The famine is celebrated in each public school here in New Zealand and students are encouraged to gather sponsors and give up food (or some other luxury like lollies, PlayStation, or facebook) for 40 hours this weekend.
Imagine that, thousands of school kids learning to look outside themselves and see the needs of others . . . and choosing to do something about it! Way to go New Zealand!
Last night at Rock Solid we addressed in this issue of extreme poverty with our own "Starvation Solution" programme, complete with rice and water relays and our own "feast for the least" (well, that's my term for it anyway. He he!). Each child's name was put into a draw at the beginning of the night that would later determine what kind of supper they would receive at the feast. Of the 30 kids present: two were served fancy combo meals from McDonald's on a clean table and chairs, eight received a yummy chocolate biscuit (cookie) and fizzy drink, and the rest got a half cup water and a plain, rather tasteless biscuit on the cold floor. This illustrated the disparity between the rich and poor in the world and the fact that less than 20% of the world's population controls over 80% of its resources.
Harsh and unfair? Yep. And that's the point.
It is our goal that the kids would in some small way be inspired to open their eyes to the needs around them and realize that they can play a role in relieving the suffering of children just like them. This is not just a lesson for the youth, but for all of us. If you're reading this blog right now chances are you're part of that small percentage of the world's population that has access to resources beyond just your daily bread. You're using a computer and or some type of mobile device, probably enjoying relative safety and security in your daily life. You probably have enough food to eat, clothes to cover your body, and clean water to drink whenever you want. Of course I'm making some sweeping generalizations here and am not intending to overlook someone who is really facing hardship right now. Hopefully, I'm just reminding us all that we've got a job to do in caring for God's most prized creation: people!
If you'd like to get involved, here are some great websites to visit to help you get started:
- World Vision: https://www.worldvision.org.nz/Portal/famine/40th-year.aspx
- TEAR Fund/ Compassion International: http://www.tearfund.org.nz/
- Heart to Heart International: http://www.hearttoheart.org/
- Nazarene Compassionate Ministries: http://ncm.org/