Facebook page unites different religions for worldwide fast

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Over 497,000 people of various religious backgrounds have responded through a Facebook group to President Russell M. Nelson’s call for a worldwide fast on Good Friday, April 10.

During the Church’s April 2020 General Conference, President Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invited people everywhere to fast for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic on April 10.

Following President Nelson’s invitation, Jaden Taylor, a missionary serving in San Diego, created a Facebook group called “Worldwide Fast April 10,” which has been positively received by people from around the world.

Shannon Fitzgerald, a Baptist from Roanoke, Virginia, heard about the fast from her aunt who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I was unsure at first since she and I had different faith backgrounds, but it seemed like a group that wasn’t trying to convert people, just trying to gather together to pray which I liked,” Fitzgerald said.

Although she doesn’t fast regularly, Fitzgerald will be participating in the worldwide fast. “I’m a Southern Baptist, but I believe in the power of prayer and that fasting is a spiritual discipline that Jesus taught and practiced!” she said in a post on the Facebook group. “What a special day to join together as we remember Good Friday.

Ivy Villalba, from Madrid, Spain, considers herself an atheist but is participating in the fast for her grandmother whose health restrictions won’t allow her to fast.

Villalba’s grandmother raised her in the Catholic faith, and her grandmother would always say that sometimes people have to offer something to God in order for Him to see they’re willing to make sacrifices.

“She is the most important person in my life, so I’m doing this for her,” Villalba said.

Another member of the Facebook group, Muslim Ruby Gulle, said she was invited to the group by her nephew. She didn’t join the group when she was first invited but decided to join the next day.

“I decided to join even (though) we have different religions. But I saw unity,” Gulle said.

Daniel Dale is a gay former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Colorado. He said he still has great respect for the Church and that he considers himself a Christian.

Dale said fasting isn’t something he normally does, but he believes that standing together right now is the duty of humanity as a whole.

“It is times like these when we turn to what we believe in and believe in those things more strongly than ever,” Dale said. “That is why I’m fasting.”

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