As part of our Discipleship Cycle Pilot in our evening congregation we encouraged them to participate in the Just Fast Challenge. This is an experiential initiative of Baptist World Aid whose project in Lebanon we are supporting again this year. The idea is to live on the rations a refugee in the MERATH camps might receive for a period of time.

We choose the three day challenge in which you are given a small can of tuna, 200g of rice, 125g of pasta, 100g of lentils, 70g of tomato paste, 40g of chick peas, and 150g of milk powder. It’s been an interesting experience. I can’t remember planning my meals like I have been, making sure I don’t eat too much too soon. I have been amazed at how much I have taken snacking for granted. Not to mention the variety of choice, flavour, and serving sizes. I have found myself wondering how you would maintain gratitude for provision when each day would be the same or how, as a parent, you would make sacrifices for your children. (I am doing the challenge with one of my daughters.)

The point of this exercise is not just to experience a small slice of life as a refugee and increase our empathy for those, especially in Lebanon, who we are supporting, but to get us thinking about what it means to follow Jesus. To consider our gratitude, to expose our appetites, and to get us thinking about our place in God’s plans to restore the world.

I’m looking forward to being able to debrief this experience in our evening service and to hear what Jesus has been doing in people’s lives.

Marc Rader | Senior Pastor