‘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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Coping without social media

Georgia, a student at De Montfort University in Leicester, has been on a digital detox for Lent, giving up all forms of social media. She told us how she’s got on with her Give It Up Challenge.

At the time of writing this blog I am 33 days into not using Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I can’t believe I have come this far- the end is near.

This Lenten challenge has definitely been one of the toughest ones that I have decided to take on. I have found that the most difficult part of the challenge so far is feeling disconnected. The dreaded ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve found that I’ve missed Facebook the most- practically anyway. It is hard having to rely on people to relay information you need whether that be for events or notifications from my sports team. I wouldn’t say its my favourite social media app- but the most useful for my everyday life.

The reaction I have had to this challenge has been “are you crazy?”, “what do you do on your phone then?”. I have to admit these were my first thoughts when I began contemplating the idea. I think the most unexpected thing however is that I don’t miss it anywhere near as much as I thought I would. It has just caused minor inconveniences. I definitely haven’t felt like I have been missing out on anything socially like I did before with seeing people’s snapchat and Instagram stories. Because if its not there to see there is no FOMO.  This realization has definitely emphasized how people’s online persona is so different from their reality.

See our favourite Easter prayers

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What Easter means to me

This Holy Week, Catherine Gorman from CAFOD’s Theology team reflects on what Easter means to her, and how hope can transform lives.

Easter is swiftly approaching. It is a time of joy, when hope and faith are renewed. The long waiting of Lent is almost over, and finally the time to celebrate will be here. The light of the risen Christ shines through all ages, breathing new life, bringing mercy and conquering darkness.

See our favourite Easter prayers

It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves, to feel like we have to do everything on our own. I know, for instance, that I am often unwilling to ask for help. I prefer struggle on, getting more and more frustrated and disheartened, than to burden anyone else with my difficulties.

Finally, I snap at whoever is nearest, and whichever friend or loved one is bearing the brunt of my rage says, “Why didn’t you ask? I can help you.” Just as I would, if the situation were reversed. I feel foolish for not having believed in the love that others have for me, for not counting myself worthy of their kindness.

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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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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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Mother’s Day: why all mums deserve breastfeeding help

When Laura Storr from CAFOD’s communications team heard how new mum Unity from Zimbabwe was struggling to breastfeed – she knew only too well how difficult it could be. As we look forward to Mother’s Day, she shares her own breastfeeding story and explains how you can help more mums get the specialist support they need by donating this Lent.

It’s 10pm and I’ve been breastfeeding my daughter Rosa on and off for the last five hours. Rosa was born two weeks ago, and every time she tries to feed, which is about 10-12 times a day, my body tenses with pain. At times, its so painful, I cry out. And she rarely seems satisfied. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. And I’m worried that she isn’t putting on weight.

Later that night, I remember that I was given a bunch of leaflets, including information about a breastfeeding support group a short walk from my home in north London. Later that evening, I dig them out, and make an appointment for the next available session.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal so new mums living in poverty can be trained how to breastfeed

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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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Can £28 really stop a family going hungry?

Sally Kitchener, from CAFOD’s communications team, recently visited Zimbabwe. She tells us how hearing a mother’s story about hunger affected her.  She also shares some good news about vegetable gardens and invites you to help tackle malnutrition by donating to the CAFOD Lent Appeal.

A few months ago, I met Marian Magumise in her home in rural Zimbabwe. After packing the children off to school just after dawn, Marian invited me to sit in her cooking hut. The embers from the fire were still warm and the smell of porridge hung in the air.

Marian told me that she hasn’t always been able to give her children a meal before school. In fact, there have been countless times – months on end – when she has had not an oat or a grain to feed them.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

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