Over three hours from now, I and two of our children — youngest son Grant and daughter Alicia — will be participating in World Vision‘s 30-Hour Famine along with others from our “extended family” from the Wasatch Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Alicia loads up on her fruits by biting into a Granny Smith apple Friday afternoon, prior to participating in the nationwide 30-Hour Famine sponsored by World Vision. (Photo By John G. Miller)

What is the 30-Hour Famine?  Click on the link below to find out more.

World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine

I’ve done a couple of live blog posts in the past — one in January on the State of the Union address, and one in early February during the Super Bowl.  What better way to share the experience of fasting for a good cause for 30 hours — from 6 p.m. Mountain Time tonight until 12 midnight Sunday morning — than to do it in a live blog, starting now?

I will soon be whipping up a big batch of my own version of egg drop soup to go along with my lovely wife’s homemade rolls as part of our regular Friday soup meal, and it will be consumed by the three of us participating in the famine by 6 p.m.  Aside from a few fruit smoothies and water, that will be it for us until the wee hours of Sunday morning.

On tap tonight is a trip to our church to prepare for our church service tomorrow morning which will be led out by the youth who are participating in the famine.  We’ll get a good night’s sleep at home after that, followed by a full day of worship, challenging games and community service tomorrow.  Once the sun goes down tomorrow, there will be some fun to pass the time until it’s time to eat … finally (I see a trip to for takeout pizza in my future late Saturday night), followed by a night spent sleeping (more for the kids, less for me watching over them … I also see a couple of cups of extra-strength coffee in my future) at the church until it’s time for an early breakfast Sunday morning, and then it will be time to go home.  Then, I can sleep.

I won’t be updating this blog post on a minute-to-minute basis like I did with the State of the Union speech or the Super Bowl posts.  It’ll be more like an hour-to-hour thing, or — in the case of tonight — having a few hours in between for sleep.

I’ll also be keeping a photo diary as we go.  So, all in all, stay tuned!

And, at 2:42 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday, it starts … now.

4:58 p.m. — Our egg drop soup and rolls are done.  Everyone’s eating their “last meal” before holding out for 30 hours.  Soon, there will be a group of people outside of our household — mostly children — doing their part in sacrificing for others going hungry around the world, experiencing the pangs themselves.  It’s almost time.  If they struggle, there will be someone to help them through.  Because, as the song says, “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own.”

7:03 p.m. — Bellies should be full by this time.  I know mine is, and it’s going to have to carry us through the next 29 hours.  Candles are set up to decorate the stage of the sanctuary, youth leader Christina Anderson runs through the order of the next morning’s program, music is rehearsed.  There are already echoes of a “countdown” until midnight the next night.  It’s already on their minds.  They know what they’re in for.

Youth leader Christina Anderson runs through the order of the program, telling everyone their assignments for the Saturday morning church program. (Photo By John G. Miller)
Cameron Dunn practices reading a verse out of the Bible. (Photo By John G. Miller)
Rachel Kuhr, Chantil Hughes, and Jack Binder rehearse songs for the Saturday morning program. (Photo By John G. Miller)

7:30-8:45 p.m. — The evening at the church ended with a time for vespers, led out by our guests for the weekend — Emmanuel Desarme and Raynard Josephs, youth ministries leaders from the New Jersey Conference of Seventh-day Adventist churches.  A few of our group were able to spend some time meeting and getting to know them the night before when we went to a Utah Jazz game together, and they continued to show just how fun, friendly, and energetic they can be as they talked with and asked questions to the youth.

9:56 p.m. — Back home for the evening.  I’m still feeling full from my last evening meal, but Alicia’s wishing she’d eaten more.  And there’s still a little more than 26 hours before our next meal.  Tomorrow could be a very long day.  For now, it’s time for sleep.

Emmanuel Desarme (second from right) and Raynard Josephs (far right) from the New Jersey Conference of Seventh-day Adventist churches get to know the youth participating in the 30-Hour Famine at the Wasatch Hills Adventist Church in Salt Lake City. (Photo By John G. Miller)
Emmanuel does a fist bump with Isabella Constantino after she answered a question correctly during a little Bible quiz game as part of vespers during Friday night's portion of the 30-Hour Famine, while Raynard looks on. (Photo By John G. Miller)
Rachel Kuhr and J.C. Griffin share a laugh with Emmanuel during the Bible quiz game Friday night. (Photo By John G. Miller)


7:00 a.m. — Sometimes I hate my mind.  I woke up around 1:30 a.m. and, for quite a while (maybe an hour and a half or so) I couldn’t get back to sleep.  Nothing too unusual about that anymore.  Things just start churning through my mind and I can’t get back to sleep — job situation, looking ahead to the day in front of me and what it could be like, etc.  Sometimes in a case like that, I’ve been known to just get up and write something until I get tired again and it’s out of my system, but it’s going to be a long enough day, that didn’t seem like an option this time.  I just chose instead to focus on a mindset that would help me to fall back to sleep, giving up my worries for a bit, and it worked.

My cell phone alarm went off right at 7, and the cat on our bed chose to voice his displeasure every time in between my phone’s alarm ringing:  ring … meow … ring … meow … ring … meow.

I’m not feeling any pangs of hunger yet.  I have a feeling that Alicia will when she gets up.  I do know that I wanted to drink a cup of milk before bed in the worst way just before bedtime, but milk is also not an option here.  It takes some self-control.

Have to remember that we’re forcing ourselves into the frame of mind and approaching the physical state of those around the world who have so little — not just solid food, but milk as well — and who go without it even longer than 30 hours.

For all those people who are forced to live like that on an all-too-daily basis, the world can seem like such a cruel place.  That’s their life.  They have to find their own sense of paradise.

8:23 a.m. — I asked Alicia how she’s doing.  “Fine.”  Does she feel hungry?  “A little.”  Actually, I’m starting to feel it now a bit myself.  Good thing I have some fat to live off of for now.  There are plenty more around the world who don’t have that luxury, though.

9:05 a.m. — Alicia, Grant, and I are out the door, headed to our church.  Now the real challenge begins.  It’s going to be quite a day.

10:00-11:05 a.m. — It couldn’t get any more stressful for Christina.  All the high-tech gadgetry that was set up for the service was threatened by a computer used for overhead projection that suddenly decided to smoke and belch.  Frantic phone calls were made for backup plans, hard copies of song lyrics for praise music were printed and handed out, but now it’s time for worship with the 30-Hour Famine youth participants leading out and a good crowd in the sanctuary.

Cody Dunn, Natasha McAninch, Ava Binder, and Andrea Alaniz participate in leading the song service during worship. (Photo By John G. Miller)

12:30-1:38 p.m. — The service is over, and it ended up going just fine.  For a brief time, it’s time for some juice to provide some vitamins.  The youngest participants are enjoying some indoor soccer downstairs, while the older youth start into building a large shelter made out of cardboard boxes to sleep in.  There is a shortage of cardboard boxes.  I get to go round up more in my pickup truck.  On the way back, I’ll probably end up doing a side trip to meet the rest of the bunch at Fisher House where our community service project of planting flowers and working on their garden will take place around 3 p.m.

Ava, Grant, and Alicia take part in some indoor soccer. (Photo By John G. Miller)
Cody Dunn and Madison Anderson work on building a cardboard house. (Photo By John G. Miller)
Madison, Rachel, and Chantil work on a cardboard box house. (Photo By John G. Miller)

3:00-4:57 p.m. — Located some more cardboard boxes, but not as many as anticipated and not enough to make a decent community-sized cardboard house.  That plan will have to be scrapped due to “lack of building supplies.”  Plenty of gardening work — planting flowers and weeding — was done at the local Fisher House, a place for families of patients at the nearby VA Hospital to stay.  The Fisher House is a gorgeous facility, run by volunteers.  It was made even more gorgeous by the youth from Wasatch Hills, and they were praised up and down for their work and their attitudes.  The youth knew how to “shine a light” in their community this afternoon.

Brooklyn Anderson
Natasha McAninch
Isabella Constantino

The Wasatch Hills crew surrounds its gardening handiwork.
Outside the front of the Fisher House.

5:00-6:00 p.m. — And then there are the “tribal games,” providing a chance to have fun, compete, and learn some facts about world hunger in the process.

Emmanuel carries Jack and Andrea during a "tribal game."
Liberty Anderson tries to pop a balloon by jumping on it during "tribal games."

7:30-10:00 p.m. — Total play time.  A chance not just for the youth to have some fun at a trampoline gym, but for other members of the church to join in as well.  By the time 11 o’clock hits, the real hunger will start kicking in, in a very big way.  The trampoline time helps to take minds off the empty stomachs.

All a part of "the game."

Grant slams one down on the basketball court.

The entire trampoline bunch, in one shot.


12:00 a.m. — The pizza arrived a little less than 15 minutes prior to midnight.  The tables downstairs were ready, plates and utensils were out.  Once the blessing was said, one 26-inch pizza and two 14-inchers were pretty much devoured in a flash, along with some veggies and chips.  Ice cream topped off the evening.  By then, the participants were so tired they just wanted to go to bed, and most everyone staying overnight at the church had drifted off by 1 a.m.  It was the end of a very long and eventful day, without any hint of sickness from anyone.

7:00-9:15 a.m. — I managed to get a few hours of sleep by putting some small pillows down for a bed in one of the classrooms at the church, but I needed to make sure I was up early enough to unlock a couple of doors so some parents could get in to make breakfast for the participants in time for everyone to go home for the first time in close to 24 hours.  A breakfast of donuts, muffins, pancakes, eggs, fruit, milk, and juice was served and it all tasted delicious to everyone even after finally eating a late-night pizza hours earlier.  You could see that the participants were dragging, but they still felt good about what they’d done, and praise was handed out in abundance for it.

What they’d done was to get a glimpse into the lives of the world’s hungry, to never forget them no matter where they are.  They’d been given a chance to learn what it’s like to “be the light” the world needs to shine on the needy in order to give them some hope.  They’d learned what it’s like to be a hero.

Grant chows down on a muffin for breakfast.

Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media


4 thoughts on “Our own version of “hunger games” (A live blog post)

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