‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves’

Amy is a blogger that took up the challenge of giving up ‘Bad words’ over the Lent period, to help spread the word about our Lent appeal. Just after Easter, she told us how the challenge had humbled her and helped bring her closer to God.

The end of Lent has come and gone and it is time to reflect on what the last 40 days have truly been about.  This journey started for me because I felt like God was telling me that there was an area of my life that I needed to submit to Him.  He needed to refine it.  A verse that had a powerful impact on me was Luke 6 v 45. It had never occurred to me that bad language could reflect a poor state of your heart. It pained me to know that my heart might not be as it should be.

I can honestly say God has drawn me closer through this journey of Lent. Even during the moments when I have struggled with the challenge I have felt closer to Him.  What surprised me about the struggles of this challenge is that when they came along they appeared like the serpent with the apple.  They were covered in the ripe red skin of a juicy apple and I took a bite without hesitation. This lack of hesitation came from my own pride and sinfulness.

As we approach Pentecost, we pray that the Holy Spirit may work through us as we seek to transform the world. Prayers for Pentecost

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Get the most out of your Lent donation

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Lent Appeal. Your gifts will change lives around the world. And if you donated between 13 February and 12 May, the UK Government will double your donation, giving twice the number of children the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong. Match funding for the appeal has now ended but you can still donate

Runa Begum is a volunteer in CAFOD’s digital team. She tells us why she was so impressed by the opportunity to have your donation doubled this lent, and by CAFOD supporters who continue to donate generously.

For the last few years I have been thinking more about donating with maximum impact – giving so my money goes further to needy causes. I often research the projects charities fund to see how far my pound can go. I think a lot of other people are feeling similar – we want our charitable donations to go as far as possible and to do as much good as possible.

Money raised for CAFOD’s Family Fast Day appeal this Lent will definitely do as much good as possible. Donations will be match funded by the UK Government which means your donation will be doubled, at no extra cost to you. More importantly, it means your gift will have double the impact in communities in Zimbabwe, Eritrea and around the world.

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What Giving up ‘Bad language’ for Lent is teaching me

Blogger Amy has taken up the challenge of giving up ‘Bad words’ this Lent. She tells us how she is getting on and what this challenge is teaching her.

I have now done just over four weeks of my Lent challenge and I have been surprised and amazed each day by my journey so far. I am so humbled by how God has met me in this time.  Each week I have learned something new and been pointed in a new direction. Even in the difficult moments it has still been a joy to experience. I love the fact that God is graciously taking the time to change me.  Change is hard and discipline is even harder. However, I truly think that when God disciplines us this is an expression of love and affection.

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Lent 2018: When I found out about what match funding means.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Lent Appeal. Your gifts will change lives around the world. And if you donated between 13 February and 12 May, the UK Government will double your donation, giving twice the number of children the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.

Therese Wynn-Davies recently joined the Digital Fundraising team here at CAFOD. She tells us how she was amazed by the opportunity this Lent as all donations made to CAFOD will be doubled by the UK Government, and how she’s getting involved with a colourful way of fundraising with her ever-co-operative colleague, Jack.

I started here at CAFOD right at the beginning of Lent, which was a great time to start. The office has been brilliantly busy with all sorts of things from dealing with donations, to Family Fast Day. It was around Pancake Day when I found out about match funding. I was really amazed, both with the pancakes and what match funding means for the people that CAFOD helps.

A couple more weeks into the role and my ears pricked up at the suggestion of ‘Dress a dad day’ to be held on Monday 19 March, St Joseph’s day. My colleagues were talking about children dressing up their dads. I volunteered to bring in some of my stash of fancy dress outfits. Before he knew it, my colleague Jack had been nominated as a non-dad to demonstrate some of the costumes.
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Facing the Beast from the East with no hot food

Hal and Cherrie from London based east-meets-west electronic pop group Ooberfuse have been finding sticking to their Lent Give It Up Challenge a little tricky – especially when Hal had to face the cold of the ‘Beast from the East’ without hot food or drinks!

Hal eating cold food
Hal eating cold chicken in coconut with a cold drink

Hal: Giving up hot food and drink on the basis that it starts with the first letter of my Christian name sounded like a great idea before the season of Lent began. What I never foresaw, however, was that London would experience its coldest winter with temperatures dropping to sub zero levels.

It’s a primitive instinct when you’re cold to take in hot fluids and hot foodstuff. For example, nothing tastes better than a baked potato on a cold winter’s night. So when the Beast from the East burst in to our lives, I was struggling with these basic instincts.

Donate to the CAFOD Lent appeal

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My vegan Lent so far

Since 13 February Susy, who works in our theology team, has been vegan. She was already a pescatarian but is now not eating fish, milk or eggs. She tells us what’s been tough so far, and what has been a surprising discovery.

It has been a few weeks now since I decided to go vegan for Lent and I would like to share with you some reflections on how it has been so far. I have had a mix of reactions from people. They range from from very supportive and offering practical advice, to incomprehension and defensiveness.

On the supportive side, one friend suggested I should try Oatly barista ‘milk’. This was after I complained that I was not enjoying my morning Earl Grey tea as so many milk-substitutes just tasted watery. It was a good suggestion and my tea does now taste better! Another friend suggested I make my own cashew milk by buying a nut bag, but I have yet to follow that recommendation.

Watch Susy’s vlog about her vegan Lent and share your vegan recipe suggestions with her:

Going vegan for Lent

Susy assures us her vegan lunch is tastier than it looks…would you try a soy fish finger?Got any recipes she could try to make her vegan Lent challenge more exciting?

Posted by CAFOD on Wednesday, 28 February 2018

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How a vegetable garden changed my life

This Lent you may have heard about Tawanda from Zimbabwe and how hungry he was as a child. You may have heard how CAFOD helped Marian to plant a vegetable garden and how Tawanda’s little brother Svondo grew up with plenty of good food. But what happened to Tawanda?

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Tawanda. I’m 21 years old and I live in Gokwe North District with my mum, dad, two brothers and little sister.

What was your childhood like?

When I was younger, I remember being so desperate, we’d eat anything. We ate roasted groundnuts with sadza. It’s not something I’d recommend. It’s like eating salt.

What are you doing now?

I have my own vegetable plot at the community vegetable garden. I farm the plot so I can sell vegetables to buy things like clothes and shoes. I enjoy working on the plot – it’s my only way of earning money.

Donate to CAFOD so more people like Tawanda can have the chance to plant their own vegetable garden in Zimbabwe

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Stopping shopping for Lent

Jeremy, from our Hallam volunteer centre, has never considered himself a ‘shopaholic’. But a shiny new camera lens and a letter from the bank led him to wonder – is there more he could be doing to fight back against the culture of consumption?

I had a shock a few weeks back. For once it wasn’t the emptiness of my bank account, though that was the catalyst. Instead, I was surprised, and a little dismayed, by my powerful attachment to possessions.

A vulture in flight photographed from below by Jeremy Cain
One of Jeremy’s photos – he calls this one ‘a vulture hovering over my bank account’

Let me explain. I’m an occasionally keen amateur photographer and, as we’re planning to visit Mull after Easter, I thought it would be a good idea to buy myself a zoom lens. We’re mostly going for the birds of prey and I had dreams of getting the perfect shot of a sea eagle plucking a fish out from the water. I’d spent days scouring the internet and was on the verge of clicking the buy-it-now button when the bad news from the bank came through. Just for a moment, I was tempted to click anyway but the thought of having to explain to the kids why we had no food to eat held me back. They can be quite aggressive when they’re hungry.

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Social media detox this Lent

Georgia is currently studying youth work and community development at De Montfort University in Leicester. She previously volunteered for the Nottingham Diocesan Youth Service’s retreat centre and outreach team. During the last year Georgia got the opportunity to be an ambassador for CAFOD and blog about her year.

This year for Lent Georgia will be attempting to give up social media and go on a digital detox. In order to do this, she will be giving up Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. This is going to be a real test of Georgia’s willpower because she considers herself a ‘social media addict’.

Why I am taking this challenge

I am guilty- just like many other students of being obsessed with social media and having the need to always check their phone. Whether it be trying to take the perfect selfie or boomerang for Instagram. Snapchatting my mates, following my favourite people on twitter- including Pope Francis- or just simply keeping up with my friends and family on Facebook. Continue reading “Social media detox this Lent”

Fast to go slow: how fasting can transform you this Lent

Susy works in the CAFOD Theology team. Although she hasn’t always looked forward to fasting, this year she is going vegan for Lent. Here she tells us how she thinks fasting for Lent can transform her, and her relationships.

Fasting. The word doesn’t fill most people with joy. I know for me there has often been a slight dread about fasting. It is not something to look forward to, is it? Eating less, maybe giving something up that we enjoy. A sacrifice – surely it will be painful?

Follow CAFOD on twitter for tips on how to keep going with your Lenten fast.

I think though, like anything else, how we view fasting, how we approach it, makes an awful lot of difference to the experience. When I was much younger there was a short time in my life when I fasted on bread and water once a week. I would get splitting headaches and I was always very relieved when the day was over. I saw it as perhaps helping in my relationship with God, but I don’t remember making any connections with those who struggle to have bread and water every day.

Having worked at CAFOD for fifteen years now, I see fasting in a different light. I also have a much more positive attitude towards it – it is actually something I can look forward to! Why? For four main reasons. I feel fasting can help transform me in four areas – in my relationship with God, in my relationship with others, with creation and with myself. Here’s how I see it:

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