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  • ivanildotrindade 8:58 pm on September 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: children, compassion, , test of religion, true religion, vulnerable groups, , women   

    A Test We Cannot Fail 

    A friend of mine who works with orphans in SE Asia once told me that a pastor from a large church in major metropolitan area, after hearing his presentation, asked him point-blank, “What does working with orphans have to do with the Great Commission?” (Jesus’ command to go into all the world and make disciples).

    I’ve thought about that question many times since and I can honestly say that there is a part of me that understands why the question was asked. I mean, you could ask the same about hospital visitation, transporting young people to a retreat or giving free gas cards at the pump. I could come up with an endless list of things that on the surface appear not to be related to the imperative to make disciples of all nations. Writing this post, for example, even if I stretched it, could hardly be thought of as an activity that would result in people becoming disciples of Christ.

    But caring for orphans seems to be on a category of its own. I don’t know how anyone could miss the connection with Christ’s calling. Now, to be fair, Jesus did not say “Go into all the world and rescue orphans.” He did not say “by baptizing them, teaching them and putting them into orphan homes.” But he did say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14). Now, someone might say, “Yes, but the children here are not purely orphans.”

    Okay, I concede: “caring for orphans is not directly related to the Great Commission,” but according to James, the Lord’s brother, it IS directly related to whether God is pleased with our religion or not. James said, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27).

    Think of it this way: when James reduced true religion to its pure essence, what I call “the irreducible minimum” of godliness, he didn’t pick a set of doctrines or the size of one’s church. He chose ACTION on behalf of two of the most vulnerable groups of people of his time – widows and orphans. He chose those with no voice, the ones considered the last and the least by the powers that be. He chose the ones no one wanted to touch. By the way, it is no different today: whenever there is poverty and oppression, women and children are ALWAYS on the frontlines of the suffering.

    So how well is God pleased with your religion? This is a test we cannot afford to fail.

    A To be sure, James also speaks of one’s personal purity. Why? I suspect because it is easy to act and even do noble things to be seen by people. The sacred text makes it clear here that this is about His business not ours. The world is littered with do-gooders who go astray. We don’t want to be added to their ranks. What we need is a heart that is transformed by God, one that allows us to see people the way God sees them. Then and only then we will act compassionately like Jesus did.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 5:46 pm on January 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cambodian children, children, , , schools in cambodi, street walking   

    Street Walking in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 

    It’s 5:30 am here in Phnom Penh, and my friend, RAD, and I are slowly getting up to welcome the new day. I am getting ready to go on my morning walk/run (today I am going to the river front, by the Mekong River) and RAD is getting ready to put on the John Tesh radio show as we both need a lot of intelligence for what lies ahead today.

    It is a solid six hours to Battambang from here on our blue bus, which doesn’t go fast but gets us there safely. Our bus driver is our friend of many trips, Khandy, who is a believer and a very fun person to be around. He has a very loud laugh and is a big fan of a nice joke. We will have a very busy day ahead but at the end of our trip what waits us is more than worth the effort.

    Today is a special day for another reason I will tell you later. Cannot tell you know because it is a surprise. But if you come back in the next day or so, you will read about it, perhaps with some pictures to illustrate it.

    Walking along the busy streets of downtown Phnom Penh yesterday allowed us to see this country with a bird’s eye view. We stopped to chat with children who were in school — they were so adorable, using the English they know to greet us with many smiles. We peaked at a little boy and a little girl from a distance, who were sitting side-by-side with their arms around their shoulders, talking in each other’s ears, smiling and not having a care in the world. What a contrast this was to the stark surrounding of the classrooms where they sat — dark, virtually no bright colors on the wall, and from a distance what appeared to be very little educational resources.

    Outside though, it is the daily grind of people trying to make a living. Small repair shops line the streets, with workers sometimes doing their work right on the sidewalk. Uneven sidewalks, by the way, seem to be the perpetual reminders that nothing is at appears and nothing seems predictable in this country.

    Except, that is the love that awaits us from our kids at Grace Place, Battambang. That you can predict, you can take to the bank, and I am starting to feel it right now as we get ready to get on the “Khandy express.”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    • Rob Miller 9:58 am on January 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Praise God you guys made it safely. I can only imagine what it must be like to visit the toul sleng museum and the killing fields.Praying for safe travels and good health for all of you.Please give hugs to all those beautiful children for me!

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

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