COH Food and Water Challenge – Day 5


Dear Enews Friends,

This is a very special day for thousands of Creekers who are completing a 5 day food and water challenge.  It will be a huge relief to be able to have a normal dinner tonight, won't it?  For me the toughest part was only drinking tap water.  I am neither a caffeine addict nor a wine aficionado but the boredom of tap water started to get to me.  And then I realized that my drinking water was crystal clear, absolutely safe and unlimited.  It poured instantaneously out of any faucet in my house.  If it had been polluted, or if I had to walk 2 miles to get it…well, I can barely imagine.

Others of you mentioned that the beans and rice diet just about put you over the edge.  Imagine eating that restrictively for a lifetime.

I am so proud of all of you who let God work in your life in a new way this week.  And when I heard that over 17,500 of you are doing the 2 hour food packing effort for the children in Zimbabwe . . ., well you know what 2 words are coming next.  Only God.

This weekend will be unforgettable at all of our campuses. Not only do we have a musical surprise for you, but the leaders of Willow huddled this week to make an incredible resource available to those of you who come this weekend.  That is the only hint I am allowed to give. I have the privilege of preaching through one of Jesus' parables at all of our services, and I will be interviewing the President of World Vision, Richard Stearns.  You will be challenged and inspired.

Thanks again, Willow, for not just playing church.  Thanks for seeking first the Kingdom of God, and for stretching to serve the poor.  I am humbled to be numbered among you.



Category : Celebration of Hope


Are we actually supposed to eat a regular meal for dinner tonight? I thought I wouldn’t eat a regular meal until tomorrow morning for a full five days.

Nope, Pastor Hybels said a few weeks ago in service that it ends at 5:00 pm today.
This was an amazing experience. It made me realize how difficult it must be for starving people to ever be happy or accomplish anything – I lost all my vigor for life this week and was the most inefficient I have ever been at work. I also now feel that America’s overconsumption, wastefulness, and obesity is more than a problem – it is a global travesty. Even tonight when we go out for our celebratory dinner, I am not going to “pig out.” I would feel globally irresponsible if I did. My husband, who does our grocery shopping, has vowed to eliminate wastelful shopping – we will buy what we will use. This 5-day food challenge is transforming into a lifetime challenge to eliminate overconsumption and wastefullness in our home. And FMSC hasn’t seen the last of us!
There were so many times we wanted to quit this week, and I am so thankful that we didn’t. What an experience!

Keith, I was thinking the same thing. I sent and email to with the same question. I’ll post their reply if I receive one.

I’m with you guys, too. Bill has mentioned this twice, once at Willow and now in the newsletter. I thought we did 3 meals as well. Funny how we all caught that!

I agree with Bill that this is a church that does more than just come and go. Thanks Bill and Willow leadership team for allowing us to an event to participat like this. Also to Heather and COH team for running the events and keeping the post going

Well, whatever the official word is, I know I still have one serving of rice and beans sitting in my fridge at home, and I certainly won’t waste it, so rice and beans it is for dinner.
And tomorrow it’s off to Costa Rica – I’m very much looking forward to having fresh fruit with my rice and beans next week 🙂
For me the biggest challenge wasn’t the monotony (at least not for 5 days, I’m the leftover food kind of person), but simply the amount. Yesterday I had saved up some of my lunch to eat later in the afternoon (so I’d survive the bike ride home), and I actually forgot to eat it, because I had by now gotten so used to the feeling of constant hunger that the hunger wasn’t triggering the thought of food anymore. That’s pretty scary, that you can actually get used to hunger. I cannot imagine a life where this is your daily reality…
Thank you, Willow, for providing this experience for us, and even more so for making the meal packing available again, so we have the chance to act on what we learned right here and now!

Even though I fell last night and gave in, 4 days of limited consumption was eye opening to say the least. I cannot imagine dirty water and rice and beans for a life time. I too experienced a lack of energy and motivation in the experience. I found that my body did not recover as quickly from a jog as it does when I am eating healthy. Thank you Willow for offering this experience to grow my faith and open my eyes.

Great story Antje. I felt the same way last night, feeling so hungry it do not even bother me. I caught myself thinkng…”hey, I should be passing out right now but I am not.” Crazy. Great job to everyone. You really made a difference this week. As for tonight, I’m going with Bill! I already have grilling on my brain! I think we all completed our challenge.

Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, gives this guidance for How to Experience and Maintain Personal Revival (Step 6 in His 7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer), for our future consideration.
1)Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life. 2)Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you. Make restitution where God leads. 3)Examine your motives in every word and deed. 4)Ask the Lord to search and cleanse your heart daily. 5)Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your walk against complacency and mediocrity. 6)Praise and give thanks to God continually in all ways on all days, regardless of your circumstances. 7)Refuse to obey your carnal (worldy) nature (Galatians 5:16,17). 8)Surrender your life to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. 9)Develop utter dependence on Him with total submission and humility. 10)Study the attributes of God. 11)Hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6). 12)Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). 13)Appropriate the continual fullness and control of the Holy Spirit by faith on the basis of God’s command (Ephesians 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14,15). 14)Read, study, meditate on, and memorize God’s holy, inspired, inerrant Word daily (Colossians 3:16). 15)Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 16)Fast and pray one 24-hour period each week. Seek to share Christ daily as a way of life. 17)Determine to live a holy, godly life of obedience and faith. Start or join a home or church Bible study group that emphasizes revival and a holy life.
I sense God giving us a big “well done” on this one. Good job Church!
Continued Blessings,

I almost gave in today. I didn’t start until Tuesday because we already had a dinner obligation on Monday evening. Although I did eat rice and beans all day Monday. So I am committed in my heart to make it until 5pm tomorrow. All I can think about is food! I don’t like being hungry all the time. This experience has sure opened my eyes. I think for me it was not only being hungry but always eating same thing. My heart just breaks when I think about how blessed we are and how much our country takes it for granted. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be on the parents who are trying to raise their children. Lord thank you for the work you have done in me.

So, the cream of wheat didn’t have the same meaning today. I didn’t savor it as much. I ate while on the computer. I knew this was the last day that I would eat this for breakfast. I had many emotions today. While eating my rice and beans for lunch, I began to feel sad. As great as it felt to eat and know that a big dinner was coming tonight, I felt sad to not equate with the poor in this way anymore. This week has made a huge impact on me. I found myself apologizing to God for eating the beans and rice and for being grateful that I was going back to some kind of normalcy. But, I don’t want to be “normal” after this again. I want to think of those with little or nothing to eat every time I eat, but I think that this will fade. I don’t want to gorge and overeat, and I don’t ever want to waste food again, but I’m quite certain that I will. What I learned is that it’s hard to be “poor” in this country, because most aren’t. I think that if this was the only choice to love, it might be a bit easier. I am exiting this fast with mixed emotions. It’s my husband’s birthday and we had already decided that at dinner we would break the fast. I am happy to see Pastor Hybel’s email, which announced that the fast officially ends at 5 PM tonight. (Now I don’t feel so guilty for celebrating my husband’s birthday with food. )
I felt a freedom this morning that I hadn’t felt all week. All of a sudden, midday, and things weren’t so hopeless anymore. I had a hope in my heart that had been missing this week. I pray that others can be filled with this hope. Do I think that by doing this fast we can really help the poor? You know, I don’t know. I wish! I think it will take one two or ten real history makers, and it will. I want to be in.

i too thought we went until sat morning. anyway i’m going to do it as that was what i’d set in my mind. i lost like 10 pounds this week! crazy that should happen only eating 3 meals, 1 cup each, beans and rice. must be a bunch of water weight. either way scary to think how one could maintain their body weight with such little food. i guess i have a kind of high metablolism and am normal weight. i can’t imagine withering away on this portion size and food, as it clearly was not sustaining.

I did not finish last year. Easy said than done, right? But I reached the end this time. Overall it has been a very good experience to me. It did have caused me to think quite a lot about what I have and many others don’t.
I also have to admit that I did slip and got off track and ate “normal” food & drink a couples of time. Maybe I just started riding bike to work (5.5 miles) and I felt really hungry. Ironically, I still have this kind of choice! This will be even tougher for those with physical demanding jobs.
I learn a lot from those having little. We (me included) consume too much (abuse the earth?), and easily get distracted from the most important one in my life – Christ. Though we serve and give to those with less but who really have more? Who is really blessed? So I should not forget not just serving and giving physically but the deepest needs of the soul.

It’s Saturday morning and I’ve already been to the grocery store to buy fresh fruit and veggies. What a different experience it would have been if I had to walk miles to a distribution center to pick up a ration of grain to feed my family.
Our own physical changes like weight loss, gastrointestinal changes and weakness during this challenge pale in comparison to living on limited resources for a lifetime.
The challenge will stay with me forever. My children and I are committed to helping however we can. Thanks Willow for helping make it personal.

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