Rice & Beans- Reflections from others

Below are the reflections from people who participated in Rice/Bean week.  Interesting and insightful to read their thoughts.

I have a new understanding.  And that understanding has left me heartbroken.

Having just finished eating rice and beans for a week, I am here to say, this was not what I expected.  Honestly, I thought for a week I could handle it.  I like rice. I like beans. I was eating…but I was tired and weak, and I really wanted an apple or anything other than rice and beans.  And I was hungry sometimes, even though I was eating rice and beans.

I am realizing at some level that I thought it was ok to feed the hungry rice and beans at every meal…at least “they” weren’t starving.

THIS is not acceptable.

I am heartbroken for those who are mal-nourished, deprived, tired. God created a vast assortment of foods that taste good, that nourish us.  He could have created only rice and beans, but He didn’t.  He created an overwhelming variety for our enjoyment. (God) richly provides everything for our enjoyment. I Tim 6:17 *

It was certainly easier for me, since I only had to cook once or twice. However, I realized what it was like to not be able to give my children what they wanted. That was the hardest part.

It was a tough week for us last week when we did it, and I recall lots of complaints (and some cheating!) by my children. But at the end of the week we debriefed and they all said it was hard but they would now have an appreciation for those who have nothing………….and they would always remember. I pray that is true for all of us.

What if we learned our lesson on day 1? 🙂

Shiela & Callie

Shiela (with maize & beans) & Callie

Day 1: You said you wanted our thoughts this week…well, I do not like rice and beans week!

Day 3: OK, you’ve gotten through day three.  Is it any easier than day 1 or 2?   I feel like I’m a subject of a science experiment…Just wondering if it starts getting easier…the beans thing, that is.  Boy, we are so spoiled…Oh, today is day 1 of the kids taking beans and rice to school.  That should be interesting…

Yesterday after the book fare, everyone wanted to go eat, so I said we had to eat Mexican, and all I had was a big plate of rice and beans.  That was actually pretty good though.  And it was a great witness, as I was able to share with them what I was doing.

I have had lots of thoughts as I’ve been denying myself the pleasure of normal food.  What makes me deserve to eat delicious fruits and vegetables?  Why am I so special that I should get to eat bread, pasta, chicken, beef?  I have been so humbled and grateful that for whatever reason God has decided to bless me to live in this country and to have food IN ABUNDANCE.

When I stop to think about the fact that most people would be happy to have rice and beans 3 times each and every day, it makes me want to do something about it. God is certainly teaching me more about that.

Also, we have decided not to give only rice and beans to our 3 and almost 2 year old.  They wouldn’t understand “why” anyway!  This has been one aspect of the exercise that has been interesting.  Since I am still feeding them their normal diet, I am surrounded by delicious food all day, breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner.  I have been tempted at every single meal to give up and be done.  Just one bite of their sandwich, just one bite of their apple, just one drink of their fruit smoothie.  But each meal I have prayed that God would give me the strength to endure so that I would get a glimpse of what so many people eat for their entire lives.  He has been faithful and I have been faithful to my commitment.

Serving food to my kids has been interesting because there are times when they are teaching me.  One day my son “randomly” started singing a prayer, “thank you God, thank you God, for our lunch!”  I struggled because I didn’t want to say thank you because I wasn’t enjoying my rice and beans…but I decided to be thankful anyway and God changed my heart right then and there!  Oh the lessons of a 3 year old!

Also there have been times when he has complained that he didn’t like what he was served.  Is this how I respond to God when he lavishly gives me so much more than I need?  When he was ungrateful I saw myself at times not being thankful for the many many many good things He has given me.  What mercy that God would show this to me!

So, I know this is a lot, probably more than you were asking for, but that’s what God has been teaching me in a nutshell.  Ohh, nuts sound good to eat right about now! 🙂

About the beans and rice, I did five days, and they were VERY challenging but I am now so much more aware of what it must be like to live there. I was hungry almost all the time and just couldn’t get enough beans and rice to fill me up! I am surrounded by poverty here (Peru) but it is still one thing to see it and another thing to experience it with the food.

Shiela- sponsored as of 2/3/2009

Shiela- sponsored as of 2/3/2009

The company that I work for has been terminating people all this month (January). Some are young people with families, some older people who will have a hard time getting a job because employers don’t want to hire older people. Some are my friends.

My heart has been torn by this. I mentioned to my boss that I was feeling a bit emotional, and he told me there is no place for emotions in the office. So fasting has made me think even more than usual of all those hard-working people in our company and all over the country and all over the world who are losing their jobs, and the fear and anxiety that permeate their thoughts and actions, and the fact that some of them may get to a point that they can’t afford food.

Then I think of all those people who never had anything, and how hard their daily lives have always been. I pray for all the people of the world — for peace, for nourishment, for meaningful work, for good to overcome evil. I thank the Lord for all I have. And last week I instituted a new ritual to be said after grace before our evening meal: we each name one thing that gave us joy today.

MYSELF (not Frank or Cindy)

1) no energy loss
2)  no feeling of hunger
3)  definite sense of food monotony
4)  much focus (especially by end of week) on other foods I am eager to eat
5)  real sacrifice of giving up meals I really wanted (had a small Board meeting where I had to buy subs for everyone but I ate rice; had a lunch date with a couple but only ate beans while they ate a delicious looking salmon dinner!)
6)  ate good portions but still lost several pounds

UGANDAN ORPHANS

1)  am so thankful they have at least this food to eat and are not starving (due to generous giving of others)
2)  continued to think of their little variety
3)  have a new appreciation for their special Christmas meal and any other occasional food treats they get.
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