Change the Story: The Compassion Experience

During the last six weeks I’ve spent countless hours mudding, cementing, painting, and lifting pieces and parts of something called The Compassion Experience.

compassion experience

It’s a traveling, interactive exhibit that allows you to journey through the lives of three real-life children who are affected not only by extreme poverty, but also by the Compassion ministry.

We’re taking roughly 3,100 square feet across America over the next few years so you can see, feel and experience what kids all over the world experience every day.

There is a handful of us traveling with the tour.

We’re here to help tell your stories.

What moves you, what angers you, what gets you excited? And what you want to do after you’ve gone through the tour?

Periodically, over the course of the tour, you’ll see updates from me about my journey and that of our team. We each have unique stories of how God called us to this tour.

But there is one thing we all have in common: God very clearly called each of us to be part of the story He’s writing.

My story starts with my first job right out of college. I worked for an artist management company in Nashville, Tenn. and loved it. It was a dream job.

Unfortunately, due to the economy, I was laid off from that job and, subsequently, two more. I didn’t have much choice but to return to Colorado and move back in with my parents.

I dreaded this move. I hadn’t had a great experience living there during my high school years and the last thing I wanted was to be looking at the same walls my 16-year-old self had looked at.

But during this time, God was stirring my spirit. He was gently whispering into my locked-up heart the truth about who He is and who I am.

I wrestled with the desire to do what God created me to do and the difficulty of figuring out how to do it. In the midst of this, I started working at Compassion. I had the privilege of working with some amazing people who saw the things I was good at and wanted to help me flourish.

Murmurings about this “Mobile Experience” started to float around the office. I heard that they were looking for people to tour with it, to interact at churches and events and tell the stories of children who live in extreme poverty.

compassion mobile experience

My heart raced.

Was it possible that all the things I had done previously were coming together to allow me to do that thing God had created me to do?

Yes, it was possible.

And I can tell you that living in middle of who God created me to be as I travel with the Compassion Mobile Experience is more than I could have ever dreamed or imagined.

If we’re in your neighborhood, please come check us out and say hello. Here’s where you can find us:

Instagram: compassionexperience

11 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Anne Park November 17, 2015

    I am hoping to visit this exhibit in the next few days when it is in Atlanta. Do you think it is too mature for a 5 year old or a good thing? I have a 3 and 5 year old, and just trying to decide whether they are too young. thank you for any insight.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan November 17, 2015

      This is always a tough question to answer, Anne. We design the Compassion Experience to be appropriate for all ages and do provide age appropriate audio tracks for younger visitors when requested by a parent. We’ll have a story summary available for you to read through at the event which describes the more sensitive themes contained in each story to inform your decision. We have seen some really great things come from the hearts of little ones through the Compassion Experience, but the decision really depends on the parent and the individual child. I’m so excited that your family is thinking about attending and I’m praying God gives you wisdom, discernment, and peace in your decision. You’re always welcome to come and read through the stories and you can always opt out if you decide it would be too much.

      1. Maria T. April 25, 2016

        Hi Emily,

        I know that the experience is free, but is monetary donation required at the end?


        1. Emily Vanhoutan April 25, 2016

          Hi Maria! Please know there is absolutely no obligation for a donation at the end of the Mobile Experience. When you get to the end, there is an opportunity for you to become the sponsor of a child if you choose and feel led to do so. However, you do not have to :). We want you to have the chance to bring your family, friends, and children, to another country to walk through the life of a child in our program, without leaving your own home town, and see how God is transforming lives all over the world.

          I hope we see you when we’re in your area!

  2. Damon DeLorge October 9, 2013

    I just volunteered at the event here in Fort Myers, FL this past Saturday and Monday. It was an amazing experience to go through it as part of the volunteer training and then a blessing to be a part of it for those two days (it was here from Fri-Monday). I would recommend all who hear about it in their town or near by to go or if you can volunteer to help (because I sponsor a child they sent me an e-mail). I know it is supposed to be in Melbourne, FL—not this coming weekend but next? and then in Jacksonville, FL at the end of the month. I also heard they said they would be in Texas for three months but do not know the dates (check out the sites for FB or twitter, etc at the top of this article).

  3. Katie Garvert August 3, 2012

    God has always had grand plans for Rachel. It is so awesome to see you living out your trust with our Father. You talents are endless and got goosebumps as I read your story. Thanks for doing HIS works.

  4. Florence July 23, 2012

    My pastor told me that he saw the Compassion truck when it came through Nashville last week. (but he didn’t see the exhibit). I wish I would have known- I would have loved to have seen it, as well as spread the word about it to my friends. Could Compassion send out an email to sponsors to let them know of upcoming events in their respective cities?

  5. Mike Stephens July 23, 2012


  6. Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies July 23, 2012

    I blogged about the mobile experience last week and cannot wait for it to come to New York! What a great opportunity to share the mission of Compassion!

  7. Mary James July 23, 2012

    Is the Compassion Experience coming to San Diego?

    1. Jacquie Parella July 23, 2012

      Hey Mary! Rachel wanted me to let you know (she was having trouble posting her response to you) that San Diego isn’t on the calendar yet but she’s hearing rumors of The Compassion Experience coming to the west coast in Spring/Summer 2013. Keep checking the website because they are updating it as soon as more dates are confirmed.

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