Every year St. Bartholomew's youth (grades 6-12) participate in 30-Hour Famine. They forgo eating as many who are living in hunger do. The youth learn about hunger, but also participate in fun activities during the weekend. This year's 30 Hour Famine Retreat took places March 23 and 24. Before finishing their thirty hours, participants gave the Sunday morning sermon about their experience. Enjoy!
Good morning! I’m Gerardo, one of the youth leaders here at St.Barts. I'm Sofia and I’m in 6th grade. I’m Maya, 9th grade.
Gerardo: This weekend starting yesterday we are started fasting for 30-Hour Famine. During this retreat, we reflected on what it truly means to be hungry, and what it means to not know where your next meal is coming from. We have done activities like building a sustainable structure out of limited materials like cardboard and tape. We talked about what we would do if we had to be in the shoes of those who are hungry, especially malnourished children. We also played freeze tag. We will break our fast later today as we are going to get a nice brunch.
Sofia: We’re experiencing hunger so we can feel what other people feel, and so we have more of a longing to do something about it. You don’t feel a longing to do something about it until you’ve stepped in someone’s shoes. You can hear a sermon all day, but if it doesn’t happen to you or you don’t have any personal experience about it, you’ll go home and not think about it again. We are fasting to feel how kids and people around the world feel, except experiencing at a smaller scale than they to. To teach us how to handle hunger and to teach us to want to go into the world and help.
Maya: Some of the effects we’ve experienced over a limited amount of time are agitation and anger. We’ve been more irritable toward people around us. We’ve experienced the opposite of patience and the lasting effects of being tired.
Sofia: It actually hasn’t been that hard - doing all the activities has distracted me from being hungry. I usually eat a lot of food, but doing all the activities it kind of got my mind off of food. Even though I realized that I only had water, it didn’t really bother me. A couple of times though I almost asked - when are we going to have dinner? But then I realized, oh it’s not going to happen. It makes me think about it for a tiny bit and I get a tiny bit hungry, then we go do something else and I forget about it.
Pierce: I’ve been chewing on plastic and eating paper because I’m hungry.
Maya: Two years ago when I went to Haiti I saw in person the real effects of lack of good food to eat and malnutrition. Though the kids at the school that we support in Loranette were some of the happiest and most joyful kids I’ve seen in a while, they were hungry. We were told that most likely the only meal they get every day is the bowl of rice and beans they get at school. And that’s scary to me. When we were there we ate three meals a day, full of protein and healthy food. Chicken, rice, beans, and plantains. Much more spoiled and filled than them. I was also brought to the awareness that if I was going to go back again I might not ever see some of these kids again because they might have died because of malnutrition. It’s scary to think that people get barely any food every day when I get three full meals plus any food I want every day.
Gerardo: I went on a medical trip to Haiti and got to experience first hand the effects of malnutrition on the body. I was able to witness how much of these young kids who had shown up to the clinic with their parents - one of the biggest trends we noticed is that they were suffering hypertension, due to eating a lot of high-sodium food. That’s due to the fact that they don’t have access to fresh produce, so they have to eat a lot of preserved meats, a lot of canned goods, anything they can get their hands on. Usually, due to the fact that they live in a poor economy, fresh fruit and fresh produce
Sofia: There are those who say that it is hopeless to fight this problem. They say that it costs too much, that it has yielded no results; that it is a waste of time. And they, like the vineyard owner in Luke’s parable, they wish to give up and move on.
We MUST NOT lose hope, and we must be the gardener in the vineyard. The worldwide problem of hunger cannot be solved overnight. With patience, hard work and perseverance we CAN solve this problem. Giving up is an easy path to take but let's do the hard thing. The hopeless thing. The costly thing.
We must dig and feed the fig so that it may bear fruit for us. We need to take action and not lose hope and abandon our brothers and sisters suffering from hunger and malnutrition. The difference between success and failure is you.
Maybe these children are waiting for food like the gardener was waiting for the tree to produce fruit.
Maya: As Christians, it is our responsibility to ensure the legacy that the Bible teaches us continues on and we help others. Just like the gardener in the rich man’s vineyard, it’s our responsibility as Christians to ensure that the fig tree, or the people in need, are not forgotten and given a chance to flourish and bear fruit. A tree that produces fruit creates a seed - so it can continue on growing. That’s what we’re called to do as Christians.
We ask you to be that gardener with us today so that we may be able to help our brothers and sisters who are starved and malnourished. Join us in our journey of taking action in eradicating world hunger and malnutrition. We will be collecting donations for world vision which is an organization currently working towards ending world hunger. Your donations and prayers are greatly needed and appreciated. Now is our time to be that gardener and be the change of the world.
Raising awareness is has been an influential start to ending world hunger but the time is now to start to take action in