This past weekend I did World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine again with my youth group. If you’re not familiar with the 30 Hour Famine, it’s an event run by World Vision where youth groups fast for 30 hours in order to get a taste of what it feels like for children around the world who face starvation and malnutrition every day. The teens participating in the fast raise money from donations, which World Vision then uses to help feed these children and their families. Usually when youth groups do the Famine, it’s a lock-in event. They begin the fast on their own at noon on Friday and end the fast together at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. I did the 30 Hour Famine when I was in youth group so I always had fond memories from that weekend. That’s why I love doing it with our youth group now.
For the past four years when I’ve done the Famine as a leader, I’ve been able to get through the entire 30 hours without really feeling hungry. At first I felt guilty that I didn’t feel hungry at all because I wasn’t experiencing hunger like we were supposed to, but I also see it as God’s provision for me as a leader. It’s hard to lead 30 or so youth in a weekend of events when you’re suffering from hunger too. Last year I even increased my fast to 40 hours, but I still don’t remember feeling very hungry the entire time.
This year, however, was different and I came away with a couple lessons. I ate lunch a little earlier at work and then started the fast. Usually the fast isn’t too bad on Friday because you’re only missing one meal. As I drove home from work, I kept thinking about how nice it would be to just eat a little snack. I wasn’t even that hungry, but I just wanted to eat something. I realized how much I take food for granted. Even though my body’s not telling me I need food, I decide to eat it anyway because it’s so available. When I got home, I was tempted to eat some candy we have sitting out and later at church I was tempted again while putting together some bags of pretzels and marshmallows for an activity. No one was around in both of these situations and it would’ve been so easy to just take one bite, but I resisted.
It’s funny how the food I wanted had little nutritional value. The things that are good for you are always the things that take more work and effort. We exercise in order to stay fit. We have to cook to try and eat healthier meals and read labels to make healthier food choices. We need to put in time and effort in order to see results and successes at work or school. We have to invest time and energy into our marriages and relationships. We need to spend time reading our Bible, praying, and seeking the Lord in order to have a better relationship with God.
During our games on Friday night, I felt a little lightheaded, something that happens whenever I’m really hungry. I didn’t feel like I was starving, but I knew then that this fast wouldn’t be as easy on my body as past years. I drank more water and that helped, but I definitely felt more out of it at different times during the Famine. It was hard trying to lead Bible studies when I couldn’t focus as well. I can only imagine how the kids felt trying to sit there and pay attention. It gave us an idea though of how hard it is for malnourished children to pay attention in school when they’re hungry. It’d be nearly impossible to do well.
Our youth group’s fundraising goal this year was $4,500.00. I’m not sure what our final total was yet, but I think we reached it or maybe even exceeded it. Thank you to those of you who donated to my online page! I exceeded my personal fundraising goal in just two days! Praise God for your generosity and heart.
We watched a video from the Catalyst conference during the Famine that showed the testimony of Michelle, who was a
Compassion child from the Philippines. I’d actually heard Michelle’s story on Moody radio before, but I was moved again by seeing her testimony. Gerald and I are talking about sponsoring our own Compassion child. It’s a small sacrifice we can make each month that has a huge impact in a child’s life.
This post might be a little disjointed because I’m still tired and recovering from the weekend. I went home Saturday night after our break-fast meal and crashed. I got nearly ten hours of sleep that night! Obviously right now though my sleep cycle’s getting messed up again (it’s 11 p.m.). Though weekends like this are tiring and I give up most of my weekend for the youth, it’s worth it. The kids all filled out meal tickets before they could eat to share what they learned or how the Famine weekend impacted them. I can’t wait to read some of their responses to see what God was doing in their hearts. These kids never cease to encourage me!