Compassion Experience connects people across the world

Published 12:19 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Amy and Nora Grace Cotton staff the welcome and information desk at the Compassion Experience on Jan. 8. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Amy and Nora Grace Cotton staff the welcome and information desk at the Compassion Experience on Jan. 8. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writers

NORTH SHELBY—Visitors to the Church at Brook Hills had a chance to look at poverty abroad without leaving the church parking lot. From Jan. 8-11, the church hosted the Compassion Experience, a mobile virtual trip to an impoverished area.

The Compassion Experience is part of Compassion International, a faith-based organization that teams up with local people and churches abroad to sponsor children and help them out of poverty.

“Compassion exists to rescue children from poverty,” volunteer Scott Trotter said. “Compassion believes, and so do I, that when you say, ‘In Jesus’ name,’ it’s not just an ending to a Bible verse or a prayer…There are hundreds of verses that say, ‘To know me is to touch the life of child.’ It’s right in our faces throughout the Holy Scriptures.”

Compassion has nearly 7,000 church partners in 26 countries in Africa, Asia, Central America and South America. Currently more than 1.7 million children are sponsored through the organization.

The Compassion Experience gives visitors a look at where Compassion works and how Compassion’s services can change the life of a child. At the Church at Brook Hills, visitors traveled the stories of Julian, a girl from Uganda, and Ruben, a boy from Bolivia.

“(Compassion) is a partner of ours, and we love them,” The Church at Brook Hills Coordinator of Global Partnerships Callie Priest said. “(The Compassion Experience) shows the results and the fruits of our partnership…how God is moving in the world and what he is doing.”

The Jan. 8-11 visit was the second time the Compassion Experience has come to The Church at Brook Hills. Brook Hills members Amy Cotton and her daughter, Nora Grace, remember traveling through the Compassion Experience in 2014.

“After going through it, we felt the Lord was calling us to sponsor a child,” Amy Cotton said. “This is a good opportunity to see that the rest of the world does not live like we do.”

Nora Grace Cotton said she enjoys writing letters to the girl her family sponsors, noting their birthdays are just four days apart.

Over the four-day stop at Brook Hills, Trotter said he expected to see up to 175 new sponsorships at the Compassion Experience.

“I think it’s one of the more remarkable tools Compassion has ever put out,” Trotter said. “Every day, we have a pretty good turnout.”