This weekend, thousands of students across the country will participate in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine — an event where teenagers fast for 30 hours, learn about global hunger, and raise funds to feed and care for hungry children around the world.
Nicole, a home-school mom and youth leader, started doing the Famine when she was 16. Nicole offers some incredible insight, having seen the Famine from the perspective of both a student and a leader. We asked her to share why she does the Famine.
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This year was the third time my husband and I led a Famine at our church. It has become our teens’ favorite event of the year. When people ask me why, I shrug and say, “Well, we lock them in the church for 30 hours with no food. We even take their cell phones…they love it!” I get a kick out of the reactions!
For those who have never done the Famine, here’s a bit of background. It opens teens’ eyes to the reality of poverty in the world around them. It makes them think about how they have been blessed. It gives them an opportunity to do something about the problems they see, and it empowers them with the sense that they can make a difference in the world around them.
I love how one of my teens explained it on the “Fam Cam” (throughout the weekend, teens talk to a video camera to journal how they are being changed by the Famine): “It’s more than just coming out here and not eating for 30 hours. It puts us in the shoes of people who go through this every day. The games we do are fun, but in real life, people actually go through that.”
Through our times of video discussions, prayer groups, games, community service, and worship, I am able to see these teens open their eyes to the most important things in life. Here are a few more of my favorite reactions:
- “I know this is my third 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 know that I am drained and weak, yet after this I get to go eat. There are people [who] never get to get rid of that feeling. I think it is important to worry about others — be selfless instead of selfish.”
- “I learned how unaware I was of the problems in Third World countries. I also learned what we take for granted every day compared to most countries. I learned how easily we could help these countries.”
Like my teens, the 30 Hour Famine has been one of my favorite events of the year since I was their age. It is an incredible ministry — not only to those who receive the funds, but to those who do the Famine and to the communities in which these teens learn to serve.
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