Whew-so I’m not going to lie, I’m glad the Famine is over. Fasting is not a spiritual discipline that comes easily for me. But what a weekend!! I was overwhelmed by the students this year and their willingness to starve their bodies to feed their souls. Here’s the run-down of events that were used to bring us closer to the Lord as we worked towards understanding our motives and where we fit in to this picture of hunger in our world.
We started off making t-shirts Friday night that we wore the next day as we were out in the community so we looked more legit. Of course the girls really got into this and could have just made t-shirts all night. Although I was surprised by the thought that a few of the boys put into their shirts. They were looking up verses to see where in the Bible God talks about feeding our hearts and minds. After that we watched a video entitled “Teenage Affluenze” that sort of mocks our culture and how we must have the best of the best; that we actually have no idea what true suffering really is. We encouraged the students to think about something in their life, an attitude, a physical object, whatever they thought was selfish and then let them burn it outside. Burning things we want to let go of seems to really resonate with our group so we do it whenever we feel like we need to really make them think about changing something in their lives. From there we moved into a time of worship led by Tory Kirgiss. Most of them didn’t want him to stop playing so we just kept calling out songs and worshipped for over an hour!
We had the Young Life leaders with us from the ski retreat so before bed we played a few rounds of our new favorite games and called it a night. We didn’t have to remind a single one of them to be quiet-they were out in minutes. Up to this point most of them didn’t really feel that hungry-what they didn’t know was how hard the morning would be.
We woke the students up at 6am to go serve a pancake and sausage breakfast to the guests at Lafayette Urban Ministry. They were so awesome-they didn’t complain about being up at the crack of dawn, being outside in freezing temps, or even when we didn’t have many people to serve. We just re-grouped and headed out into the community to share our breakfast with police officers and firemen. God was so good and present! Once all our food was gone we headed back to church for some rest and to warm up.
Our next project was to make something tangible for the congregation to see on Sunday morning involving the Famine. We made a heart with enough dots inside to represent the 3000 children that were saved last year from starvation. We also wanted people to get a taste of what is served at emergency clinics to children on the brink of starvation-a peanut buttery goo packed with vitamins-so we made some of that as well. The highlight of the early afternoon was hearing from one of my good friends about our local backpack programs that feed kids at risk of hunger. Our students really connected with the information and I can see our youth group doing something big with this organization in the future. You should have seen their reaction when they heard how many kids at Miller are on free lunch. It stirred up emotions that I would love to see turned into action. After the presentation we went out into the community and gathered over 300 items for the backpack program that we’ll deliver this week-how amazing is God??!!
In the midst of all the activities we continually challenged the students to pray. That were are taught in the Bible that some things can only be worked out through fasting and prayer. Fasting can be such a time of intimacy with the Lord and we didn’t want that idea to be diminished at all amongst Famine facts. We took the students through 2 guided prayer meditations that focused on Jesus as Healer, and invited them to think about areas in their own lives that could use the power of healing. It was a great way to settle their starving bodies on thoughts of Jesus.
We finished up our activities by going to Marsh in teams each with $25. The goal was to get the most food, that would serve the most people, with the best nutrition. It was amazing to see them work together and really think through what it would take to feed a family. I even learned that labels are more deceiving than I realized and you really can save money by being careful of what you buy. Our winners got to eat first later that night!
We ended the fast by asking the kids their 2 big takeaways from the weekend. They all expressed our selfishness as a society, but they all want to do something about it as well. That’s going to be our goal for the summer-to be the hands and feet of Jesus to kids who need it. Praise God for all that He was for us and all He has planned!!!