i. 30 Hours to change the world
ii. Let’s Talk
For sixteen years, youth from across America and now the world have participated in something called The 30-Hour Famine (click here and browse for more information) sponsored by World Vision, the Christian relief organization. To date they have raised over $100 million. This year a half million teens in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere are expected to raise $12.5 million to combat hunger and its causes. But a lot more than money has been raised over the years. Awareness of global hunger and poverty has been raised. And, for some, faith in Jesus Christ as the one who sends us into the world to feed the hungry and calls us to himself to have our hungry hearts fed has also been raised.
The 30-Hour Famine has been an LPC event for more than a dozen years, and in many ways it is the hallmark event for the entire year of youth programming. Barb Chase expects over 140 kids from our church and community and a couple of other partner churches to join us in this year’s famine.
The kids begin their fast at noon today and then gather at the church at 6:00 p.m. They’ll burn some calories on a photo scavenger hunt and then head back to LPC for an evening of activity which will include the construction of a cardboard shelter village in Fellowship Hall, a tangible reminder of the circumstances in which too many of the world’s children live.
Saturday morning can be one of the most significant times of a famine as the kids and their leaders fan out across the region to serve “the least of these” at soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other ministry sites.
They return to the church for more activity, discussion and study and then use pizza to break the fast. The closing program begins at 5:00 p.m. and parents and others are invited.
Becky and I participated in our first 30 Hour Famine in 1994 and have continued to be involved as participants for many years and financial and prayer supporters every year since. Some of the kids who were involved in our first famines still remember them as highlights of their youth group years and significant events in their faith journeys. Barb and others tell me similar stories from LPC youth who are now young adults.
What makes the 30 Hour Famine so powerful? Why is this, among all the amazing events offered by our youth program, the event that draws the most kids and to which so many of their friends are invited and eager to come? I believe that one answer to that question is that it is significant.
The kids of this millennial generation long for significance. Too often our culture – and sometimes our church – offers nothing but meaningless mush packaged in glitzy techno packages. In a 30-Hour Famine some kids confront their own fears about going for 30 hours without food (but plenty of good liquids). Some kids find themselves far out of their familiarity and comfort zones at the Saturday morning work sites. For some it is precisely in a world stripped of comfort and gadgetry for 30 hours that the Gospel begins to make sense, that the Word can begin to find its way into heart and mind.
As part of their 30 hours of fasting and serving and learning and having great fellowship, our kids will learn that over 36,000 children will die from preventable diseases such as malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and acute respiratory infections during the time they are going without food. 1,200 children will die each hour of the famine. Malnutrition is associated with over half of those deaths.
They will learn that for the cost of one MP3 download they feed one at-risk child for a month.
As Barb and others share with them they will hear of One who calls them to a life of significance, to changing the world. They will hear about Jesus and be invited to accept his call.
30 hours to change the world? Yes. The money raised will save a life. The Word proclaimed just may save a soul.
Okay, you weren’t wild about talking last week. Let’s try again.
How about a message to the kids of the famine, a word of encouragement or hope. I’ll be sure that your message is posted at the church for the kids to see.
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