Monday, November 27, 2017

Experience Compassion

"Experience another world, without leaving yours."

A couple of months ago I saw an advertisement on Facebook for the Compassion Experience. This immersive exhibit - which allows visitors to experience what poverty looks like in other parts of the world - would be coming to College Station the week before Halloween, so I registered online to take the kids.

This "mission trip on wheels" travels the country, partnering with churches to inspire parishioners and community members to become more "mission-minded". When Will, Hallie, and I arrived, we chose which child's journey we wanted to visit, set up our listening devices, and surrendered to the story. Throughout the next 15 minutes we absorbed as much as we possibly could about Shamim's life, listening with tears in our eyes as her story grew darker and darker. In the last five minutes, however, Shamim's story turn in the direction of hope - thanks to the outreach of Compassion International - and we walked out of her world feeling uplifted. We asked if we could walk through the second child's journey, and they allowed us to learn about and from Carlos' life as well.
This is the only picture I took, but it perfectly captures the emotion
that accompanied walking through these children's stories. You can
see the shock and near-horror on Hallie's face as the narrator
told her Shamim had contracted an illness and gone deaf.
Walking through the Compassion Experience stories was free. I didn't read enough about the organization ahead of time, however, to realize there would be a financial ask to sponsor a child at the end of the journeys. I mention this not because the donation request bothered me (though I wish they would have offered a way to make a one-time financial contribution so that those for whom sponsoring a child was not a possibility could still support the organization's mission), but because if you go - and I think you should - I want you to know what to expect.

Thus far the Compassion Experience has welcomed more than 600,000 visitors in 150 cities, with many more stops on the docket. Should the exhibit visit your city or town - or one near you - take advantage of the opportunity. Especially at this time of year, a walk through the Compassion Experience is not be missed for adults and children alike.

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