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  • ivanildotrindade 8:58 pm on September 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , compassion, orphans, 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

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  • ivanildotrindade 12:42 pm on January 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: angels, generosity, orphans, poverty, trash   

    "An Angel Gave me Sandals" 

    A friend of mine from Cambodia posted this picture on his Facebook page. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and my imagination took wings. I have seen so many children like this one in different parts of the world, I had to write a caption, which turned into a paragraph, then a story. Now you have this. I hope it will move you to action on behalf of the poorest of the poor starting where you live and extending around the world.

    He came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there.

    He bent his white frame and gently put his sandals before my feet. He got so close to me I could smell him. He smelled of freshly cooked meats, and clothes that had just been washed and pressed with perfection. His smell reminded me of my mom and I immediately started to cry. I cried for a world taken from me when she was suddenly gone, and I cried for fear that this nice stranger was just another wolf in sheep’s clothes.

    Since he came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there. 

    I was orphaned and barefooted since I was eight. Now 11, I no longer cared. My feet had a tough exterior that only the most destitute have. I could not walk on water but I could run on uneven roads, melted asphalt, dump sites littered with glass and just about any other surface the rich and powerful didn’t know existed. My feet had discovered new lands and tested the limits of human resistance to foreign agents. Covering them now would probably endanger my life, not save it. Still, I craved for cleanliness and he seemed so nice.

    For he came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there.

    I looked at my tattered dress. It smelled of railroads tracks, broken bottles and discarded dinners. Next to him I was like trash. No one would wish to approach me but this stranger did. I don’t know where he came from but he was not from my world. His clothes were nice and his hair nicely trimmed. I wanted to touch his white hair but didn’t feel worthy. How could I? He looked like he could be boarding a plane any time; I looked like I could be snatched by vultures any moment, so I didn’t risk it.

    But he came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there. 

    Instead of moving, though, he stayed there, beckoning me to accept his gift. I dared not. I couldn’t repay him. I couldn’t even give him a smile for those had been gone for a while. So I stood there, crying, hoping he would vanish the same way he came. But his bent frame didn’t move. His mouth now moved and made some gibberish sounds. His words almost made me laugh but they also convinced me of his sincerity, so I bent down and accepted his gift. And suddenly those sandals gave me wings.

    Mounted on shoes two sizes my size I walked away feeling clean and happy for the first time since my mom left this earth. 

    And like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was no longer there. 

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Cathy 8:36 am on April 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      This breaks my heart. The pic is going around on FB but not with your story. I wish we had the details on this kid and this wonderful man. To think we could ship flip flops over there for thousands of kids and it would help! Love your story above!

      • ivanildotrindade 8:40 am on April 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        thanks for commenting, cathy. the picture touched my heart too and that’s why i decided to write the story. we can all make a difference. check new book out on amazon by Jay Milbrandt, “Go and Do: daring to change the world one story at a time.”

  • ivanildotrindade 11:05 pm on October 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , immigrant, island on the amazon, , orphans, paradise and hell, parasites, poor widows, small pox   

    Paradise and Hell on the Amazon 

    What do you tell people when they suggest that you are too passionate about a certain issue? “You are too emotionally attached to this!” “Don’t let your emotions get the best of you!” “You are a single issue person.” I find these comments so condescending. I mean, I don’t go around telling people, “You are as emotional as a corpse!” Sorry, corpse.

    Some people tell me this kind of stuff when they see my passion for helping the disadvantaged. If they are Christians, it should be a non-issue. The Bible has 2003 references to the poor and most of them are admonitions on how we should treat them. The so-called “quartet of the vulnerable” — the orphans, the widows, the poor and the immigrants, jump at us from multiple pages of  Scriptures.

    As far as I am concerned, as a follower of Jesus Christ, there is no “exception clause” freeing me from serving the “least of these.” It is not an option; it is not a “nice” thing to do. It is part and parcel of what I must naturally do if I indeed want to demonstrate that Jesus is my Master. It should be as natural as walking on two feet is to humans.

    But the Scriptural argument, often, is not enough to convince even the most devout of Christians. The more conservative they are, tragically, the more inclined they are to say that we should only help the “deserving” poor (whatever that means) or the ones who don’t have a cell phone, a flat screen T.V.’s or, God forbid, mountains of mountain dew piled on their kitchen floor.

    So I have to appeal to their emotion… I am, after all, an emotional guy, remember? I tell them about walking in the middle of a village of Pygmies in the Central African Republic, where the orange hair, the bloated belly and the sunken eyes of the children told a tale of death and destruction. Then I tell them that I was once one of those children. Now I have them.

    But this is not just a gimmick. I was, indeed, born into a family of thirteen, in a poor village of fishermen on a tiny island of the Amazon. Our hut was built on stilts, thatch roof, a hole for a window, the river for toilet and bathroom, and nothing but seafood and tropical fruits for food. It was hell and paradise all in one place, but we didn’t know it.

    Since there was food, we weren’t starving, but we were sick. We would go out into the wood to care for our needs and the stuff would run into the same water we used for drinking and bathing. This was, in essence, the same thing that was killing the precious Pygmies of Central Africa, with one big difference — I had food and they didn’t.

    We had no school, no hospital, and the next city was over two hours away by boat. If you had a serious accident, even if you had the means to get to the city, you would more than likely die on the way. We were forgotten by the world and awaiting a certain death by malaria, small pox, diarrhea or simply by stomach complications caused in by parasites.

    Actually, three of my siblings did pass away before I was born, and if it had not been for an event that changed the history of my family, I would more than likely not be here telling you this story today.

    Tomorrow I will tell you what that event was.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • ivanildotrindade 11:21 am on October 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      From my friend, Jim Hocking, CEO, ICDI (Jim receives my blog posts via e-mail, since he is a man on the move, so he doesn’t have a chance to come to this site often):

      Greetings Ivanildo,

      I just want you to know that I have been reading your blogs…you are an amazing writer!

      I did not grow up in the situation that you did but I did grow up in Africa and I am an emotional guy…that is why I do what I do. That is also why I get myself into so much trouble! Anyway…the exact words you used in this article…”you are just too emotional” have been used on me many times…

      Wow our Savior is awesome!

      Thanks for your blogs…the one today certainly struck a cord with me but then many of them have….keep it up and I will continue to send people your way to read these blogs.

      Jim

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