Going Hungry for Transformation



By Erin Betlej

It was toward the end of our 30 Hour Famine and two of my youth were debating whether or not to have a piece of fruit and cracker at our last juice break. They were so close to completing the 30 hours with only water. I overheard one of their friends tell them, “If you need it then do it. It’s not like you not eating right now is keeping a child from going hungry somewhere else.”

She was right. My youth going without a piece of fruit and a cracker would not directly save the life of a child somewhere. Their fasting doesn’t immediately save anyone from hunger or poverty. What it does do, however, is create a connection between my youth and children and youth who live in poverty everyday around the world and in their backyard. It develops empathy and understanding. It deepens their sense of community.

In our affluent area my youth rarely want for anything material. But they do hunger. They hunger for a deeper connection with God. When they choose to participate in the 30 Hour Famine they are much more aware that it is their spiritual hunger that connects them with those who hunger physically. They see that those in poverty are not much different than them. Both dream. Both want to be accepted for who they are and want the capacity to accept others where they are. Both want a space for honest dialogue with one another.

That’s the beauty of 30 Hour Famine. It creates a place for that conversation and connection to begin. It develops community.

As we approach Pentecost, I wonder if Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit because He didn’t want to miss this. He did not want to miss the kingdom of God coming to fruition on earth. He didn’t want to miss being in relationship. He didn’t want to miss an opportunity to know someone. He didn’t want to miss an opportunity to live life with someone. He didn’t want to miss a group of teenagers being a catalyst for change. To sit down with them to bear witness to their stories and to dream. To dream what God’s church can be like and should be like. To sit and cry and grieve over the way people treat one another.

Going hungry for transformation. I wonder if that’s what Pentecost really means?