NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - An interactive, mobile unit called The Compassion Experience is showing East Texans what life is like for children living in poverty-stricken Third World countries.
Grace Bible Church is hosting the event, and school children from Carthage paid a visit Friday.
The Compassion Experience shares lifetime stories that are much different than the lives of students from the Northside Christian Academy in Carthage.
"Put these on real quick and let me get an audio check," a volunteer said.
Visitors prepared to hear recorded experiences of children growing up in developing nations, including Guatemala.
"Hola. Hello. My name is Carlos, and this is my story," a recording told visitors.
The interactive journey travels through rooms depicting the true stories. Each child's experience starts in poverty.
"At my home, I will go home hungry," a recording said.
The stories often pull at listeners' heartstrings.
"I was 7 when my dad died," another recording said.
The stories can lead the privileged to counting their blessings.
"This helps me be thankful for all that I have," said Todd Page, a student. "My family, friends, a house to live in."
The tour ends in hope. The poverty-stricken children connect with Compassion schools. Sponsorships provide a path out of poverty and into becoming responsible adults. It's all accomplished by sponsors agreeing to three commitments.
"Thirty-eight dollars a month, writing letters and then praying for the child," said Mansavage, a volunteer and sponsor.
Mansavage and her husband have sponsored over a dozen children, some into adulthood.
"Poverty is devastating, no matter where it is on the planet," Mansavage said. "My husband and I feel called to help kids in other countries."
A sponsorship is a personal choice provided through nearly 6,000 churches of all denominations in 26 countries. Consistently, Compassion International receives top ratings for the use of donated funds.
The Compassion Experience will be at Nacogdoches Grace Bible through Monday evening. It's free to anyone, including groups. Reservations through social media are encouraged, but not necessary. To sign up for a slot to visit the Compassion Experience, click this link.