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The Famine Blog

Famine Leader as Tour Guide

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Downtown movementBy Brad Hauge

Three or four years ago I was standing in front of our group giving a standard service/mission experience speech about the rules (“don’t do these dumb things and do make sure to do these awesome things while in an unfamiliar place”), when a heckler (a 15-year-old girl) from the crowd called out, “But what do YOU do all day while we are out working, serving and interacting? Just sit here on your butt and eat and nap and wait for us to come back just to tell us there’s no hot water for showers?

There were many ways in which I wanted to respond to this sweet girl (heckler), but before I had much of a chance to think about it I said something I hadn’t put to words before: “I’m your tour guide.” By this I meant two things. First, I’m their tour guide in the most obvious, stereotypical sense. Over the years I’ve spent what’s accumulated to months of time in this particular neighborhood where we were at this moment and, like a good tour guide, could point out the basics: interesting views, landmarks, and the best places to get tacos.

However, my intent was not to insinuate that my role as their leader for this experience was to simply walk alongside them noting interesting facts, food tips, and historic locales. No, the second reason I used the term Tour Guide was to let them know that my role that week was to help them recognize, reflect on, and remember the experiences, thoughts, and conversations where God was alive to them.

By labeling myself as Tour Guide, I was pointing out that I wasn’t simply going to be the guy who taught from up front, or who would make sure everything was ready to go each morning, or who would bark orders at that group of ladies who. always. wait. ‘til. the. last. minute. to brush their teeth before lights out. Though I did do these things, and for good reason, I was also committing to leading this particular mission experience in a new way.

What does it look like to lead a mission/service experience as Tour Guide when working with young people?

It looks like pausing not just to point out the best place to get local food, but to highlight the God-filled, and perhaps wordless, conversation they just had with a new friend who doesn’t speak the same language.

It looks like making space to allow them to put down an ebenezer, a spiritual marker, and commit that experience to memory as being not simply significant, but proof that God was at work in this world and using them to participate in it.

It looks like literally stopping kids in their tracks and pointing out, over and over again, the ways they are actively being a part of bringing heaven to earth.

It looks like making space for students to write actual notes and say actual words, actually adjusting your schedules to help mark moments, conversations, interactions, thoughts, feelings, words, whispers, prayers, and desires, and allowing students to say with confidence that God is real.

One of the best parts of my job in youth ministry is getting to play Tour Guide. I expectantly wait for moments where I get to ask the questions that causes them reflect on and then verbalize what it’s like to touch and taste the kingdom of God in the midst of their adolescent struggles. I love getting to literally stop them and point at the things around them and say, “Don’t miss this! This is what you are capable of when you follow Jesus. This is what you get to be a part of when we realize God is up to stuff in our world. This is what all this Jesus-y stuff is all about! This, THIS, is what it means to follow a loving Savior and bring a bit of that love and saving to the world around you. And…isn’t it great?

If you’re reading this it’s pretty likely you’ll find yourself with an opportunity to lead a 30 Hour Famine as Tour Guide in the near future. And if you read this blog regularly, which you should, it’s pretty likely you’ll find some real life examples and helpful tips on how to do just that.

Your Role and Theirs, part 2: The Teenagers

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

bowl full of rice on white backgroundBy Travis Hill

Earlier this week, my friend Matt Williams wrote about our role of encouraging students in the Famine, how you are an integral part of the story. Today, let’s talk about the other half of the story: the teenagers.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, the pressure given to students to perform, excel, succeed, and be the best at something is overwhelming and constant. Teenagers’ egos have been laid with the foundation that self-fulfillment is measured incrementally via social media popularity or becoming a reality show contestants or YouTube star. Increasingly, we witness teens losing hope in themselves that they can achieve any modicum of self-worth, simply due to their faces not appearing on TV or getting enough likes through a posted digital picture.

But we know teens can succeed. We know it because we work with them and we’ve seen it. We know it because God has never shied away from using the very old or the very young to accomplish great things.

What happens when you give students a problem they cannot beat alone?

One of the beautiful aspects of working with students (and specifically middle schoolers in my case) is the way they get excited and fired up about things. You remember Kony 2012? Regardless of your own thoughts about the campaign, it was built on the popularity and excitement produced by young people. Every student pastor should have learned this valuable lesson, that even though students could not fix the problem of Kony, they believed they could. And if we are to truly exact a demonstrable force of change in this world, then we must harness that energy and power, guiding it in an appropriate manner through avenues that not only encourage and empower teenagers to “succeed,” but in ways that cause them to see how important helping others can be.

When I ask the middle schoolers in my student ministry why they do 30 Hour Famine, it’s not because they want to go hungry for 30 hours. Of course, I always have to fight to get students to participate. “I can’t do it,” one will cry. Or I’ll hear, “That’s impossible!” But when I really start to get them think, they start answering in ways that surprise me.

“I have so much and they have so little.”

“But what if I don’t do it? Then a kid won’t be able to eat tonight.”

They know it’s impossible for them to fix the global pandemic of hunger, but they know they can affect one person. And how valuable is it for teenagers to learn that each and every person matters, that each person (here or abroad) they come in contact with is a creation of God? Akin to what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,’” our role is to love those we can with all that we have.

This year’s 30 Hour Famine theme is: Make It Your Fight. So let’s focus on our teenagers, encouraging and empowering them, finding that desire to affect change across the world through 30 hours of solidarity with the world’s hungry.

Your Role and Theirs, part 1: You

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

guardian angelBy Matt Williams

“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

Judges 6:15 (NLT)

I love reading the biblical encounters between God’s messengers and the individuals chosen to act for God.  Almost every time, the human response is, “Uh, excuse me, are you sure you have the right person, because that’s a big job and I cannot do it.” And usually God’s angel or prophet quickly dispenses with that argument by responding, “It is okay, for God is with you…now get to work.”

I have some humbling news for all my fellow 30 Hour Famine leaders.  Are you sitting down?  Okay, here goes: YOU are the angel of the Lord in the 30 Hour Famine story. Now before you start downplaying your role, or before you start listing your sins and faults which disqualify you as a divine messenger, hear me out.  When it comes to your group, who is the one that says God has a mission for them?  YOU do.  Who is the one that sets aside doubt and reminds them that all things are possible with God?  YOU do.  And who is the one that tells your group it is time get to work?  YOU do.

Consider this illustration from our group’s Famine last year:

And so it was that in throughout the land people were hungry.  So the Lord sent His Angel Matt to the youth of Charlotte, way, way, way west of Jerusalem.  And there did Matt find Justin from the village of Waxhaw.  Matt spoke to him saying, “Fear not! God’s people are hungry throughout the land, and you Justin will feed them.”  But Justin was filled with doubt and replied, “I want to help, but this is only my second Famine.  I lack experience so I will try to raise $360 to help one person for a year.”  But the Angel Matt said, “Justin, God knows you, and is with you.  Make your goal $1,000, and be at peace.”  So with trepidation Justin began sharing the stories of hunger, and many were inspired to share their blessings.  As the days passed, Justin quickly had $300, then $600, then $900.  And soon, Justin’s gathering surpassed his goal, climbing higher than he ever thought possible.  And when the Angel Matt returned at the appointed hour, Justin said to him, “It is as you said: I have enough for five people for a year.”  And Matt said, “Well done Justin.  You used your gifts and talents and heart for the Lord, and He helped you do more than you could imagine.  Rest for a season, and then return to your work, for while five are fed, more are hungry.”  And Justin said, “I will serve the Lord.”

When your group does the 30 Hour Famine, remember your role is more than an organizer and planner.  You are an angel for the Lord.  Speak boldly about what God can do with and through the youth.  Help cast their doubts aside, and remind them of God’s presence in their efforts. Because when a young person experiences God helping them do more than they could ever do alone, it leads to a lifetime of faithfulness.

Now, put your wings on and get to work.  We’ve got messages to deliver!

Walking a Path Together

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Half The Sky

By Adam McLane

There’s a lot of money given to charities around the world. I’m not an economist, I’m a youth worker. So I don’t know how much money is given but I’m pretty sure it’s in the bazillions.

Until 2010, I was relatively ignorant of the long-term impact of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world. Sure, I’d heard rumbles here or there from a visiting missionary at my church or a talking head on TV, but I largely assumed that all money and efforts coming from the Western world were somehow good for the Developing world.

That changed five years ago when an earthquake rocked Haiti. For all the charitable giving, for all the investment, for all the generations of money that had been given to help Haiti… it all just crumbled in an earthquake which devastated the infrastucture of the nation and killed hundreds of thousands.

It wasn’t just buildings that crumbled. It was the world getting exposed to the epic fail of generations of aid work.

When I went and saw the impact of the earthquake on Port-au-Prince in February 2010 my eyes were opened to the good and the bad of international aid groups. As my group drove around, helping where we could, we saw lots of charities not helping others but instead making sure that their logo caught the attention of media cameras. In short, we saw a lot of “helping.” (Where they were helping themselves while helping others, raising money while not helping suffering.)

That experience shifted my focus with aid groups. When I put my name on work with organizations like World Vision it’s the culmination of the work, not the beginning. Books such as Toxic Charity and When Helping Hurts helped validate some of what I feared, that lots of international aid not only didn’t help end suffering but often times created dependencies which made things worse. Since 2010, I no longer make an assumption that any and all help for the developing world must somehow be helping to a much more difficult form of engagement. Instead I do a lot more homework. I am more than willing to invest in things that can show me how their work makes a long-term, sustainable impact.

A couple years ago I read the book Half the Sky from Nickolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I was taken aback by not just their presupposition that long-term change in a society is effected by investing in women, I was also encouraged by their approach to issues of social justice. As trained journalists they listen to the anecdotal stories so pervasive among aid groups, but they also take the time to investigate each groups claims to reveal what’s really going on. Then, only when evidence backs up the claims, they help find ways to make sure that the good guys get the funding they need to build on their success.

That resonates with me. I want to get behind that.

In their new book and PBS Series, A Path Appears, they take this concept a step further to look not just at gender inequalities but also cycles of poverty, systemic traps, and evidence-based approaches which are actually solutions for these problems.

This idea, taking an evidence-based approaches to solve problems, is one of the things I love about the 30 Hour Famine.

You, as a youth worker, have the opportunity to educate your students about the issues our world faces and then challenge them to take a very practical step– raising money to fund programs that make a massive difference. When you do that, you don’t just have something really awesome in your youth group (and the Famine is, indeed, that.) You even do more than raise much needed funds to address today’s problems. You are actually helping your students see what role they can play today and into the future.

To borrow a line from a credit card company… when you do that: It’s Priceless.

 Photo credit
Audrey Hall – Used with permission of A Path Appears

Four Reasons to Partner with Other Churches for 30 Hour Famine

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Partnering Together for the 30 Hour FamineBy Jake Kircher

At one point in time, I was part of a 30 Hour Famine event that yielded one of the highest fundraising totals in the country. Do you want to know what the secret to our success was? It was pretty simple actually: rather than do the Famine on our own, we partnered with other churches in the area to one big, joint Famine together. Through this simple partnership, we have seen a number of really awesome benefits to our ministries, students and our county.

First, partnering has allowed small churches to have a “big” feel. Now, we all argue in ministry over the value of “numbers.” Having a big group doesn’t mean a successful event in and of it self. However, more students do mean more energy and the benefit of feeling part of something much bigger than yourself. Doing the Famine together meant having hundreds of teens together, which created an environment with even more excitement, it created a healthy competitive spirit, which spurred our fundraising goals upward, and it made it easier for students to invite non-church friends to be involved.

Second, partnering has helped us make the programming better. One youth pastor can’t do it all and can’t connect with every kid. But working together helped considerably with making the Famine be far better than it would have been to do it on our own. The partnership allowed each church and youth worker to really focus on the programming elements they do really well and know someone else was tackling the stuff that doesn’t come as easy. We also had some ideas come out of the planning meetings simply because of the different perspectives that were at the table that never would have come up planning on our own.

Third, we’ve seen more carry over after the event was over! This is always one of the most difficult pieces to a big event like this: what’s the after effect for our students and was it worth all the time and effort of the event itself? Partnering together on the Famine has been a huge benefit to seeing our students get more out of the event itself. First, as mentioned above, the energy and excitement of a much larger event has been a big factor in this. Second, being exposed to more perspectives and ideas from different teens and leaders they are not normally around has been another. And third, it’s actually helped our students connect with other Christian at their schools who attend different churches. It’s so much fun to watch teens make the realization that there are other Christians at their schools that they weren’t aware about before hand.

Fourth, and lastly, the joint Famine has helped spur our network to do more together. Since that 30 Hour Famine, we’ve had joint worship nights and events to get all our students get back together. A large part of that was because our students were begging to be together again since they loved the energy at the Famine. We developed an annual day of service to clean up a local park together and are discussing a joint mission trip as well. We also have a number of us joining up for a Winter Retreat together too. It’s amazing what can happen when the Church starts to work together and with so many churches doing the 30 Hour Famine already, it’s a great place to start!

Keep it Going

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Jen Bradbury

Young Woman StudyingI’ve often heard people moan about the ineffectiveness of big youth ministry events like the 30 Hour Famine or summer mission trips. Such rants usually go something like this:

You spend a lot of time, energy, and money on X. And sure, teens are into it for the weekend but even you’ve got to admit, it has no lasting impact on them or anyone else. As soon as they return home, life returns to normal. 

While that may be true for some teens, it doesn’t have to be the case for all teens. In fact, as youth pastors there are a lot of things we can do to combat the mentality that when the event ends, so too does that way of life. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Call out the passion you see in teens. Justice work gives us the opportunity to see teens in unique settings that others – including their parents – may never see them in. When you see teens get passionately involved in some kind of justice work, name that. Ask teens questions about why they find that particular type of ministry so interesting. Connect them to like-minded adults in your congregation who share similar passions and encourage them to serve together. Equip them with resources (like places where they can serve as well as books or articles about that particular area of justice work) that will help them in their ongoing ministry. Encourage them to keep cultivating their interest in that area.

2. Specifically ask teens questions about how your event will impact their life on an on-going basis. As you talk about world hunger during the Famine, ask teens: “It’s great that we’ve been fasting to raise money and awareness to fight world hunger during the Famine. But what will you do later this week, month, or year to continue raising money and awareness about this issue?

3. Ask teens to make a concrete commitment in the presence of their families. During the break the fast celebration at the end of your famine, ask teens to commit to continue serving in some way AFTER they leave the famine. Have them write their commitments down so you can hold them accountable to them. Then have them articulate their commitment aloud in front of their families. Hopefully, they too will get involved in their teens’ ongoing justice efforts.

4. Hold teens accountable for what they commit to. Build time into your small groups or various gatherings to check in and actually see how teens are doing at living out their commitments. Show grace when teens fail. At the same time, celebrate those teens who honor their commitments. Share their stories to inspire and challenge other teens to continue to work on theirs.

Whether it’s during a weekend event like the Famine or a domestic or international mission trip, I’ve started incorporating these four steps into every justice event our high school ministry participates in.

Often, teens fail to keep the commitments they make. But sometimes, they surprise me.

For example, at the end of last summer’s mission trip, it was clear that one girl in particular had developed a huge heart for social justice. I offered to meet with her one-on-one to read and discuss a book together. We chose Jen Hatmaker’s “Seven.” At the end of every discussion, I challenge this teen to do something. Sometimes these are big things. Other times, they’re little things. At the end of Hatmaker’s chapter on waste, I asked this girl, “How can you reduce waste in your house?”

She immediately pointed to her lunches and identified disposable items as a source of too much waste.

When last we met, this girl sat down and excitedly told me that she baked a tray of brownies at the start of the week and was now taking one to school each day in a reusable container – thereby eliminating the waste she’d generated from single-serve desserts. Since doing that, she’s become even more conscientious about the waste others produce. When a friend told this girl how much food waste her place of employment generates on a daily basis, my student wrote that restaurant’s corporate office imploring them to donate their food rather than throw it out. Since learning that donations are up to each individual franchise, this girl’s been stalking the manager at the franchise her friend works for. Her goal is to get him to donate rather than waste their leftover food. To help with her this, I’m connecting her to an older woman in our congregation who’s been gleaning and redistributing food from local grocery stores and restaurants for years. I look forward to seeing what God will do in and through this girl’s continued efforts!

To be sure, not every teen will respond like this one did but what I’ve learned the hard way is this: If we don’t actually challenge and equip teens to continue serving beyond our major justice events, they won’t.

But if we do, who knows how they’ll surprise us… And in the process, positively impact our communities for Christ.

Our 30 Hour Famine Traditions

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Kali DiMarco

Staff Serving Food In Homeless Shelter KitchenOur group has been doing the 30 Hour Famine for years, and it has become important not only to the youth in our church, but to our entire church. We’ve found that while each of our Famines are unique, they all have aspects that have become traditions. For example, we always begin our Famine at the local town green. We gather and have an opening prayer, and then we walk one mile to our church, with police escort. We lovingly call this “The Walk” and it has become a very public and moving symbol of our faith in action.

Each year we also have a huge Food Drive where we collect food for our own food pantry and for our local soup kitchen, Manna House. This has become an important tool in teaching the kids that hunger is not just a global challenge, but a reality in our own community and right here in our town. I cannot even fathom how many trucks of food we have delivered to Manna House. One year the director exclaimed “Who are these kids?!”

Keynote Speakers have become a big part of our Famines. From the first year when Dr. Steven Winters from our local hospital came to share his experience in the Sudan with Americares, to this past year when our newly installed Bishop invigorated the kids with his words. We have also had Austin Gutwein, the young founder of Hoops for Hope; Christine Leronimo, author of “Drinking from Puddles”, Julie Coyne, who founded Education and Hope in her twenties, and someone from our Haitian community the year of the earthquake in Haiti. One of our most memorable speakers was Gabriel Bol Deng, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. These speakers have all inspired us in so many ways.

We gather for a Midday Prayer which is created and led by our teen Famine leaders. They have written songs and led us in creative hands-on prayers and activities, and add so much to our time together.

Service Projects are a huge part of our Famine. We send all the kids out all over town, sometimes to as many as 25 different places. We have so many kids now, that we send out three busses. When they return, they all share their experiences. It is amazing how positive they are – all while fasting!

Many years ago we started a Large Group Activity which has become something the kids really look forward to. We have done grocery store challenges, random acts of kindness, scavenger hunts around town, a huge 20-question kind of game with 50 adults, and last year had a “Hunger Games” activity. The college kids all come back to run these.

In the evening we end our day with a Prayer Vigil. These have been some of the most amazing Spirit-filled times of the Famine. They usually involve multi-media, music, performances… and always end with candles moving all over the church as each person reflects on the life they are impacting. The dark church becomes bright with the light of more than 200 candles, lit by every participant and parishioners who attend, often spelling a word from our theme.

Prayer Partners are the backbone of our success. Every participant is assigned a person who simply holds them in prayer. Many of our older parishioners, even those who are homebound, become prayer partners and feel part of the 30 hours. The kids all write letters to their partners, and many of those who are praying stop by during the Famine to meet their special partner and drop off a card or note. I cannot imagine our Famines without them.

So many aspects to coordinate, but each one brings something very special to our Famines and gives each and every parishioner the chance to be part of the event. It all works! God is Good.

And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
Isaiah 58:10

Hump Week

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Mark Oestreicher

Hump Day CamelThese days between Christmas and New Years always seem odd to me. Sort of like a lame duck president, wrapping things up. It’s still 2014. We’re still deeply in ‘The Holiday Season.” We still have stomachs full of fruitcake and eggnog, and most of us having suddenly-past-tense decorations now teasing us to be taken down.

And, we’re almost there, to 2015. All that new stuff.

Every Wednesday is hump day (immortalized this past year by a talking camel – “What day is it, Mike? Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike? Its hump day!”). But this in-between holiday week feels like hump week. Wrapping up one thing, while anticipating the next.

Makes me think of the word “commencement.” The word itself, of course, means to start something. But youth workers and teenagers understandably connect the word to high school graduation. The commencement ceremony is a both/and deal. It marks both the end of something, and the beginning of something new.

So maybe we should think of this as Commencement Week. It’s certainly the wrap up to 2014; and it’s the launch of a whole new year.

Really, this in-between stuff is very present in our Christian story. It’s that Saturday after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday.

Let’s look back at this past year—in our personal lives and our ministries—with this mindset from 1 Chronicles 16:12…

Remember all the wonders he performed, the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth.

And moving past Hump Week, or this Commencement Week, let’s embrace Isaiah 43:18-19a…

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

Yeah, that’s the good stuff of hopeful, forward-leaning life. That’s the view from Hump Day to the Weekend, or from Hump Week to the New Year, or from the in-between space of Holy Saturday to Resurrection.

Finding myself (while dancing) in Africa …

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

 

Andrea Dancing

By Andrea Sawtelle, Youth Pastor, Hagerstown, Maryland. 

I have always struggled with seeing myself as enough.  If I look back on my life, I am not even sure where that struggle emerged from.  I grew up in a home where my parents poured out love on a daily basis, reminded me that I am a person of value, and encouraged me along the way in all that I chose to do. But the reality is, to love myself, to see myself as valuable, to see myself as “enough” in this competitive world, has been something I have continued to battle out in my daily life.

This past June I received a phone call that I had no idea was coming.
 I was invited to be a part of a team of Nazarene Leaders that would be traveling in conjunction with World Vision, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, and Nazarene Youth International to see some of our partner projects in Mozambique, Africa.

As soon as I told my husband the details (to which he immediately said “you are crazy if you don’t say yes), I began to make a list of all the reasons why I shouldn’t go, most of them centering around the fact that I just didn’t think I had much to offer.  My thoughts went something like this, “But I don’t know ANY of the team members…well I know them…but only because they have written books, and spoken at events.  No one knows who I am.  I come from a small church.  What if I don’t have anything to contribute?  I don’t think I can do it. It wasn’t an inner battle that I was unfamiliar with.  It was a battle where once again fear of not being enough was fighting hard. Regardless, I got on that plane.

I have been home now for a few months, and I have still not processed all that I experienced and saw during my journey. But I do know one thing. In some ways, I found myself in Africa. While in Mozambique, something in my own heart changed. The realization that Jesus was enough for me hit me like a ton of bricks. It didn’t matter if I was known…ever. It didn’t matter if I came from a big church or had a big title. What mattered was that God had called me to live out this life for him. HE was enough.

On our 5th day, I found myself in a small village watching a group of women and children dancing in a big circle while local World Vision staff and community members repaired their clean water well. I stood on the outskirts of the circle watching and attempting to clap on beat. I thought about dancing, but as stupid as it sounds, that was quickly silenced by insecurities.

And suddenly it hit me: I am in Africa…what I am doing standing on the edge when I could be in the middle of something epic?! And so…I jumped into the circle and began dancing – poorly, and without rhythm. In fact, a little girl began blowing a whistle in my ear, and pointing at my feet trying to get me to do the steps in rhythm. I tried telling her my dancing skills were a lost cause! Nevertheless, that day I danced…and I danced…and I danced…and I was reminded that God desires for us to dance in this life.  We weren’t meant to sit on the sidelines. We weren’t meant to spend our days thinking about what we aren’t, or how we aren’t good enough. He desires for us to let go of all of that and live as the people he has created us to be.

He is enough.

And so, I say that I somewhat found myself in Africa, because I did. For a few minutes, in a village in the middle of nowhere, I danced and didn’t think about why I wasn’t good enough. I was just me… the me that God desires for me to be every minute I am given breath. And needless to say, I am choosing to dance a lot more these days.

The 12 Days of Christmas: Famine edition!

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By the 30 Hour Famine Team

albero di Natale grungeOn the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

You sang the remaining lyrics to yourself, didn’t you? A partridge in a pear tree. It’s impossible not to, really.

For the next few days (12 to be exact), our social media is going look a little different! Starting this Saturday, we will be re-telling the “12 Days of Christmas” – sharing 12 AMAZING stories of how groups like yours are helping to make this world a better place. Literally.

For each of the 12 days we will highlight a specific way that we (together) tackle poverty. These solutions often look very different than you might think. In fact, they look a lot like the lyrics we are all so familiar with: Maids a-milking, and ladies dancing, and geese a-laying, and golden rings.

And there will be a partridge in a pear tree, no doubt.

Feeding is equipping and supporting the hungry to feed themselves and rise above poverty. And when this work is done through World Vision, it means a whole lot more than just food. It means all the puzzle pieces working together: Clean water, health, education, spiritual growth, and so on. It’s fullness of life as God intended. Not just through food (though that’s a great place to start).

So, we invite you to join in. Sing it with us. Keep a look out – and share your favorite images and stories throughout the week with your students. After all, you and your group are a part of these stories, too. Better outcomes are being re-written each and every year through your involvement with the 30 Hour Famine.

Thank you for all you do year after year to bring so much life to the darkest corners of the world. Because of you…choosing just 12 stories is nearly impossible. That’s a great problem to have.