‘Compassion’ comes to westside


By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

More than 1.4 billion people in developing countries live on less than $1.25 a day.

For many, it’s a startling figure that’s difficult to comprehend. But for the children who live it every day, it’s a reality.

One organization, however, is putting a face to this international epidemic through an interactive exhibit that will visit the Galloway area Aug. 14-17. Compassion International’s

“Change the Story: The Compassion Experience” will make a four-day stop, bringing visitors on a journey into the lives of two Compassion-sponsored children living in Kenya and the Philippines.

The event is hosted by Cypress Church, 377 Alton Darby Creek Road, and is a self-guided tour allowing visitors to explore 2,000-square-feet of interactive space with the use of a provided iPod and headset.

Visitors will see the children’s homes, walk through schools and markets and hear life-changing stories of hope – all from the perspective of a child whose life began in poverty, said Steve Spriggs, community marketing director with Compassion International.

“For us, it’s a tool to tell our story and tell the story of children who are living on less than $1.50 a day,” he said.

Compassion International is a child-advocacy ministry that pairs compassionate people with those who are suffering from poverty. The ministry’s work has grown since 1952 when American evangelist Rev. Everett Swanson helped 35 children orphaned by the Korean conflict.

Today, it is a worldwide ministry where millions of children are helped, according to the
organization’s website.

The cross-country tour of the organization’s exhibit will stop at more than 35 locations and travel 65,000 miles this year.

Susan Knight, communication and event director at Cypress Church, said the Compassion Experience exhibit allows families to step into the life of a child who has suffered under the weight of poverty.

“In the span of 20 minutes, you will travel with that child from hardship to hope,” she said.

The touring exhibit, which is free to view, is open to the public. Though it typically visits churches, Spriggs said about 70 percent who attend the exhibit are not from the host church.

“We’ve been very pleased with the results,” he said. “It promotes awareness about poverty and related strategies, and is a great space for learning for families.”

Although walk-ins are welcome, visitors also may make reservations. The exhibit will be at Cypress from 11 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. Aug. 14; 11 a.m. to 7:40 p.m. Aug. 15; 9:40 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 16; and 11 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. Aug. 17.

Visitors can make a reservation by visiting changetour.compassion.com/galloway, and groups of 20 or more should email changetour@compassion.com to reserve their space.

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