Home to about 750 students in Rocklin, California, this Christian University had been wanting to bring Step into Africa to their school for the better part of the last three years. Finally the time had come!

Staged in a massive auditorium, the Experience was open from September 25 to October 2nd. Bridgeway Church from just down the street had partnered with WJU to bring the exhibit and make it a wonderful experience for the students and the community of the Sacramento Valley region.

Sunny California weather blessed us throughout the week and it was nice to be in a college like environment. The younger generations need to be exposed to what sort of social dilemmas exist on the planet and bringing an experience like Step into Africa while they are in such a “learning” phase of their life will only expand their minds and strengthen their already existing passion for social justice.

Here’s a story for you. There was a couple that came to volunteer at the exhibit and had arrived late. Since their shift had started already, we had them walk through the exhibit first before coming to do their shift. Upon entering the chapel area, where there are two baskets of children available for sponsorship, they both looked in each basket. When the Husband looked at the first basket, the child from Uganda on the top of the stack of picture folders was the exact same birthday as his son. He took is as a sign and immediately picked up that child to sponsor. When the wife looked at the second basket, a child from Ethiopia on the top of the stack of the picture folders had the exact birthday of their second son! She took it as a sign and picked up the child to sponsor. When they both showed each other who they picked, they knew it was meant to be and sponsored both kids happily. Then they got to their volunteer shift. 🙂
Overall we saw a couple thousand people through and many lives changed, both in Africa and here in the States.
Thank you William Jessup & Bridgeway Church!

Sad to say, but it’s time for the Experience to leave our wonderful friends at the YMCA in Cary, North Carolina. Not always easy to leave a group like the YMCA, especially when they treat you like family.

We had an excellent group of volunteers! Some of the students who served were having so much fun with us that they decided to serve with us until they had to leave for a school dance. I don’t believe the Experience has yet to have volunteers help while wearing their school dance outfits.

The mission statement of the YMCA is simple:

To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

I could tell the YMCA was trying to tighten their family internationally as they focused on the African country of Ethiopia; they encouraged the visitors who came through the Experience to sponsor children from this area (there is a YMCA in Ethiopia who they are starting to work closely with.)

A big thank you to the wonderful team of the YMCA NC from your friends at World Vision!

Next stop: Santa Rosa, CA!

— Trooper