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The Famine Blog

To the Worn-Out Youth Worker: Don’t Give Up

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Jeff Lowry

Psst! Hey you! Yeah you! I want to take a minute to share something with you: Don’t give up. That’s right, don’t give up on youth ministry. I know you may have thought about it, because most of us have. I get it, youth ministry is hard. Most senior pastors, deacons and elders would probably disagree, but that’s another blog altogether.

This one is for you, the unsung heroes of the church world. You may never share a stage with a Duffy Robbins or a Doug Fields, but listen up: You Are Important. One more time, you are important. You are fulfilling a calling God placed on you, that only you can fulfill. Don’t forget that.

I know you are just wrapping up a difficult school year and you might be considering throwing in the towel. Don’t. We’ve all been there, just waiting for the school year to be done so that we could use a logical break to step away. Many of us have. But don’t. Because many of those who stepped away regretted it.

Or maybe you have had a difficult scenario play out in your ministry: lies, deceit and all kinds of nasty have been a daily thing for you. Some of it coming from the staff and leadership you serve with, some of it from students and parents who you thought loved you. And you want to hang it all up. Don’t. Leave a toxic environment, sure, but don’t quit on your calling.

God called you to this. God believes in you. God has given you abilities that most will never understand. The patience for the kid who tries your patience every chance they get. The love for that student who seems unlovable to the rest of the world. The ability to function on three hours sleep for an entire weekend retreat. The stomach for pizza and Mountain Dew at one in the morning while a group of students wrestle with a truth. The ability to wake up instantly when a 3am distress phone call or text comes in from a student or parent.

These things are why you can’t quit. Those faces around you, that’s why you can’t quit. Those teenagers that came to mind as each of those scenarios was laid out is why you can’t quit. Because there is work to do: that’s why you can’t quit. You are a Youth Worker, that’s the closest thing the church world has to a superhero! So pull up your stretchy superhero suit, tie on your cape and stay in the fight!

The Honest Truth About Our 30 Hour Famine Failure

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Amanda Leavitt

I have a confession to make: If the 30 Hour Famine were graded, my youth group would have received a big fat F. Not like, a just below a D kind of F, but the kind of F that never showed up for class nor did any assignments (even the extra credit assignments offered as penance), kind of F.

No one signed up for our first scheduled Famine. So, I took an availability survey. I rescheduled it. Then, two students agreed to come for half of it, and two more students agreed to come for all of it (they are brothers), and then none of them fundraised. I even made it easy by introducing the awesome online donation platform. So, I am going to reschedule it… again. Because, it’s worth it.

God-willing, God will direct me to a creative alternative to help my students engage with 30 Hour Famine, and we will find a time when a better portion of our youth ministry can make it out, and they hopefully will be more inspired to urge folks to give to feed hungry children. I am currently scratching my head a little bit over this.

People are very busy, fundraising is scary, and truth be told, sometimes I am not very creative. Is this you? Is anyone else in this boat? I would not usually confess this failure, right here, on the 30 Hour Famine’s own blog; but I know you are out there too, taking on the posture of “The Thinker,” maybe staring out your window, saying to yourself “This matters! How can I make this happen?” For some of us it’s the 30 Hour Famine, for others there may be something else you hope to inspire your students to experience.

Psalm 60. It’s a gem. It includes a nice section about how God will throw His shoe at ancient Israel’s enemy, Edom. I so appreciate that sentiment. Ever get so frustrated you just want to chuck your shoe at someone? I’ll make another confession: I have had that impulse.

At the end of Psalm 60 David requests that God “Give us help against those who hate us.” Then he admits, “For the help of man is worth nothing. With God’s help we will do well. And He will break under His feet those who fight against us.” When I read Psalm 60 – my brain conjures several enemies in my life that I’ve struggled to deal with, some painfully difficult people, but then also some regular ministry obstacles popped into my mind, like scheduling, which often actually feels like an enemy just as intimidating as an enemy in the flesh. So, I loved this word picture that Psalm 60 ends with, because there are our enemies before us and then God’s feet come right down from heaven and smash what intimidates us as he walks right over them. Scheduling, fundraising, a lack of creativity—whatever our “enemies” are, God just has to walk in, and what opposes us will be broken and “we will do well.”

My last confession is that I have never prayed about scheduling or my students’ fundraising energy or efforts because they seem trivial on the surface; like my own problem to solve. But, as you know, sometimes these small “enemies” wreak big havoc. I have not asked God to come into these battles and deal with these “enemies”. With the image of God’s big feet and big shoes in my mind, I am going to start praying.

Maybe as you’re reading you identify with me… I want to invite you to invite God to walk into these regular everyday battles over seemingly insignificant things like time; motivation; confidence; whatever stands in your path. Which non-people opponents currently have you scratching your head or frustrated, wanting to throw shoes? Get God in on the battle. God’s feet are way bigger than yours. God’s shoes are bigger too.

Summer is about Relationships More Than Programs

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Chris Luper

Whenever I’m around church workers (be it paid staff persons or volunteer staff), there seems to be one reoccurring theme: “Once we get through __________ event, things should slow down for a little bit.” Just like our lives have the propensity to become busier and busier, the programmatic life of the church seems to be no different. In my current ministry setting, we’re always looking ahead to what’s next, sometimes to events over a year in the future.

Understanding the lifecycle of youth ministry (six or seven years in most churches) seems to support this sort of panicked approach – “I only have seven years to teach the students I work with a lifetime of Christian faith skills, knowledge, and more.”

For several years now, though, I’ve begun to reflect on whether this is how we should be doing ministry. As I think many of you would agree, we’re living in a post-Christian world, so what are we—the Church—offering to our students that they can’t find anywhere else? The obvious answer is Jesus – any church kid could guess that; but still, what does that look like? How do we share Jesus with students, when they don’t even know they need Jesus?

I think the solution boils down to relational ministry. How can students begin to experience God through the relationships we share with them? We must be willing to model the love of Christ in our lives. This means we have to be willing to meet students where they are. In the politically charged climate we live in, where the word “Christian” often seems to carry a negative connotation, we have to offer unconditional love to our students. This relational style of ministry leads students directly down a path of discipleship.

What better time than the beginning of summer to reevaluate just how relational your ministry can be. Whether you meet consistently all summer or take a break from your regular meeting schedule, make time to pour into your students on a personal level. Sometimes this looks like a cup of coffee, while other times it can be a day of fun – bowling, ultimate Frisbee, and more. The payoff will be immeasurable though, as your students will begin to see you not just as a friend and leader, but rather as a mentor. When the world seems to be closing in around them, students will look to you for guidance built upon the trust of your relationship.

As school winds down in my ministry setting, we have seen the value of these relationships come to fruition. This year in our local high school, three teenagers have committed suicide, none of which attended our student ministry, but some were closely connected to other students in our ministry. Having recently moved to the area, I’m still working to deepen my personal relationships with students, but I have been amazed at how other volunteers have poured into the lives of those affected. It’s the value of relational ministry that has helped our students find a comforting place to mourn and cry, a safe place to share anger and frustration over loss, and a nurturing place to help begin the healing process.

I pray that as you enter into the summer and look for that next big event to come and go so you can find time to slow down, that you first examine the relationships that are forming your ministry. Let the love of Jesus Christ flow out of you, that students might find peace and hope.

Carry the Bucket with You

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Keely DeBoever

One of the most overlooked elements of cultivating meaningful experiences for our students and congregations is finding ways to help keep those experiences alive long after the event has ended.  We tend to focus all our time and energy on the weeks leading up to the event and the event itself, and then collapse into a pile when it’s all over.  No one can fault us for giving into the exhaustion; however, once we are rested and recovered from the event, we need to remember the important task of follow-up so that we can maximize the outcome of the experience.  We need to provide opportunities for our students to remember their experiences and continue to grow into the lessons they learned.

For the seven years that I served my previous church, we took our students on a hiking trip every summer.  At the end of each weeklong experience our Staff Counselor would close our time together with a story about man hired to paint the white blazes on the Appalachian Trail.

The first day that he was hired, he was able to cover 10 miles of the trail.  His boss was so impressed that he had covered such a great distance and he couldn’t wait to see how far he would get the next day.  His second day on the job, he covered only 6 miles.  His boss was underwhelmed, but chalked it up to the fact that he must have been tired from the day before.  His third day on the job, he covered even less territory.  On his fifth day, he covered just 1 mile.  By this time, his boss was losing faith in his ability to fulfill the requirements of his job and called him in to discuss the issue.  The man’s boss asked why he covered so much territory on the first day, and so little by the end of the week? The man responded that the further he got down the path, the further he had to return to his bucket each time to get more paint on his brush.

This same story was told year after year, and many of the same students heard it over and over…yet, it never lost its relevance.  So often, we rely on the big moments to sustain us so that we must keep coming back to them to fill us up.  As leaders with youth, we should be setting the example and providing opportunities for students to “top off” their spiritual fuel tanks, rather than waiting for them to be on “E” before filling their tanks.

So, how can we do this?  When it comes to 30 Hour Famine, there are many ways to keep the mission in front of your students throughout the year.

HIGHLIGHT VIDEO: If you have worked with youth for any amount of time, you are no doubt familiar with the Highlight Video.  We have all been guilty of showing the highlight video at the end of the event or on Sunday morning after the event for the congregation, then never viewing it again.  Students love these videos, because they get to see themselves on the screen and be reminded of the memorable things that happened throughout the event.  I’m not saying we should show these videos every week, but we should be intentional about picking a time (maybe a few months after your Famine event) when you can show this video again and maybe have some of your students share about their experience.  This reminds those that participated in the event about all they learned and experienced, and may also create new experiences for those that did not participate or are thinking participating in the next one.

GAMES/ACTIVITIES: The 30 Hour Famine Resources come with many different game/activity ideas.  If you are like me, you don’t use all the suggested ideas as a part of the event itself…because of your context, scheduling, etc.  This means, you may have a couple of left-over activities that can be utilized later in the year, perhaps as a part of your regular programming to help keep the spirit of 30 Hour Famine alive.  If you do use absolutely all of the resources for the Famine event, then pick the one that went over best and find a way to re-create it later.

YEAR-LONG/SEASON FUNDRAISING IDEAS: You know your context better than anyone else.  Figure out what your students care about and then find a way to make that work towards your fundraising goals!  Do you have a group that loves to go out for coffee, ice cream, or dinner before or after youth group? Encourage them to pool their change each week toward your 30 Hour Famine Funds.  Make Famine your focus for Advent or Lent. If you have someone creative in your congregation; this would be a fantastic opportunity to have them create an Advent/Lent Calendar with information or growth challenges related to the Famine, as well as challenges for ways your students could give a little each day.

No matter what you do, just make sure you do not let your 30 Hour Famine event be a one-and-done experience.  There are a ton of resources available online to help you keep the Famine in front of your students all year long.  It is our job to make the most of those opportunities so that we can help our students carry their buckets with them wherever they go!

The Valley of the Shadow of Spring

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Marty Estes

It’s that time of year again, the time when winter clothes are put away, when school begins to wrap up, and inevitably—for most youth ministries—the slump begins. Students are increasingly busy with sports, the end of school, and well, it’s just too darn pretty outside! Many of those that seemed to be committed attenders suddenly are gone every other week fulfilling their roles on the field, the track, or just enjoying ice cream with their friends. Attendance dwindles, and if we aren’t careful, anxiety goes up…what’s a youth worker to do?

In almost 15 years of ministry I’ve seen it happen time and time again, as sure as the tide; but it doesn’t stop me from despairing each and every year as the “Spring Slump” comes creeping on again. But, one thing that long term youth work has allowed me to understand is that there are two perspectives I can choose from when the slump comes: first, the perspective that says “it’s temporary, summer will come and pass, school will begin again, and vibrancy will return.” Second, there’s the “OH KNOW, THE SKY IS FALLING”, Chicken Little-esque school of thought that is actually more dangerous than it appears. Why is it dangerous? Many youth workers, faced with the prospects of falling attendance and failing participation turn to gimmicky events, give aways, games and more that may create a flash for a moment, but actually harm your ministry in the long run.

So, here’s what I propose: let’s all take a deep breath, prop our feet up just for a moment, and say to ourselves, “It’s going to be alright.” God is still God as the school year winds down just as he is in the fall. Numbers do not reflect the calling that you have, nor the result of the equipping you have done (I mean, unless you’re just slacking on the job!). What matters is the ministry you are doing to the teenagers that show up every week, the relationships you are building, and the efforts you make to connect those wayward teens to your ministry. Allow yourself some grace, spend time with your family, find a hobby that rejuvenates you, and continue to do the good work you’re doing! You may not notice the impact that you’re having right now; but I guarantee you are for someone.

With that said, I offer you this modern day Psalm, for when we walk through the valley of the shadow of spring.

The Lord is my shepherd,

even though I may not think I have all I need.

He lets me rest between ballgames,

he leads me into peaceful meetings.

He renews my strength.

He guides me into relationships with students

bringing glory to His name.

Even though I walk through the shadow of the valley of spring

I will not worry

For you tell me I am greater than the numbers of my Wednesday night program.

Your rod and staff comfort me (even though I want to use them to beat someone)

You prepare a feast for me

at the Taco Bell of my choosing

You honor me by anointing my head with sweat

as I rush to another ministry event.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me (because I may be too tired to pursue you)

all the days of my calendar

and I will live in the house of Lord forever. 

Amen.

After Your 30 Hour Famine Event is Over: Now What?

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Eric Woods

I boarded the plane for home. It had been more than six months since I had set foot on American soil, and in my heart there was a mix of excitement—for things like fresh bagels and Pop-Tarts and seeing my mom—and apprehension. Every week during my time living and serving in that orphanage on the north coast of the Dominican Republic I had asked the same question of the members of the American mission teams who had served with us: Now what?

Actually, the question was more like, “What are you going to do or do differently because of what you experienced this week?” And now it was my turn to answer that question.

What were my wife and I, and our kids (then 4, 6 and 8 years old), going to do, or do differently, because of what we had experienced living and working in one of the poorest places in the Western Hemisphere?

This is the critical question. It’s the question that turns a “mission trip” into a lifelong mission. It’s the question that transforms a world traveler into a world changer. And it’s the question that can extend the impact of events like 30 Hour Famine long after the breakfast is shared and the checks are mailed.

Asking this question brings the mission home. It gives students, leaders and donors a chance to have a continuing impact among the poor and marginalized in your own community.

Asking this question embeds the mission in their hearts. Participants get the opportunity to see how involvement in missions is more than just checking boxes. (Mission trip? Check. Money raised? Check. Stayed up all night? Check.) It serves to connect God’s heart for his world and people with ours.

And asking this question extends the mission. Because, let’s be honest… God doesn’t just call us to be 30-hour-missionaries or 30-hour-Christians. God calls us to live a life committed to his mission. Every day.

It took me longer than that flight home to answer the question for myself.

In fact, it took me several months to realize how my time living and working with orphans in the developing world would change my life forever. Eventually I stumbled on the reality that there were thousands of children in my home state (13,000 in Michigan) living apart from their families of origin, mostly in foster care… and that there was a chronic shortage of families willing to welcome them into their homes.

We decided this was our answer. And, since 2009, our family has welcomed more than a dozen children into our home (not all at the same time!). Our biological children have been able to see firsthand how they can love and serve those in need wherever they are. And it has changed the direction of my ministry—I now serve as the pastor for about 70 kids living in a residential treatment facility.

So, Famine may be over for this year… but your mission isn’t. Take time this week to ask your students what they’re going to do or do differently because of their Famine experience. Who and how will they serve in their own community?

And, then, answer the question yourself. How has Famine changed you? What’s next?

(By the way, here’s a shameless plug: May is National Foster Care Month. It’s a great time to identify and bless families in your church or community who welcome children in need into their homes. Consider offering a night of free childcare for foster families so parents can get a much needed date night. Collect and pack diaper bags with essentials, then deliver them to your local hospitals for families bringing newborns home into foster care. Send notes of blessing and encouragement to the foster care case workers at agencies in your county.)

Crockpot Ministry in a Microwave World

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Joel Dunn

FASTER!!! QUICKER!!! HURRY!!! That’s what my brain is constantly telling my body. I need to do this faster so that I can do more. I need to be quicker at that thing so that I can fit more in; and I need to hurry so that I can run to that next thing. Do you ever feel like this? Well… STOP.

The End.

Ha-ha! I wish it were that simple, but it’s obviously not.

I would, however, like to I take a moment to encourage you. I know you have a busy, crazy, overstretched schedule. But have you recently been able to take a break, and breathe, even have a moment for yourself?

This year God was telling me to slow down. And after being diagnosed with some health issues God (gently) forced me to slow down. I was burning the candle at both ends for too long and the people closest around me and my body were affected by it. These past couple of months have really reminded me to take breaks, to play with my daughters more, to love my wife better, and to lean on people as a tribe and church! God showed me how to slow down and to really “slow cook” an amazing feast for my soul instead of “zap-frying” sustenance just so I could fit one more thing in my life.

So: when was the last time you to took a moment… to breathe… to spend real time with the people around you… to marinate in God’s love… to have crockpot relationships? I want to encourage you as you head into a summer of ministry (and many of you are just recovering from a 30 Hour Famine event!) to make room. Take the time, the moment, the breath that you need to so that you can go into your next ministry season knowing you’re not “zap-frying” ministry, but that you’re slow cooking a glorious feast and that all are welcomed to your table.

30 Hour Famine and the Hierarchy of Needs

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Beth Ruzanic

46 years ago some kids in Canada were heartbroken about the sheer number of children who die each day from hunger related illnesses so they did something about it, and the 30 Hour Famine was born. Building on the success of our neighbors to the north the first 30 Hour Famine in the USA took place 25 years ago in 1992. Since that time millions of young people have raised millions of dollars to combat the scourge of hunger across the globe. If we allow ourselves to stop and think about those statistics for a moment we realize that they cut directly to the heart of every teenager, in fact of every human being, that we all long to make a difference.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has long been the standard for the psychosocial development of the human species. It begins with a foundation of Basic Needs i.e. food, shelter, water, clothing. Then it moves onto Safety and Security which includes a home and people who are family. Next is Belonging and that includes relationships that ground us with a sense of place and the opportunity for intimacy. Following that is Self-Esteem where individuality and confidence grow along with achievements. The top of the pyramid is Self-Actualization and this is where we see the development of morality and creativity. More importantly during Self-Actualization is where experiences of purpose, meaning and inner potential start to occur.

For many decades youth ministry has focused mainly on the middle of the Heirarchy. Belonging and Self-Esteem are so critical to moving teenagers to a place where they are even able to be open to who God is and what he wants for their lives, so it’s normal that that’s where we aim. We talk about loving students where they are and showing them with words and actions that we care about them. We build programs that welcome them and give them a sense of Belonging so that they feel safe and secure. These are all great things that need to happen, but we can’t stop there.

Self-Actualization has to be the goal or else students will leave our programs without a God driven sense of purpose. They will move forward without the knowledge that their inner potential is something that the God of the universe cares about deeply. When a student asks me “where does God want me to go to college?” I recognize that they haven’t hit the stage of Self-Actualization yet. They haven’t yet discovered their purpose or the meaning of their life. So when I tell them that what God wants is faithful disciples and that they can be that anywhere they go I’m often met with confused looks and more questions. (By the way, self-actualization sometimes gets a bad rap with Christians who think of it as selfish or humanistic; but reframe is as ‘knowing who God made you to be.’)

So what do we do? Well we involve students in opportunities to move beyond themselves. Short term missions, sponsoring a child in the developing world, the 30 Hour Famine are all amazing ways to move students from being inwardly focused (the Self-Esteem phase) to being outwardly focused where they can begin to discover their purpose and meaning. We can’t stop there though, we have to reach for the tippy top of that pyramid and stay there. We have to provide continuous opportunities for students to stay in the Self-Actualization zone so they can develop a strong sense of self in Christ. Perhaps fun and games need to become the exception and not the rule. Maybe our regularly scheduled programming should be outwardly focused. In my city of Pittsburgh almost 20% of children are food insecure. The Pittsburgh Public School has more than 50% of its students qualify for free or reduced meals so the entire district gets free breakfast and lunch. Hunger is a problem in our city.

When students hear this they are motivated to act. They want to help. They want their lives to have PURPOSE and MEANING. So we partner with local food banks and urban farms who are trying to get healthy organic produce into the kitchens of people who wouldn’t normally have it. We donate snacks to local after school programs so kids can have something to eat before they go home to what may be an empty refrigerator. We develop long term strategies that keep students reaching for Self-Actualization because when they are there they begin to recognize that the tippy top of the pyramid is where their search for purpose and meaning converges with God’s desires for their lives. That in living life as a faithful disciple their longings will be fulfilled and through service and sacrifice their purpose is revealed.

Post 30 Hour Famine Success

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By John Denton

Hundreds of groups are gearing up to hold their 30 Hour Famine event this coming weekend during the 2nd National Date. Whether that’s you, or you completed a Famine event recently, here are some practical thoughts about what to do after your event…


So you had a great 30 Hour Famine? Your students raised money. Youth were involved in serving your community. You helped bring awareness to world hunger. Everyone had fun and no one got hurt! Let’s consider it a success. Congratulations and thank you. Here are a few great ideas to help you maintain that momentum after your big Famine weekend.

  1. Keep your youth updated. It is easy to let this weekend pass and let all of the good vibes of helping others fade away. Not this year! Every time you meet for your main program or ministry take a minute to update your youth about some aspect of World Vision’s work around the world involving your Famine funds. Make it your “weekly Famine minute” or “Famine fact.” Keep your group in the loop and informed all year long. (By the way, the 30 Hour Famine blog always has links to great resources for this purpose. And if you’re in the 30 Hour Famine Facebook group, you’ll always see links to these stories.)
  2. Keep on serving. Food banks, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters are open year ‘round. Your neighbors need help no matter what weekend it is. Get your group active in the community. It was so much fun helping others over the 30 Hour Famine weekend and we are sure that positive energy will keep on rolling all year long. Make a commitment to take part in one community outreach project each month.
  3. Keep on supporting. Your group can sponsor a World Vision child for $39 a month! That’s probably less than they spent on Unicorn Frappuccino’s last week! Teach your youth about good stewardship and learning how to use their money for good work. This will change a child’s life and it will change the focus of your group. Click here to learn more about sponsorship.

My last piece of advice is simple. Keep on making memories. The Famine weekend was taxing on your body and you ate one less slice of pizza this week. The youth loved it. They learned, their perspectives were changed, and they helped change lives. Keep those memories alive. I am by no means a veteran youth worker but I do know that in my 15 years of ministry my favorite memories are from the 30 Hour Famine. Thank you for keeping on.


Note from the Famine team: This coming weekend is the second 30 Hour Famine National Date, and hundreds of groups across the country are hosting their events. We want to make sure you know a couple things: First, we are praying for you (really – by name). And second, we are available to you if you need any help or have questions – just call 800.7FAMINE.

Clean Water for Julia and Esperanza

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Andrea Sawtelle

Several years ago, I heard a radio DJ begin to talk about raising money for a clean water project in a third world country. Having just returned from Mozambique, Africa, where a good portion of our time was spent looking at clean water projects, I was immediately intrigued. The DJ proceeded to explain that for just a few dollars a month, you could bring clean water to a village in need. He then began to “put it into perspective” for his listeners. “Imagine this for a minute,” he said. “Imagine taking a cup of water, going outside, putting some dirt in the cup and mixing it around. Then imagine serving it to your child.” His co-worker began to contribute to the conversation, but their voices became faint as I found myself back in that remote village in Africa. All I could picture were the faces of Julia and Esperanza.

Julia and Esperanza were the names of the two little girls I found myself holding the hands of, as we embarked on a short, 1 mile hike to the very spot where their families had fetched dirty water over and over again. This water wasn’t just dirty, it was the host of life threatening bacteria and parasites that would place people at risk for disease and even at times death. It had been the only water available until World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine Funds were used to provide a water bore hole that would provide clean water for a community who was desperately in need.

My youth group and I had participated in the 30 Hour Famine for years, but it wasn’t until I found myself hand in hand with these two little girls that I realized the life long impact that one weekend could make in a person’s life. I thought about this as I found myself dancing and singing with little Esperanza, whose face lit up as she pointed to the new well that had been built, one that now gushed out endless supplies of clean water.

The well hadn’t just supplied clean water. It had supplied endless opportunities for 9 year olds like Julia and Esperanza, to do what 9 year olds do best…to be kids. They could now go to school, as their days wouldn’t be spent walking miles upon miles in search for a water supply. They could run, dance and sing, as their health was restored. They could dream about what they want to do and be, because future had now become part of their reality.

I’ve often wondered as I’ve spent countless hours planning and prepping for our own 30 Hour Famine events, “Is it worth it?” What if we only raise a few dollars? What if my teens complain all weekend? What is the point of going 30 hours without eating anyway? The truth is, we do it because of kids like Julia and Esperanza.

That day, as Esperanza pointed to the new water well and danced around me, singing at the top of her lungs, I couldn’t help but smile. A community that had spent far too many days struggling to survive were now empowered to do great things. Hope had come to that village as a result of a few teens who were willing to give up food for a weekend, and that hope would make a difference for generations to come.


Note from the Famine team: This coming weekend is the second 30 Hour Famine National Date, and hundreds of groups across the country are hosting their events. We want to make sure you know a couple things: First, we are praying for you (really – by name). And second, we are available to you if you need any help or have questions – just call 800.7FAMINE.