AUSTIN, Texas - A local 72-year-old Marine Corps Veteran has been fasting and plans to continue fasting until the war in Ukraine is declared over. So far, he has not eaten anything in six days and is only living off coffee and water.
"This is day six for me and, by the grace of God, I feel good," said Benjamin Sley.
Sley has been fasting for peace in Ukraine. The Marine Corps Veteran says he feels extremely passionate about this journey because his grandparents came to America from Kyiv in 1891.
"It's something that I'm glad to do, and I'd gladly give up for peace," he said.
He got the idea after seeing what was happening in Ukraine.
"It's just devastating because it's the innocent civilians that suffer and, as a military person, I know certainly the people in the military that are conscripted and drafted to do this, they, you know, it's just hard on everybody," said Sley.
Sley says he knew he wanted to take his own stance against the war. He was inspired by his religious beliefs as well as American Civil Rights activist Cesar Chavez to take on the challenge of fasting.
"I think there's a spiritual dimension to this that will take divine providence and I realized that fasting has gotten results in so many areas. For example, Cesar Chavez Street and Cesar Chavez, came to fame and notoriety by fasting. He fasted for peace and non-violence with the United Farmworkers," said Sley.
His plan right now is to continue this up until Cesar Chavez's birthday at the end of the month.
"March 31st or if it ends sooner. Take it day by day and maybe even go longer because I really believe that God is behind this, and He can bring peace to this situation," he said.
Sley is not only fasting, he has also attended protests in front of the Texas Capitol against the war in Ukraine.
He hopes to make his message loud and clear that this war does not only affect Ukraine, it affects the entire world and could result in even more devastation if peace is not achieved soon.
"What's going on in Eastern Europe is really not isolated from us here, and I would like other people to join in certainly in prayer and fasting if they feel led to do it. Pray for peace," said Sley.