How I’m Making Lent Matter

04/03/14

I had no Lenten tradition, growing up Baptist. But now that I'm a member of a church which does observe this significant Christian season, I desire to celebrate it in a significant way. I've tried different "fasts" in previous years, but this year I wanted to make the season of Lent an intentional time of praying for others.

 
With six weeks in the season and six countries COTN serves (including Liberia, which they don't quite serve in yet, but ... it makes six so I went with it), the "where" was a no-brainer. For the "how," I decided to make a typical dish from each country to serve my family at the start of the week. Then, throughout the week, we would intentionally pray for that part of the world and COTN's work in that country in particular. 
 
Making dishes from the countries COTN serves was great
 Making dishes from the countries COTN serves was a great way to get my family involved in praying for the children.
 
I started with the Dominican Republic, where we sponsor a young man. I made "sancocho", a typical stew of the Dominican Republic, featuring several meats and all kinds of vegetables, some I'd never tried before, like yucca and plantains. Liberia was next, with black-eyed pea soup and rice bread
 
To keep my carnivorous family on board, I concentrated on finding recipes with meat in them, although this idea could also be easily done with an everyday rice and beans fare. So for Uganda I chose plantains with chicken stew. For Malawi, steak cooked in milk. And for Haiti, "griot" (fried pork) accompanied by "bannann peze" (fried plantains) and "diri kole" (beans and rice, Haitian style). For Sierra Leone, I'll return to the vegetarian dishes and make Cassia's recipe for groundnut stew, of course!
 
Groundnut stew, from Sierra Leone
                                                            Groundnut stew, from Sierra Leone. 
 
And if this sounds like too much feasting for this fasting season, I did accomplish some fasting on my own. I also sponsor a native missionary in India, and every noon I have a simple dish of lentils and pray for her. This has made my season of Lent significant, intentional, and really quite fun! 
 
Are you celebrating Lent this year? Tell us how you’re fasting by making a comment below!