February 18, 2019
The headphones slipped over my head like a glove; I palmed the iPhone in my hand and followed the chalk arrows to the entrance of the exhibit labeled “Jey.” I waited, standing next to a volunteer starting her shift by walking through the story too. When given my cue, I stepped through the makeshift door, immediately transported to the slums of Kenya contained within a semi-truck trailer. A child’s voice echoed through my headphones, telling Jey’s story of his rough upbringing, his mom’s moonshine business, and his stint in prison. I walked through five rooms, each with a different audio narrative continuing his story. Halfway through I found myself gazing around a classroom with brightly colored walls. Crayon-scrawled pictures littered the desks and workbooks lay open to pie charts and Bible verses. I could literally feel hope ricocheting off the walls. Jey’s Compassion school.
At the end of the trailer tour I stepped into a second tent. Child sponsorship folders hung by clothespins and twine created a prayer wall, beckoning students to pray and consider providing for one of the children in the same way that Jey’s sponsor provided for him. I left the Compassion Experience deeply touched, and I found myself back at the front door again, asking to walk through the second story. Donning a new pair of headphones and palming yet another device, I approached a second door marked “Yannely.” Five new rooms and a different story, but the same message shone crystal-clear. These impoverished kids crave hope. They have incredible potential; they just need a chance. I – yes me, a college student with a part-time job – could give a child that chance. What holds me back? What holds you back?
Global Focus Week is one of my favorite events every semester. The Parade of Nations gives me chill bumps, and I love hearing from all of the mission organizations visiting campus. It’s easy to spend the semester with my nose in my textbooks and my eyes on the upcoming weekend with friends, but there’s so much more to life than a presentation and a Saturday road trip. Every semester I finish Global Focus Week refreshed and challenged to view the world around me (both here in Lynchburg and the globe) through Jesus’ eyes. What would He have me do with my time here on earth? What would He have you do?
See ya around campus soon,