Participant Profile – Josh Petersen

Hearing the stories of other Rice & Beans participants is a great source of encouragement for the journey. Although we unite around a common purpose, our life circumstances and the ways we live out this purpose vary greatly! We’ll be featuring three Participant Profiles this month, beginning with Josh Petersen.

Josh is a Lahash volunteer, and a student at Warner Pacific University. He participated in Rice & Beans Month for the first time last year with a couple of his housemates. Josh committed to eating at least one meal a day of rice and beans, at least 5 days a week, and he cut out all meat for the month.

“Living in community helped me on the days when I didn’t feel like preparing beans… again,” Josh says. “My roommates would come home saying, ‘What do we want to do with the beans and rice today?’ Their excitement helped me to be positive. If I were doing it on my own, I know the act of self-discipline would have been harder.” Typically, they soaked beans overnight, then cooked them with some onion and a few spices. They served the beans over plain white rice, perhaps with some salsa and a piece of bread on the side. Josh admits, “It wasn’t the tastiest, but for a bunch of bachelors, it worked well. Walking away from the table with a satisfied belly is more important than the taste of the food.”

Although the guys had some good discussions and remained committed to the experience, Josh hit a low point mid-March. “I looked at my bank account and my stomach just dropped. I felt as though I had nothing to contribute to this movement I was participating in. Here I was, a college kid trying to help kids in Africa have better opportunities, but the puny amount of money I’d been able to save wasn’t going to do anything.”

At the end of the month, Josh contributed what he had saved, still doubtful about its potential. So, was it worth it? After seeing the process through, all the way to Africa and back, this is what Josh had to say:

After all the contributions came in, I saw how much the Lahash community had raised together. I didn’t have much to give, but I saw myself as part of that grand total! It was an incredible moment for me. Then I got to travel and see these incredible kids in Africa eating full meals after school because of what we all had done. I saw kids with HIV surviving because they had the nutrition they needed to fight the disease. I felt in my heart, “This is right, this is how the world changes.”

God doesn’t call us to talk about doing Christ-like stuff in the world, but to actively go and seek ways to be Christ in the world. Thinking back to that trip, I came to this year’s Rice & Beans Month ready to fight for those kids.

Just like Josh, your efforts this month are part of a much greater whole, and the lives of many vulnerable children are improving as we all do our part. Thank you!