Archives for category: Time to Celebrate

I am so excited about this Sunday as we will be celebrating parents. You see, I am old school. I still revere my parents (in the proper way, of course) and am very aware that by the grace of God I am what I am today because of the investment they made in my life.

My mom and dad are celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary this year and they are still very happy together. They have raised nine children who are all followers of Christ today and are doing very well in living productive and happy lives. They also have 20 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, whom they love unconditionally and continue to invest their lives in.

But if you ask my mom and dad what has made them successful as parents, they will be quick to tell you that all the credit must go to God. All they did was establish their home on the foundation of God’s Word and stood firm against the tide of pseudo-science which circa 1960 started to dictate that we should run our homes as something akin to a democracy.

My parents didn’t complete High School. They learned to read books through the rudimentary teachings of a faithful teacher in a one-room grammar school, which relied primarily on root memory. But even if they had never learned to read, they had the wisdom of the ages. They knew how to read people and see beyond their appearance into their soul (trust me: you never fooled my mom!). Contrary to many kids my age, when I was growing up, I always thought my mom and dad were sages.

It was only later that I realized that their wisdom did not come from school learning. It came from pouring their life and soul into the treasures “hidden” inside God’s Word.

My mom and dad were not rich either (he has been a pastor for almost 50 years, need I say more?). I remember too well the times we had to wait until later, hoping that dad would come home bringing something for us to eat. Invariably, he always showed up and there was food on the table, albeit very late some times.

Only later I realized the struggles they had to endure to feed the mouths of 9 little children. When you are poor, you are constantly preoccupied with surviving. Every ounce of energy, every creative activity, every word uttered — everything — is intended to address one thing and one thing only: where will your next meal come from. And don’t even think about getting sick. Living two hours away by boat, even if they somehow managed to get the money to pay for hospital care, made it impossible for us to have anything but only the basic home remedies which could never address the real problems we were facing in a world where nobody seemed to care.

But my mom and dad managed not only to survive but to thrive in that environment. They kept believing in God and God never disappointed them. Watching God deliver answer after answer as a result of their prayers made a believer out of me. I was forever “biased” toward the idea that when we ask God hears us loud and clear and when He delivers He loves to do it with a bang.

And that is why I am excited about this Sunday. And if you come to church either at 9:00 or 10:45, I know you will be blessed. And yes, I have a special surprise prepared for you during the service.

See you Sunday, then!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

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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.

Blessings,

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade