Meeting Moses and getting AIDS: My Famine weekend

I spent a great weekend with the students and leaders of 180 fasting, praying, serving and worshipping during the 30 Hour Famine. Thank you to those of you who donated and prayed for us! So far, and the donations are still coming in, we raised over $2,000 which meets the needs for 6 children this year. Praise God!

Here's a snapshot of our weekend:

The Rally: We met up with many other churches from the Portland area at Beaverton Christian Church. Normally the rally begins with high-energy music, but this year entered quietly while getting marked at health stations. The rally began with a funeral...yes, a funeral for 3 victims of AIDS in Africa. 

When I see stats like about the number of children dying or orphaned by AIDS daily, I fell detached. The number is too great for me to act. But attending a "funeral" for one of those kids brings it home that I can act on behalf of one...and it makes a true difference in that one life.
One of the greatest treats this year's rally was hearing from Moses (pictured), a native Kenyan who would have been a statistic if not for World Vision's work when he was a child. The letters from his sponsor, Julie, are what led Him to following Jesus. What an encouragement for us. We can make a difference around the world!
Worship: We were tired, but AJ led us in worship, reading from Matthew and Isaiah, teaching us to not go around all somber and looking like we were suffering, but to go about as normal. It was great to live out the Isaiah 58 passage in fasting & breaking the chains of injustice.
Though our music was worship, I am convinced that the suffering, fasting, serving, and caring for the oppressed were a pleasing aroma for the Lord. I know He looked down on our students and smiled!

Serving: This year, we stayed on site for our service project. This was the most physically demanding year of service in that we spent about 2 hours clearing blackberries from our church property. The students did a great job, not complaining once! All in all, it was a good couple of hours, though I'm not sure what to think about a few of them eagerly volunteering to use the deadly poison spray on the roots....hmm :)

Tribes: Dividing into 5 tribes for the weekend, we played 7 games that had basis in real life challenges that plague the poor of Latin America. They included endurance, mental, strength, balance, and a few blindfold challenges. Pictured are students crossing the Amazon to get to school. My favorite however was the Survivor style endurance challenge where students had to hold a weighted bucket straight out from their body for as long as possible. This challenge represented the long trek back from a river with water for the family to drink, but presented some of the greatest challenge viewing of the weekend!

Speakers: Steve Pringle and Brian Wiggs brought great passion, insight and challenge in how we can continue the spirit of the Famine in our daily lives.
Steve spoke on our passion, how God has uniquely shaped us and our need to remain/abide in Jesus as we live daily. Brian challenged us to be courageous and build relationships with people outside our comfort zone, which is what it takes to care for the least of these.

The Meal: Last but not least, we ended the fast with chicken burritos. But we were asked to stay in the spirit of the Famine and walk silently look through the line, thanking God for the food we have. 
We had a great time and I am so proud of the students who gave up 30 hours of eating to save children's lives. May our attitudes be changed as well. We are so blessed and are called to be a blessing to others.
Check out all of our Famine pictures here.