Sophomore Kyle Dunn also chooses to fast as a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dunn said, “I fast for my church to receive blessing for myself and those around me, so it’s basically like I can pray for someone that is going through a hard time or if I am going through a hard time myself.”
The Church sets aside the first Sunday of every month as a day of fasting and encourages everyone to participate. Members are also encouraged to fast to help pray for others and themselves aside from the specific Sunday.
To fast, people skip two consecutive meals and are urged to donate the money they would have spent on that meal to charity or the Church.
“The goal is to gain a greater relationship with Heavenly Father and to keep him in my thoughts, to build my relationship with him and gain a greater understanding. Jesus sacrificed so much for us and it’s a way to give back and recognize that,” Dunn said.
Dunn participated every month with his parents. He has a small community of Mormons at Lafayette that supports him not only during fasting but also daily.
“A lot of times I’m fasting for someone else to gain strength or help doing stuff, but most recently, I fasted to gain a greater love for the people around me and I definitely have felt a better connection and not wanted to be so argumentative and understanding,” Dunn said.
Senior Nick Koester is also a Catholic who participates in Lent. The Church asks its members to wear palm branch ashes on their foreheads as a public declaration of faith on Ash Wednesday at the beginning of Lent.
On Fridays, Koester abstains from all meat except fish and only eats one big meal and two smaller meals. He has been doing it since he was a little, but the Church asks members to participate between ages 14 and 70.
Koester said, “Definitely going to lunch of Fridays is a little difficult and seeing all the food with meat, but I drink a lot of water during those days. It can be difficult but it’s really rewarding in the end.”
For Lent this year, Koester chose to give up cursing. The purpose of giving something up is to control desires like Jesus did in the Book of Matthew in the Bible when he went into the desert to be tempted for 40 days and 40 nights.
“It can be kind of difficult. I’ll catch myself [cursing] and have to remind myself I gave that up, but you just have to offer it up and do the best you can,” Koester said.
Koester hopes to grow his relationship with God and hopes to help himself for when the Easter and Lent season passes.
“The Easter season can come and go really quickly, but I always try to realize that God always asks us to come back to him,” he said.