Visit another country without leaving America

Growing up in America, it’s easy to become a little spoiled and take for granted some of the things we view as a necessity. We tend to overlook the huge blessings in our lives that people around the world would only dream of – like running water, air conditioning, electricity, and even toothbrushes.

I, myself, am guilty of failing to give much thought or appreciation for the incredible resources God has placed in my life. When I see my children throwing tantrums for not getting a certain toy, not getting their face painted or not being treated with ice cream, I know that they have no idea what it’s like to go without and most likely never will.

But to give them just a tiny glimpse into the life of another child on the other side of the world, our field trip this week was to the Compassion Experience, put on by Compassion International. This a free, family-friendly event that takes you on a journey inside the lives and stories of two children living in poverty in foreign countries.

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The entire immersive experience is actually housed within a truck and tours the nation, making stops in 150 or so cities. I had seen it come to our city quite a few times, but I never did get around to taking my kids and didn’t really know what age would be appropriate to expose them to some of the themes in the presentation. Of course, the baby had no idea what was going on and wanted to get down and play, but my older daughter was at a good age to understand, ask questions and learn.

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Upon entering the experience, you are given headphones attached to an iPod and a choice of either listening to a kid-friendly or adult version of the story. We, of course, chose the kid-friendly version and headed behind the curtains into the first of two different life stories.

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If you are concerned about the content that your children will be exposed to, they will e-mail you a link (if you registered in advance) to preview the story. The presentation we attended incorporated some sensitive topics of poverty, alcoholism, drugs, crime, infant mortality, child incarceration, and violence. I thought the content of the presentation was tastefully done and all child-appropriate.

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As you enter the different rooms on the audio-guided tour, you are transported to another world and feel like you are in their world as their story unfolds. You will see the food they eat, clothes they wear, where they live and schools they attend.

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It is truly eye-opening and such a great way to safely expose your children to how other less-fortunate children may live, see how God can use people to help others, and hear about the difference Christ makes in those lives.

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We found it to be quite impactful and a great way to bring up certain discussion topics with your children. The Compassion Experience comes to our area at least once a year. Check out their website for their current touring schedule and find an event near you.

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