Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reflections on the Rolling Fast

Yesterday was the day I participated in Bread for the World's rolling fast. Members fasted on different days between 9/6-10/15 to pray & fast as witness against global poverty. This was the 1st time I'd fasted for a cause instead of a holy day tradition. It was also the first time as a mom.

First off, I'll confess. I broke the fast. Early in the day. My toddler grabbed a bagel & without thinking I broke it in chunks for her and ate what she didn't eat. Ack! Not even 9:30AM! I was disappointed, but I didn't scrap the whole day. I thought about why it happened. The key here is "without thinking." Too many times, eating is a habit and not even enjoyable. Did I want it? Was I hungry? Was the bagel yummy? healthy? no, no, no, kinda. How blessed I am that food is often available to me for free! How irresponsible that I would shove it into my bagel-hole without thought of gratitude or need. The only redeeming thing is that my act stemmed from not wanting to waste. But in general, when food is eaten without thought or consious choice it leads to waste, overweightness, and separation from natural & spiritual order. Moving on, I was hypersensitive and extra prayerful. Not in the "Don't smite me" way, but the "Help us to help others" way. And it got easier.

Until lunch. I've never prepared food while fasting before. Additionally, my youngest fell asleep and missed lunch, so I had to do it twice. Each time, I was aware of how I usually eat with them, taste everything before they do, eat portions they won't. Each time, I listened to their happy smackings, tried to write my senators, & thought about parents who sacrifice every day like that. And then dinner came. By then I was irritable because I was hungry and ashamed at my irritability. When I first worked at a soup kitchen, I had the audacity to wonder why some homeless people were snappish with those trying to help. I've understood more over the years, but watching my kids eat while hungry myself gave me an emotional taste of the frustration the poor feel all the time.

Despite my failing in the morning, it was my best fasting experience. The reflections were deeper, the prayers more sincere, letters to Congress were mailed and I am even more committed to my work than before!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

President of Bread for the World in Chicago

David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, spoke at a BFW dinner in Chicago on October 4 in a program titled "Power, Politics, and Global Poverty." Members gathered to network, share Ethiopian cuisine and speak with Beckmann one-on-one.

In his presentation, Beckmann shared reasons why he is optimistic about the fight against poverty, including:
. The number of people living on less than a dollar a day has decreased
from 1.5 billion to less than 1 billion in the last 20 yrs despite an
increase in world population
. Half as many children die every day since the 1960's
. 20 million more African children are in school since the year 2000

He credited BFW as a major force in gaining US support to reduce child mortality rates and achieving debt relief to help get kids in school. Yet he credits most progress to Africans working hard to make their own lives

Beckmann ended the program noting that in the whole history of the world, it is in the recent generations that 100's of millions of people are moving out of poverty. He sees this as evidence of God moving in our time. The saving God of the bible is present in our history and we are privileged to play a role.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Millennium Promise donation gets you GOOD Mag free!

Over the past year, Millennium Promise has partnered with GOOD Magazine (about sustainability and things that matter) to raise more than $42,000 to support their work across Africa! There are just a few more days left to take advantage of this great partnership. Subscribe to GOOD by Thursday, October 11th to get a great magazine and support Millennium Promise at the same time.

Here’s how it works:

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3. You get six fabulous issues of GOOD over the course of the next year.

4. Millennium Promise puts your subscription money to good use.

To learn more about GOOD or subscribe, please check out the GOOD website.