FHL Week 2020

No Hunger Pangs! – Day Five of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey

Friday was the best day of the week! No hunger pangs! I started the day with coffee at LePeep, where we meet for CBMC Bible Study every Friday morning. The coffee seemed to meet my need for something in my stomach, so I was satisfied when I came home to work on a writing project. That took my attention for more than an hour. Then it was time for our CBMC Carmel meeting on Zoom, which was a great interaction! The stimulating conversation kept my mind off food over the lunch hour, and I was excited about going to my church to cut grass this afternoon.

Two-and-half hours on a 60-inch X-Mark is a blast! We were talking about goal achievement in our Carmel meeting, and the importance of both satisfaction and performance in finishing a goal. Many times, goals may be achieved, but they aren’t satisfying, because the work is drudgery. Our coach was emphasizing the importance of making the work fun. That’s exactly what happened this afternoon with the goal of cutting the church lawn. I was focused on performing well, but I had fun doing it!

I had two large cups of ice water which slacked my thirst and I sensed no hunger at all. Of course, I was tired by the time I was done, and a cool shower revived me. Then, all of a sudden, I was hungry-tired! Fortunately, it was dinner time, and my wife had fixed a nourishing meal, which I enjoyed! I celebrated the completion of the Hunger Challenge with pecan pie ala-mode!

Then I was exhausted! Watching a Hallmark Movie revived me enough to write this final report.

When you receive this final post, the volunteers for Faith, Hope & Love will be preparing to serve about 100 families at the Drive-thru Missional Food Pantry at the old Starbucks location in Castleton. We can expect about 25 people to pray to receive Christ, as they prepare to receive their food. These people have humbled themselves to realize they are not in control of their lives during the pandemic, so they have reached out for free food. Many of them are receptive to receive the gospel and to ask God to take control of their lives, providing the hope that only Christ can give, during this difficult time.

You can help out by praying for the less fortunate, as they seek the necessities of life.

If you would like to volunteer to serve, or to get your church or small group involved in serving, contact Merlin Gonzales [email protected]

Donations are greatly appreciated and will help us continue this valuable effort for our community. Donate

Thank you

Eldon

Eldon KibbeyNo Hunger Pangs! – Day Five of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey
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Meetings, Meetings, Meetings – Day Four of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey

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Thursday is often what I call a perma-meeting day – that’s a day filled with one meeting after another. My morning was like that, today, from 6:30am – 12:30pm, with an hour break in the middle. The afternoon had a two-hour meeting, and we had a small group meeting this evening at church. Meetings are great for me because they distract me from thinking about food!

The toughest times today were the half hour waiting at Panera for my afternoon meeting, and the drive home from the meeting at church. I was early at Panera and tried to pray, but the hunger pangs were distracting. It made me think that the idea of fasting for prayer does not really work for me. The idea of praying so intensely that I’m willing to skip a meal makes a whole lot more sense!

My Panera partner hadn’t had lunch so I told him to go ahead and eat in front of me. He felt like he owed me something, but it was not a problem at all, because we were engaged in conversation, so I wasn’t thinking about food. The drive home from church in the evening made me think about having a snack when I got home, knowing I couldn’t have one. Interestingly, when I got home, my mind was on other things, and I didn’t even think about food!

COVID-19 has kept me pretty sequestered, so the face-to-face meetings were unusual. Because I haven’t been driving to meetings, I haven’t expended as much energy as I have in past years, so I haven’t gotten as tired.

One of my Timothys who is doing the 0-0-1 Challenge this week has been much more active, so he wore himself out with strenuous activity on Tuesday. It makes me think of those in third-world countries who have to spend their days doing something to generate their one meal of the day. It must be exhausting!

Who am I to even be thinking that this Hunger Challenge means something? It is a shadow of the way of life of the people we need to be concerned about! But, in some meager way, this makes me more aware of their plight, and maybe it helps you to have some empathy for them. That is the hope, anyway!

Thanks for reading this! Please pray for those who are less fortunate!

Blessings

Eldon

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Image source: FHL at Rotary Club Meeting

Eldon KibbeyMeetings, Meetings, Meetings – Day Four of the 2020 Hunger Challenge – Eldon Kibbey
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Hunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 3 – Aarik Williams

Hello, friends!

So yesterday (Wednesday) was Day 3 of the 0-0-1 Hunger Challenge (dinner only), and it was surprisingly not much demanding from a physical standpoint. It appears my body is adjusting to its reality that it is only being fed once daily.

I spent the morning going through some items that I am needing to purge, and it wasn’t so much physically demanding as mentally/emotionally demanding as there was a lot of decision making involved. I did hit a wall after an hour or so of earnest effort, and I’m certain that working with limited energy played at least somewhat of a role in that.

By the time I got to the pantry in the early afternoon, I had braced myself to jump back into my reporting work that is needing to get wrapped up, and I did some. (For those of you who may not know, my professional background is in Data Analytics, so this is actually an area of strength of mine.) However, what I was much more sensitive to today was the fact that I was working on something demanding without much encouragement by virtue of the fact that I was the only one in the building.

It’s funny, in the first few months of our pantry opening (we began in early May), we had volunteers present throughout the week helping us prepare for each upcoming Saturday. My focus was much heavier on equipping volunteers to help us with our processes, and frankly to get to know them and ask how I could pray for them given my gratitude for their critical contributions to our weekly preparation.

As the weeks progressed, our processes improved and I had more projects hitting my plate that required my specific focus. My attitude toward having volunteers present throughout the week began souring as I didn’t want the distraction from my ability to do my own work. Well, just a few short weeks later, I am noticing that I am having fewer and fewer “distractions” during the week, but I am experiencing a loneliness I haven’t had to this point and am struggling somewhat with focus and motivation.

While I have long pegged myself as someone who would not thrive in a regular work-from-home arrangement, I am seeing even more clearly that I simply wouldn’t operate well working alone in any environment, regardless of the physical location, home or otherwise. And as this may not be the most earth-shattering revelation, when I think about my attitude over the social state of our society over the past four months, there was a much more painful conviction there.

You see, life wasn’t exactly going the best for me at the time of the coronavirus bullying its way on to the scene back in March. I had been working part-time and enjoying myself with that work, but I knew it was only a stopgap for a period. Despite an interview at Salesforce back in February that I had crushed, the reward was radio silence for a role I would’ve been perfect for.

My Pa (Grandpa) passed away in early March due to COVID before we knew to call it that; we only knew that he was taken from us very suddenly and didn’t know why. It was particularly hard for me as he and I were really building some momentum in our relationship, and I was enjoying both spending the time and getting to know him more.

My faith journey had been largely put on pause for a few months following my reading of Matthew, Mark and Luke in December and January, as I was tired of Jesus telling me that all the knowledge I had gained from reading the Old Testament in 2019 was insufficient for living my life in a way that was pleasing to God. As if I needed any reminder considering my divorce was official in February.

But you know, in mid-March I picked my Bible back up and started reading the book of John, and Jesus became more encouraging again. I recommitted to memorizing Bible verses again, something I had really poured into from Oct-Jan which was so good for me. I took a flyer on some work through an app called TaskRabbit, and I not only started making better money, but was getting exercise doing yardwork for people and was able to re-engage in listening to the Bema Discipleship podcast, something that really ministers to my soul as I love its academic approach to understanding the Bible more fully.

By the time Easter rolled around in mid-April, it was clear that God had done enough work in my heart that I was able to receive Jesus’s death on the cross as the ultimate expression of love, not a reminder of everything I had done wrong to put him there. And it was only the following week that I started working at our Drive-Thru Missional Food Pantry, being surrounded by people who are truly committed to their faith and regularly witnessing God showing up in some very clear and powerful ways in order to make our operation possible.

So wouldn’t you know it, my life actually got better in pretty short order following the arrival of COVID on to the scene. And I quickly became tacitly smug about the fact that my life as a Christian was getting better while those of other Christians were worsening, attributing it to my study of God’s Word and my openness to His lessons for me. If only they had been interested in pursuing transformation instead of just going to church. If only they had been doing the hard work as a Christian like me.

But as of late, despite my continued learning and countless positive experiences with God these last few months, life has become harder. It is clear I am entering a season of transition, and I don’t know where life will be leading in some important ways. There are some things I’ve known I would eventually need to tend to that are starting to come home to roost. And so much of that confidence I’ve built up in “my being a good Christian” has been humbled in short order, as I have quickly been forced to realize not just how little control I truly have over my own life, but also how temperamental and resentful I become over that fact. Not exactly the mark of a “good Christian”.

And on that note, I looked at a picture we recently hung on the wall here at the pantry in a much different way yesterday. It is a picture that I’ve seen for years in attending Faith Hope & Love events, but one I never paid this much attention to. The fact that the people in that picture are actual people. The fact that the people in that picture were in need of help. And the fact that the people in the picture would’ve never been helped if they had to depend on a “good Christian” like me to start up a program like Faith Hope & Love has, training churches to launch their own food pantries across the city of Indianapolis as a means of meeting the real needs of their communities.

When I drove home last night, looking forward to a meal that I knew would be plentiful and satisfying, there was a homeless man asking for help at a stoplight along the way. While I gave him the only food I had in my car, a granola bar, for which he was sincerely thankful, I realized that this gesture, something I used to pat myself on the back for a few months ago, wasn’t really helping this man that much.

Rest assured, I’ve been making it a point to eat a salad and a fruit salad regularly this week, knowing that I was only going to have one meal. You’d better believe I was going to make it count. But this man doesn’t have that luxury. He is at the mercy of whatever others were willing to spare to him yesterday. And probably today. And probably tomorrow. Unlike me. Who is just doing this challenge as an exercise in discipline and awareness, and am ultimately not suffering but am really just whining.

So that was Day 3. Not much physically demanding but certainly spiritually convicting. I’ll be sure to share Day 4 tomorrow morning as you’d better believe the hits have kept on coming!

Aarik WilliamsHunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 3 – Aarik Williams
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Hunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 2 – Aarik Williams

Good morning, friends!

So as expected, Day 2 of this 0-0-1 Hunger Challenge (dinner only) caught up to me more severely yesterday. I didn’t enjoy being around myself and am thankful that there weren’t many people subjected to being around me, either!

Things were fine in the morning, but by 1-1:30 my energy was spent. Here at FHL, our network pantries meet at one of our churches and divide all the food we receive from Midwest Food Bank twice a month on Tuesdays, and yesterday happened to be one of those days. The picture below is the truckload that we were blessed to bring back to our pantry here in Castleton. We had a great haul of canned goods, bread, dairy variety packs, cereal and more!

As you might suspect, unloading these items by yourself is somewhat physically demanding. Add then to that fact that I had to spend a lot of time removing items from the boxes seen here as well as boxes already in our refrigerators in order to make everything fit (good problem to have!), and I would’ve been ready for a great lunch afterward!

Problem is that I wasn’t able to eat lunch because of this challenge. And rest assured I was thinking about that the whole time I was doing the work, that I wasn’t going to be able to have lunch after I finished. Which then put me in a bad mood about why I was having to do all the work myself during this one ridiculous week where I was intentionally going undernourished.
I certainly had a series of frustrations surface with my thoughts toward God in the morning/early afternoon. The purpose of fasting to get you to think more about God certainly worked for me, but none of those thoughts were fun or pleasant!

My remaining assignment was a mental one of working to compile data and finish some reporting that we require of all pantries in the FHL Network. As this is something I am going through for the first time, there are some things I am working to invent along the way so the process is much easier in the future.
Needless to say I was entirely ineffective in that process after finishing unloading all of our food. I ended up going home and taking a 2-hour nap, while justifying my unanswered calls and texts were better for everyone else not having to endure my surliness, anyway.

I was blessed to have a great dinner while reconnecting with a dear, old friend last night! Funny how my spirits picked up after a good meal and sharing in a valued relationship. Enjoying our great conversation and that nice meal completely took my mind off the Hunger Challenge during that period.

I can tell you from experience that we see our share of homeless people visit our pantry alone, and that our MREs and other ready-to-eat items aren’t as satisfying as a restaurant burrito. I honestly don’t even want to begin to imagine what it must be like eating alone and simply for sustenance on a regular basis.
Can’t necessarily say I’m “looking forward” to what today will bring, but it is my prayer that God continues revealing to me how He wants my heart to grow for Him and the underserved in our community and society.

Aarik WilliamsHunger Awareness Week 2020: Day 2 – Aarik Williams
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