepping stone in my path back to church. I just love it how God surprises when I unclinch my fists a bit and let Him do His thing. Looking forward to reading what I have to say next (hee hee).

      • ivanildotrindade 2:12 pm on May 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        thanks julie. soli deo gloria. humbled by your comment. i love the metaphors u use… “unclinching my fist.” there is so much freedom in that act. i had a chance encounter with a powerful pastor in a restroom once. he was trying so hard to hold on to his position and power. i asked him how he was doing. perhaps in an unguarded moment, he said, “i don’t know, it is so hard to control.” there was sadness in his voice. i didn’t say anything, out of respect for his age and position, but i thought about saying, “have u thought about releasing control?” an unclinched fist is so much better for the body, the acting of opening both hands in a generous offer, though internally more difficult, externally is so much effortless. i guess God is looking 4 people whose hands grew tired of holding and are now ready to be loosened up for whatever may come. may my hands be the first in line…

    • Julie 9:04 am on May 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Am finding fist unclenching, i.e. letting go, to be an integral part of my daily “exercise” routine. Kinda like the Navy Seals of developing maturity.

      • ivanildotrindade 12:44 pm on May 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        “navy seals of spiritual maturity,” deep. i love that, but not ready 4 a tough mission yet… we keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith. people will disappoint us, circumstances will disappoint us. God won’t. thanks 4 sharing, julie. u’ve been a great encouragement.

    • Julie 3:32 pm on May 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Life is a tough mission. And you too. Truly.

      • ivanildotrindade 5:05 pm on May 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        yes. life is tough but at least i don’t have 2 do it on my own. living is a community project.

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