For Christmas my husband and I decided to give our children a gift that would keep on giving, so we decided to sponsor a Compassion child in honor of our kids. It was such an awesome gift that the whole family would enjoy.
Our kids were so excited to have another brother, but didn’t understand why he couldn’t come live with us. After we explained how Compassion worked they were a little disappointed that he wasn’t coming to live with us, but were thrilled to be a part of his life.
Right after Christmas I set out to make a New Year’s resolution for the upcoming year. I was inspired by a Compassion blog post to choose just one word as my resolution. As I prayed and thought about my one word for 2012, I felt the Lord leading me to the word ‘sacrifice.’
I didn’t know exactly what all that would entail, but I was thrilled to see what God would do in my life.
I also felt led to plan a monthly sacrifice challenge that my family and I would embark on for one week out of each month. For the month of January we decided to sacrifice in the area of food.
We had just received our information packet about our Compassion child so we decided to eat only what a child in Uganda would eat for a whole week.
I did some research and the last week of January we started a challenge that seemed like it would be fun and easy. We quickly found out that it was harder than we had imagined, but well worth it!
As I researched, I found that the typical family in Uganda would eat bananas, pineapple, rice, maize, millet bread or flat bread, g-nuts, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, stew, beef or goat, and tea.
For our challenge, meals consisted of a lot of flatbread, corn, rice, beans, pineapple, beef, nuts, and potatoes.
For some this might seem like huge sacrifice, for others not as much. At first it seemed we had a lot of options but after a couple of days we saw how limited our menu options were. Here are a couple of things I prepared that week.
Ugandan stew – A traditional dish served over rice.
Flatbread – We had this with almost every meal.
Rice and Beans – A staple for our week.
We learned so much through this challenge. There were things we learned that would have been impossible to learn without sacrificing in this way. Things like,
- Peer pressure from friends.
My son’s classmates thought it was really odd and strange that I would make him do this challenge. Two of our children struggled with what others might think of their lunch.
I quickly learned that our family is not a huge fan of mangos or beans.
My son Garrett wasn’t able to have brownies that a mom brought in for the class. He came home in tears very upset that he didn’t get what everyone else had. At the root he was glad that he made the right choice and stuck with the challenge even though he really wanted a brownie.
I really wanted to eat things that were not on the menu! It can be hard to put our desires on the back burner especially when everything is so readily available to us.
It can be challenging to plan and prepare a different diet.
- Balanced Foods
We were eating so many starchy foods that my body was craving veggies and chocolate. I am only kidding about the chocolate, but at the end of the challenge there were things I was ready to eat again.
Over and over throughout the week we were reminded of the Israelites. It is easy to read a Biblical account and imagine we would do things differently if we were in their shoes.
We quickly realized that we too were exactly like the Israelites! Even though we had much more than the manna that was given to God’s chosen people we complained very quickly.
This challenge gave us the opportunity to be thankful for what we have even when we didn’t have as much to chose from. Now every time my children complain about a food that I serve I remind them that we can always go back to eating Ugandan food.
It stops the complaining every time!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Valerie Hopkins is a pastor’s wife located in a small town of Virginia. She loves serving the Lord and seeing Him do the impossible. Valerie also enjoys blogging, going on missions trips, teaching Bible studies, and being a wife and mom!
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