Monday, February 28, 2011

The Saint Matthew Youth Group's 30 Hour Famine

This past weekend, nine Saint Matthew youth and three Saint Matthew adults participated in the World Vision 30 Hour Famine. Giving up food for thirty hours, they experienced the hunger that many people around the world experience. They also raised money to be used by World Vision to feed malnourished and starving people.

This was the first year our congregation's youth participated in the Famine. They set a goal of $150, hoping that maybe they could raise $300. But when the contributions were totaled on Saturday evening, they came to $2017!

During the Famine, we spent some time viewing videos about world hunger and efforts to combat it. We prayed that God would use the Famine experience to sensitize us to the needs of others. We prayed that God would help us to love others with the same love He has shown for the world in Christ.

We also made "Plumpy Nut," a concoction that has been described as the most important weapon in fighting famine and malnutrition in the world today. On Sunday morning, our kids shared it with members of the congregation.

We also had a lot of fun with Wii and Xbox games, board games, movies, and Arena Baseball.

Arena Baseball is something I've been playing with the youth of the churches I've served as pastor for the past twenty-five years. It's sort of a combination of baseball, pinball, and chaos. We like to use soft bats and soft, bouncy baseballs. Here are the basics of Arena Baseball:
  • All balls that are hit are fair, even those hit behind home plate.
  • First base is where third base usually is.
  • Second base is where first base usually is.
  • Third base is where second base usually is.
  • Balls and strikes aren't counted.
  • As in kickball, you can throw a person out by throwing the ball at them and hitting them. (That's why soft, bouncy balls are preferred.)
  • The game is played indoors and the best rooms in which to play it are ones with lots of hard surfaces and numerous nooks and crannies, the better to cause the ball to bounce and rattle around crazily, creating general chaos and laughter.

The Famine began at noon on Friday, February 25. Participants didn't eat again until 6:00PM on Saturday. We broke the fast with a brief service of Holy Communion in the church chapel at 6:00. One of the youth read Jesus' words in Matthew 25:31-40. Two youth distributed the body and blood of our Lord. After the service, the youth and congregational members and friends who had joined us then enjoyed a great potluck dinner!

Throughout the Famine, I took videos on my cell phone and posted them on Facebook. The videos are embedded below.

In the first two videos, the kids rhapsodize about our white, squishy, bouncy baseball! It helps to be a little crazy if you're going to do a lock-in like this. 

As you'll see here, the young women were sometimes hesitant about being videographed while dancing with the Wii dance program.

Our young men were far more sanguine about being videographed. Here they are in their Man Cave playing a video game and listening to country music, courtesy of DJ Jacob.

The kids are gathered in the kitchen for the production of some Plumpy Nut. A report by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes four years ago will give you some background on Plumpy Nut.

The women's quarters before lights went out on Friday night. Two women from the congregation, both named Sarah. were with the girls throughout. I thank them and Jean, especially for all they did to make the Famine a success! I somehow deleted a couple of videos I had of the guys' quarters on Friday.

The ladies play a game of Pit, the commodities trading game. Stephen and I were taking a break from our game of Cornhole. (He trounced me.)

The two quarters on Saturday morning are shown below. The girls seemed to stir sooner than the boys, although the girls had stayed up later the night before. But the ome of the girls, owing no doubt to being tired as well as hungry, took naps later on Saturday, while the boys didn't.

Arena Baseball is our youth group's national pastime!

In the homestretch, the participants are mostly very quiet...but persevering. None of these kids complained once!

Below, each of the youth who participated reflect on the 30 Hour Famine experience.

I talk with the kids as they write paragraphs on the Famine.

People gather for the Holy Communion service and the potluck, then I ask the kids how the food tastes.

To learn more about the 30 Hour Famine, go here.

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