March 2011

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What more can be said about the World Vision Experience: AIDS tour stop in Bolingbrook that hasn’t already been said about deep dish Chicago-style pizza? “It was delicious,” “fun to share,” “great for the whole family,” and “enjoyed by people from all walks of life.”

Actually, much more can be said!

Our week at Living Water Community Church in Bolingbrook, IL got off to an unusual start as we scheduled several extra days for repairs and overhauling before we officially opened the World Vision Experience: AIDS exhibit. We couldn’t have partnered with a better group of host churches from the Bolingbrook Clergy Association that allowed us this extra time and space to give the exhibit some attention before being visitor-ready. The fixes and changes were made with long hours, yet relatively no problems and we were well prepared for Sunday morning’s guests.

Throughout the week various organizations, clubs, and school groups reserved large blocks of time to bring 30-40 visitors through each half-hour, and the few time slots where there weren’t as many guests (say, because of a random ice-storm and other interesting weather events), we were blessed as a staff to be in the company of wonderful volunteers, getting to know many great Bolingbrook-ians.

One thing that stands out is the effect the exhibit had on the many school groups that went through. Typically they arrive by bus and are rowdy and loud with the excitement of being on a field-trip of sorts. However, when standing in the market place (the conclusion or wrap-up to someone’s visit) there was a solemn calmness as the teens exited one-by-one, obviously surprised by what they had just learned, if not moved, and regrouped to begin processing the information.

As a tour staff we quickly felt like we were amongst old friends as the planning committee and church staff were so welcoming and warm. Most of the time a church staff will suggest cool restaurants to try and things to see in the area. However, at this stop, I found myself taking home wonderful leftovers that church members had prepared, enjoying them a second time, and didn’t explore as much as sites in the past!

After such a wonderful time, we, the tour staff, left feeling incredibly encouraged, blessed, and thankful; encouraged by the Bolingbrook Clergy Association and their willingness to help World Vision reach out to children suffering as a result of the AIDS pandemic; blessed to have be in the generous company of the visitors and volunteers from the area; and thankful that God had allowed us to accomplish so much in just two weeks time.

Thanks again! In the weeks and months ahead we’re excited to share and hear stories about the changing of hearts and lives, from Tanzania to Illinois, as a result of our time together.  Next stop: Christ Church in Greenwich, CT! If you’re in the area make sure to stop by, if you know someone in the area tell them to come by and step into Africa!

“Whether ye eat, drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” -1 Cor 10:31