When I took this job a few months ago, the full implications of Change the Story didn’t come together. But slowly, especially after the last few weeks, I’m seeing real stories changed. I’m seeing people walk through the experience come out with tears in their eyes, unable to speak because they can’t NOT do something now.
I’m seeing hundreds of kids’ stories changed because someone chose to sponsor them. True, I’ll probably never know the details of every Pablo, Oniel, Manuel, or Rosa, but I know Julian’s story. I know Ruben’s story. I know Brinda’s story. And those stories are what remind you that change is happening. I’d like to share two very contrasting stories with you all.
If you’ve come through the mobile experience, you know that one of the stories you can walk through is a young woman named Julian. I’m not going to give away any of her story, but it’s pretty powerful. On Thursday last week, our first day open in Parker, Colo, we got wind that she was coming up from Colorado Springs with a few other LDP (Leadership Development Program) students. All of us girls were obviously excited to meet her. I (Rachel) was maybe a little overly excited :).
She rolled in about 3pm in the afternoon with roughly 10 other LDP students. They walked inside of the experience and you could feel excitement and apprehension. They had time to go through two tracks. I placed myself at the end of the tour to watch their reactions as they finished the stories. “This is MY story” “This is the story of my friends, my cousins, my siblings.” “I know this story.” Over and over I heard their amazement and disbelief that we had captured their lives in twenty minutes and 3100 sq ft.
As Julian walked through, she was noticeably overwhelmed. She went through two stories and then we asked her if she’d be willing to talk to us on camera. I don’t have her video to share but I do have this picture of her being interviewed.
I stood back with tears streaming down my face as I remembered that this, Julian, Lois, Abel, Innocent, Wesley, Ruben, Brinda, THIS is why we do this. This is why I miss birthdays and weddings. This is why I sometimes get up when the clock has a 5 in it and stay awake into the next day. This is why I’ve been called. And I was humbled and amazed by the goodness of our Father, who would allow me the privilege to help people experience her story, as well as the privilege of helping to change two other stories of my own – Anitha and Manuel.
Here’s the tour staff with Julian.
Whew. Okay, ready for the next one?
Here’s a pretty different story from Julian.
Because the trailers are pretty intense to set up and tear down, we’ve been having around 8-10 guys come help us out on those two days. We’ve had some amazing help who’ve made our set up time go from 13 hours to around 8 and likewise with tear down. We’ve managed to go from 8-10(ish) to 3-4. That’s a huge win for us.
This past set up, again in Parker, we met a gruff but incredibly kind and hard worker nick-named Buddha. He told us a little bit about his story. He was 29 days sober as of that work day. He was doing some odd jobs until his full time job could start back up. His nephew went to the church we were setting up at.
He was so respectful and kind, especially to us girls, as well as to everyone he worked with. We were all drawn to him. But at lunch, we noticed he was sitting by himself and he got very quiet. Later I was told he pulled aside one of the pastors and asked him if he could go in the prayer room. Steve joined him and that was where Buddha had an awakening, that he wanted to return to the God he believed as a young man.
We learned more about Buddha’s story over the next few days. When he returned on Sunday to walk through the experience he helped set up, we captured his story on video. Here he is being interviewed by Erica.
After we had torn down and we heard Buddha’s commitment to return to Christ and stay sober, we drove him home. Before he exited the car, we laid hands on him and committed him into our Father’s hands. That he would be covered and sustained. As we finished our time of prayer and I saw a rainbow over to the west of us, I thought about his story.
Change the Story changed his story. And it changed his story in a way we never could have predicted. I never thought about the ripple affect this tour has. That Christ will change stories in a way that goes beyond what we expect or imagine.
So will you pray for Buddha? Will you pray that he knows the party thrown when the prodigal son returns to the Father? Will you pray for the countless other stories that will be changed without us knowing they will be changed?
How has your story been changed by the Mobile Experience or Compassion?