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  • ivanildotrindade 2:30 pm on January 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adventure, homes for at-risk children, rescue work   

    Invitation to join the adventure 

    Faithful readers (all 17 of you! :)): I am back on the saddle.

    And how can I possibly describe the events of the last three weeks? In some ways I feel like I was climbing mountains, killing tigers, charming snakes, and being downright adventurous.

    Let me put it this way: less than three months ago my wife and I stood on a piece of land flanked by a river, dreaming the little non-profit I helped start would be able to purchase it so we can build homes there for children who have been physically and sexually abused. Well, one week ago I signed the papers, in the presence of a lawyer and the landowners, transferring ownership of the land to the foundation we are in the process of establishing in Thailand.

    We bought 8 acres and will now need to raise money for the infra-structure (water, electric, clearing, preparing the land for building, etc.), then we will start building our first homes there. Our goal is to build our first two by the end of 2013. We will then have two homes — one for girls and one for boys — and from there we will build two homes every year until we can build them no more on that piece of property.

    We will also build a common gathering place, a recreation area, an activity center, and a chapel right in the middle of this land. Then, down the ravine, a nice picnic area and playground for the kids to have fun, and log homes for some R & R and lodging for invited guests who will come to help us build this place where the sacredness of childhood will be inviolable. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? And scary!

    But I am not scared (just a little :)). Everyone I met with in Thailand was like a gift from God to our ministry. The landowner and his wife, to give one example. He told me he got that land a long time ago, hoping to give it to his children, but they are all successful and living in the city, they don’t like to countryside. So he decided to sell it. But he didn’t want to sell it to anyone. He didn’t want to sell it to anyone with commercial interests. Somehow he wanted the land to be used to help children. I am serious. That’s exactly what he told me!

    Then he met this little lady who was talking about rescuing at-risk children. He said, “She was so small but with such big faith!” She said she had no money, but believed she could get it. He said he would wait, but didn’t think she could get it. But the little lady, our country director in Thailand, and her throng of supporters, came through. And the rest is history, like they say.

    Thank you everyone who sent me words of encouragement and offered prayers while I was gone. I felt supernaturally empowered wherever I turned. And the reason is: God loves these children and He does not desire for them to live in any way other than being happy and fulfilled, enjoying the full blessings of childhood in a safe environment. And we are providing all of that to them. But we are only scratching the surface. Wait and see how adventurous this can still get! Better yet: don’t wait, be part of the adventure!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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    • Marla Taviano 2:43 pm on January 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      That little lady with the big faith? Love her SO much! And those 8 precious children (and all the ones to come)? Love them!! I want to be part of this adventure!

    • Harold & Sylvia Stoltzfus 4:05 pm on January 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Ivanildo, your faith inspires us. We rejoice in what the Lord is doing.

      • ivanildotrindade 4:11 pm on January 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        To God be the glory, my brother. I have no pretension to even know what I am doing. But God is sufficient for all things. He can even use someone like me. Don’t ask me why…

    • Renee Shilling 4:41 pm on January 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I am so excited to see how Gods hand will continue to move through the GROW ministry!!

      • ivanildotrindade 4:48 pm on January 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        i am on the edge of my seat. can hardly contain the excitement. but i also know that trials will come. no, they are already here!

    • Bob & Linda 6:35 pm on January 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thank God you are “back in the saddle” I have looked for you every day and pray when you are not there yet. I “warned” my ABF that you would be leading the class for a few weeks. And, that you will have many stories to share. They be looking for you Feb. 5,12,19….Thanks! Bob

  • ivanildotrindade 11:17 pm on December 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , defeat, rescue work, 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: , , dealing with church boards, field of dreams, , orphanage, rescue work, 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 11:38 pm on October 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cheap hair cut, rescue work   

    The once a year three-dollar haircut 

    Four months after my first trip to Cambodia, I was back there again, this time with my oldest daughter, Carolina. Again, I had no clue what I was supposed to do. It would still be a few years until I found my sweet spot. For now, I was content teaching university students at Norton University, visiting with kids from homes sponsored by Asia’s Hope, and mentoring young college students who were living in “student centers” in the city.

    These students were from very poor villages in the countryside and would otherwise not have had a chance to go to school. I worked hard to find sponsors for some of them in the U.S. and spent every night of the two-week period in Cambodia living life with them. Spending time with them ranks among some of the funnest things I’ve done anytime anywhere. They taught me so much about living with little and overcoming tragedies. Though they were the students, I was doing most of the learning and I loved it.

    I also found ways to help the children. My son’s third grade class, for example, raised $75 and I was able to throw a little party to the Asia’s Hope kids, including giving them a package with some much needed items for their daily life, like a towel and a new outfit. It was exciting presenting the gifts on behalf of my son’s class, but I knew that was not enough.

    Somehow I couldn’t forget the children at the State-run orphanage. I had to find a way to help them. And you could say it was almost by accident that I stumbled into it. The days were tedious and hot and my hair was unbearably long. I decided to get a hair cut. Walking on the street where our hotel was located, I found a barbershop. The owner was an older guy who looked like a close relative of Confucius. He told me a tale that was too hard to pass.

    He was a poor barber living in the countryside but his lucky day came one day when the King, who was spending time with his para amour, felt the urge to get a hair cut. The lady happened to live in the same village as the barber. He was immediately ordered to get his tools and get inside the armored car parked in front of his hut. To his shock, before he knew it, he was in front of “His majesty, The King of Cambodia.” And from then on he became the King’s barber.

    And, of course, in order to keep the King’s “secret,” the King had to keep him close by, so he brought him to Phnom Penh, the Capital city, and gave him a shop on one of the busiest streets of this growing city. And that’s where I met this man. But the best part of his story was not the King, his mistress, or the free shop he got — it was the price of a hair cut, complete with neck and shoulder massage at the end. Only about $3 dollars. I couldn’t believe it. I was paying $20 plus tip for a haircut in California at that time.

    I decided to let my hair grow and only have a haircut once a year — in Cambodia, with my new barber friend. And here is the “bestest” part — with the money I saved, I was able to throw a party to all 15o kids plus staff at the orphanage, complete with cake, coke, and a gift package. The kids were happy and I was beside myself with my new $3 dollar haircut. I started doing that every year, but that was just the beginning. Tomorrow I will tell you about a field of dreams.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:40 pm on October 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AIDS, , , rescue work   

    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

     
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