Emily Capes, Director of Youth Ministries, First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, FL
Thank you to all of you youth leaders who are taking the risk for the first time or for the 10th. The risk is asking your students to raise money so they can fast for 30 hours while at the same time trying to educate, inform, pray and play with them! This opportunity will not only change the lives in your church but it will impact and change lives around the world.
Here’s why I’m so thankful
This is my 9th time leading the 30 Hour Famine with my current church. Our goals are set and we have new and old activities planned. We are excited because in the past nine years that my youth have participated in the 30 Hour Famine, the number of children who die each year because of hunger-related issues has gone down. More and more communities have better schools, access to cleaner water, beautifully simple water irrigation systems, HIV/Aids Education, and these people are able to do for themselves in a way that brings them purpose and hope.
I saw the impact of the Famine last month in the southern area of Zimbabwe with a team of youth ministers from around the US and one from South Korea. We were invited to see how the people of Zimbabwe and World Vision work together.
On our very first day we parked in front of a jagged gate that an older gentleman opened for us. I honestly wasn’t sure what we were going to experience here but I did notice that we were surrounded by beautiful, green farmlands. Zimbabwe has been in a drought for the past couple of months but these farmers have crops that are growing! Our guides were explaining how the World Vision dam and simple irrigation system have been able to help these 14 farmers continue to grow crops for their families even without enough rain. As we stood next to this gate listening to our guides, locals started to gather around us, men and women who had been working in the fields stopped working to see who was visiting their fields. They waited, smiled and nodded as we finished learning about the irrigation project. Then one of our guides let us know that these were the farmers and they wanted to show us their fields.
The next thing I know we are walking across the land in small groups. Awkward, broken English was used to explain the irrigation system and the pride that these farmers felt for their plot of land. More smiles and laughter as some of us just stood next to each other and watched the others. I remember feeling a little frustrated as I stood with a group of six women, not knowing how to communicate better with them and ask them to share some of their stories and experiences as farmers.
As we headed back to our vehicles some of the women started to sing. They were singing “Come and see. Come and see what we have done. What we are able to do.” They showed us fresh, small vegetables as they celebrated and laughed. We were able to see their joy and pride in being able to farm for themselves!
By Working Together We Are Making a Big Difference
While we celebrate the work that has been completed, there are still too many children dying because of hunger related diseases. There’s not enough water irrigation systems. There aren’t enough farmers with the skills they need to feed their families. But through the Famine, we get to help a few more.
And I promise you it’s worth it.
Thanks for joining the team!