30 Hour Famine chapel at World Vision’s U.S. headquarters on February 23, 2011: Youth pastors Jon Seaborn (Church for All Nations), Mike Freeman (Lifeway Church), Suzy Hennig (King of Kings Lutheran), Daryl Geffken (First Presbyterian Church), and Nate Mazzuca.
The 30 Hour Famine began in the 1970s when World Vision New Zealand and World Vision Australia sought ways to engage youth on global issues. World Vision U.S. adopted the Famine in 1992 through partnerships with churches, youth groups, and students who desired to fight global hunger. Some 20 years later, American teens have raised over $140 million, transforming their own lives and the lives of children around the world.
In celebration of the 20th year of World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine, we invited several youth pastors to our special 30 Hour Famine chapel this week at World Vision’s U.S. headquarters to share about what the Famine has meant to them, both personally and for their youth groups, as they’ve seen God work in the lives of their students.
One of the incredible stories shared was from youth pastor Suzy Hennig, who will be leading her 20th 30 Hour Famine event this weekend at her church, King of Kings Lutheran in Renton, Washington. As she sat on our chapel stage, Suzy described what Famine night looks like at her church — games, learning about global hunger, drinking juice together, and engaging their neighborhood through community service projects.
But what’s unique is how Suzy chooses to “break the fast” with her students. She first invites them to write a testimonial letter about their experience over the past 30 hours before they share a meal together. It’s the “meal ticket” for the students, as Suzy describes.
In one particular Famine experience, a young girl named Shannon in Suzy’s youth group asked her whether it was OK to write her letter in the form of a prayer. This was a first for Suzy, since never before had a student written their letter this way.
As Suzy read Shannon’s prayer during our chapel, there were few dry eyes as we realized the incredible way in which God is revealing Himself to students and breaking their heart for the poor through the 30 Hour Famine.
Starting today and throughout this weekend, thousands of teenagers across the country will go hungry for 30 hours to help raise money to feed others. Learn more about the 30 Hour Famine and find out how your church can sign up at www.30hourfamine.org.