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Hospitality of the spirit. Inside the Mission

Oraker, J. (1988, December). "Hospitality of the spirit. Inside the Mission." Colorado Springs, CO: Young Life. Reprinted with permission.


Thesis. In a world permeated by hard sell, it seems naïve and unrealistic to think a person might find God if left alone. Rosy promises, threatening doom, subtle entrapment-these are the methods we're more familiar with when it comes to seeking converts.

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Proposal for a "Digital Second Harvest" to Help the Poor and End Piracy

harvest.jpgIt seems like every day I'm reading a new article about the battle between corporations and individuals over copyright and piracy, and it gets old. The problem is that both sides have lost the moral high ground in the debate. Here is a proposal to put both sides on the moral high ground and end the wars over copyright.

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"Give" is a four letter word."

Perhaps one of the hardest things for which to raise money is humanity.

People love to save whales, trees, spotted owls and an entire host of variables. Yet you tell them about people who are starving and so many times you will hear. "that's a shame".

Now of course I am plugging my own cause of which I am very interested in seeing succeed but this really does apply to all such causes.

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Honduran youth go to glue

Morgan, R.J. (2000, February 6). Salving the pain of the streets, Honduran youth go to glue. The Boston Globe, p. A15.


In cities around the world, poor children hang out, begging, ready to do simple tasks, committing petty crimes…and often sniffing glue. They are called street children, parking boys, dump kids, and other local names. There are 1,500 children living on the streets of Comayaguela, Honduras, and an estimated 5,000 nationwide. This article describes three years in the life of one of them, Charlie Reyes, as "incredibly simple but dangerous."


He would wake up on the hilly traffic-congested, smoke-filled streets of Tegucigalpa, and he would begin begging for money. "I would accumulate around 40 lampiras" or $2.70, said Reyes, who is now 7. The money would go for baby-food jars filled with Resistol, a shoe-solvent glue.

His day would be spent in the cloud of a glue high, his eyes glazed over and unfocused. It killed the hunger pains, erased the cold at night, and made the blows of the other children easier to withstand.

Those blows would come, sooner or later, every day. ‘It was a very ugly life,’ he said. ‘The big people would always beat me. There were a lot of thieves.’

When he needed food, Charlie could scrounge a few scraps at a Burger King. ‘I never spent money on food,’ he said. The glue demanded every cent he could get.

Six months ago, Charlie walked into the medical clinic at the Casa Alianza—the Latin American branch of New York-based Covenant House. He was soon out of his glue stupor and safe from street predators. Now his eyes are shiny and clear, and Charlie mixes schooling and athletics in a home-like environment at an Alianza shelter.


The article goes on to tell how Charlie’s place on the streets will be replaced by one or two incoming kids a day. Many come as victims to Hurricane Mitch, which devastated the country—killing 6000 and leaving 1.5 million homeless. There is a 15% increase in the number of street children in Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela since then.

Another young person who found hope in a shelter is Marvin Matute Martinez, 15.


‘My family life wasn’t bad. I was beat at times, but I knew how to handle it. I got drawn to the streets by my friends. But really they weren’t my friends. They were nothing.’


Marvin was on the streets from age 6 to 9—when he was accepted into a shelter where he can stay until the age of 18.


‘Thank God it happened, because I have learned a lot about getting ahead. I’m studying now, and I’m going to try for a profession. If I had stayed on the streets I probably would have died. Who knows what would have happened.’


Marijuana and crack cocaine are also a problem among—especially the—older street kids. Ones Italia Garcia, head psychologist at Casa Alanza explains:


‘The youths that mention use of this drug (crack cocaine) are between 16 and 18 years old. And they are youths that usually have gone to other countries, especially Guatemala. The children from the streets of Tegucigalpa talk more of glue and marijuana.’


The glue business is run by adults or older youth. It is bought for about 100 lempiras ($7) per gallon, and then sold in baby-food jars for 10 lempiras ($.70). Dealers thus make about $35 a gallon. Even though selling glue to children was made criminal in 1996, the business still goes on near market places or under bridges clearly visible to those interested. Most street children (an estimated 95%) sniff glue—most going through one to five jars in a day.

Along with crime and drugs, prostitution is always present among homeless youth. According to Garcia:


‘Seventy to eighty percent of the (young people) we see have been involved in prostitution. The boys don’t like to talk about it. But over times it comes out.’


The pressures upon girls to become involved in prostitution are overwhelming. Misaela Mejia is an outreach worker for Casa Alianza. Twice a day, she and a male coworker visit 42 areas of the city where street kids hang out. " ‘Most of the girls don’t sleep on the street,’ " she said. " ‘Prostitution gives them money for a room, food, and drugs.’ "

A real danger for street children are the police. Goaded by merchants, they are tempted to scare or even kill those seen to be public nuisances. Fifty unsolved murders of street children occurred in 1998. Casa Alianza is not only serving kids; they are advocates on their behalf. They are working for the prosecution of those exploiting them sexually in bars or selling them glue. Along with the United Nations, they have pushed for a new kind of training for police officers. Mejia describes the difference that has made:


They (the police) would do things to the kids like take their glue and pour it over their head and hurt them. Now we have more police sending kids to Casa Alianza.


There is also a campaign to get manufacturers of Resistol to create a nontoxic, water-based glue—and to add mustard oil making it more difficult to inhale.


  1. Have you seen the use of inhalents? Do you understand what leads kids to do something that causes pain and harms the brain?
  2. On several occasions I have talked to young people sniffing glue—often after they have asked me for money. What would you say to them?
  3. Is it clear to you from this article that glue sniffing does not exist as a problem by itself and therefore cannot be legislated away or treated without attention to other issues?
  4. How important is this issue in your situation? What would you like to see done about it?


  1. Inhalents are among the cheapest and most available of drugs. They are used especially by the very young, poor, and homeless. But occasionally, you will hear of well-to-do young people using them out of curiosity or desperation.
  2. The pain and anger that some young people feel makes them disregard or welcome the destruction of their own bodies.
  3. The presence of poor and homeless youth ought to be of concern to any society. These vulnerable human beings need our advocacy and action.

Dean Borgman cCYS

To help newly arrived missionaries in Hungary adapt to the culture more easily and be better equipped to perform their task

To help newly arrived missionaries in Hungary adapt to the culture more easily and be better equipped to perform their task.


This discussion seminar was designed for a specific group, yet it may be modified to meet the specific needs of any cultural adaptation training session. These "missionaries," contracted through IFES (IVCF), were a group of English teachers asked to work in Hungary for two years. They had already been through an orientation in the U.S. and had spent about a one and a half months in Hungary. They had been studying the language intensively. At the time of this meeting, they were just beginning to teach.


The following items are needed: questions; newsprint (large pad); pens; snacks or lunch (depending on length of event); song books or sheets of both familiar (to the group) and Hungarian songs; a musical instrument; a cross-cultural entry and mission packet of information and readings; slides of the area; and slide projector, screen, or wall space.


Sing songs from the provided books or sheets. Follow this with introductions or icebreakers.


Present a slide show to familiarize participants to the area and its people.


Divide the large group into small groups. Have them answer questions in sections A and B.


Section A

  • What did you think about Hungary before you came?
  • What were your expectations—before arriving—in terms of the job, culture, and your work?
  • What have you learned about Hungarian culture that has changed your expectations or stereotypes?
  • How have you been pleasantly surprised? Unpleasantly surprised?


Section B

  • What is your experience so far and how do you feel at this point?
  • How do you characterize your relations with Hungarians at this point: impossible, difficult, burdening to you, burdensome to them, OK, good, shallow, great, etc.?
  • Share some stories about Hungarians that you have met.

Return to larger group and process Sections A and B. Break once again into small groups and encourage the group to discuss the questions of Sections C and D.


Section C

  • How are you doing with the language?
  • What have you done in tough situations (personal or other)? If you have not yet faced any challenging moments, do you have a plan? To whom will you turn?
  • Do you have a social outlet?
  • How are you supervised? Encouraged?
  • What are your job demands?
  • Do you have the materials to sufficiently perform your job?


Section D

  • What questions would you like to ask the entire group?

Reconvene the large group. Each group will pose their questions they have. As appropriate, consider discussing the following within the large group:

  • Tell some stories about your experiences that you would like to share or that you think is particularly revealing about this country and culture.
  • What do you feel you need in terms of fellowship, sharing, advice, and rest?
  • Please share your relations with Hungarians.


You may select either of the following activities to bring closure to the program:

  • At this point a guest speaker could share his experience as a teacher in Hungary, followed by questions and answers.
  • One of the leaders of this seminar could speak about adjusting to another culture, reflecting on some of the things that were addressed during the other discussions. It is important to share information and resources available to them.

Summarize the session briefly. Ask if the group would like to convene in the future in either large or small groups. Respond to needs mentioned during questioning.


It is a good idea to ask the following questions (in evaluation format) to the participants before they leave the session:

  • How did you share within the small group? Within the large group?
  • How was the atmosphere of the session?
  • What are your needs? How can they be met?
  • What did you learn about the cross-cultural experience?
  • Is it helpful to have this kind of sharing/orientation meeting?
  • Any further comments?

Robert G. Ause and Anne Montague cCYS





U.S. Central Intelligence Agency - The World Fact Book 

The Times of India  
Indian national daily, political and entertainment news.


Das, Gurcharan (2002). India Unbound : The Social and Economic Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age. Anchor.

Grihault, Nicki (2003). Culture Smart! India: A Quick Guide to Customs & Etiquette.
Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company.

Keay, John (2001). India: A History. Grove Press.

Kishore, Prem & Ganpati, Anuradha Kishore (2003). India: An Illustrated History. Hippocrene Books.





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(Download this overview as a PDF)


  • Total population: 1,029,991,145 (Ranked 2nd in the world by the US Census Bureau).

National GDP: US $1.689 trillion. GDP per capita: US $1,720. Median Age: 23.6 years of age. Infant Mortality: 58.48 per 1,000 live births.


  • Location: Occupies most of the Indian sub-continent of Asia.

Borders: Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh. Area: 1,269,300 square miles. Capital: New Delhi. Major cities and population: Mumbai (Bombay) 18,066,000, Kolkata (Calcutta) 12,918,00, Delhi 11,695,00, Hyderabad 6,842,000, Chennai (Madras) 6,648,000 and Bangalore 5,561,000. 25 States: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal. 7 Union Territories: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, and Pondicherry.


  • Population density: 799 people per square mile.

Children 0-14: 30.3%—69,118,581. Teenage 10-19: 19.4%—44,247,544. Youth between 15-24: 19.6%—44,744,048. Seniors Over 70: 2.5%—5,787,909. Male to female ratio: 99.7 males per 100 females. Birth rate: 24.79 per 1,000 people. Life expectancy at birth: 62.98 for males and 64.86 for females. Infant mortality rate: 58.48 per 1,000 live births. Official Language: Hindi. Associate Official Language: English. 14 official regional languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Sanskrit. Ethnic Groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%. Religious affiliations: 74.5% Hindu (755,135,081), 12.% Muslim (122,570,042), 6.2% Christian (62,341,006), 3.4 % Ethnoreligionist (34,761,177), 2.2% Sikh (22,182,528), 1.3% Nonreligious (12,848,612). Each of the following comprises less than one percent of the total population (listed in descending order of prevalence): Buddhist, Jains, Baha’i, Atheist, Zoroastrian, Chinese folk-religionist, Jew. Education: Theoretically compulsory in 23 states to age 14. Literacy rate: 52%.


  • Currency: Rupee.

GDP per capita: US $1,720. National GDP: US $1.689 trillion. Major Industries: Textiles, steel, processed foods, cemen, machinery, chemicals, mining. Chief crops: Rice, grains, sugar, spices, tea, cashews, cotton, potatoes, jute, oilseed. Electricity production: 446.130 bil kWh. TV sets: 68 per 1,000. Radios: 117 per 1,000. Telephones: 21,593,700 main lines. Daily newspaper circulation: 21 per 1,000.


  • Government type: Federal Republic.

Head of state: President Kocheril Raman Narayanan. Head of government: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. International organization memberships: United Nations (UN) and the Commonwealth. Historical Background: India’s history is one of the oldest and richest in the world. Archeological evidence suggests its dawn prior to 5,000 BC. Classical Indian civilization is dated to 1500 BC, when the Sanskrit speaking Aryan tribes invaded a merged with the earlier inhabitants. In the 3rd century BC, Asoka ruled and established Buddhism, though Hinduism later thrived. Increasingly after the 8th century, Muslim leaders gained control starting from the west and north. From 1526-1857 Mogul emperors ruled, but after 1500 European influence began to dominate, especially Britain under British East India Company. India’s constitution was established in 1935. India’s diversity has been a blessing and a curse. Political factions, religious division, societal caste have caused multiple conflicts. Since its independence three leaders have been assassinated in religious and political controversies. Mohandas Ghandi, an advocate of self-rule and non-violent protest, was killed in 1948. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 by Sikhs in retaliation for government tactics involving the Sikh’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple at Amritsar. Her son, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was subsequently killed in 1991. Inter-religious conflicts throughout various provinces have plagued India. Pakistan and India have been in conflict over Kashmir since 1947 and in the 1990s, tensions have escalated.


Understanding the trends and social issues of a particular country should always take into consideration the opinions of persons within the country. We are looking for contributors from each country to add to our appreciation and understanding of its culture, potential, trends, and critical issues. If you have insight as to what is important to Indians, then please feel free to contact us.

We look forward to hearing the insights on what insiders consider the most important issues facing them. From an outsider’s perspective current issues would include the following: the rebuilding after the recent earthquake in 2000 and the Gujarat and Orissa cyclones, the conflict with Pakistan, the recovery of Ancient Indian history, the AIDS crisis (3.5 million adults in India are said to be infected), and the question of peaceful religious diversity. What are the most important issues for Indians today? This will be added as we receive this information.




Barrett, D., Kurian, G., & Johnson, T. (2001). World Christian Encyclopedia 2nd Edition: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World. Oxford: University Press.

Turner, B. (2000). The World Today: Essential Facts in an Ever Changing World 2000. New York, NY: St. Marten’s Press. pp. 856-867.

McGeveran, Jr., W. (Ed.). (2001). The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Mahwah, NJ: World Almanac Books. p. 842.


"India," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001  © 1997-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.  

US Census Bureau, International Database.

US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.


1. How important do you see Indias role in Asia and in the world?
2. What most impresses you about the above information?
3. Do you take issue with any of the above? If so, how would you express it differently?
4. What strikes you most about the population of India and its diversity? Why?
5. What do you see as the historical and cultural contributions of India to the world?
6. How has India handled its part in the crisis with Pakistan?
7. What can we learn from India and the Indian people?

Tammy Smith cCYS



(Download this overview as a PDF)



Population: 6,406,052 (Ranked 97th in the world by the US Census Bureau). Children 0-14: 42.2 %—2,704,507. Teenage 10-19: 24.1%—1,543,722. Youth between 15-24: 20.9%—1,339,771. Seniors Over 70: 2.2%—141,655. Male to female ratio: 89 males per 100 females. Birth rate: 32.65 per 1,000 people. Life expectancy at birth: 63.01 for males and 65.74 for females. Infant mortality rate: 39.79 per 1,000 live births.




Beginning age, 4

Duration, 3 years


Beginning age, 7

Duration, 6 years


Beginning age, 13

Duration, 5 years


Literacy is one of the main issues, as is keeping students in school. Most estimates put the literacy rate at about 60 percent.



UNESCO Statistics Division.

US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.

Freedom House.

Jonathan Ketcham cCYS

Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise Resource Planning

From MissionTechWiki

The Wikipedia's article on Enterprise Resource Planning is a good introduction to the subject.

As a form of non-profits, Missions have a number of business processes that are similar to a commercial organisation, eg financials, HR, possibly sales and distribution, depending on the purpose of the organisation. However there can be significant differences. Eg, missions need to process donations rather than sales (in general). Finances are distributed to workers on a different basis.

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