As an event coordinator with the World Vision Experience, Kristin McGunnigle tours the country, bringing World Vision's work around the world directly to you. Beginning with the Step into Africa exhibit four years ago, this year she has been coordinating the latest rendition of the Experience: Kisongo Trek.
Today, she shares her own thoughts on that project.
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In January, I found out that once again I would be hitting the road with World Vision. When I first joined World Vision four years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to tour with World Vision’s Step into Africa exhibit, traveling around the United States to help educate people about the global AIDS pandemic and how they could be a part of the solution.
Now, I had the opportunity for a second World Vision Experience tour.
In February, I packed my bags for an undetermined amount of time and hopped on a plane to Nashville, where we launched Kisongo Trek to the world. World Vision Experience has the unique opportunity to bring the story of World Vision and the Tanzanian village of Kisongo to the masses.
Very few people get the chance to leave their comfort zone, explore the landscape of Africa, and meet the people there. With Kisongo Trek, we are able to bring that experience to your front door, enabling you and your community to experience the real Africa without all the jetlag.
You get a chance to see the magic of Tanzania’s famed wilderness and explore a real community where World Vision works. You get to see how the community has been transformed through its partnership with World Vision.
A visitor to Kisongo once told me, “I live near Kisongo, and I thought there is no way they could have done this right. After coming through, I must confess my early judgment. You captured my community so well.”
The reality of this story and the way that it can impact your own community is immeasurable. There are hundreds of stories I could tell you from the road: reactions to various parts of the story, unexpected laughs or lives changed. But one in particular stands out. Recently, while enduring a long day on site, I interacted with an 8- or 9-year-old boy toward the end of the experience. He desperately wanted to help in some way. He asked his mom if they could sponsor a child.
Mom was a bit reluctant at first, but the little boy proudly stated that he wanted to use his allowance to help the child be sponsored.
There is now a family in Georgia supporting a child in another part of the world -- two families changed forever as a result of this unique experience.
In the first few months of the tour, we endured some bumps and bruises, long days, and many miles on the road. But I was once again reminded of what bringing these experiences to people can do: they transform people, change their perspectives, and inspire them to want to do more.
I feel privileged to have a small role in how God is using this tool to transform people not only here in the United States but all around the world. I can’t wait to how God will continue to use this experience to transform hearts.
Find out whether Kisongo Trek is coming to a community near you -- or learn how you can bring it to your community by visiting the World Vision Experience website.