A Famine story: from participant to leader


Nicole, homeschool mom and wife/ministry partner to a youth leader in Missouri, caught our attention with her post Famine blog post last month. Having started doing the Famine since she was 16, Nicole offers some incredible insight having seen the Famine from the perspective of a student…..and now a leader. We asked her to share a little about why she does the Famine and what her favorite parts were from this year.

This year was my husband and my third year to do the famine as youth leaders. 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! Equally as entertaining was overhearing one of my youth girls explain the Famine to her friend, “We can’t eat ANYthing and we all get these disabilities like missing legs or hands or being blind. Then we stay up really late and in the morning they wake us up to a song all about food” (that would be “Breakfast” by the Newsboys, a tradition we began our first year).

For those who have never done the Famine, it is hard to explain. 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 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” (which we do throughout the weekend to journal how the teens are 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, TRIBE games, community service, and worship, I am able to see these teens drawn out of who they are and open their eyes to the most important things in life. Here are a few more of my favorite reactions:

 “I know this is my 3rd 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 that 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 3rd world countries. I also learned what we take for granted everyday 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.