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  • ivanildotrindade 1:41 am on June 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Asia, , , , Incheon International Airport, news from outside the U.S., South Korea, thailand   

    The News From Out There 

    I pick up the newspapers on the planes headed to SE Asia. I am always interested in what the rest of the world consider newsworthy. Looking at the world from other people’s viewpoints is always great.

    South Korea, for example, is always obsessed with their northern neighbor. One of the stories I read had to do with the North Koreans planting some viruses in some video games inside Seoul Incheon Airport. We in the U.S. perhaps have the luxury of going to bed without ever thinking whether we might be hit with an atomic bomb while we sleep, not so with people who live in South Korea, so they have to be ever so diligent, even with innocent cyber games at their main airport.

    From Thailand comes a story that is a sign of the times. Over the last two decades the percentage of young people working as farmers, specifically rice farming, has declined steadily. This worries some people because rice is one of the main exports of this country.

    According to the article, young people prefer moving into the big population centers like Bangkok, and they definitely would rather find a job that keeps them indoors, away from the sun (this is a culture that shuns darkened skin, to judge from all the commercials on T.V. lauding the powers of skin whitening products and all the fair skinned models exhibited on their big billboards), and they will do everything they can to avoid the back breaking job their parents and grandparents had to do to make a living. Plus, in this country, as opposed to Europe and the U.S., for example, farmers are seen as poor, dirty and stupid. Who wants to sign up for that?

    One thirty eight year old farmer in a small village, the oldest farmer in his entire village, lamented the disinterest on the part of the young people. He said, “It seems like the only thing they can do with their hands is hold a cell phone.” I don’t know why but I find that comment very funny. But there is a business opportunity here too — start opening those carpel tunnel surgery clinics! Video games and cell phones may not kill you, but they might disable you.

    So I am soon headed to Cambodia to deal with some tough assignments related to our G.R.O.W. home there. If you think of me and are able to pray, I would appreciate it.

    Perhaps the mechanization of farming will save the jasmine rice of Thailand. And teenagers will once again line up to be high-tech farmers — one hand on the computer and the other on the video games they love so much.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     

     

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  • ivanildotrindade 2:04 am on June 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , orphan home, orphans in cambodia, orphans in thailand, , , thailand, , Wiang Pa Pao District,   

    10 Days in Asia 

    My fellow bloggers and readers:

    My apologies to all of you. I took a brief leave as I was caring for some other important things. But before I get to them, here are the winners of the Brazil quiz. I decided to pick one from each gender, so here they are: Holly Edwards and Paul Cardiff. You know who you are, so send me your address and I will ship you the book, except for Holly, with whom I have made other arrangements.

    The last few days have been a lot more hectic than usual. First, my wife and my son left for Brazil last Wednesday, leaving me pretty much alone with two dogs. I say “pretty much” because my older daughter is technically still at home, but she works some insane hours in Cleveland and comes home late and briefly. So, for all practical purposes, I was the dog minder for several days. I am proud to say, though, that I walked them twice a day and we had no accident.

    My wife is in Brazil to care for her mom who is very ill. She got there and was immediately embedded with the “troops” (her two younger sisters) who have been caring for her day and night. We are hoping and praying that she will recover but it will be a long journey. But the good news is that she is very close to my wife and I am certain that my wife’s love, positive energy, and her sheer beautiful presence will sooth her mother’s pain. I know because that is the kind of effect that she had had on me for many years.

    Then I was getting ready to go across the sea to SE Asia. I leave my house in about two hours, bound for Cambodia and Thailand. As I write, I am also packing. My wife had already packed my big suitcase, now I am caring my backpack and my carry on. My backpack is basic full of gadgets and my carry on has books, snacks, medicines for the G.R.O.W. children and some extra clothes. What am I forgetting?

    Our church, Wooster Grace, has sponsored a home for orphans in Wiang Pa Pao, northern Thailand. In the beginning we only had about 20 children from about 8 different minority groups (“hill tribes,” as they are referred to in Thailand). Then we grew and now we have 41. There was a house on the property, which the girls currently occupy, but the boys had no permanent home, only a makeshift bamboo structure. Well, in the last four months, through the generosity of our people, we have built a permanent structure for the boys and I will be honored to represent our church at the dedication of the house on June 9th.

    All of that to say that my blogging may be meager for the next 10 days or so. I will try to post as often as I can, but as I know from many trips in the past, there is never a free moment and the Internet is not always reliable, to say the least. So I thank you for your understanding in advance.

    I appreciate all of you for taking the time to read my often rambling thoughts here.

    Blessings,

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 4:28 pm on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , pepperdine university, , , , , , thailand, vacation with a purpose,   

    Go and Do – a little book with a big dare 

    It’s not every day that you get a book for free and you go home and you read half of it before you go to bed on the same day, but that’s exactly what happened to me last Friday!

    Just before I went home, as I always do, I checked my mail box and found a yellow envelope from Tyndale Publishers. Inside it was a brand new copy of Jay Milbrandt’s book Go and Do: Daring to Change the World One Story at a Time with a note from the author. The book is outstanding and I can’t recommend it enough. You can pre-order it on Amazon now and it will be available on Barnes & Nobles starting this coming Thursday.

    Jay Milbrandt is a young attorney and serves as the Director of the Global Justice Program and Associate Director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion, and Ethics at Pepperdine University School of Law. He is also a friend and more importantly, he is a friend to Faa, the young lady with whom I co-founded G.R.O.W., an organization that is rescuing children from the sex trade industry in SE Asia.

    For this reason, I am partial to the book. I knew it was being published and I even got an advanced copy of some of its contents. Gosh, I even made some suggestions to the author, a couple of which made it to the final version of the book. But I am biased for another reason: every purchased copy of Jay’s book will generate a contribution to the work of G.R.O.W.

    And here is why: I met Jay in Thailand. He already knew Faa and had been working with her on some projects rescuing at-risk children and advocating on behalf of some landless, displaced youths who had no place to go. Jay had his life changed by the children Faa introduced to him on the streets of Chiang Mai and in fact in the first 55 pages of his book, he tells the story of how me met Faa and how the children she was helping on the streets changed his life.

    Jay is convinced that every change starts with us first and he tells the story of how this happened to him. Faa played a big part in it and thus his tale is filled with stories of redemption and chaos from the life of children with no voice. You will laugh and cry as you read Jay’s story, and I hope it will inspire you to go and do something.

    It could start with a trip overseas. Not simply a vacation, but a vacation with a purpose. Perhaps your journey will parallel Jay’s. If nothing also, you will be helping G.R.O.W. build a learning center in Wiang Pa Pao, Thailand, which is how Jay is going to use part the funds generated through the sale of his book.

    I hope you will buy a copy of this book. It is not a long book, in fact, as books go, it is a little book. But there is a big dare inside of it. Read it to find out. You may find yourself, just like Jay, asking the question, “What Am I Here For?” And the journey will start.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
  • ivanildotrindade 9:25 pm on October 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , dealing with church boards, field of dreams, , orphanage, , surprise, thailand   

    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 9:49 am on October 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , thailand   

    Count down to Asia 

    Eight days from today my wife and I will be leaving for Cambodia and Thailand, where we will be visiting and loving on our 80+ children that our church has rescued. You will not want to miss following our journey here, and starting today I will tell you how I got involved with at-risk children work in SE Asia. Come back!

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:45 am on September 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , at-risk kids, thailand   

    Running to save lives

    The G.R.O.W. Board just finished running the full marathon in Akron. We finished in 3:47. Please go to http://grow-worldwide.com to make a contribution to help us rescue more children from the evils of sexual exploitation in Thailand. Our home in Thailand has eight children but we want to rescue more. This work is so vitally important and I sure way you can help save a life and lend a future. Please help!

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    Posted by Ivanildo C. Trindade via Blackberry

    Update: our G.R.O.W. team finished 199th overall in a field of 1123 teams and we placed 110th in the “mixed” division. Not too bad.

     
  • ivanildotrindade 11:34 pm on August 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: buddhism in the east, , , laos, other face of buddhism, thailand   

    Buddhism: freedom in the west, prison in the east? 

    And here is the #5 reason I am NOT a Buddhist: while Buddhism in the West presents a more secularized version that promotes freedom from dogmas, in places like Cambodia and Thailand, Buddhism, as it is practiced by the masses, keeps people enslaved to the whims of the spirits and the heavy hand of traditionalism.

    I once trekked to a house outside of Battambang, Cambodia, where people believed spirits resided. I took my shoes off at the bottom of the steps and walked up to the small living room where worshipers had gathered. The sight completely shocked me. People were kneeling all over the floor, chanting, burning candles, offering fervent prayers, quietly mumbling incomprehensible words to me in a repetitive fashion. The heaviness of the place shook my soul. The bewildered look on people’s faces troubled me. While some might have been fascinated with the sight, I felt oppression in the air. My heart went out to the many people who were there, trying to transact business with the unknown with no apparent success. The hopelessness of the situation permeated the whole experience.

    Now I know that this by itself does not disprove Buddhism, just like a highly charismatic prayer meeting among Christians would not dismiss Christianity. But the more I travel to SE Asia, the more I am struck with the pervasiveness of this type of folk Buddhism in many countries there. Many people are incapable of making a move without consulting a shaman who will consult the spirits on their behalf. The fear of evil spirits is in the mind of virtually everyone. Businesses are lined with spirit houses and residences have white strings tied around the building to ward off the spirits who would do you harm. As far as I can tell, this is anything BUT freedom and it is easy to see it when you are there.

    For those who say that Buddhism is not a religion, a trip to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos or Burma will dispel that notion. Buddhism is much of a religion there as Catholicism is in Rome or Mexico. Buddhist Monks are religious figures and going to the temples is not simply a touristic experience. Even the secular calendars of many governments are regulated by traditional Buddhist Holidays with festivals and religious observances.

    In these countries Buddhism is seen as a path to salvation, some type of salvation, even if not in the same sense as the Biblical salvation from one’s sins. People are desperately trying to appease the “gods” or the spirits. And again, as every man-made religion would have it, it is up to the individual to save himself.

    And the visit to that “haunted” house showed me that no one there seemed to be certain they had arrived anywhere. The eerie feeling of total helplessness in the face of man’s fate still haunts me every time I think about that experience in Cambodia.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Graham 1:39 pm on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Ivan Here’s a extract from The Essence of Buddhism which I think describes why Buddhist may not consider Buddhism to be a religion. I suppose the definition on religion is subjective but this description fits perfectly for me.
      From ‘The Essence of Buddhism’
      Buddhism is not a religion as such; it does not propose an external God. It does not seek to replace a person’s existing religious beliefs, only to supplement them. The Buddha, in all likelihood, would rather his followers describe themselves simply as Followers of The Way.

      Happy Travels! Graham

      • ivanildotrindade 1:49 pm on August 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, Graham. I have found that book by David Tuffley to be very helpful. But I also agree with you — there are many versions of the Buddhist faith. And who knows really what The Buddha would say since he didn’t really record his thoughts? Actually, anyone can download that book for free and I highly recommend it. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/26233. Thanks for the comment!

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