2014 was our church’s second experience with the 30 hour famine. I learned different lessons this year and am not entirely sure what the youth got out of it, but I look forward to hearing from them as they process the lessons they learned.
Last year, I co-led the famine with a youth leader. He suggested the famine to me the same week I “discovered” it myself, and his leadership was enthusiastic, faithful and competent. Hoping to replicate that experience, I prayerfully chose two youth-leaders I thought would be good co-leaders. It didn’t work out that way, and the date (right after Easter, coinciding with several local Proms and multiple school events, on heels of my friend’s death) was a challenge. Ownership makes a big difference. On top of that, I was on call the night before and ended up going into the hospital at 6 am for a delivery. Not only was I hungry and caffeine-deprived, but I was late.
What I learned: don’t delegate critical pieces of the famine to a youth leader unless they ask. Don’t leave your own planning to the end. Our little church’s culture is pretty last minute: even Saturday morning, I had only a vague idea of how many students I would have. I let that serve as my excuse for delaying my own planning, and then I ended up scrambling in the haze of grief and fatigue.
We began by working together at a local food bank, packing 300 bags of pantry staples to be distributed during the week to the food bank’s clients. By far, this was the highlight of our famine. The food bank coordinator taught us about hunger in our own neighborhood. The kids worked enthusiastically. None of us was really hungry yet, and everyone had a sense of humor.
From there we went back to the church, where we flooded the church’s kitchen and office because of a pipe that had cracked in one of the late freezes this winter. By this time, we were getting hungry and tired and a little crabby and I’m not sure anyone got anything out of our Bible study. Thanks to you and others, our youth group raised $1200 for famine relief. That’s enough to feed 3 children for a year through World Vision’s hunger-relief programs. Praise God!
Sometimes our work isn’t going to bring us the high of a transcendent experience. Sometimes our work is to walk faithfully, if slowly, toward Jesus. And I think that was accomplished, by his grace.