EL DORADO – To understand what life is like in another country, most people have to travel there. However, Compassion International has changed that with Compassion Journey.
“The Compassion Journey is an interactive experience that helps visitors gain a deeper perspective on what life is like for a child growing up in severe poverty,” said Steve Spriggs, director of community marketing for The Compassion Experience. “The tour gives us a chance to tell a story in an interactive way that is not only educational and impactful, but also provides a chance to make an individual impact in the life of a child in poverty.”
The free and family-friendly audio tour guides people to six hands-on learning stations that represent realities for children growing up in extreme poverty, including what they eat, how they live, what they fear and their dreams.
Compassion International, a child-advocacy ministry that has paired people with children living in extreme poverty for more than 50 years, started Compassion Journey as a way to advocate for children in developing nations and to help Americans understand global poverty.
“Global poverty is something that is hard to really imagine without traveling to the developing world,” said Leslie Serrano, a Compassion International advocate and volunteer leader from West Side Baptist Church, El Dorado. “The Compassion Journey brings this reality to our doorsteps, helping us to teach our children and ourselves about the blessings that always come when helping the least of these.”
West Side hosted a Compassion Journey event on Friday, Feb. 22, with 180 people from Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana walking through the interactive stations. In all, 17 children received sponsorships.
“Spiritually, people were moved to sponsor children because they were able to see that kids in Compassion International’s programs are being taught the gospel right along with physical needs being met,” said Serrano.
“Hearts were softened; spiritual eyes were opened, and gratitude was elevated” as people walked through the event, Serrano noted.
“Let’s face it: We live in a land of resource and blessing. It’s very important to teach our children a more comprehensive global context,” Spriggs added. “I believe we should challenge ourselves to learn more, face the facts straight on and ask ourselves how we and our families might make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
The next Compassion Journey experience in Arkansas will be held from noon to 7 p.m., April 26-29, at Family Church in White Hall.
For more information about sponsoring a child, visit compassion.com.
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