Sunday, February 24, 2008

a very long 30 hours

This past Friday-Saturday, we joined 20+ kids from church in doing a 30 hour fast to raise money for World Vision.  Most of them didn't think they could do it, and I think they were surprised that they could.  They ate breakfast before school, and then came to church in the evening to spend the night til lunch on Saturday.  We started off with some board games, and then went into opening worship, welcome, and a short quiet time.

**twister is a popular game**

**doing a devotional**

There's a lady at our church, Debbie, who works for a Christian charity called Crossroads International.  Crossroads collects unwanted goods from Hong Kong and ships them around the world - furniture, clothes, toys, you name it.  They also run simulations to teach about world poverty, so she did that for us at the church.  This simulation was based on a true story of a family in India who makes a living making paper bags.  The family groups had to make enough paper bags to pay for food and rent each week, while facing medical problems, etc.

**a family group making paper bags out of newspaper, and glue (flour and water)**

**Grant was Mr. Deepahdebt - the loan shark who lived under the bridge**

The rest of the night we wrote letters to students in the Philippines whose education is sponsored by our church, played "Romans and Christians," did a short quiet time, and then a midnight candlelight worship service (don't look at the carpet in the sanctuary anymore...)

In the morning, we had a prolonged quiet time, and then some time for just hanging out - scrabble, chess, jenga, and slacklining...

**Olin (a high school student) owns a slackline - something similar to a tightrope, so he taught and spotted a bunch of the kids**

We then broke into groups for a photo scavenger hunt around various sites in Hong Kong.

**one group at the "cataract"**

**The Peak Tram in the background**

**another "waterfall" photo
When we returned, we had enough time to clean up, do some reflection, and prepare for lunch.  Before lunch, a pastor from another church came to lead the kids in some worship time, as well as communion as a way to break the fast.  It was both meaningful and difficult - meaningful because he really had them thinking about sacrifice, the blessings of food, and Christ's love; difficult because they sat around the lunch table (with food on it) while he talked to them!

**chowing down on pasta, rice, fruit, veggies, chicken, and dessert!**

**some of the kids who "survived"**

Overall, my prayer for the weekend had been for kids to really meet God during the fasting - after all, that's the true reason why we fast.  As I was looking through some of their reflections, it seemed like some of them were starting to really get to know God - a very cool thing.  One outward sign that I noticed was their willingness to step outside of their comfort zone and actually sing during worship :-)  We don't do worship (musical) that often during our youth group times (mostly because i don't play an instrument or lead worship), so it's something very uncomfortable for many of them.  It was really neat to see them go from not singing AT ALL on Friday evening, to being willing to sing (almost loudly) on Saturday afternoon.  I know that's just an outside sign, but at least it's comfort with worshipping together.  Another cool thing - I have a student who is very puzzling to me.  Some times he's a real punk, and sometimes he's really a cool kid.  He's loud, so he's either misbehaving or contributing really well.  This morning at church, we arrived in between the 2 services, and he was leaving from the 1st service (traditional worship), and told us he'd already gone to church.  I assumed that a) his parents were there for something else, or b) he had been told he had to go to church if he wanted to go out with friends.  Interestingly, his family wasn't at church at either service so it seems like that was his own choice!  

Another cool thing is that the kids really outdid themselves fundraising, and the church really showed its willingness to give to the youth for something like this.  We (I) had set our fundraising goal at HK 45,000 - enough to feed 15 kids for a year (approx.).  At the moment, I haven't counted it all, and the kids haven't turned in all their money, but we're looking at near HK 50-60,000 that will be donated to World Vision.  

Actually, the real reason the kids were so gung-ho about raising money (except for maybe 2 of them), was because I gave them outside incentive... If they raised HKD 45,000, I told them I would dye my hair whatever color they wanted....

the next post will be photos of my hot pink hair.

I'm super thankful to God for the whole weekend - 
-all the adults who brought food, led worship, stayed the night, came for bits and pieces
-kids bringing friends who were (whether they wanted to or not) introduced to a side of God that loves and cares for everyone in the world
-the whole weekend went rather smoothly, and it was my first "big" event that I'd ever had to do on my own
-the Holy Spirit's strong presence at the midnight worship and the Communion break-fast

Praise God :-D

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