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3.5.13 Tour Journal: River Valley Ranch

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Hi Friends,

We just completed the 8th weekend of a conference that we were leading worship for at River Valley Ranch in Manchester,MD called “Winter Meltdown”. Over the past 2 months, we had the opportunity to sing with, share the Gospel with, and talk about Hunger Strike with over 1,800 students! Each weekend, we watched as middle school and high school students made decisions to not only trust Jesus as their Savior, but also to make Jesus LORD of their lives. One of the speakers at the conference said,

“To truly be saved, you can’t just accept Jesus as your savior, but reject Him as Lord of your life.” -Pastor Jason George

So true! This message resonated with the ministry of The Hunger Strike to see Jesus Followers mobilized into action… to SHOW the love of Jesus by loving others and caring for the poor.

We truly enjoyed our experience at River Valley Ranch because not only did we have the opportunity to “lead worship” through music, but we were also able to share about The Hunger Strike, encouraging students to worship God by giving unto the poor. Sunday, March 17th, River Valley Ranch decided to host a 10,000 meal packing event, so each weekend during the conference, we encouraged students to give funds towards this event. Based on the number of registrations each weekend, we were able to share that if each student and leader gave just $1 after each “worship session” ($4 for the whole weekend), then we would hit the goal to for the 10,000 meal packing event! It was amazing to watch the joy on the student’s faces as they gave what they could, knowing that together, they were making a huge impact on children living in poverty! We also enjoyed playing mud football and dodgeball each weekend with the students and leaders.

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In February, my wife and I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana, Africa to meet our 6 month old son for the first time and I had to miss one week of Winter Meltdown, so our friend, Matt Ridgely from The Remedy filled in for me leading as the rest of Willet still played. Special thanks to Matt for filling in with very short notice. The community of Jesus is so powerful!

If you are able to, please join the leaders and students from River Valley Ranch in a 10,000 Meal Packing Event on March 17th at River Valley Ranch. RSVP here.

In Christ,

Jeremy Willet

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Tour Journal

 

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3.5.13 February Month-in-Review

The month of February has been a busy month for The Hunger Strike team! Between ministering at River Valley Ranch each weekend, travels to Ghana and Philadelphia, and gearing up for the Key West Bike Ride and our trip to Nicaragua in March, we have seen the Lord work in many powerful ways this month. We hope you have as well!

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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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3.1.13 Instagram Challenge: Service

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You all did an amazing job sharing your photos of worship in the month of February!  We have loved seeing how the Lord inspires worship in your life, and sharing how it is present in our own.

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Here’s some of our favorite posts from the past month! Thanks @jennashriver, @folger3, @am_xox, and @kimberlybrooke! Make sure you check out all the great photos that have been posted over the past month.

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For the month of March, our Instagram Challenge theme is SERVICE.  We want to see how service is present in your life- maybe a way you are serving others, or someone is serving you.  Maybe it’s what service means to you, or how the Lord views service.  Take your best photos and use the tag #HSservice, and don’t forget to tag us, too!

Here’s to another month of creativity and growth,

The Hunger Strike Team

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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2.26.13 Meet the Staff: Jeremy Willet

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Name: Jeremy Noah Willet
Marital Status: Coming up on 7 amazing years of marriage
Job Description/Title: Co-founder/Director
Where were you born? Westminster, MD
What is a Scripture that the Lord is really using to speak to you right now? James 1:27. This has been my “life” verse for years, but has never meant more to me then right now. Not only does the Lord ask us to care for orphans and widows, but He then asks us to “keep oneself unstained from the world”. At the end of January, my wife and I found out we are going to be parents to a beautiful 5 month old baby boy in Ghana, Africa! Immediately this scripture reminded me to not only care for this orphan, but to also train him to go the opposite way of the world.
What are your biggest pet peevs? Sleep pants. Breakfast. People that wear sleep pants and eat breakfast.
What are you looking forward to the most in 2013? Becoming a Dad!
Favorite food/meal? “All Local / natural / organic meals”. Local beef with organic vegetables grown in our backyard with fresh fruit picked from our backyard fruit trees.
Favorite funny tour memory: Typically I drink a ton of water, especially on show days. I remember years ago playing a small club, and as we were backstage, I drank a lot of water and had to go to the bathroom before we went on stage. Unfortunately, there was no way out to the bathrooms without going on stage and interrupting the opening band, so I found an old aluminum water bottle in my bookbag and went in that…hoping to throw it away after the show. When we went on stage and started the show, the promoter noticed there was no water on stage, so he started looking around backstage for water for us. He couldn’t find any, so he grabbed my water bottle thinking it was filled with water. He brought it on stage, and I knew what was in it…but a fan in the front row didn’t, and she thought it would be cool to take the water bottle and spray the crowd. whoops.
If you could have one superpower, what would you choose? Flying. Frequent Flyer miles are good, but I think the actual ability to fly might save a lot of time/money.
What is the moment of ministry that you’ve been involved in that has had the most impact on your life? Launch of Hunger Strike 2.0 in September 2012 w/ a 10,000 meal packing event. To see over 400 people come out, excited about the new vision to mobilize missionaries, advocates and 1 million nutritious meals, gave us such encouragement to boldly move forward in the work that the Lord gave us to do.
Music you’re listening to these days: Fiction Family, Jesus Culture, Derek Webb
Describe yourself in three words: Husband, Father, Son
Most interesting out-of-country experience: Taking a postal bus to Northern Uganda with my wife, and staying in the community to visit a malnutrition rehabilitation center weeks after the East Africa Famine broke out in 2011. This re-awakened the reality of extreme hunger to me, and really shaped the vision for Hunger Strike 2.0.
Favorite WILLET song? “The Hungry”
What is your favorite country you’ve visited? Mozambique
What are you afraid of?  HAARP (google it) 
What is your favorite movie of all time? A Beautiful Mind
What words of wisdom/experience would you like to share with someone hoping to work in the missions or nonprofit field? Follow the prompting of The Holy Spirit, and don’t let the non-profit world of marketing/business destroy your vision of what God has called you to. In our efforts to “end poverty”, if we aren’t careful, we can easily forget the poor in the process, so always remember that we should not be motivated by an “end” to things, but should find joy in the work of serving the poor now, because “what we do unto the least of these, we do unto Jesus”.
What are you currently reading? “Raising Adopted Children” & “Red Letter Revolution”
Who are your role models? Jesus, My dad, Bono, Shane Claiborne
What are you excited about for the future of The Hunger Strike? I am super excited that we have consistent funding to mobilize 10,000 meals EVERY MONTH and that we are soon launching our Short-term teams program to take people to the field with us!
 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Staff Profiles

 

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2.19.13 Church Condition Report: Ethiopia

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Some will argue that The Hunger Strike would not be in existence if it wasn’t for the band WILLET taking a trip to Ethiopia in 2007.  The Lord used that trip to work mighty things in the hearts of Jeremy, Jordan, and Justin, and out of those workings came the vision for The Hunger Strike and impacting global poverty with the Gospel.  Ever since that time, Ethiopia has held a special place in the hearts of our staff, including leading Jeremy and Kathleen to start the adoption process from Ethiopia in 2010.  Just as we pray for their son, who is still in Ethiopia, we ask that you pray with us for this beautiful country in this month’s Church Condition Report.

Ethiopia, a monarchy for most of its existence, was one of only 2 nations to maintain sovereignty during the scramble for Africa, one of only four African countries to be a member of the League of Nations, and one of the founding members of the United Nations. It is the most populated landlocked country in the world, and the second most populated African nation.  It is now considered a democracy, though most recent elections have been met with heavy scrutiny from international observers and have fallen short of most widely accepted standards for “free and fair elections”.

Ethiopia boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with over a 10% economic growth from 2004-2009.  This, however, has come under fire recently with the double threat of high inflation  and payment balance issues.  Even with more recent struggles, Ethiopia can definitely be considered one of Africa’s most economically stable countries.

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The religious demographic breakdown of Ethiopia is very diverse- while the majority of Ethiopians claim to be Christians (62.8%), over ⅓ of the population are Muslim (33.9%).  There have been, at times, significant Jewish populations as well, though most of these have continued on to Israel in recent years.  In addition, Ethiopia is the spiritual homeland of Rastafarianism.  there are, of course, many people who practice traditional African religions as well (2.6% of the population). In general, Christians live in the highlands of Ethiopia, while Muslims and traditional African religionists live in lower lands of the country.

Life in Ethiopia, especially for those in rural poverty, can be a pretty grim picture.  Around 16% of the population lives on less than $1 a day, and only 65% of rural households consume the WHO’s minimum standard of food intake per day (2,200 calories).  45% of children under the age of 5 are underweight, and 40% of them sleep on the floor.  Many families share sleeping quarters with their livestock.  Poverty in Ethiopia, unfortunately, is a deplorable cycle- because land holdings are so small, it is difficult to work the land into fertility, or to make enough money in excess produce to be able to buy more land or make the land you are working more fertile.  Cultural necessities, such as burning manure for fuel rather than tilling it into the soil, leave the land even more depleted of nutrients.  Livestock yields, especially milk, are then less than desirable because of the lack of nutrition being received by the livestock.

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Urban Ethiopia is not much better- sanitation is a big problem, and most people (55%) live in slums without access to waste treatment facilities and rarely a home with a floor.  However, 69% of children in urban areas are enrolled in some type of education facility, with 35% eligible for secondary school.  The literacy rate, in urban Ethiopia, is a respectable 82%.

Health concerns in Ethiopia are numerous: like many countries in Africa, the spread of AIDS is pandemic and effects most of the female and impoverished populations.  Along with the spread of AIDS, waterborne illnesses and other diseases due to poor sanitation and malnutrition are common.  On the whole, infant and maternal death rates are very high in Ethiopia, though they are generally lower in the cities, where a higher percentage of women have access to professional healthcare and hospitals in which to give birth.  In rural Ethiopia, a vast majority of births take place at home and are attended by an elderly midwife, who assists in the birth.  Many common medical complications of birth can become life-threatening in a rural circumstance.  However, infant death rates have dropped from a shocking 16% in 1965 to a still-unsettling 8% currently.

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Join us this month in praying for the people of Ethiopia:

-Pray for missionaries serving there, that they would understand the culture and be sensitive to how best to represent the Gospel.

-Pray for knowledgeable health workers to be trained in Ethiopia and be made available to the public, especially in rural areas.

-Pray for government funding to be allocated properly, especially in waste management and sanitation services.

-Pray for the infant mortality rates to continue to drop.

-Pray for fertility in the land, good crop yields, and good economic and agricultural decisions to help break the cycle of poverty in rural Ethiopia.

-Pray that more children would be able to attend school, and that the literacy rate would continue to rise.

-Pray for truth and love to be properly articulated by the Ethiopian church, especially to the prevalent Muslim population.

-Pray for the church to lead the way in education, sanitation, health standards, generosity, and standing up for the justice of the people.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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2.12.13 Breaking Out of Tidy Rows

I haven’t had our garden’s dirt under my fingernails in a few months now.
Because of hectic and uncertain schedules, we didn’t plant any winter crops
at Sparrow Farm, just covered our soil with a good sheet mulch. I’m so eager
to get back outside, actively participating in the miracle of Spring. And
I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. Some people have already been mapping
out their Spring garden, with what they will plant and where they will plant
it. For this year’s layout, let me suggest something that may be new to you:
companion planting.

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If you really enjoy your neat and organized rows, prepare yourself before
reading further. Companion planting is a technique of combining plants so
that they can benefit each other in the garden. This may come at the cost of
tidiness and the feeling of manageability, but this surrendering to the
inherent benefits of nature can be quite liberating. Try planting your
vining cucumber with your corn, so it can have a natural trellis. Or your
carrots with your lettuce so your lettuce can provide ground cover and your
carrots can be pulled up at just the right time to aerate the soil to finish
your lettuce. Maybe you plant a nitrogen needy plant with at nitrogen fixing
plant. How about an insect sensitive plant with something like marigolds or
nasturtiums, that repel bad bugs and draw good ones like pollinators? The
combinations are endless, but the point is that you give everything multiple
functions. Learn the needs and benefits of your plants, then place them
accordingly. Most plants have friends and enemies. Using them can take a lot
of work off of your shoulders and add to the magic of the growing
experience.

(There are so many resources for companion planting available and currently
being developed. You may just want to Google it, or you can start here
http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/companion-planting)

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It can be difficult to let go of our need for clearly defined categories.
This desire seems to run deep in our lives. But it is dangerous and keeps us
from experiencing fullness in areas of our lives. Many of us tend to
consider our walk with God as a category of our lives. When we come to spend
time with Him we may even intentionally clear our minds of whatever is going
on around us. I believe that there is a time for this- but if we never let
God break out of the neat, little row that we place Him in, then we never
really experience His power.

In Richard J. Foster’s book, “Celebration of Discipline”
(which I HIGHLY recommend), he speaks of different practices for meditation.
Most of them I had heard of and/or practiced before, like meditating on the
Scriptures, or in nature, or using different “spiritual breathing”
exercises, but one was brand new to me and I think it applies this lesson
well. It is to meditate on scripture or pray with the Bible in one hand, and a newspaper (or
might I suggest our “Church Condition Reports” blog series) in the other. Thomas
Merton wrote that the person “who has meditated on the Passion of Christ
but has not meditated on the extermination camps of Dachau and Auschwitz has
not yet fully entered into the experience of Christianity in our time.”
Foster goes on to say, “We would do well to hold the events of our time
before God and ask for prophetic insight to discern where these things lead.
Further, we should ask for guidance for anything we personally should be
doing to be salt and light in our decaying world.”

This year, I would challenge you to give companion planting a try. Consider
it an experiment. As you break out of neat rows in your garden, break out in
your life as a Christian, as well. Apply your walk with God to your daily
life, and apply your role within your global community to your prayer life.
I think you will find your role in this world and your role as a Christian
to be quite compatible when grown together.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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2.5.13 Instagram Challenge

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This week, we want to introduce a new creative component of The Hunger Strike to you: the Instagram Challenge.  We’re a bunch of creatively-minded people in this office, and we firmly believe that we serve a creative God who wants us to experience His goodness in the imagination and whimsy of everyday life.  As we strive to fulfill this image, we want to encourage you to do the same.

The idea of the Instagram Challenge is simple: we provide you with a theme each month, and you creatively document that theme via your Instagram account for all to see!  We will keep track of everyone’s photos through a common hashtag, and post photomontages of our progress as the month goes on.  When the month is over, we will have a beautiful, encouraging, creative image of that month’s theme that is a collaborative effort of many people within the Hunger Strike community.  We can’t wait to create something beautiful with you!

This month’s theme is WORSHIP.  Worship doesn’t just mean singing on Sunday morning in your favorite sundress- we believe that worship is an everyday, every moment experience that enriches our relationship with the Lord.   It might be a sunset, a candle, song lyrics, a specific place that you find worship comes freely- if you praise the Father, it is worship. So be creative in your documentation, and show us what worship means to you throughout this month!

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When you post photos, please use the hashtag #HSworship to tag your photos and to keep up with others. We’ll be posting right along with you, so make sure you follow us as well:

@thehungerstrike
@karlivonherb
@mattvonherb
@jeremywillet
@katwillet
@justinwillet
@jordanwillet

We can’t wait to see your photos, and for you to see ours!

Grace and Peace,
The Hunger Strike Team

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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