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Published: 1996-10-19

SOME REFLECTIONS. No doubt the word "hunger" in ECHO's name leads people to think of hunger as ECHO's only concern. ECHO is involved in much more than alleviating hunger. I often tell people that even if no one was dying of starvation in the world, ECHO would still be ministering to the poor in the name of Christ. So would most of our readers. There is much more to life than not dying of hunger! It is the quality of life that is our concern, spiritual and physical--the same things for which we all work and pray for ourselves and our families. The following letter is an eloquent example of this greater need. (It is from Cesar Maes, a Belgian Catholic priest in Guatemala, and was forwarded to us by Mel West.)

"Our new fish pond is a source of joy. How important is entertainment for development projects? How important is it in the lives of well-off people? A project that only takes the stomach into account is crippled from the start. There is more in a human being than a stomach and one can still feel hungry in many ways even when well fed.

A2Z11 04"Don Tomas had to wait 75 years for an opportunity to see fishes. He showed his plastic bag with some colored little carp. 'Look, Padrecito, how beautiful!' And he hurried home to his water pit. There are hundreds of pits and miniponds in a wide environment and uncountable are the children and adults having lots of fun with them. The fact that several carp are already the size of a frying pan increases the enthusiasm. People tenderly look at the fishes. They smile, and believe in God. Wonder is the most intimate relative of faith.

"Humble people dream around the fish pond. It took a lot of time to remove hundreds of tons of dirt, using wheelbarrows and primitive implements. It was worth-while. They had never seen swallows skimming the water, never felt the sensation of a quivering fishing rod when a fish wriggles at the hook, never seen a water lily, never miraculously stayed dry floating on water [in a boat]. Their delight is our joy. The model farm becomes with this huge pond an entertainment area especially for families. It is the only one in our highland.

"Healthy entertainment is scarce. This partially explains the alcohol abuses, the sexual deviations and the vulnerable family ties. It also explains the successful religious meetings where they do a lot of singing, usually mishandling guitars."

RESOURCE CENTER WELCOMES INQUIRIES FROM COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS. MAP International is a non-profit Christian global health organization providing donated medicines, medical supplies, and development training services to over 300 missions, denominations, and national church groups around the world. MAP's Learning Resource Center has a collection of helpful reference materials related to community health and development in the third world. Christians involved in health work in the third world are welcome to write to them for information difficult to obtain locally (much like ECHO addresses questions related to your agricultural work). A full-time librarian responds to requests for information with photocopies ($0.10/page), suggested readings, and recommendations from MAP's stock of publications for sale. On-site use of the resource center is also welcomed. Direct inquiries to Flor Oamil, Learning Resource Center, MAP International, 2200 Glynco Parkway, P.O. Box 215000, Brunswick, GA 31521-5000, USA; phone 912/265-6010; fax 912/265-6170.

THE APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE (ATI) offers training modules at Providence Farm in North Carolina. ATI prepares missionaries to use technology appropriately as they assist in church planting movements. The 12-week courses run in the spring and are repeated in the early fall. The training is devoted to spiritual, cross-cultural, and technical preparation for overseas living in the areas of appropriate technologies, food production, and community health systems. Participants examine a holistic approach to development (sprinkled throughout the other courses) and experience community living in an isolated setting throughout the course. The extensive readings and the technical preparation in the curriculum cover most aspects of village living a missionary is likely to encounter overseas. Instructors for each module are highly qualified, and the A2Z11 05learning is largely hands-on. Those not able to participate in the full curriculum can take one or more of the modules (each lasts about a month). Total cost for the full 12-week program is approximately $1500/couple, $850 single.

They also offer 2-week intensive courses in missionary medicine (in March, June, and November if classes fill). These are designed to prepare students to use the Village Medical Manual as a diagnostic tool for common health issues in developing countries. Total cost of the medical course is $362 per person. Write for other times and places the course will be offered. Contact ATI, P.O. Box 1126, Marion, NC 28752, USA; phone 704/738-3891; fax 704/738-3946. 

MEDICAL AMBASSADORS INTERNATIONAL offers a program in Community Health Evangelism "developed and tested over many years to train people who want to establish a community-based health care program which also integrates evangelism and discipleship. We can also assist those who have already established their own program and want to integrate evangelism and discipleship components." They quote a past participant: "My organization talks about integration of physical and spiritual but they do not tell me how to do it. This training has given me the How-To's to help us establish such a work."

The one-week training in Colorado Springs is in October and costs $300 for room, board and tuition. Contact Missionary Internship, P.O. Box 50110, Colorado Springs, CO 80949; phone 209/524-0600; fax 209/571-3538.