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  • ivanildotrindade 11:42 pm on October 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bikes, christian obligation, doing something bold, faa, g.r.o.w., helping the poor,   

    The tale of three bikes and the inspiration to start G.R.O.W. 

    Meeting Faa again in our church inspired me to do something bold. Praying and getting others on board was not enough. I had to do something personally and it had to be something with an exclamation point at the end. Just about that time we were in a series in our church about helping “the least of these.” I was scheduled to preach the last message in the series.

    During a meeting with the other pastors that week, I was on the edge. Actually, it would be fair to say that I was edgier than usual… I made the statement that getting involved in helping the poor was not just a nice thing to do. We were obligated to do it as followers of Christ. I said, “if we are not sacrificing on behalf those who are less privileged than us, we are sinning against God.” One of my colleagues challenged me on that point. He said, “You gotta be careful with what you say because some people might tell you that you should give up your motorcycle and give the money to the poor.”

    He might as well put his finger on an open sore on my side. I owned a Harley before and wrecked it. I was obligated to settle for a Honda Shadow, but I loved riding it. “No, God couldn’t be asking me to give up my bike.” This was Tuesday and by Thursday night I was restless. I kept saying, “But it is a 1994 bike, it can’t be worth that much.” I tried to go to sleep but an apparently random thought kept arresting my brain. It was not audible, but I could clearly hear it inside my head, “Do the math. Do the math.” I got up, went downstairs directly to the computer and looked up the Kelly blue book website. I found out that even if I sold my bike for less than the retail value, I would still have enough money to support 4 children in Thailand for about 8 months. My heart was suddenly at peace. And the bike was as good as gone at 3:00 a.m. on Friday.

    On Sunday, I told the story to my congregation. After the first service, a guy I had never met came to me and said, “Look, I heard you say that you were giving up your bike but not riding. I have something I want to give you. ” Well, to make a long story short, that Sunday afternoon he wanted me to come to his house and bring Faa so his wife could meet her. My wife, Faa and I went there and after Faa shared her story. After that, he presented me with a 2000 Harley Davidson bike, the same model as the one I had wrecked before. He said, “I don’t ride as much as I used to and my knees are getting bad. I want you to have it.”

    Back to church, after second service, a lady I knew came to me and said, “I have an original 1965 Honda S-90 which was one my husband’s first bikes. He passed away four years ago. I wanted to restore it so I could ride it but my knees are getting bad. I want you to have it.” Some time later she brought the bike to my house. It needed a lot of work and I had no clue what to do. Then another guy from church showed up at my house, riding a bike exactly like the one the lady had given me. He said, “I got this one in boxes and restored it. I do it as a hobby and I would love to restore this one for you… for free.” Four months later the bike had been restored to vintage condition, we put it on e-bay and raised almost $3,000.00 for G.R.O.W.

    Back to my Honda Shadow, I went through with my promise to sell it. I went to a friend’s used car lot. It was a Saturday afternoon. He helped me clean the bike and make it look pretty. It was past 5:00 p.m. when we put the bike on the lot in front of his business. We laid hands on the bike and prayed. He said, “We’re going to sell this baby in thirty minutes.” As I was walking back to his office, I remember thinking, “Yeah, right.” Before I could even finish the thought, I heard a car. The guy didn’t even park. He just stopped, looked at the bike, asked if I owned it. Then he asked if I could take him on a ride. We rode a couple of blocks, then came back and he said, “I almost bought a new bike this week, but I am glad I didn’t. I will buy this one.” And he did!

    That money was what we used to pay the processing fees and hire a lawyer to seek incorporation and tax exempt status for G.R.O.W. But that was just the beginning. There was more to come. Stay tuned.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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  • ivanildotrindade 11:05 pm on October 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: abused children, faa, grace refuge outreach worldwide, grow,   

    A Faa-bulous meeting in Thailand 

    Yesterday you read about how I stood with a friend a top of mound of dirt in Cambodia. During that same trip I also stood on a courtyard with someone in Thailand whom I had never met before. This young lady, whose name is Faa, through limited English, shared her story with me for about thirty minutes. We were standing there like old friends and time seemed to stand still. The emotion in her voice, the sincerity of her heart, the pattern of abuse and redemption, everything gripped my heart in a way I cannot explain to this day.

    The details of the story weren’t as clear, but there was no mistake about one thing: this woman’s faith in God was unprecedented and her courage seemed to know no limits. As I said good-bye to Faa that day, not knowing whether I would ever see her again, I told myself that if I ever had a chance to help her fulfill her dream of rescuing at-risk children, I would.

    That was June of 2008. Exactly one year later, unbeknownst to me, Faa was in the U.S. She had been promised some opportunities to improve her English and learn some leadership skills. Instead, she was placed at a Christian camp doing housekeeping. And she was supposed to spend the whole summer there! After one month, she had enough. Being as resourceful as she is, she reached out to our church, and soon she was in Wooster, immersed in our ministry and forging friendships which would change her life forever.

    Faa’s story was so compelling and her personality so bubbly, people simply fell in love with her. Soon, there was a core group of people who began to identify with her vision of rescuing children from the sex trade industry in Thailand. I spent an entire afternoon with her one day, asking questions, praying together, probing deeper, and brainstorming ways we might be able to partner. At the end of that time, we had outlined the principal elements of what would eventually become a rescue ministry in Thailand. But we still didn’t have a name.

    The next day we toiled more in search of a name. We drew pictures on the board (I mean Faa did) and kept talking until we came to an agreement. I knew that Faa wanted to have the words “Grace” and “Refuge,” and I wanted the ministry to have an international appeal. In the end, the name came to us — G.R.O.W. (Grace Refuge Outreach Worldwide) and with that nine years of toil, tears, prayers and hope against hope had finally ended for Faa. She finally found a group of people who trusted her enough to commit to stand side by side with her in pursuing her dream.

    There was, however, a small problem — we had zero money and zero clout. No one was knocking on our door and I had found from personal experience that churches were not too eager to support a ministry that was so cutting edge, so risky, as one to children abused by the evils of the sex-trade industry in SE Asia.

    We needed a miracle and miracle is what we got. Tomorrow I will tell you the tale of three bikes. You will be amazed at what God does when a group of people decide they will defend those who have no voice.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Laura 4:51 pm on October 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Ivanildo–
      I have often enjoyed reading your blog, but the last 3 days have been especially close to my heart. Can’t wait to talk Asia when you get back! Not sure if Faa went back with you, but let her know I miss her already.

    • ivanildotrindade 5:53 pm on October 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      thanks, laura. we will talk asia all right. i am so excited about this trip with naza. if u have time, follow us here, will try to post as often as i can.

      • Michael Lempenau 9:50 pm on October 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Ivanildo, Now I know how this all worked out with you and Faa. I had heard bits and pieces before. Awsome. Something interesting is starting here. It is only in the talking stage. I just met a family coming here to Thailand for one year to see what God wants them to do. They came to work with one children’s home specially but he has been an entrepreneur in the US and heard that once children leave the homes they have a hard time finding jobs. Especially if they don’t go to college. He and his wife is thinking about starting businesses to help these children!! Like teach them what to do so they can do it themselves. I told him what you were doing and how much I liked what I saw and he immediately wanted to meet you. I told him to pray a little first, but he and his wife are also interested in Cambodia just like you. I know your head is full of info but maybe you should pray a little about this? Hope to see you soon. Mike

        • ivanildotrindade 10:48 pm on October 20, 2011 Permalink

          sounds great, mike. the g.r.o.w. board has started a conversation about helping our children become self-sufficient. of course i would like to meet these folks and explore some of these ideas. i will be in chiang mai nov. 1-9, would love to get together. faa knows my schedule. blessings.

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