Breaking the Fast (He is Risen Indeed)

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Life in the Philippines
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It’s safe to say that my anticipation for Easter has never been greater than it was this year.  Not even a 3:30 a.m. wakeup from the yappy dog next door or a 4:30 a.m. sunrise Easter service could dampen my spirits.

It was dark out when we ate mangoes and croissants before church; they were divine, and prompted numerous Josh Eichorn-style grunts of satisfaction as we devoured them. (I couldn’t help noticing that we paid a little less for them than what we’d spent for an entire day’s food the day before.)  We were so excited about eating a non-egg breakfast that we did it two more times, cereal at 6:30 a.m. and French Toast at 10.

After third breakfast, we went to work cooking.  We made Thai chicken curry from scratch (even pounding our own curry paste), had a large salad with fresh vegetables, ordered a giant (36″ inch) pizza, and even prepared mangoes and sticky rice for dessert.  Every bite of it was delicious–and in one meal we spent more than we have in the entire last week.

But the highlight of the day wasn’t all of the good food we ate, or going for our first run in a week this evening, or even the wonderful feeling of being full.  The best part of this Easter came in the form of little kids who couldn’t resist looking in our refrigerator, opening our drawers, and exploring every inch of our apartment while their young mothers tried to keep up.  By the time the sun went down, there were candy wrappers everywhere, the white tile bathroom floor was a splotchy gray, and one of the kids had diarrhea twice on the kitchen floor.  There were large piles of dirty dishes in the sink, the food was gone, and our wallets were empty.  We were delighted.

Our guests were about a dozen of the Samaritana women and their children, all of whom couldn’t afford to go back to the provinces for Holy Week.  After the past week’s peso-pinching, shopping for this meal felt  painfully indulgent, but we didn’t regret it.  We realized last week that if you’re living in poverty, there’s no such thing as holiday feasts or special treats like pizza.  We wanted to celebrate not just Christ’s resurrection, but the women who have become so dear to us and taught us so much.  We wanted to make this Easter special for them, for them to know just how precious they are to us.  We hope that in some small way this helped them know how precious they are to God.

For five hours, our apartment was filled with happy chaos.  There was a candy hunt that the adults were just as excited about as the kids.  There were giddy cries of disbelief when the three-foot-wide pizza had to be tilted to fit through the door–and then the wolf pack descended.  When it was time to go, 4-year old Penelope* (who a few months ago was afraid of strangers, but now has taken to calling us Uncle Nate and Aunt Laura) gave us hugs and said she wanted to come back to our house tomorrow.

After the crowd had gone and the hostess adrenaline faded, I was tired, but happy.  I thought about the story of the woman who anoints Jesus with perfume that cost a year’s wages; his disciples were indignant at the waste, but he said that what she’d done was a beautiful thing.  The Global Hunger Fast made me conscious of every peso we spend, but it also challenged me to find the right reasons for spending money at all.  Compared to how we’ve been living this past week, our Easter feast was extravagant.  But we hope that for the Samaritana women and for God, it was a beautiful thing.

We mentioned at the beginning of last week that we’d be donating what we saved last week to Samaritana.  If any of you would like to do the same, we’re providing the information you’ll need below.  With six women on the waiting list and recent news that Samaritana’s largest source of funding will be cut in half next year, there is a great need.  $100/month will support a new woman at Samaritana, but as we’ve mentioned before, every little bit goes a long way here.

Thanks to all of you who have done this Global Hunger Fast with us, either by participating or by following our daily reports and encouraging us along the way.  We hope our experience blessed you.

Happy Easter!


Here’s how you can donate to Samaritana:

Supporters in the United States may donate through our US partner Mission East Asia National Support (MEANS), and receive a tax-deductible receipt. Make checks payable to MEANS, and designate Samaritana in the memo. Mail to: P.O. Box 8434, Bartlett, IL 60103.

*Not her real name.

  1. Lexie says:

    Hey Nate and Laura,
    I have really enjoyed tracking with you guys this week as you embarked on the Hunger Fast. I learned a lot from your experience and really appreciated the new perspectives brought to light as you lived on $2 a day and all the implications that carried with it. I’ve been telling others your stories as well while I process my own revelations. Thanks for sharing! You guys are awesome.

    • freeisaverb says:

      Thanks so much, Lexie! We really appreciate you following the posts and are grateful for your comments! We’ve been praying that this experience would bless others, too. We miss you guys. Let us know how your new home in San Diego is treating you!

  2. Josh Eichorn says:

    Wow, I didn’t know there was a style of grunt named after me. 😉 I take it as the highest form of compliment that I have received in a long time. Sounds like it was a fantastic Easter. Can’t wait for you guys to get home! I am, by the way, envious of the mangoes you get to experience there.

    • freeisaverb says:

      Ha ha. Yes indeed. your euphoric grunts are something we often refer to when we are enjoying good food. And yes, you SHOULD be jealous of the mangoes. They are incredible. I wish I could bring them home to everyone I know. They are #2 on the list of things we’ll miss here, right after the Samaritana women. Look for another post soon about food in the Philippines! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. hilarykdavis says:

    Tears spilling over my (generally overactive) ducts as I visualize this scene. It is precious.

    Knowing that you can live in severe frugality renders even more meaningful the extravagance of feasting – “acting justly” in God’s way definitely involves both. Snaps!

    • freeisaverb says:

      Thanks, Hilary! Your comment reminds me of a good friend of ours here, who jokes that he’s the tear ducts of the body of Christ. I feel that way sometimes, too. =) Tears of joy are the best kind.

  4. jen says:

    A beautiful Easter scene. What is the deal with Samaritana’s largest funding source being cut in half??

    • freeisaverb says:

      Their largest donor is a foundation in Australia. The foundation isn’t cutting their donation to Samaritana because they aren’t happy with Samaritana (they are, in fact, quite happy with the growth Samaritana has seen), but because their own donor base has dropped off significantly. So we’re praying that more people around the world would have a heart for these beautiful women, and that Samaritana could continue to grow and flourish.

    • freeisaverb says:

      It’s a casualty of the worldwide economic downturn, unfortunately–they have to give less to Samaritana because their donors are giving less to them.

  5. Jake says:

    This one got me pretty misty — it’s a great note of triumph after the build-up and discipline of the past week. What are we here for, if not to have our minds shown the truth — for example, that we can live on so little and still be happy. I think it’s what this experience did for you that is especially moving to me: the teamwork and encouragement you were compelled to do, the new value you give to community and food — these are the kinds of adventures that make for a great marriage. Adversity is just another way to grow closer.

    • freeisaverb says:

      Thanks for reading buddy . . . yeah, lessons aplenty for us that week! I think you’re right that adversity can bring people together–when it comes to an end. But for all these people whose whole life is like that, it’s not as chummy all the time.

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