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I Hope

I hope In my ongoing personal effort to not just blow by the Day of Prayer and Fasting for the millions affected by the global food crisis and get on with life, I have committed to doing a few things that maybe some of you would like to try too!

On the Day of Fasting and Prayer for the Global Food Crisis, I ended my day with a gathering at my house after work. I had announced an open invitation the previous Sunday at my church, inviting anyone who wanted to come. I emailed friends, co-workers, and neighbors about it. Thirteen people showed up.

We prayed from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, and then we broke our 24-hour fast with a simple meal of rice and beans, water and unsweetened iced tea. No dessert, no fancy beverages. No veggies or meat in the rice. We had seasoned salt and a can of Creole seasoning though, and most of us used a lot of that!

The evening was a powerful time of prayer and a wonderful time of community. It had the feel of doing something important, something meaningful. Even though it was really very, very simple.

One lady brought her two sons, ages 5 and 7. She had prepared them for the day through a great learning experience that I am sure they will long remember. She took them to Denver the previous day for a typical summer, American kid fun day out. They ate lunch at a fast food restaurant, they got ice cream, they went to the museum, they played in a park. But there was a catch. They kept a log of what they ate and how much they spent.

The next morning, the day of prayer, they watched an online movie produced by the Washington Post (Becky wrote about this and linked to the video two weeks ago) about two families in Mauritania and what they had to do to provide food for their families given the current increase in prices. In the movie, the mother made rice pudding for her family — rice, with sugar and some oil and water. That was what they had to eat. That was all.

So, my friend Lisa made rice pudding with her boys according to the recipe used by the lady in Mauritania. They each ate a half cup of it for breakfast, a half cup for lunch and then came to my house for rice and beans for dinner. Afterward, Lisa took time to talk through with her boys about how they felt. She helped them consider the differences in the quantity and variety of foods they ate on Tuesday in Denver when they ate like “normal Americans” and then on Wednesday as they ate like a lot of the rest of the world. They discussed the amount spent and how much less the large amount they spent on Tuesday was for their family’s income versus how much the small amount spent on Wednesday would have been for the family in Mauritania.

Perhaps you will want to try this or something similar with your children or your niece or next door neighbor’s child (assuming their parents approve!) Children can be taught at an early age to be compassionate and caring for those in need. Lessons like this one can set a firm foundation upon which a life of reaching out and being sensitive and responsive to the needs of others can be built.

As soon as I finish this post, I am going to send out an e-mail to my friends, neighbors and church family to report on our day of prayer gathering and to ask folks to do it again next week.

Stay posted and I’ll let you know how it goes. Or better yet, try your own event and let us know how yours went!