The Compassion Experience gives closeup look at poverty in developing countries
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — There’s no need to cross any borders or obtain a passport to get a glimpse of a developing world when attending The Compassion Experience.
A subset of Compassion International — a Christian-based and humanitarian aid-child sponsorship organization — The Compassion Experience consists of eight trucks that travel around the world and depicts the lives of individuals living in developing countries.
The Compassion Experience tour will make a four-day truck stop in Chambersburg from Friday, Sept. 8, through Monday, Sept. 11. The free event is hosted by King Street Church in Chambersburg.
“These events are good for people who don’t have a chance to travel across the country in order to learn about what’s life like in developing worlds,” said Steve Spriggs, community marketing director for The Compassion Experience.
Through the use of an iPod, a headset and 3,000 square feet of interactive space, participants will see a close-up account of the lives of two Compassion-sponsored children living in Kenya and the Dominican Republic.
At the exhibit, stories are narrated by children — who are now adults — in which they recount true stories and periods in their life that were life changing. For instance, Spriggs mentioned that the Kenyan boy who will be featured in the exhibit shared his experience of being in a prison at 9 years old.
Visitors will also get to see the children’s homes and tour markets and schools, an experience Spriggs believe can inspire one to help make a change in the life of a child living poverty.
“Hopefully, the will and inspiration to help others around the world doesn’t end after they leave Compassion Experience,” Spriggs said.
According to Compassion International, more than 700 million people in developing nations are living on less than $2 a day and are plagued by extreme poverty, disease and war.
“The outlook on life of people living in these places is low due to the challenges they face on a daily basis,” Spriggs said. “One of our goals is to bring awareness to the public so that they can become knowledgeable about how to make difference such as by sponsoring a child.”
He said some people become so moved by The Compassion Experience that they decide to sponsor a child through Compassion International’s child sponsorship program.
A contribution of $38 a month enables connection to a child living in poverty with a church-based child sponsorship program.
By sponsoring a child, one will receive his or her choice of child’s photo, personal story and a child sponsorship packet by mail within 10 days.
“By sponsoring a child, you can make a difference in a child’s life through correspondents and donations,” Spriggs said.
The extreme conditions that people face in developing nations are circumstances Americans might never have to experience.
Such contrast of living conditions between developing countries and America can make understanding of such realities difficult especially for children, Spriggs noted.
“Some parents have a difficult time with opening dialogue with their children about people who live in poverty in different countries,” she said.
Spriggs said The Compassion Experience events are made suitable for all ages and are created in ways that are appropriate and engaging.
“We do our best to replicate the life of these individuals living in these countries,” explained Spriggs.
The Compassion Experience continues to attract more people who become interested in getting involved with tackling global issues.
He said supporters of The Compassion Experience events encourage them to deliver impactful storytelling.
The team of Compassion Experience organizers receives praise from people around the U.S. who support their mission to bring about awareness of problems facing the less fortunate.
“People from all over push us to tell the stories more effectively and on deeper levels. We are grateful for their support,” Spriggs said.
These stories told through the perspective of children gives insight into their lives consumed by devastation but ones that ends in hope.
With the help of a community’s request to bring The Compassion Experience to their area, the team is appreciative for the continuous support of its mission.
“We would like to extend a thank you to our supporters who make it all possible to bring Compassion Experience to different areas, it really is a blessing,” Spriggs said.