I grew up without grandparents. I know I am not the only one. There are millions like me. But least mine was not a sad reason. It was simply out of necessity. My dad took a pastorate in a town in another state and before we knew it we not children anymore and we realized that grandparents were missing from our childhood. Translation: we were poor and never got to travel much.

In one of my early memories of my early years on the Amazon, though, I have a now almost faint recollection of my grandfather on my mother’s side of the family taking me out fishing one day. I caught a big fish, then accidentally “release” it before I could rope it into the boat. My grandfather said, “Don’t worry, son. We’ll catch another one.” Well, I hate to say it, but I don’t recall ever again catching another one as big as the one I let go.

Later that same grandfather would die in a hit and run accident, but by then he already knew the Lord. He who spent half his life drinking fell in love with Jesus and gave the bottle up. My grandmother, his wife, would live many more years, the last decade in a state of dementia that often got her confused and afraid. But she also accepted the Lord before she died.

I also remember a photo of the same grandparents, standing in front of their hut, built on stitches, thatch-roofed, on the Amazon. The year of 1965. A pastor I would meet much later in the U.S. gave me the picture, which he had taken when he was visiting there. The house was simply a shell with holes for windows and rough cut wood. There were no furniture or appliances, only some hammocks, my grandmother’s sparkly clean pots and pans — the few she owned — and some bags lying around. The pastor said my grandfather, in spite of what we would consider to be his abject poverty, greeted him with the following words: “Welcome to our house. We have everything here.”

That story reminds me of the believers in Macedonia, of which Paul said,  “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8:2). 

And that is the story of many of our grandparents. Most of them had a lot less than we do, but they were joyful and generous. We want to celebrate that as we honor grandparents this Sunday at Grace Church. I sure hope you will be able to join us then.


Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade