World Food Day (A Perfect Time to Pick Your Famine Date!)


By Travis Hill

james-122-world-food-dayOver the last few years of leading a group through 30 Hour Famine, I’ve had seemingly hundreds of conversations with participants, parents, random adults, and those who are simply inquiring into the what and the why of this fantastic event. I love that despite the age of the person I’m talking to, whether they’re 12 or 75, the response typically goes something like this,

Me: We spend 30 hours without food to raise funds and awareness for the pandemic of world hunger.

Them: Huh…(thoughtful look)…30 entire hours?

Me: Yep. That’s the average time a person in a developing country goes between meals.

Them: Wow, that’s great. I could never do that.

I love those conversations. The problem with them is that they tend to end there, especially with adults or, occasionally, other youth workers. With students, once they get past the initial idea of not eating for more than a day, and they begin to realize the what and the why, they dive right in. With adults though, they want to love and support, but from a distance. Or maybe it’s too difficult to set it up, or it takes too much time, or possibly the vision isn’t there.

Despite that, I’m reminded of what we read in James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.”

As “doers of the word,” we are called to a different standard, despite our reservations, despite our discomfort. I have seen a girl diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (an internal digestive issue) participate in 30 Hour Famine consistently because she understands she has healthcare here than can help her survive. I have let students with diabetes sneak out in the middle of the night to grab a quick snack so they can continue on, supporting their friends, and raising money for those who need it. I have seen families rally around their kid who is participating in the Famine, going hungry for 30 hours themselves. I have seen adults in the church not only partner financially with students, but also spiritually, praying for them, encouraging them, and even occasionally fasting with them. If participating in the Famine was too hard, then I have being grossly mislead by the fantastic students and adults whose lives have been transformed in the process of raising money, talking to friends and family about hunger, and simply becoming aware of a world outside of themselves.

I am grateful that 30 Hour Famine is not simply an event we do, but rather is ingrained into who we are as a church. The Famine itself is a time where we as a church get to lift up and empower the students to be even more selfless than many adults feel comfortable being. And how cool is that? This isn’t simply a fun student ministry event that involves gross food and messy games, but rather a place where students can hear, understand, and realize that their voices matter.

2016 is coming and I know we’re already planning our calendar, with 30 Hour Famine kicking off the year in February. Where does the Famine land on your list? Or does it even land on your list at all? Leave your students with a legacy of helping the poor, finding their voices in changing the world, and understanding that through ours and God’s love, that we can empower them to be doers of the word, and not merely listeners, doing nothing.

World Food Day is this Friday (October 16). Seems like a pretty good week to pick the date for your 30 Hour Famine and announce it to your teenagers! Sign up here.