Monday, February 27, 2012

30 Teens, 30 Hours w/ No Food, One Amazing Weekend

This past weekend our youth group participated in their 3rd 30 Hour Famine through World Vision.  This time we had 30 teens go for 30 hours without eating.  The weekend was more amazing than I ever expected. 
To be honest, as the teens started to arrive, I was nervous.  Last year's famine, we only had 15 teens.  We were doubling this year.  Not 15 minutes into arrival time, we had confiscated items.  There were already teen girls that were running through the halls giggling.  I had received a phone call earlier that my all-night female chaperon was sick. Thank the Lord, my spiritual gift is faith. So, I took a moment to recognize that God was in charge of who attended this weekend, not me.  I took a deep breath, put on my best smile, took a sip of my Pomegranate-grape juice, and got to work!
The famine went off without a hitch.  The teens were in high spirits the entire weekend.  They worked hard, played hard, and slept hard (no, really, they slept at a lock-in!).  We played the TRIBE games, which, to the credit of World Vision, are incredible learning tools for these kids.  Each year we have prayer stations throughout the weekend and time to speak to the "Fam Cam" about their experiences.  I could definitely see a change in them throughout the weekend.  We watched educational videos and had worship.  Saturday afternoon we spent in community service.  We were able to split into 3 teams this year and managed to clean out our church's bus garage, pick up our sponsored portion of the highway, and go door to door through the neighborhood collecting food for the hungry in our own community. They also raised a total of $600 for World Vision.
As we closed the 30 Hours, we had the teens do the "meal ticket" activity, during which they were to write down 2-3 things that they learned or that impacted them over the weekend and submit that to us as their ticket to eat.  I wanted to post some of their experiences here:
I know this is my 3rd Famine, but it never fails to amaze me just how much I take for granted.  I realize just how much God really has given me and the responsibility I have to bless others and serve them and lay down my selfish desires.  I realize just how trivial a lot of the things we do, or talk about, or fight over, really are... (16 year old participant who celebrated her birthday during the famine!)
Even though I am sick after not eating for 30 Hours, I know that at six o'clock I'll get to eat as much as I want.  A lot of people aren't this lucky and have to go days without food and even then only get a little bit to eat before they have to go days without eating again.  I've learned that hunger is everywhere and if I want to help and make a difference, I need to start in my own community first. (16 year old)
This is my second year doing this 30 Hour Famine.  I thought it would be easier, but for whatever reason, it was harder.  I got really weak after 12 noon on Saturday. It made me realize how they must feel - constantly - and yet I know when my suffering will end. (13 year old)
I learned that there are so many opportunities we can take to help people that we don't, and that we need to look at the world in a more selfless way, so we can see the problems. (14 year old)
One of my thoughts that I had is that most of the people in the United States don't realize what's going on in the other countries, and we don't know everything they go through. (14 year old)
I learned that everything isn't about me, it's about putting others first along with following Christ.  And that I need to change my old ways of life. (13 year old)
I have been doing the famine since I was 16 years old and I still love to do it.  I love to see the change come over the teens as they get a glimpse of a bigger world.  I love to empower them with the sense that they can do something about it.  I wanted to share this experience with you, my reader, because I am so incredibly proud of my youth!

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