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COLUMBIA - More than 1000 children and adults visited the Compassion Experience in Columbia as of Sunday.

The Compassion Experience gives people in the United States the chance to step inside a bedroom, home, classroom and market of a child living in a Third World country.

The Compass Evangelical Free Church in Columbia is hosting the 15-minute, walk-through experience. The Compassion Experience tent has been set up since Friday and has had more than 1000 visitors.

One middle school student from Moberly was visiting with her youth group at Trinity United Methodist Church.

After walking though the Guatemala experience she said, “The rooms are so small. If you think of our rooms now, they’re big. You’ve got a nice, big, warm bed that you have and you’ve got big closet full of clothes and they just have a small room and they don’t have very much in it.”

After exiting the experience, visitors have the opportunity to sponsor a child for 38 dollars a month. The money gives children all the vaccinations they need, two dentist visits, food, a school uniform, school tuition, meals to take home, an opportunity to attend an after school program to learn about Jesus and eat snacks, and classes for their parents to talk about hygiene and how to build the spirit of a child.

As of Sunday afternoon, 40 children in Guatemala and Uganda were sponsored by Columbia visitors. 

Gary Wessel, a two-year Compassion Experience volunteer from central Illinois said their goal is 250 sponsored children every weekend they set up the experience in a city. 

“You never know how it’s going to affect people and how they’re going to react,” he said.

Wessel said Sunday is usually the biggest day for visitors and he’s hopeful they’ll meet their goal by the end of the day Monday.

The Compassion Experience is open until 6 p.m. Sunday night and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.