30 hour Famine 2009 Follow-up Day 2

Ridgeview Church's purpose is the be a bridge of God's love to all people so that they may experience His purpose for their lives. This weekend's primary goal was to be a bridge of God's love to our community, but it was also our intention that the students learn about what God has done for them through experience.

In the morning, Saturday April 25 we all woke up at about 6:30 am, because the sun was coming up. My box had wilted away during the night because of the heavy dew, and all I had left were some cardboard sheets. We began moving around, I taught a devotional lesson on Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego when they went without the King Nebukanezer's food, and survived on grapes and water. Our fast would not include grapes, but because of the soon-to-be-90-degree-day, we would be drinking Gatorade.

At 8:30 we arrived at Paris Mountain State Park where they were having a Friend and Family day. We spent the next two hours setting up tables, chairs, tents, and helped the vendors carry their supplies down from the parking lot. One of the vendors brought a crate full of dirt with which to let kids plant flowers at her table. That took every one of us to carry, and hurt every step of the way. Maybe next time she could plant flowers in the existing dirt. It is everywhere!
This was a cool part of the weekend, because we had a ton of interaction with people. Most of them tried to thank us for helping by offering food to our students. It was cool to watch our guys explain what we were doing and why, and watch the expressions of people in response to what they just heard. They were shocked!

At 10:30, other help had begun to arrive, so we excused ourselves and went to my house where we loaded up a trailer full of every lawn and garden tool in my shed. I also allowed the students to do some sawing, hammering, and screwing to build a 3 foot cross that they would later erect at a handicap woman's house. It is so interesting to watch students build something with their hands. They suddenly had ownership over that cross we were going to give her. I am glad I decided not to go ahead and build it ahead of time.

At 11:30, we returned again to Lookup Lodge, for what proved to be the weekend's hardest task. I had called ahead to set up this service opportunity time, but we hadn't nailed own yet what the students would be doing. When we got there, they put us to work! It was hovering around 90 degrees, and we hadn't eaten for 24 hours. We had to clear downed tree limbs from an ice storm this winter from the woods. The main reason for doing this, is because it helps keep a fire from spreading if it were to start. Every downed tree limb is what they call a fire bridge. It carries fire from one tree to the next. Without the bridge, in most cases the fire will be easily contained. This was hard! I mean we were in the woods! There downed trees everywhere. And, the section we were working on was on a very steep slope. Every trip back into the woods was like running bleachers at the high school. But we survived, and the area we cleared looked a ton better. The guys began asking me what time it was, every 3-4 minutes by the time we were about to finish. It was like the "are we there yet?" question every parent gets while on vacation. Eventually, you finally get there.

From Lookup, we headed to the home of Renee Smith, where we arrived at 2:00pm. At this point we were 26 hours in without food, and only Gatorade or water to drink. Because I felt bad for them, we stopped at a gas station on the way, where I bought everyone an ICEE. This may have been cheating, but it was getting very hot and I wanted to be certain we were doing all we could to keep them hydrated and cool. Renee is a former member of our church, who is now housebound with Lou Gehrig's disease. We spent the next hour and a half cutting her grass, clearing her flowerbeds, pruning the trees, and planting new flowers her mother provided for us. This was emotionally much more rewarding for the students than dragging trees out of the woods. They could immediately see the fruits of their labor, and the time flew past rapidly.

We went from Renee's house to the home of Judy Beck, a woman I had come into contact with through Greer Community Ministries. The students were looking forward to seeing her again, because we had helped her a year ago, when we did the 30 hour famine for the first time. The first thing we did upon arriving at her house at 4:00pm was to erect the cross on her porch railing. She had asked me to have it built for her, because she is in a wheelchair, wanted to be able to see it out her window every time she looked out to the street, as a reminder to her of the suffering Jesus went through on the cross. His suffering would always be greater than her pain. This was a really cool thing for the students to hear. We also cut her grass, cleared some branches from her yard, and cleaned up the flowerbeds. She was very grateful.

The time was now 4:45 pm. With only an hour to go, all we had to do was take the trailer back to my house, unload all of the tools, and put all the branches we picked up at Judy Beck's and put them on the fire pit. There I taught our final lesson on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the Fiery Furnace. I challenged them to always remember this weekend, and how they got through it even though they didn't think they would at times. God can get you through any situation if we are living within His standards.

The clock had reached 5:51 pm. It was time to get some food! I had called ahead and set up one final twist to our famine experience. We arrived at Gerrie Jefferson's home for our feast. However, the final twist was that we would only be provided a fork and a plastic shopping bag. Why? Last year we served at the soup kitchen and a number of people took extra plates and dumped the food into shopping bags on the way out to take with them. This was just one more way to experience their pain. Everyone complained, but everyone ate. As you might expect, no one turned down a meal after 30 hungry hours just because it wasn't on a plate. I think the point was made very clearly.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. As you might expect, we are still taking donations The purpose of this project is to go 30 hours without food, and get sponsors to pay a dollar per hour you you fast. Every $30 raised can feed a child for a month. We have supported 4 children over the last year, and feel it is our responsibility to do so again in 2009. If you are a parent, and would like to sponsor a student, or just an individual who would like to make a donation to the cause, please make a check out to Ridgeview Church, and write "30 hour famine" on the memo. Also, you can give securely online at http://www.give.ridgeviewchurch.net/ by selecting "Make a Designated Donation" and designate your gift for "30 Hour Famine"


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