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  • ivanildotrindade 10:16 am on July 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , equator, , hometown, , progress, prosperity, rush hour, success, 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 9:56 pm on December 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: changing the world, church programs, community outreach, outreach, random acts of kindness, success   

    Done Changing the World 

    So back in September I was at a conference in New York when one of the speakers made the comment that if churches were absolutely successful with the things they are doing, it wouldn’t have much of an impact in the world anyway. That made me almost stop dead on my tracts. I am a church guy, I am busy, I run some great programs and I have great plans for the future. But are all or any of these things really making a difference?

    He just might be and if he is it is indeed a disturbing thought…

    This year I led a couple of teams to Asia, where people from our church have helped rescued many children from poverty, abandonment, even sexual abuse and slavery. But until one or more of these children rises up to change the culture or lead a movement, we won’t know the impact we’ve had. Of course I am not computing the spiritual impact in the lives of these children, but should we desire more? This thought keeps me awake at night: for every child we rescue, there are thousands more who are being left behind.

    I was at a village in northern Thailand last year when a local pastor brought a folder filled with names and bios of children he personally knew who, unless they were rescued, they could end up at a brothel somewhere in Chiang Mai or Bangkok. The task is daunting and we are only scratching the surface.

    I lead an effort every month to go into our community and meet people’s needs in tangible ways. We try to cheer up older folks in a nursing home, do small home repairs, rake leaves, or sometimes just randomly go to a gas station and distribute free gas cards. But even though it is always a fun thing to do, the effort to get people there every month is Don Quixote-esque.  How can I know if I we are really having a lasting impact? Maybe if we stopped the program and people still kept doing it on their own because they understand that they cannot call them themselves “Christians” and neglect helping those less fortunate??

    I meet with a couple of guys every week for the purpose of encouragement and personal accountability. We want to be the best fathers and spouses we can possibly be, but I frankly don’t know if what we do on Monday mornings is actually helping us to achieve these lofty goals, though I hope it is…

    I counseled one couple this year for several months and they are now seeking divorce. No, I didn’t encourage them to do that, but in the end, after one or the other kept walking out of our counseling sessions, they decided to go their separate  ways. I guess that may not bode well for the couples I am currently meeting with… This year I became more convinced than ever that you cannot change people. People will do what they want to, unless their mind is completely transformed. And there is no lasting transformation unless it originates with a personal encounter with the living God.

    So I am done trying to change the world. I just want to find the next hurting and lonely person and see if I can help them to find hope once again. I too was once lost and now am found.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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