'Compassion Experience' comes to Danville

Exhibit designed to help impoverished children around world

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - Walking through the "Compassion Experience", you not only get to see children's living conditions, you get to hear the story of the children whose living conditions are represented in the five-room exhibit.

At the beginning of the tour, each person is given headphones and an iPod.

The story guides them through the exhibit.

Michelle Vaden was amazed.

"It was very interesting, very inspiring," Vaden said.

The traveling exhibit is part of the ministry of Compassion International, which helps children in third-world countries.

Union Church senior pastor Adam Cook worked to bring the exhibit to his church after spending what he said were a life-changing two weeks in Brazil in May seeing what Compassion International was doing there.

"I saw children in this dump area fighting off buzzards for food and I just knew that we had to do something about it; that the Danville area could do something about it, that we as a church could do something about," Cook said.

"Compassion Experience" volunteer Michelle Mansavage said the exhibit often inspires people to take action.

"When people visit here, they often times sponsor a child," Mansavage said. "Compassion helps a whole child, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually."

Sponsoring a child costs $38 a month and a commitment to correspond with the child by writing letters.

"knowing what a child has gone through and then to see them where they are because of the compassion experience in their lives is just amazing," Cook said.

Cook said around 1,700 people registered to tour the exhibit, and that does not include walk-ins.

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