Wednesday, November 25, 2009
One of my favorite activities of the year is the Rice Dinner.
It's a chance for us to identify with the 1.2 billion people that go to bed hungry every night of the year by eating a simple dinner of rice and tea one night per year, right around Thanksgiving.
This year we had a small crowd, other years it's been lots of people. I find that it is harder and harder to entice people to get excited about this invitation to sacrifice, even though it's always a gift when it is over.
My neighbor and I had a mix up with the rice, so we literally had a "small pot of rice." We began to stress at first, and then I realized, this is perfect, if we run out, we run out. This is what happens to many in the world for real, not just because the rice didn't get cooked! (We had exactly what we needed, how about that?)
We started out the discussion during dinner with some hunger facts:
1.2 billion people are hungry on a daily basis
80% of the world live on less than $10 a day
Food challenged people in the US rose from 11 million last year to 17 million this year
(food challenged means that people don't regularly know where the food will come from)
Food bank usage in Seattle went up 100% since last year: from 500 people a day to 1,000 a day in 2009.
As we ate our rice and drank our tea, each person studied a country that experiences hunger on a regular basis. Even, Zach, our youngest member at age 7, reported on one his favorite countries: Zimbabwe!
After we had reported on our countries and we were not full from our meager meal of rice and tea, we began to pray. Each one of us prayed for our country, as well as people we knew from the various countries. One of my prayers was for the children in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially the girls, that they would have opportunity to go to school.
This is the email that I got from one of the people at the Rice Dinner:
"Today I opened the Parade from the Sunday paper and there was an article from Greg Morten- sen: 3 Cups of Tea author, speaking of his work for bringing schools to Pakistan! God is good."
God is good and when we focus on the poor, he is especially pleased and is quick to show us he is listening.
for more on the Rice Dinner: see Laurie's blog: www.laurieonlifestyle.blogspot.com