COH Food and Water Challenge – Day 4


"Lord, to those who hunger, give bread. And to those who have bread, give the hunger for justice." Latin American Prayer


 As you start a new day on a hungry stomach, what is the hunger that God is stirring in your soul?


What are you really hungry for as you near the end of this challenge?


We only have 5 meals left until we cross the finish line. I wonder what will be different as we go back to our routines. I wonder what God is up to. I know He is working in each of us individually, in our families, and in our church. I love the promise God gives us in Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."  I hope you will create some space, even a moment, in your schedule today to connect with God and pay attention to the hunger stirring in you.


In Gratitude and Solidarity,



P.S. If you have a story or example of what God is doing in you or in someone you know through this challenge, please pass it along! We would love to hear about it!  You can post stories on our blog at



Category : Celebration of Hope


Has anyone else been unable to watch the Food Channel lately?

My physical hunger pains have waned a bit, but my hunger for justice and righteousness is growing. I realize each day of this challenge how much we are blessed with here in this country. We have so much, even those who are considered poor in this country have more than those in Africa, Haiti and other countries where food and water are so scarce. I ask that God would continue to soften my heart and open my eyes to the injustice and poverty all around me.

40,000 kids who were abducted in Uganda haven’t been allowed to return to their families. The Rescue is happening this weekend in 100 countries around the globe, including Chicago. Be a part of history. Do what you can. This is a perfect opportunity for us to act to help those who are suffering in unbearable conditions.

Day four is here and my wife and I are hanging in there. We sooooo want to eat something else. But I keep thinking about those who don’t have a choice. I am still struggling about what God wants to teach me through this fast. I know I am more empathetic towards those who don’t have as much. And I have begun thinking about what he wants us to contribute as an offering after this is over. But other than knowledge, empathy, and a stronger willingness to contribute and help those in need…is there another spiritual lesson here? Or am I looking to hard?

LUKE 15:17 says, “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” He came to his senses and saw that his hunger could only be satisfied with the bread of his father’s house, so he stopped trying to satisfy it with anything else. We will hunger after the kingdom of heaven when we have spent all of our righteousness. A sure mark of spiritual quickening is a hunger after heavenly food, which is Christ, “The bread of life,” JOHN 6:35.
(excerpts from “Hunger of the Spirit”
by Dr. George Jacob, Ph.D)
Lord, may we all hunger and thirst after your righteousness and may we finish this race and the ultimate race well.

I am hungry and actually got sick yesturday from a bad stomach ache and bad headache. I almost have up. This has been quite a journey. I have realized how lucky we are to have so many options of what we can eat. I also realized how much food we just throw away sometimes. We have options and those families in Africa do not. I am actually sick of eating rice and beans. I think that this is going to help many of us appreciate what we have.

Lunch is here and I am grateful. I talked with the gentleman who runs the orphanage with my mom in Africa. The kids are still living in villages among church memebers as we don’t have a home for them yet but at least they are off the streets even though they are considered lower class (such a hard cycle to break). Our family sent them the extra money from the grocieries we saved this week and they just say thank you over and over again. They do not have food and water alot but still have computer acess what a strange world. I know the kids will at least eat this week. As my family and I sat down last night to eat our rice and beans I asked the kids at the end the question I thought of yesterday why Lord do we have food and not them? My kids looked at me and my husband for answers but I had none my 7yr old though looked and me and said God loves everyone mom and we had better do something about it. I love that little guy. I have never ate like they have before and am embarressed at how even though I work so hard to raise funds for them I still don’t get how they truly live. Everytime I think I will eat something else this week I think of one of their names and faces and just stop and pray “Lord help them see that you love them and help use my hands to do what you want and start a love for you there”. You can see their faces at my moms website under orphans if you need a face to help you make it through the next couple of days and hours. I have clung to the comments here as I then know I am not alone

It hit me yesterday as I began to crave fresh crisp green beans– I am realizing that I believe the children are not only hungry but malnourished. My heart broke. To not taste fresh fruits, veggies or dairy for that matter. It makes me wonder how simple this is for me to choose which market I will buy the most fresh fruit and most fresh veggies from this week. Or better yet which market has the best sale on produce. Wow– I never expected this to be revealed to me– I pray for the nourishment of these little ones and their families.

Today seems a little better than the other days, and I’m feeling a bit guilty about it. I think I might be cheating a little bit on the portions… or maybe it’s just that I’m starting to be more thankful for what I have instead of what I don’t (probably a little bit of both; as a college student on the go it’s hard to measure exactly one cup, and I think I’m being a little bit generous with myself).
I think the lady who works the line at the nearby Chipotle is starting to really wonder why I keep ordering “A little bit of rice and cheese in a tortilla” (I’m allergic to beans) every day for lunch… Although she gave me a knowing smile today. Maybe there are others doing the same?
In any event, I pray for strength and wisdom for all of us as we continue the challenge. Let’s not get so caught up in “cheating” or not that we miss the larger picture. At the end of the week, even if we never cheated a single grain of rice, we have to know that this is really about those who don’t have any grains at all. Let this inspire us to change our world, not just to meet a personal challenge.
You guys are pretty cool people. =) I’m glad we’re doing this together.

On the lighter side, I’ve never eaten this many beans in my life and I’m Mexican! I think we’ve found an alternative energy source!

God, could we really get used to this? I mean they say it takes 21 days to make something into a habit? I just habitually came home and started my rice cooking, with the beans not too far behind. I mean there would be way less obesity and wasted food. I haven’t thrown one bit of food away this week. But, God I know that you created some other delicious tasty foods for us to enjoy, right? But why in Africa and Haiti are there only beans and rice? It just doesn’t make sense. Thank you to the person, (“JE” I think) who wrote about the feeding station in Costa Rica the other day. Can you imagine turning down hungry kids who eat one meal a day? Yet this has become somewhat of a challenge to me. I can do this one more day. But, if I search my heart it’s so much more than that. I’ve had ideas like, “Maybe we can match our grocery bill each week and send a monthly check to Feed My Starving Children,” or something like that. So, God keep putting those ideas in our minds. Help us to give from our wealth. Thank you, Kelly Patterson for your beautiful prayers. Yes, let’s stop and pray for the little ones, that they would be nourished, in their minds and spiritually in their souls. Let’s pray for the mom’s that have to bury their children or give them contaminated water to keep hydrated. I pray that one day there will be no need for a challenge like this one because there will be an even distribution of wealth and food in our broken and hurting world. I pray that the poor would be fed and the rich would be generous. And when I say rich, I mean all of us! God, please continue to talk to us, through this night, tomorrow and for the rest of our days. We must say that “This is not okay!”
Thank you Heather and Warren and the rest of the Compassion and Justice team for leading us through this week.

All I could think this morning was…Am I done eating this cream of wheat yet? And then it hit me. The hungry people around the world are saying…when can I eat that cream of wheat? They are happy to have that small portion of tasteless but filling food. It is hard to look in the pantry and think about all of that food waiting to be eaten…or will I eat it? Some of these things have been there for a year and I haven’t touched them.

This has been quite a journey. I think what has impacted me the most is our unlimited availability of drinking water. We don’t have to walk miles for water, we simply turn on the tap. With that in mind, I have walked at least one mile per day for the past few days. During the walk I keep in mind those who have to walk several miles every day for their water. I have used only one pan, one small bowl and one spoon this week and did not use the dishwasher. I am amazed, and quite frankly, embarassed how I have taken for granted an unlimited supply of water.

Today like all of you, as temptation arose, I reminded my self that half the world doesn’t have a choice. I would like to think that once this is over, that all my food will be seasoned with a bit of injustice; that I won’t forget. We have such an embarrassment of riches. Even when I have to choose not to buy something because I can’t afford it, I still have more than I really need, more than I deserve.

God is amazing! He totally provided enough energy for me to work with my students throughout the week and avoid some of the tempting school foods! He’s reminded me not to reach for candy or fruit to help gain some energy. He’s given me the strength to just say no to eating more then 3 meals a day of rice and beans. (I typically eat 4-6 times a day!)
He’s let me get enough sleep during the nights (a typical night consists of me waking up hungry and eating to be able to fall back to sleep) to function well at work.
And to top it off thus far, He gave me the endurance and enough energy to run 7 miles (which I have to say was the most horrific of hunger pains I’ve experienced this week thus far). (BTW, I wasn’t hankering to do exercise with bad hunger pains, but have a race Saturday morning and needed to do 1 run this week to prepare.)
It has been a pretty amazing experience since I have never had the will power to fast before and this in a sense was a fast, since hunger pains remained for me even after eating the generous 1 cup meals.
Thanks to be God for opening our eyes to our own gluttonous ways, and providing us with strength and will power in Him to make it through this week- and more importantly to walk away from this experience with empathy for the poor.

Growing up, my family would sit around the dinner table and my dad would say a prayer thanking God for the (nourishing) food we were about to eat. My parents would also remind us (if we didn’t finish our meal) of all the starving children in the world with no food. As a child, I had a hard time relating to children that were starving. I used to think how can that be, we always had food to eat and water to drink. Why wouldn’t it be the same everywhere else? And now since this challenge praying before I eat has a deeper meaning along with relating to people in this world that have much less than me. My hunger has brought a realization of hope for all of us to reach out our hands to help one another. No matter our own situations, there are always people with much less. Thank God we have choices here which is a privilege and an honor. I am so grateful to God for blessing us with nourishing food. I often forget that our bodies are very precious and they are a temple, a dwelling place for our Creator. If we all remember this, than maybe we will make better choices when it comes to the food we put in our very precious bodies. Thank you all for your support!

My husband and I are working in Czech Republic and heard about the challenge through emails from Bill to other Willow church members. This has been a real challenge for us to look at how we have been using food for comfort in our loneliness here and a reminder to lean deeper into God for comfort. We are reminded again of the abundance we have and the little others have.
We are planning to alter the ways we eat even after today to make our own small choice to live like others in this world. If any of you are planning to do the same there are some great cookbooks published by the Mennonite Central Committee called “More with Less,” “Extending the table,” and “Simply in Season.” They are great resources for eating simply and locally. Extending the Table has recipes from all over the world and many stories of struggle and hope related to food and resources. (
Thanks to you all for the challenge and your comments. We needed this challenge. We are praying for a real movement of distribution through this act.

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