A Week in Kenya: Seeing the Impact of #30HourFamine

Sam Halverson


On Thankfulness

What a crazy time to be getting ready to leave for a week in Kenya.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Family time. My daughter is home from college; my wife is finishing her break from teaching; our church is preparing for the Advent season; neighbors and friends are spending time shopping and decorating for a month of Christmas celebration and I’m getting ready to leave for a week in Africa.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m excited about this trip. World Vision is an organization intently and intentionally focused on hunger awareness and relief, and as a youth minister I’ve been able to use them as a resource in helping teenagers take action against hunger. The 30 Hour Famine program has helped teenagers raise funds for communities overseas for decades, and I get to go and see the results and impact of those fundraisers. When I return I will be able to better communicate the impact our own youth ministries can have on communities halfway around the world.
Yesterday, on Thanksgiving Day when my parents and aunt and sister and nieces and my own children and wife and I gathered around the dining room table, I couldn’t help but recognize the contrast of our own blessings juxtaposed with the trip I was about to take. The table where we sat had no more room to place any other bowl or dish of food. Our plates were full (and later our bellies) with turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, roasted squash and apples, green beans, and mashed potatoes with gravy (and desert - four different choices of homemade pies!). The leftovers alone would provide two more meals.
Today, though, I travel to villages and communities where food is not taken so for granted as yesterday’s feast. When the Thanksgiving table was set and we all sat down we said our thanks and realized our blessings; we asked God’s blessings to be known to those in need, and we were grateful for family and comfort and the bounty. This week, though, a different side of thankfulness will be realized. On this trip I expect to see how God’s blessings work in far away places and how the blessing of being used by God for the nurturing of others is far better and more amazing than a feast and the comfort of my pre-Christmas routine.

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