Last weekend our church’s youth group did World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. It is such a well-run program on WV’s end. They mailed us all the materials (including a comprehensive leader’s guide), called me in advance to see if I had any questions, and then called me afterwards to check in.
11 youth (ages 8-18) and 5 parents completed the fast. WV suggests a juice-and-water-only fast, but as we had so many kids who were younger than their 12-and-up suggestion for participation, we had a few folks fasting at different levels. I was blown away by the kids’ determination to complete this fast. Owen and Moriah did the just fast as suggested by WV and were not willing to compromise on it when I asked if they needed a little something.
We began our fast at 5am (which meant my kids woke up early to eat a little something before– and I to have my tea!). The participants met at the church at 4pm, where we did a few of the WV devotionals, prayed, learned about hunger across the globe, and then cooked dinner for 8 homeless guests staying overnight in the church. We made tacos, cut a watermelon, and served ice cream sandwiches. This service was one of the harder parts of the fast.
Admittedly, one of my goals was to challenge our youth to do something hard. (This will be my M.O. as I work with our youth.) And WV suggests a service project. Given the various ages of our youth, I wanted something that could accommodate a wide variety of skill levels. Taco bar did that. Hats off to Mikey who realized we could shred the cheese with a slotted spoon, since I hadn’t thought to bring a cheese grater.
One of the participating dads brought a board game to play, and that was a good low-key activity for part of the fast. Our group time concluded with more of the World Vision materials and a Bible study led by Mikey, our youth leader. We decided as a group to designate the money we raised (almost $800) for wherever World Vision needs it most urgently. When we left the church that night, we had finished 15 hours of fasting and had 15 left to go.
The following morning, everyone was dragging a little. I had anticipated that Owen & Moriah would ask for food and I would have to remind them that we were fasting. But they didn’t even ask. I could see that they were hungry and tired, but they were committed. What a joy to see commitment– in the face of something hard– in my children!
It was, according to Owen, “The longest church ever.” And communion, according to Moriah, was “The Best Communion Ever.”
Thanks to all who prayed for us and gave to World Vision. The kids are still talking about what they learned. I hope we’ll do it again next year. this time during the national fast (usually in April.)