30 Hour Famine

What do you get when you put twenty-nine teenagers in a church for 30 hours with no food? If the response you just formed in your head was something like “grumpy, complaining, miserable kids”, you’d be dead wrong! Teens from the Albion Holley United Methodist Youth Group, a joint youth group with teens from Albion First United Methodist Church and Holley Disciples United Methodist Church, along with other teens from Albion, Holley, and Elba High Schools did just that this past weekend and it rocked their world! The teens and their adult leaders gathered at Holley Disciples UMC on the morning of Saturday, April 6th and didn’t eat or go home until the afternoon of Sunday, April 7th. You see, they were participating in a very important event – World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine – which allows teens to help over come hunger by going without food so others don’t have to. It is a program designed to increase awareness about the issue of hunger world-wide – including right here in the United States – and to raise funds to help feed and care for children who are less fortunate than those who participated in the program. To date, the group has raised over $900 and gathered food that they delivered to the Holley Food Panty. To put this into context, just $30 will help feed and care for one child for one month through World Vision! The money they raised will be designated to remain in the United States. You can help them raise more by clicking on the link provided at the end of this post – please consider a donation to support the efforts of these amazing young men and women – no donation is too small and any donations will be appreciated and put to good use by World Vision. Or – you can take a food donation to the Holley Food Pantry and tell them it is in honor of the Albion Holley United Methodist Youth Group’s 30-Hour Famine event – I’m sure they will appreciate it and put it to good use, as well!!!

The experience at Holley Disciples UMC:

For these 29 teens, it was an awesome learning experience. They were formed into five teams called “tribes” representing third world countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Mali, and Ghana. They competed in teams and, in some cases, individually to earn points doing various activities. The points determined the order they would be able to eat once the 30 hours were over – the winners of two individual challenges won the first and second place spots in line and the members of the team that earned the most points won the next spot in line. Everyone had a number of clothes pins attached to their shirts – whenever they would say the word hunger or hungry, another participant would take a clothes pin from them and add it to their shirt – the person with the most clothes pins at the end of the challenge won the right to be the first one to eat at the meal served after their 30 hours – that winner was Brianna. They also wrote in journals about their experiences and what they learned – the winner of that contest won the right to be second in line to eat – Brianna also won that challenge, so the right to eat second in line went to Callie, the second place journal winner. Some examples of team activities involved role-playing as kids from third world countries so they could put themselves in the shoes of those who feel hungry every day. In one activity, the Water Walk, the teens carried gallon jugs from the church to Clarendon Falls – about 1 mile one way – where they filled the jugs and carried them back to the church. This taught them that there are people who have to walk much further than that to carry a lot more than a gallon of clean water to drink and cook with every day. They also listened to various guest speakers who spoke about missions.

On Sunday morning, the teens lead the worship service at Holley Disciples UMC, which was attended by the joined congregations of both Albion FUMC and Holley Disciples UMC. They performed all parts of the service – reading scriptures, delivering the message, children’s moment, taking up the collection, special music, etc. All parts were focused on sharing what they had learned with the congregation and it was extremely moving and emotional. I can attest that they reached in and touched our hearts with their words and with their heartfelt testimony of the issues of hunger in the world. A very sobering part was when the congregation was asked to remain standing during the delivery of the message. During the message, one teen, Renee – dressed as the grim reaper – walked around the standing congregation and randomly tapped people on the shoulder, allowing them to sit. This represented the fact that every 13 seconds a child dies from hunger somewhere in the world – at the end of the message, we were told to look around and see how many were seated and how FEW were still standing! Another emotional piece was Michael’s solo performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

The amazing part of the fasting story, in my opinion, is that after not eating all that time, their fast was officially broken during the Sunday worship service when they took the communion bread and cup! Then they continued to not eat until later in the day, at 3:00 pm, when the official 30 hours were completed and they feasted on a much anticipated meal of tacos. 🙂


Group Shot – with their jugs for the Water Walk:


Working on their Journals in the sanctuary:







Preparing for their Water Walk – one mile one way – from the church to Clarendon Falls:




The walk – on the way to the falls:


Gathering water at the falls and stream:




And the return walk carrying full jugs of water:


Children’s Moment during the worship service – sharing some of what they learned about hunger with the children:


The Grim Reaper tapping random members of the congregation to represent the fact that a child dies of hunger every 13 seconds:


Michael singing “Hallelujah”:


I hope after reading this that you are as impressed with this group of teens as I was……they got a lot out of their experience and did an awesome job of sharing what they learned with the congregation! Congratulations and thanks go out to each and every one of them!


To donate to this group’s efforts:

Click HERE to access the 30-Hour Famine website

then click on the DONATE button at the top right corner of the page

then search for the team name: Disciples United Methodist Church

To learn more about the 30-Hour Famine Program and how your organization can participate:

Click HERE

To learn more about World Vision:

Click HERE


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