We are eating rice and beans this month in support of Lahash International. Rice and Beans month is a way for us to stand in solidarity with the poor by simplifying our diet and financially giving to those who are hungry in East Africa. As we make meals based around beans and rice, we attempt to focus on praying for and connecting with those who may only eat beans and rice every month of the year. Since beans and rice should save us money on our grocery budget this month, it means we can also physically share with those in East Africa by sending our savings to provide more food.
When I first told Elise what we would be doing this month, she was less than thrilled. Many tears were shed as she tried to wrap her mind around eating two meals a day based on just these two things. Now granted, we do add other stuff to our beans and rice, and maybe she didn’t realize that beforehand. I am trying to stay away from meat and too many expensive additives, since I really do want to see how much of my budget I can send off to help others this month. The first meal on March 1st, Elise woke to me making some sweet brown rice for breakfast. “I thought we weren’t doing beans and rice for breakfast?” she asked with a worried expression on her face. “Well, not always, but today we are.” Elise didn’t eat much breakfast that day. The boys loved it. In later meals, the roles switched as Elise found she loved the other recipes I tried that day. She ended her day by eating 5 bowls of lentil stew! The boys, on the other hand, decided the bean recipes were not as thrilling as a bowl of rice with milk and sugar. They picked and complained over their bowls. But even Will has a small grasp of what we are doing. He shares with anyone who is willing to listen that: “Guess what? We are only eating rice and beans every day this week.” (He doesn’t quite have the concept of a whole month.) Seth either has a very short memory, or is clinging to the slim hope that I might forget, because every meal he still asks what we are having to eat. And every time I tell him yet again that we are having “beans and rice,” he groans and says, “Me don’t like beans.”
I am hoping that as we continue this it might help each of my kids stretch and grow just a little bit. For Elise, I hope that she does start to develop a heart for those who have less, and perhaps start to see how she can make choices that impact others positively. For Will, I hope that his excitement over the uniqueness of this experiment will turn into excitement for helping other people around the world and in our community. For Seth, I am just hoping that maybe he will learn to eat beans without me having to physically put the spoon into his mouth.
As for me, after just 5 days, I have had to face the fact that I use food (especially deserts) a lot as a stress reliever. I’m realizing how I need to replace that craving for something to eat with a craving to follow after God and rely on him to meet my needs. I’m still grappling with this, but the first step towards change is to have our eyes opened to the need.