April 11, 2011

5 Day Challenge

April is a very important and special time at our church. Every year this time of month we take part in what we call, "Celebration of Hope" where together We Stand, We Serve, We Give. This is the third year I have participated in this experience and look forward to what I can do and how God will use me through these couple weeks.

As part of We Serve, this past Saturday Jason and I, along with our small group, served together for two hours packing seeds for families in Zimbabwe. As a church (just the Chicago campus) we had a total of 1,697 volunteers participate over two days and packed: 131 boxes, 39,838 garden packs and 196,915 individual seed packs, which will produce enough vegetables to feed 236,298 people for a year!

As part of We Stand, Jason and I have been and will take a stand in solidaity and eat as half the world eats. We are eating $2 a day's worth of food which consists of oatmeal for breakfast, rice and beans for lunch and rice and beans for dinner. We're "allowed" to have a few very small serving of vegetable as needed.

According to Bread for the World, every day almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That's one child every five seconds. I can't quite grasp those statistics when according to emedicinehealth.com in the United States more than half of adults and one in five children are obese. (Though I am certainly not (yet) in the obese category, I ask myself how much money have I spent on Weight Watchers the past year?!)

As I did last year, I have been journaling on my thoughts and feelings though the week:
I began the morning by cheating a little because I had to babysit so I began with:
7:15 am -- about 1/2 cup of milk
9:30 -- oatmeal
1:00 -- driving home, very irritable and hungry
2:00 -- rice and beans, felt full
3:00 -- took a multi-vitamin (something that the poor obviously doesn't have access to)
3:15 -- drove out to school, it was a pretty long and boring drive without my tea or something to sip on
5:55 -- heading into class I started to think about going to the vending machine. Not that I was going to go there but just out of habit, I was bored and wanted something to snack on during class.
6:45 -- in class very bored and want something to snack on
7:30 -- heated up rice and beans for dinner
9:00 -- heading home and wanting something more than water to drink

7:30 oatmeal (already bored with it, would love some milk or sugar added) also missing my morning cup of milk
7:40 -- missing my morning cup of tea on the way to class
10:40 -- stomach growled loudly in class, I'm super bored and would love some tea or snack
10:50 -- had a few cherry tomatoes
12:00 -- drive from one campus to another and really want to stop at Jimmy Johns for lunch or have something more flavorful to drink
12:20 -- walking into class feeling very weak and irritable
12:25 -- ate (more like inhaled) my rice and beans
2:40 -- really hungry and distracted easily
3:45 -- met a friend for what was supposed to be dinner and drinks but then changed it to coffee after deciding I was going to partake in this challenge so I ordered a hot water from Starbucks.
4:20 -- walked passed the treats Starbucks offered and wanted it all, things I normally don't even eat.
5:15 -- was about to head home and was extremely irritable and hungry, almost lightheaded, so I prayed that the hunger pains would go away until I could get to my cup of rice and beans. It took me an hour and 45 minutes to get home...but I wasn't hungry until I saw the sign which read "11 minutes to the circle." Once I felt the hunger back again, I realized that God carried me through and helped me get through that time (awesome!)
7:45 -- rice and beans (little less beans than what were allowed because we ran out)
9:15 -- few cherry tomatoes

Thus far, the time between lunch and dinner was the hardest for me on Tuesday. I am also most shocked at how obesity is so prevalent in our society when there is such poverty and hunger all over much of the world. I feel like because we don't see it every day, we aren't as affected by it but as Christians (and human beings!) we should be and need to step up. I am so thankful to be part of a church that is making a difference in the lives of those who matter. I am so also very grateful for the food and shelter that God had blessed us with. As Jason said yesterday, we do thank God every day for all that he has provided but by doing this challenge it's really shed light on what that really means when we pray that.

I'm half way through Day 3 of the Challenge and will share todays and the rest of my weeks thoughts with you as they continue. I ask that you please be praying for me, Jason and all of those at our church who are participating in this. Most importantly, please pray for those around the world who are trying to live each day on what very little they have.

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