This Will Be My First 30 Hour Famine


Shawn Kiger & Brian MateerShawn Kiger, Children’s, Youth, and Young Adult Minister at Lane Memorial United Methodist Church in Altavista, Virginia

First, I must admit I have never participated in the 30 Hour Famine.

I have been in youth ministry a long time and have heard of it.  And I have friends in youth ministry that love it.

But, there are so many options in youth ministry and so many good causes to support that I just never thought much about it. I also don’t enjoy fundraising. Not to mention you can’t eat for 30 hours! Having said all of that there are two things that have changed my thinking and are the reason I will be doing the famine this year with my students

1. A youth minister friend of mine has been doing the 30 Hour Famine for many years (10+). He has mentioned to me several times that I should consider doing the Famine one year. I would always say maybe we will– but never did. Last year when he mentioned it I started asking more questions about it. He told me how it impacted not only his students, his entire church. He told me about the tribe games and the fun they had. He described the educational piece of the program and how his students are much more aware of hunger in the world. That caught my attention. Missions, that focus on hunger, and poverty education have always been an interest to me. Our youth ministry puts a lot of time and effort into hunger awareness and missions.

2. That same friend was invited by World Vision to go Zimbabwe to see where money his group raised was going.  Because of his recommendation, they invited me to go along as well.  On that trip I got to see first hand that the money that was raised really was having a positive impact on the local Zimbabwe communities. I asked lots of questions about where the money went and how it was being used. If I was going to do this at my church, I needed to know that the funds we were raising were being used in a way that had long-term effects. I saw without a doubt that they were. Lives are being changed for the better and all of it is being done in God’s name. The impact was impressive to see. Money that teenagers are raising is being spent, in a country far away, to literally save peoples lives. Not just for today but for many generations to come.

I am sure it sounds like it takes a lot for me to try something new. Maybe that is the case? But, I like to be sure that if I am going to lead my students through something and ask them to raise money that it is a worthwhile ministry. There is no doubt in my mind now that it is.  We will be aligning with the work that God is already doing through World Vision. My students and leaders will get to experience the feeling of hunger while learning about hunger around the world. The money they will raise will go towards long term life saving programs.

That was enough to convince me.

I’m still not looking forward to not eating for 30 hours. But I’ve been convinced that it will be worth it!