The 30-hour event began at 7 a.m. on Friday morning. Led by the Evolve Youth Ministry Team, students participated in the international event to raise pledges for World Vision, a nonprofit organization that works to fight poverty and injustice around the world. Fruit juices and water were the only menu items allowed until 1 p.m. on Saturday. Through a variety of discussions, media, local service projects and prayer, students were able to get a real life experience of hunger and all of its implications.
The exercise, headed by Associate Pastor for Youth and Contemporary Worship Andrew Covington, gave students a chance to experience what many people in the community live with
"We want to open our eyes to the broader needs of the world. Here in Conyers and Atlanta there are people who go hungry every night because they don't have enough to eat," Covington said.
In between juice breaks, Trevor McCoy reflected on
"I have a really high metabolism. So, pretty much every minute has been a struggle. Friends at school were curious since they know that I usually eat a lot. But, what kept me going was that there might be someone just like me who doesn't have the choice between eating and fasting," McCoy said. "This whole experience is a great way to understand what they live through."
Sleeping conditions were very basic. Cardboard and the ground beneath their feet provided the students all of their creature comforts for the night. Parent permission and adult supervision ensured that students were safe as they built and slept in their shelters.
Leaders shared successes of current projects with the youth. Among the many issues discussed were the efforts with the Beech foundation. Evolve students have joined other local youth groups to raise funds for people in Nakuru, Kenya. A much needed town well has been built and street ministries, music ministries, special needs facilities and a student orphanage have blossomed as a result of contributions.
Jennifer Jackson, a relatively new member at Conyers United Methodist Church, said the experience became difficult for her around lunch time.
"My friends asked me if I was going anorexic on them. I told them no and explained what this whole thing is about. But today, they served pizza. It smelled so good and it was hard not to give in. As I left the cafeteria, I looked up and thought, Only for you, God," Jackson said.