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ELCA World Hunger

New! VBS 2020: “On Earth As in Heaven”


It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start planning for 2020 already, but ELCA World Hunger’s new Vacation Bible School program for 2020 is now here! “On Earth As in Heaven” invites children of all ages to learn about God’s world by diving deeply into the Lord’s Prayer. This full, five-day VBS is free and available for download and order (coming soon.)


“On Earth As in Heaven” explores the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer for our world today, using one petition each day to explore faith, justice and the work to which God is calling us. The program this year is unique in that each day focuses on one petition from the prayer and ties the petition to one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in easily accessible ways.

“On Earth As in Heaven” VBS

In the Large Catechism, Martin Luther reminds us that prayer is something “great and precious.” To pray is to give voice to our needs and our trust in God, who meets them.

But to pray is much more than this too. In thanksgiving, prayer gives voice to the things that bring us together. In lament, prayer gives voice to the things that rend us apart. Theologian Karl Barth is believed to have said that “to clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” To pray is to lay bare the pain of the world and to trust God to transform it — and to strengthen us to be part of this transformation.

“On Earth As in Heaven” invites children and adults to (re-)experience the Lord’s Prayer and to see the connections between prayer and service in the world. As the church prays and plays together, we also serve together and walk together toward a just world where all are fed. The stories for each day lift up churches and communities around the world who are prayerfully and powerfully doing their part in this work, while celebrating the diversity with which God has gifted the world.

Daily Themes



Each day includes:

  • An opening to introduce the prayer petition and the topic for the day, including a skit;
  • Small-group times;
  • Stories from projects around the world supported by gifts to ELCA World Hunger;
  • Snacks and crafts from the countries and regions featured in the stories;
  • Games for different age groups;
  • Simulation Stations to help children dive deeply into the topics of the day; and
  • Large-group closing suggestions

This year, we are also excited to include an appendix of handouts to send home, so that parents and caregivers can continue the conversation with children at the end of each day.

Coming Soon

More materials are on their way, including hard copies of “On Earth As in Heaven,” posters and a supplement media kit with logos and pictures you can print, post or put on t-shirts and other promo items!

Look for Us at the E!

ELCA World Hunger will once again be at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network’s Extravaganza in 2020! We will have hard copies of “On Earth As in Heaven,” sample posters and lots of information to help you plan your VBS.

“God’s Good Creation” and “Who Is My Neighbor?” VBS Still Available!

ELCA World Hunger’s VBS programs from previous years are still available! Visit ELCA World Hunger’s resources page to find “God’s Good Creation” VBS and “Who Is My Neighbor?” VBS  – and lots of other resources for children, youth and adults!

For more information about “On Earth As in Heaven” and other ELCA World Hunger resources, please contact Ryan Cumming, program director of hunger education for ELCA World Hunger, at


Food Force

Food Force
One of the purposes of ELCA World Hunger is to help people learn about hunger and its root causes. And it seems to me, if we can teach people when they’re young, so much the better! They will grow up with a better awareness of the world and their role in it. Which is why I think Food Force is such fun!

Food Force is a free computer game produced by the United Nations World Food Programme. It introduces a couple of causes of hunger, and spends time explaining some basics about the work of international aid organizations. All of this is done by making the player a member of a relief team responsible for getting food to hungry people in a fictional location. It’s intended for kids ages 8 to 13, and I can easily see how it would be a hit with that age group. It’s a bit too basic to really draw in older kids and adults, but having said that, I think most any age group would have fun with it once. I know I both enjoyed it and learned some things! And any age group could use it to open deeper discussion about causes of hunger, the nature of aid, and the roles of relief and long-term development.

Another thing I really like is the web site that goes with it. In addition to the game, there’s information about hunger in the world, real anti-hunger initiatives, nutrition, and support for teachers who want to use Food Force in the classroom. Admittedly, I’m not sure kids are going to spend much time with the additional information, but for parents and teachers who want to create more depth and structure around a Food Force experience, it’s really helpful.

So if you’ve got some time to kill this weekend, check it out! Just don’t do it tonight from 8 to 9 p.m. – it’s Earth Hour and you ought to turn your computer off along with your lights!

3rd World Farmer


I found another interesting (and free!) hunger-related game on the Internet. It’s called 3rd World Farmer. It’s not particularly new, so you socially-minded gamers out there are probably rolling your eyes at this post. But as one who doesn’t find the time to hang in the gaming world, I’m enjoying this discovery.

Well, maybe enjoying isn’t the right word. The game simulates life for a family of African farmers. You make decisions about what crops to plant, equipment or livestock to buy, whether to pay for school and medicines, etc. Then you’re told how your decisions turned out. Armed with that information, you tally up your household’s money, equipment, and health, and you make new decisions for the next year. On the whole, there’s lots of bad news and it’s kind of frustrating. Yet I found I wanted to keep trying. Hope springs eternal, after all.
I learned about the game on gamepolitics blog, and as the author wrote, “It’s not fair and it’s not fun but perhaps that is the point.” The creators (university students in Copenhagen) suggest using it to start discussions, and I can easily see how it could! They also suggest using it to spur action. I think it could do that, too.