This week at church the teenage youth had a combined activity. It wasn’t going to be anything out of the ordinary…they get together once a month for activities.
The idea for this particular activity was decided on back in January, long before I was asked to be one of the youth organization leaders. However the actual plans for what would be done were never put into place. That was something I had to do.
The theme for the activity was “Fast and Feast”, with the idea being that we would ask the youth, the youth leaders, and any parents that had a desire to participate, to fast for 24 hours and then have dinner together.
Let me just say up front: kudos to all that participated.
There are about 50 youth ages 12-18, (along with 17 youth leaders) in the congregation and about 40 of them decided to participate. I should say that many participated in the feast. I don’t know how many of them actually fasted because we didn’t ask them to account for it. It was supposed to be a personal thing.
Normally we fast from Saturday until Sunday, which doesn’t seem so bad. I figure that being at church makes it easier. So the true test of dedication was going to be due to the fact that we were fasting from Tuesday to Wednesday…a time period when everyone would be interacting with friends and colleagues at work and school. We would be around food. It would be a temptation.
It was bound to be a long day.
When we were ready to sit down together and have our feast, I delayed a little and teased a little about being hungry. But it was only a little bit of teasing because, well, I was hungry too.
We had begun our fast the night before as a group, kneeling in prayer, asking our Father in Heaven to bless us as we fasted. Before eating, we knelt again in prayer and thanked Him for sustaining us and blessing us with a wonderful meal and answers to our prayers. (I wouldn’t be surprised if some prayers were for a good feast, while others might have prayed for time to go by quickly.)
After the prayer we all say down to eat. This all happened one week before Thanksgiving but if you could see what we ate you would think it was a Thanksgiving celebration.
But it was.
After we ate we gave anyone that wanted to, a chance to share any thoughts that they had about their experience of fasting. If they wanted to share a testimony they could.
Although some of the youth said that it was hard, especially with food so readily accessible at work and school and with friends eating in front of them, everyone that spoke said it was worth it. Why? Because they were blessed for remaining strong.
That was the true feast. Yes it was nice to eat the yummy dinner that had been prepared. It was great to see the youth socializing. But the best part was hearing the feelings put into words to describe how they were each influenced by the Holy Ghost. They felt God’s love for them. That is more filling than any food, which is why the Savior is the bread of life.
If you have never tried fasting you should. But do it with a purpose. Otherwise you will just be starving yourself. It is amazing how you can be spiritually touched by doing so. I know I was. I could see that these youth were.
And those 24 hours didn’t last as long, or feel any longer, than I thought they would.
Just another view from a Palmtree.