04/05/12 On Good Friday, April 6, the youth group at Trinity United Methodist Church in Plymouth, IN will participate in the 30 Hour Famine, fasting from midnight Friday to 6am Saturday morning.  They do so for two reasons: the first is in solidarity with those young people at home and all over the world who do not have to eat and, second, to gain money and support for the cause of ending poverty everywhere.

30 Hour Famine is a campaign of the non-profit organization World Vision.  The famine started in 1971 when a group of 15 students staged a “starve-in” in their church’s basement to bring attention to the alarming poverty in Africa.  All the proceeds went to World Vision, an organization whose goal is to eradicate poverty throughout the earth.  World Vision picked up on the idea and, over 40 years later, 30 Hour Famine is now an international movement of teenagers working to bring attention to the poverty of our world and raising money to help fight this problem.

World Vision uses the money collected from these teenagers to fight the underlying causes of poverty, such as lack of clean drinking water and nutritious food as well as the epidemic of HIV and AIDS.  World Vision’s vast network of people in countries all over the world allows the money to be put to direct use in the poorest communities while also influencing governments to end practices that continue the cycle of poverty.  World Vision also advocates building the local economy so that people can become self-sustaining and contribute to the betterment of others.  They do all this as a ministry of Jesus, meant to bring all people everywhere closer to God.

The youth director at Trinity, Nate Crawford, says, “30 Hour Famine is a great way for our students to broaden their horizons, understanding the problems that exist throughout our world.  It also helps them identify with people, in a small way, who they normally avoid.”  Camdon Grove, a 16 year old member of Trinity’s youth group, echoes Crawford’s sentiment, saying, “The 30 Hour Famine, to me, is a chance to not only grow closer to God, but it also shows you a taste of what poverty stricken children have to go through everyday of their lives.”

For Crawford, the awareness of poverty and some of the causes is not enough for his students.  He wants them to put what they have learned into action.  He says, “Knowledge without action is not Christian.  James says, ‘Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead’ (James 2:17).  So, our youth group is committed to using 30 Hour Famine as a launching point to put our faith into action in various projects throughout the spring and summer.  We will be involved in Rebuilding Together and the United Methodist initiative Change the World in the next month.  By not only knowing but also doing we see a change in our students.”  Camdon Grove agrees, saying that the action Crawford advocates is a “part of my spiritual change.”

In order to fund these initiatives to put their faith into action, the Trinity United Methodist Youth Group will be holding a Nelson’s Port-a-Pit fundraiser from 10:30-3 on Saturday April 7 in the K-Mart Plaza.  The money collected will go to World Vision to fight poverty, as well as buying supplies for Rebuilding Together and Change the World.  The youth group also plans on doing local mission projects in Plymouth.  The money raised will also help pay for these projects.  For more information, contact the church office at 574-936-2519 or email Nate Crawford directly at youthdirector@trinityumcplymouth.com.