The Rev. Daniel Vargas and Charlotte Kaide lead a prayer with their congregation in Honolulu.

Fasting urged to
battle drug use

Church congregations around the state have joined in outreach to victims, neighborhood meetings and roadside sign-waving to fight drug use in the islands.

Now a Christian lay minister is urging churches to join her in a new strategy. Charlotte Miyoko Kaide believes that mass participation in fasting and prayer could curtail the crystal methamphetamine epidemic.

"God is the best detoxer," said Kaide, who has been calling, visiting and writing to island pastors to recruit participation in her campaign.

Kaide calls her project Pray Hawaii. She recently returned to Hawaii from Puerto Rico, where she produced a television evangelism program, "Fast and Pray International." Kaide joined forces here with the Rev. Daniel Vargas, pastor of Family Life Church and leader of International Prayer Connection.

Kaide said they were inspired by the September summit against "ice" headed by Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona and U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo, which stressed prevention, treatment and law enforcement.

What was missing from that initiative was the spiritual dimension, Kaide said. "Churches need to work with the government to eradicate this evil. I believe God wants us to break down the denominational walls and pray together. If God sees Hawaii, all different races together, praying and praising together, he will be happy."

Key to her plan to pray Hawaii out of the drug blight is the element of fasting. Through abstaining from food or drink, people are able to focus their prayers and humble themselves before God, she said.

Their plan was to get churches to embark New Year's Day on a "corporate 40-day fast and prayer." But the plan is flexible and people can join any time, Kaide said. The project will continue throughout the year.

She is going without food from dawn to dark and eating only one full meal a day. Other variations are possible, such as eating only vegetables, skipping one meal each day or devoting one day a week to total fasting.

Observing the fast for 40 days has a scriptural basis, she said. "Jesus fasted 40 days before beginning his ministry. Moses fasted for 40 days."

Kaide and Vargas will host a meeting about the campaign at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at 1270 Queen Emma St., Suite 305, the headquarters for Pray Hawaii and International Prayer Connection. They will distribute copies of a booklet, "Seven Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer," by Bill Bright, a founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.

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