5 Day Food and Water Challenge – Day 1

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Hello Friends!

If
you are receiving this e-mail, it means you are a die-hard zealot; that you
have an incredible heart to stretch yourself and connect with the poor. Or
maybe you hesitantly committed, and are wondering how you are going to make it
through. Maybe you were just too embarrassed not to raise your hand this weekend
when Bill asked who would participate. 

Maybe
you are like my one friend who is already panicking. He is trying to
rationalize his coffee addiction. After all, it’s just beans and
water. How is that for a weak argument?  Maybe some family member
guilted you into doing this and you have to eat beans and rice because that’s
all mom is cooking. Regardless, I am proud of you for taking this first
step. I truly believe the next five days are going to shape each and every
one of us. 

While
we experience the pangs of hunger today and the monotony of our food choices,
it  will take great discipline to fully
commit to this challenge. While I'm eating rice and beans today, I will be
thinking about the situation in Zimbabwe. At
the end of last year, the government in Zimbabwe declared a national
emergency because of the cholera outbreak and the level of poverty. Basic
services and health care systems have collapsed. Because of the crisis,
less then 20% of children are able to attend school. Nearly half of the
population doesn’t have the resources to buy food and other essentials. 

Let's
declare together that’s not okay!

Richard
Foster writes, "Our fasting is a sign that nothing will stop us in our
struggle on behalf of the broken and oppressed."

In
Solidarity,

Heather Larson

and the Celebration of
Hope Team

Category : Celebration of Hope

Comments

I wish I had thought of the “coffee is only beans and water” comment! That is very creative. Seriously though, today is challenging for me. And it is very sobering to think of over a billion people eating at this level or less EVERY DAY. May God help us help them.

It’s good to share in the burdens of others, friends. Let’s not forget why we are doing this.

Wow, I didn’t think I’d find this so difficult this early in the week! Truly is opening my eyes to the abundance of food around me each and every day… I’m excited to challenge myself.

just had a tortilla with beans for lunch, wish I could have at least one more. I’m already tired of water. I can quit whenever I want, others don’t have a choice.

Very, very challanging as having all the temptation of the food in the home the rest of my family will be eating this week. I’m the lone committed Christian in my home with 9 people living in it, the rest are not Christians. YET! Please pray for them. Irene (53), Daniel (34) , David (39), Anthony (14), Nicholas (14) , Sommer (8), Georgiana (4), & Nathan (2)

This really makes me think. I went down to the school cafe….,
they always have rice.
Not today.

This is the first time that I have done a challenge like this, and as I prepared the rice and beans and measured them out into 1 cup portions and realized that for 5 days my 3 meals a day were going to consist of 1 cup of food and water, it was a sobering thought.
I’m personally doing this for the Acholi children in Norther Uganda that are being stolen as Child Soliders and the 23 year war that is going on there!

Let’s remember that with every bite we take (even if it’s only beans & rice) someone else, maybe just like us gets NOTHING at all. May God help us to help them.

This is eye opening. As I sit here at work, with the smells of lunch wafting around me. I realize that I am hungry, and more than that I am bored (already!).. The majority of the World does not have the choices I have, and it makes me thankful for the place I do live and the choices I do get. May my heart be softened this week to the blessing I have each day.

Well I needed to loose weight anyway but its already very hard. I slipped this morning and had a cup of coffee but didn’t have a second. It’s just habit for me at work. My staff came into my office and asked if I wanted anything from Subway. I actually thought about what to order and caught myself. I suppose getting started is the hard part.
Dennis

I was feeling very enthusiastic to begin the challenge, but first thing this morning I was struggling with denying myself a cup of coffee…my favorite morning treat and daily ritual. Thankfully my husband David offered words of encouragement to help me get started and stick to the challenge. At lunch as I was preparing my rice, I was actually looking on the internet to see if Africans have butter with their rice. How pathetic of me! I held off on the butter and am starting to feel like I might be able to stick with this after all. It is encouraging to know I am going through this with so many others from our church with the greater purpose of understanding the challenges of the poor and creating greater compassion that will lead to action!

It’s amazing how addicted to comfort we can become, isn’t it? I pray we’ll see this world the way God sees it: not according to political boundaries or affiliations, not according to the haves and have-nots, not according achievements or lack thereof, but in love, that crazy kind of love that defies all logic, the kind that breaks hearts only to set them beating for His Kingdom.

I just received an e-mail from a close Creeker friend whose daughter is in Africa right now making meals and ministering to those with HIV/AIDS. She was up at 3am making 1200 peanut butter sandwiches for the residents there. I’m guessing these sandwiches could very well be their only meal of the day. It was a sobering reminder of how blessed we are here. I’m starving but her e-mail reminded me to stick with it for my shamefully short one week.

Wow, no kidding–this is already more ‘challenging’ than I thought… I had my oatmeal and water this morning…only to come to school and see all these little ‘snacks.’ I caved and ate 12 small pretzels! How pathetic! If they weren’t there, I wouldn’t eat them–I did stop myself from grabbing jelly bellies out of a candy jar. We are sooo blessed here in the states–food is everywhere…This really makes me think.

The follow prayer is listed on the first page of my Celebration 2009 journal.
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. ”
May we all know that together we can make a difference. Have courage.

So far cutting off coffee, cold-turkey, is going to be the hardest part. The limited food will be a stretch, and my hunger pangs will remind me of those that deal with it everyday. But my coffee addiction is definitely affecting my work and my attitude. As we fully yield and submit, may God meet our every need as we rely on him for EVERYTHING, minute by minute.

Reading everyone else’s commeents is really encouraging b/c I thought I was the lone wimp here. Thank you for your honesty. I baked some brownies for my administrative assistants today for Secretary Week. It’s killing me not to eat one.

Up until lunch, I’m sure I have not eaten that much less than usual. What is hard, is knowing dinner will be more of the same and I’ll be hungry and no change is in site for 5 days. What if that was the vision for my entire life. It gives me an overwhelming sadness for the starving people in our world ! A quote from my planner: it gives me a deep comforting sense that “things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal” Helen Keller. I’m praying for you and your family, Jose !

I don’t drink coffee, so I have that going for me. The absence of my ginormous Coke at lunch is an entirely different story….
I think the service yesterday will help me get through the day and the week… really prepared my heart for the reason we are doing this. Thank you God for the opportunity to grow my heart and my love for others.

I was in the lobby at Wilow just a while ago looking at all of the pictures and all of the creative solutions that different organizations have come up with to help find, purify, and deliver clean water. I was thanking God for the creativity and inventiveness that He has given us.
I read Bono’s statement: “The church is going to have to become the conscience of the free market” and have been pondering what that really means!
I find myself looking for the closest Chipotle on the web-trying to get that one cup of rice and beans for lunch. . . . stomach’s growling.
It’s funny. I’ve fasted many times and remember what the 1st couple of hours, days, weeks are like. Yet here I am on my first day of this 5 day challenge experiencing hunger in a way I never have.
I also found it funny when this 5 day challenge was announced and the fact that we were going to eat only rice and beans. Why? Well, you see I grew up on rice and beans. My wife cooks a mean plate of rice and beans in every way imaginable. So I found it a little awkward considering this challenge a challenge!? Yet, what has begun to hit me is the quantity and the ability to access the rice and beans. You see, Harvest is closed. I didn’t bring lunch. I am use to having rice and beans easily accessible at home, at friends homes, at restaurants in our neighborhood. And today, I sit with a empty Celebration of Hope 2009 cup, my stomach growling, and me wondering where to go to get some sustainance.
I encourage you whereever you are in your journey to live in this moment. Journal, pray, share with your spouse, children and others what you are experiencing. We’ll see God do His thing!
Let’s keep at it!

Last year wasn’t easy, but truly not a hardship. It wasn’t until this morning I realized the addition of the tap water element meant NO DIET COKE! Now this exercise is truly difficult. The folks I’ll keep in mind all week are the homeless who are all around us near the Willow Chicago offices. On my way home Friday evening I saw a man eating rice leftovers out of a white plastic take-home container he pulled out of the garbage can. That’s not Zimbabwe–it’s right here.

Day one is not bad so far. I’m concerned with my training schedule becoming to difficult to recover from. I’m a personal trainer and have clients from 6am until 7pm 4 days a week. During my breaks I myself have a gruling running and workout schedule. I believe i will make it. I’m going to pray for it.

Day 1
i am sick of the plain white rice and undercooked black beans i made last night. i ate it for breakfast and lunch, and with god’s strength, for the next 5 days. so tasteless.
i look around at all the food around me and think wow, how blessed with choices i am.
i am not letting the water ‘run’ as much when doing dishes and brushing teeth, thanks to the stats spoken of in church yesterday.
there are so many things i take for granted. americans take for granted.
so hard to be at work. i work with little ones. and after lunch all of the excess food (and there is a LOT) gets thrown out!! such a horrible waste. i am not ‘legally’ allowed to take any to the homeless in the neighborhood, it all has to be thrown out. what a messed up world we live in.
how good to be celebrating hope though, by experiencing (although barely) what it means to eat and be hungry like our african brothers and sisters.
it is hopeful knowing we are all loved by god and able to love and feel compassion for others and make changes in our lives and others as well, to establich a more just society and kingdom on this earth.
i pray we all have the strength to continue our commitment, encourage each other on, and that this experience makes us less wasteful.
i pray that it makes us more thoughtful and active in the work to end hunger and poverty that ails people throughout our world, both in our neighborhood and across the globe.

Thanks for the blog…it will help many of us stick to it. I just thought it would be a great idea to print a map out of Africa and post it on the fridge…to remind us to pray when we are eating…or the face of a person over your computer at work. It might help us maintain that the idea of breathing in and out our prayers throughout our week.

Day 1 lunch
Ok- I’m from the city, yes, Chicago. I live there, love it there and mostly hang out there. So here I am on staff at Willow into my 10th week. As I posted previously I was being challenged by not having brought in lunch today. . . So I did a quick google map search for the closest Chipotle and found it just 3 miles away off of Rt 59. (I used my computer to find food . . . I thought, “That’s not fair . . . your brothers and sisters who live on less than a dollar a day don’t have access to computers!”)
I got in my truck and off I went to Chiptole. (I thought . . . wait that’s not fair . . . my brothers and sisters who live on less than a dollar a day don’t have access to motorized transportation!)
I walked into Chipotle and asked for rice and black beans. The woman behind the counter didn’t even blink. She scooped out one spoonful of white rice and one spoonful of black beans. She said, “that will be $1.79.” I thought, “What a great deal! I haven’t paid that little for a meal in a long time.” (I thought, wait a minute this isn’t a full meal, no veggies, no meat, etc.)
I sat in Chipotle to eat my “meal” and realized that the rice and beans tasted great. I asked a gracious employee if I could get a list of the ingredients and she obtained them within minutes.
Black beans: adobo, black pepper, oregano, bay leaves, salt, garlic, citrus juice, soy oil and yellow onions.
White rice: citrus juice, salt, cilantro, soy oil and bay leaves.
And then I thought, “Ivan that’s not fair. . . . My brothers and sisters who live on less than a dollar a day don’t have access to all of these ingredients”
So this brings me to Matt 25:34-39. What might Jesus mean by “When I was hungry you gave me somthing to eat?” What kind of food will we share with people who are hungry?

I am actually doing this challenge with others in Casper Wyoming. My husband is a Pastor at a church here, and gets the WC news. When we found out about this we wanted to do it and told others about it. A few of our friends are joining us in this challenge.
BTW I’m feeling hungry!

One side benefit I am seeing already is the time and energy I will save because I don’t have to think about meal planning. I made 12 cups of rice and beans last night….so the cooking is done, too. It makes me realize what a luxury it is to be able to PLAN your meals and all the choices we have. I am hoping that this new simplicity will also bear some fruit in my life. What will I do with the extra time??? What if we did an internet, TV or cellphone fast?? Imagine the possibilties!

I was surprised for myself how hungry I was already by lunch time on the first day. Oatmeal by itself is a rather nasty tasting product. I am sure by the end of the week it will taste wonderful due to my own hunger.
Trying to convince my children who are in gradeschool that they want to re-experience last year’s food challenge again this year led to a rather ugly discussion a week ago. Despite the fact that it will be modified for their age (a little more flexibility) they have acquiesced, but not with a smile. The spiritual development of children, and adults is a very hard task.

Thus far, throughout my day, I am finding how much of my own eating is a habit. How sad is that? It is a habit to go grab something to eat? Admittedly, I am uncomfortable, and trying to fully embrace this feeling. I can only imagine what God will be able to get through to me by Friday.

Wow!! What inspiring words from everyone. As I read everyone’s thoughts and start the diet myself, I wonder in what ways have I let food control my life. When I’m upset or feeling down, do I turn to God like I should or am I turning to food? How many times a day do I emotionally eat? Is food my form of therapy for the hurt and pain I sometimes feel? Am I a slave to food? Do I eat to eat or do I eat because I am hungry? Am I really letting God control my life and my decisions (including food)? I wonder how can something so simple such as eating nurishing food for the bodies God gave us turn into something so different. These are the issues I am going to be journaling for the next 5 days along with trying to connect with people who have very little food. It’s heartbreaking that we have addiction’s to food here in the US and other areas of the world are just trying to get some food to stay alive. I need to get real and connect with God about my food habits along with connecting with others that have none.

Day 1
What a spoiled brat I am…I don’t even like beans. What a struggle this is! Then I think to myself does that really even matter? Many people who are searching for food daily don’t even care if they like it or not they just want to fill their bellies! Reading the comments you guys have posted has really helped…thanks much for all of them! I know that talking to God over the next 4 and a half days will really help get me through this!
Good luck all!

ahhhh!! i’m such a wimp! it has definitely been a challenge. NO MARSHMALLOW PEEPS! that is my weakness… but it has really made me think about the kids in Africa with less food than me. it has been sooo hard at school because all my friends are pigging out and i’m just sitting there…

I thought about the Chipotle rice and beans, too, but decided (like you realized) that is was not necessarily the fair experience. So, I bought a sack of plain rice and a sack of Goya black beans, which I soaked and boiled. We cooked it all up last night, and we plan on just scooping from those big bowls all week. It tastes so terrible with no salt or butter or sour cream or guacamole. But as I ate my ration out of my tupperware at lunch today, I picked up the final grains of rice with my fingers and ate greedily – the way I imagine many eat because they have too.
I too am having more problems with the caffeine withdrawls than hunger, though!

I was measuring out my rice and a bit of chicken and when i saw it on my plate i thought thats not fair, ive done good all day I deserve better! then I thought about the people around the world who eat less than this everyday…don’t they deserve better too?

I’m so glad this is here. It’s great to hear and see other people going through this. It truly feels like a community effort, and that makes it feel so special! Day 1 is harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t think this level of hunger would set in until day 3. But I’m inspired by my daughters. They’re doing a little more flexible plan than I, but they are sacrificing greatly, and are such troopers! They say “Just think of Zimbabwe, Mom.”
Something else for everyone to think about: since we’re eating the same thing every day, we’re using the same few dishes. We’re washing them by hand…I’m not going to run the dishwasher all week. We really do take our water for granted. Shorter showers too.

You know you are hungry when you look at your dog’s specialty food and think, probably doesn’t taste that bad. Have had a pounding headache all day and can smell food everywhere. I’m going to make it with God’s help.

I am so grateful for this blog! I struggled more than I thought I would today, but kept thinking of my husband at work, doing the same limited eating as I. So, I thought – I cannot wait to get home and get some encouragement from our 1st day. I got home and found out that he went to McDonalds for lunch! I was crushed, and felt alone. Then I thought about how it must feel for those that are so hungry and know there are others that are far more fortunate than they. Only they have no end in sight… talk about feeling alone. So, I turned to this blog and will do so everyday to gain encouragement. On my mind today has been – what does a mother in Zimbabwe feel like? As she sees her children hunger, and get sick? As a mom myself, those thoughts really shocked me and saddened me to think of how hard my parenting struggles can be – yet, my children are fed, clothed, have access to clean water, healthcare and education. A mother in Zimbabwe has true needs, fears… I am humbled.

I really liked the last comment. I salted the water in which I made my oatmeal and I suppose that is not available. Waste not, want not I put about a half of a strawberry on it too. Lunch was rice and a bit of chicken; .75 oz, I weighed it. Dinner more rice with a teaspoon of leftover mashed sweet potatoe. While I am hungry, it is different, and I think it is the lack of all that sugar I normally consume. I really miss my tea. The thought that others have no choice is sobering. Today of all days the office was loaded with treats. Stayed away from the kitchen. Tomorrow we are going out for Admin Day to the Olive Garden. One fellow worker knows what I am up to, but I am debating going along; not so much for the temptation for me, but I don’t want to put a damper on a celebratory occasion. I have taken the challenge of keeping this experience as much as possible to myself as I don’t want sympathy, or to risk coming across as ‘holier than thou.’ I want the experience to speak to me as a reminder of the state of the rest of the world. Can watching someone else do this really make a difference? I think the real difference is the journey of participation.

I keep wondering if I’m doing something wrong because I’m not hungry. Do we follow the guidelines on the food as to what a Serving is? 1/2 cup beans, 3/4 cup rice, etc? I didn’t make it to the service Sunday so I’m getting my info from the web which seems to lack detail. I was amazed to find how many kinds of beans are available at the supermarket. And rice too, for that matter. I know our hungry brethren aren’t faced with such choices.

I made a big pot of Zatarain rice this morning for my husband and two boys ages 8 years and 16 years before I left to teach my music class. I came back home and ate my rice, beans and tortilla. I didn’t measure anything. My friend who is doing the challenge told me that I should be measuring both my water and my meals with the cup, I told her that I didn’t believe that was right. But since reading the blogs, I realized that I must have missed something. I was absent on this past Sunday, so that could be true. It is nearly ten p.m. on the first day of the challenge and I am hungry but glad to be taking part in this challenge, because I do realize how truly blessed we are in this country and how we take for granted what is truly a blessing and priviledge from God. Food options and clean water. Thanks Willowcreek for opening my eyes. “For the grace of God go I.”

As I’ve literally gagged down my plain rice and beans today (why is this so difficult?) a thought hit me about how *much* I consume on a daily basis.
It’s not that I don’t already know that I generally overeat at every meal. What has not occurred to me until now is that, by my overeating every day, and by millions of other Americans overeating everyday, we create a demand for excess. This excess of food, money, etc… where *could* that be going instead? Where could it be given, instead? Whose belly could be full(er) because mine wasn’t?
Next week, I will strive to eat “only my portion” in this life. I will have to decide what my “portion” is exactly, but it will only need to consist of approx. 1,300 calories a day. I bet I eat 2,000, easy.
I will begin a serious food budget – calorically, and financially. Prepare at the beginning of the week. Eat only that which I need. Sure, I’ll leave a little room for excess – I don’t want to be legalistic about this. BUT – the daily gluttony…stops here.
Amen and amen!

Ok, today I had a predicament like Ivan’s. I’ve also grown up on rice and beans and thought it would be an easy challenge. I told my mom about eating only rice and beans and she offered to cook them for me. As I went to pack my lunch this morning, I found that my mom had cooked a white and wild rice mix with a ton of vegtible’s. She also cooked the beans with a lot of garlic and onions!!! I decided I would only eat the rice (too late to make more), but I still felt like I was cheating! Not so much at dinner, I was starving by then.
This is definately harder than I thought, but I’m starting to realize how spoiled I am. I’ve been the kind of person who could look into a refridgerator full of food and whine there’s nothing to eat!!!

“From the fruit of the mouth one’s stomach is satisfied; the yield of the lips brings satisfaction” Proverbs 18:20

i’m going craaaaaazy! i need my dose of chocolate or ice cream after every single meal. my wife and i were driving down the streets yesterday and realized all the different types of restaurants around us. i have prayed to God numerous times before meals thanking Him for the food He provided but I never realized how thankful i should truly be.
just wanted to make a quick reply to Jose. i can only imagine how tough it is for you to be the only Christian in your family. i’ll pray for you and your family and don’t ever lose hope!
Goodluck everyone! Let’s keep it up!

Beginning Day 2 – 20% completed for us, but, not for those we honor! HANG IN THERE CREEKERS!

Beginning Day 2 – 20% completed for us, but, not for those we bond with! HANG IN THERE CREEKERS!

My 12 year old son was our family’s motivator to commit to The Challenge. I guess however they presented The Challenge in Elevate impacted him greatly. His 15 year old sister and I agreed to stick with it for the duration.
The Challenge turned out to be a great way to kick off a 12 week weight loss challenge at work. Now the focus is on someone else for the first week. It’s not about fighting the urges to snack on cheezits but about appreciating everything we have. Even in the hard times we still have a roof over our heads and food on our tables. So many others aren’t as fortunate.
Day 1 for myself wasn’t so bad other than forgetting my nicely packed rice beans and tortilla at home! I subbed a packet of ramen but felt guilty the whole time I ate it. The worst part was drinking Lake in the Hills tap water! With every drink of the slightly brownish water I took, I thought of that container of dirty water we saw on stage. My daughter asked a friend to participate with her and they got funny looks for bringing rice and beans for lunch. People asked what they were doing and they had a perfect opportunity to share The Challenge. My son is going to school today with freshly cooked rice and chicken. He couldn’t convince his best friend to join him though. Limiting food is a hard thing for growing boys! He stuck with the challenge though and found he was full before he was finished with his bowl of rice and beans.
This Challenge will stay with us forever. Not just because of a few pounds we’ll lose or the money we will donate from our grocery budget. This has inspired my children and I to become active participants in the mission to provide a better life for those less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you for the wake up call!

To all those who are going through caffeine withdrawal —
Several years ago I have up all caffeine. I had headaches and was really off for a couple of days. But EVENTUALLY I did get over it. Today I do not miss it in the least. You will survive!!!
Today, coffee tastes like it did when I was a kid – sludge – and I couldn’t drink it even if I wanted to.

It’s been very difficult so far. I already slipped last night..I can’t even imagine going through this everyday. this is so humbling. I know things are tough these days for a lot of people but going through this challenge really puts things into perspective…. May we all open our hearts generously to help those who need the bare minimum to survive…

DAY2:
My dog is begging! I would normally share a bit or two of whatever i’m eating but this time i’m not willing to give up a single morsel. I’ve resorted to eating my meals in the bathroom to avoid him. His food is looking better than mine.

It’s so not about us, yet we feel compelled to make it about us. Open the eyes to my heart Lord.

I stumbled onto this prayer while scouring the internet and thought it was applicable for us in our time of fasting for the poor.
Prayer for Justice, Mercy, and Humility
Lord, hear our prayer:
Today we face the season of our redemption during a time of global crisis.
During this season teach us to understand the love that drove you to give up everything to save us all.
Give us the strength that only comes in weakness;
The renewal that only comes through death and resurrection.
Today many of us feel weakened, burdened, and overwhelmed by the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.
We ask that your strength be made perfect in our time of weakness.
While each of us is hurt by hard times, it is the people around the world living on less than $1/day, facing hunger, thirst, and illness, who bear the greatest burden of this crisis.
Just as your weakest hour proved to be the most generous, most life-giving moment in history,
We pray for that out of our own weakness comes a generosity of justice, mercy, and humility for those who bear burdens greater than our own.
Help us to remember that you are the God who, out of nothing, made everything.
The God who still has the power today to remake us.
So let us be remade, not overcome, by our global crisis;
Let us be purified, and not laid low, by injustice, greed, and inequality.
Let us commit ourselves to:
Act justly,
Love mercy,
And walk humbly with you, and with all those who suffer or want.
This is our moment to change the world.
Because it is at our moment of crisis where your strength and your light, revealed to the world by our faith, become a force that is stronger than fear or death.
Today, move us to become the answer to our prayers.
Give us the strength to respond, in our own time of need, to the needs of those who have the least in our world.
Lead us to be your agents of hope and renewal during this season of redemption.
For it is only in You that we have the power to change things;
It is only because of You that we have the promise of renewal;
And yet is through us that You seek to do all these things. Amen.
This prayer is from Brian Swarts -the National Coordinator of Micah Challenge USA and tied to the
Sojourners Mobilization to End Poverty Conference, April 26-29 (sponsored by World Vision)
Blessings and His Strength this week.
Troy

I’m hungry. I had 1/2 of my 1/2 cup of plain oatmeal on the way to gym. When my son and I got back in the car, he informed me that I had not finished my oatmeal. Given that I was very hungry after my workout, and he was right, I ate the cold oatmeal that had been sitting in the car for over an hour. Wow. You wouldn’t have been able to pay me to do that a month ago. While I thought about my gym friends, and what they would think if they knew what I had just done, I quickly realized how blessed I was to have that small amount of cold food. There was an element of “shame” for eating the cold food. That is sobering. God is working with me on many levels.
I keep telling myself, “I don’t want to give up because I don’t want to miss an important message from God.”

My finance and I were thinking we would much prefer to live off of jelly beans and rice pudding 🙂

Sure, this has been tough, but mostly because of habit. As long as I have the choice, I do not feel I can truly connect–though I will continue to try. I have never gone hungry from need. Gods grace has provided me with an overabundance of choices. I often struggle with too many choices. When I think of those who do not have the choice, I quote the musician Sara Groves –“your courage asks me, what i am made of– your courage asks me what i am afraid of—- and what i know of love, and what i know of God.

Prayer for Justice, Mercy, and Humility
(by Brian Swarts)
Today we face the season of our redemption during a time of global crisis.
During this season teach us to understand the love that drove you to give up everything to save us all.
Give us the strength that only comes in weakness;
The renewal that only comes through death and resurrection.
Today many of us feel weakened, burdened, and overwhelmed by the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.
We ask that your strength be made perfect in our time of weakness.
While each of us is hurt by hard times, it is the people around the world living on less than $1/day, facing hunger, thirst, and illness, who bear the greatest burden of this crisis.
Just as your weakest hour proved to be the most generous, most life-giving moment in history,
We pray for that out of our own weakness comes a generosity of justice, mercy, and humility for those who bear burdens greater than our own.
Help us to remember that you are the God who, out of nothing, made everything.
The God who still has the power today to remake us.
So let us be remade, not overcome, by our global crisis;
Let us be purified, and not laid low, by injustice, greed, and inequality.
Let us commit ourselves to:
Act justly,
Love mercy,
And walk humbly with you, and with all those who suffer or want.
This is our moment to change the world.
Because it is at our moment of crisis where your strength and your light, revealed to the world by our faith, become a force that is stronger than fear or death.
Today, move us to become the answer to our prayers.
Give us the strength to respond, in our own time of need, to the needs of those who have the least in our world.
Lead us to be your agents of hope and renewal during this season of redemption.
For it is only in You that we have the power to change things;
It is only because of You that we have the promise of renewal;
And yet is through us that You seek to do all these things.
Amen.
God’s blessing and strength to all those who labor in love.
-Troy

Day 2
Surprisingly I wasn’t that hungry when I woke up. However, by mid-morning hunger had kicked in. Then I had a admin assistant luncheon at the Olive Garden no less. I did offer not to attend if the possibility of my not eating would bother the others, but they assured me it wouldn’t. See, when you work for a Christian organization they are so understanding. There were no options on the menu, so I had water and visited with everyone. I confess I had a chance to leave before dessert, and I took it! I had my rice and bit of chicken back at the office. Glad I saved it till after! You may think this crazy, but I drink hot water when I crave my tea. Serves the same purpose and warms me up. I’m sure that might not be a possibility for a great many of the disadvantaged. I think I can make it through today. On to the challenges of Day 3.

I am sad…I cheated even on day one with 6 shrimp….Today is day two and I actually felt faint with only oatmeal for breakfast and rice and beans at lunch.
More than anything, I realize what a wretched soul I am…knowing my cabinets and fridge have food, just for the taking…and my brothers and sisters in this world…can’t even eat rice and beans and drink clean water. Oh Lord, help me to remember them as my stomach growls and I feel so cheated…I am not cheated…I am blessed…help me remember those whom are hungry and have no cabinets, refrigerators, or spices…Who am I that you’d bless me so???

To Kim…I know what you mean about the leftovers. A few years ago I had the opportunity to go visit one of our association churches in Costa Rica. While there we helped to do whatever was needed. One of our tasks was to help at a children’s feeding station. There was only one meal a day. The children came in quietly and sat down and when the food was ready they came up table at a time and to get their rice and beans and a watered down cup of kool-aid. Some days there was a bit of fruit or veggie. When they finished, they brought their plates and cup. Every day they would ask for more to drink but we didn’t have any extra. Most of the plates were licked clean while some had a little food left which we scrapped into a pot. Some of the kids stayed and waited for everyone to finish and after all the dishes had been cleaned they came up with empty containers they brought from home in hopes of getting some of the scraps to take back for family members. Their faces are still clear in my memory and I think of them with every bean and grain of rice I eat.

Do you think swallowing toothpaste is against the rules?

I am 8 years old and I am really hungry for Cheezits.

I am really hungry! I find myself looking forward to the big Saturday morning breakfast with my dad and brother. Eating anything other than rice and beans, so I’ve vowed that I won’t eat either for at least two months. : ) I’m ten years old. P.S. Does anyone have some chocolate?

JE
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience. It is amazing how much easier it is to hear God when we are a little uncomfortable, and perhaps vulnerable. I really appreciate your message.
Kim

So every other day of the year, I stuggle with food addiction. Why is it that I can resist temptation for the sake of wanting to connect with people I do not even know, but not for myself? Talk to me God. I am listening.

I am grateful to all of you who express the spiritual side of this so well. I roll through the comments and you put into words, what I feel. I hope that this experience never leaves me, that I will always remain aware of the abundance in my life both spiritually and physically. May tomorrow bring us new awareness. Good Night Everyone.

How terrible am I? As I smelled the lunch smells and looked at all the food around me I actually ENVIED the poor hungry people who don’t have to resist these temptations!! I mean, who has a thought like that?

Five days on rice and beans is not hard for me, but I know at the end of five days I can have what ever I desire. I have built in hope.
Most of the world live with no hope of things getting better. Many don’t even get the rice and beans. I have a greater appreciation for the hope I have that I don’t deserve. I have a deeper burden for the poor and needy.

A word of inspiration for the guys: I don’t drink coffee, but my husband is addicted to it. I steer clear of him when he’s drinking it — he thinks I’m being unnecessarily picky when I complain about “coffee breath”. Only non-coffee drinkers know how truly awful that is. This week, his temperament may not be the greatest, but he’s much more kissable!

“The Cup”
Day 4 and I really am missing all the “fun foods”. Even the cafeteria food looked good today!
When Bill told us for this years fast we were to use the little black cup only, I didn’t see a big problem in that as I always drink tap water anyway. I figured he just meant that we were to use tap water… what I didn’t figure in was that this meant for me many more trips to the faucet to fill this little cup. I love to drink water and typically will consume at least 2L or more a day. This means lots and lots of trips to fill up this little cup. What this made me realize and what God really laid on my heart was how difficult it is for everyone in Africa to get water, every single day. What a struggle it is. How at least I can go to the tap and get clean water every single time, while the young girls,teens and all the women have to walk 30 minutes to the source of their water, 30 minutes to fill their containter with water( and then fill it with dirty polluted water), and then 30 minutes to return to their home. And they do this not once a day but several times a day! So as much as I am this 5 days inconvienced by having to use a little black cup, I do not have to struggle to get water ever. How blessed I am that I can get clean water just in a few steps; every single time!

Rita,
You are not the only one who has had “a thought like that (envying the poor for not having the temptations we have)!” I had that same thought briefly myself yesterday as I passed a restaurant with really good, greasy burger smells coming out of it (which normally don’t do that much for me).
Our abundance of choices is a blessing in some ways but also a curse. We are constantly bombarded by sights, scents,and sounds that cause us to desire “more.” There are scientific studies showing that the more options of foods to eat that a person has, the more quantity he or she will eat. No wonder most of America is overweight or obese!
We fight the battle of contentment every day in this country. Learning to be grateful for the small things (like a larger glass so we don’t have to go to the faucet 20x per day) takes practice. COH has reminded me to keep practicing.

Am I the only one spending my idle time planning my first meal after I finish this fast? I miss taste and flavour! Sweet strawberries, a tangy apple, bananas … I KNOW I’m not starving because it’s all I can do to choke down my oatmeal this morning and I’m contemplating not finishing even this little bit. Because I know tomorrow I will again eat as much as I choose.
It has been an interesting exercise, but I cannot convince myself I have even come close to feeling what a starving, impoverished person would. This is called the Celebration of Hope, but I do not believe that person feels hope. WE may know we’re working to make their lives better, however feeble our attempts, but we also benefit from the hope felt; not the poor person who does not know it may come to pass.

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