Tuesday, December 9, 2008

AIDS: Powerful Exhibit

Today’s blog is a newspaper article. About something that's happening at my church. It is a good article. This will be a great exhibit. I’m truly excited for what God is up to in all of this…

Redmond Reporter Reporter
Dec 05 2008, 1:18 PM
Redmond's Overlake Christian Church, 9900 Willows Rd. NE, is hosting the free exhibit "World Vision Experience: AIDS" from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14; and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15.

This 3,000 square foot, interactive exhibit recreates an African village where children are gripped by poverty and life-threatening disease. Through powerful photography and audio presentations, visitors gain a new understanding of the AIDS epidemic. "This is the first time it's been at Overlake. Since the prototype was first on display in 2005, more than 150,000 people in 80-plus cities throughout North America have walked through the exhibit," noted Josh McQueen, Serve the World pastor at the non-denominational church.

We asked about the incentive to bring this program to Overlake. McQueen explained, "The heart of Overlake is to simply love God, love people, and serve the world. Overlake has partnered with World Vision on other humanitarian projects in the past and this seemed like the perfect fit, given the church's 'Advent Conspiracy' initiative for the 2008 holiday season — where the church is encouraging people to purchase one less gift this year and give what they would have spent to help others. In this case, HIV/AIDS relief."

Some might question the timing of the exhibit, shortly before Christmas. On one hand, Christmas is a time when Christians are called to think about the less fortunate. However, it's also a joyous season and some might see this exhibit as depressing or disturbing. McQueen responded, "Overlake and World Vision truly believe the exhibit will bring HOPE to visitors — hope that even individuals can make a difference in the lives of children and adults touched by HIV/AIDS around the world. This exhibit helps people learn more, in a very heartfelt way, about the human side of HIV/AIDS and also shows what can be done by individuals to help change a life — in essence, to give a gift of life during a season that's all about giving."
He added, "As we celebrate the birth of Jesus and his mission in the world, that was in a large part to care for and heal the sick, we think Christmas is the perfect time to remind ourselves about the needs of the afflicted in our world and of Christ's love for them. Just as an interesting side note, a recent survey by World Vision found that seven in 10 adults plan to spend less money on holiday presents this year, but about half say they are more likely to give a charitable gift than a traditional gift. Americans care ... and we, as a church, want to help people channel their goodwill toward a cause that has touched, in some way, the entire world."

More than 1,000 people have already reserved their free tour times for "World Vision Experience: AIDS" at Overlake Christian Church. McQueen expects that this number could more than double, or potentially triple, as we draw closer to the dates of the event and through word-of-mouth promotion from people taking the tour early. Although not required, tickets are recommended. The self-guided tour takes 20-30 minutes. To reserve your tickets for a specific time, visit www.worldvisionexperience.org.

Also, please note that parental discretion is advised. Some portions of the exhibit may be frightening or inappropriate for younger children. The World Vision Web site includes a page explaining the content and why kids under 13 might not be candidates to tour the exhibit. For additional information, contact Josh McQueen at (425) 702-0303 or joshm@occ.org.
Redmond Reporter Reporter Mary Stevens Decker can be reached at mdecker@redmond-reporter.com or (425) 867-0353, ext. 5052.

p.s. This is Mike again: I did want you to know that I edited a few things: Josh is one of our Serve the World pastors, called Reach ministries in the original article. OCC pursues three purposes: to Love God, Love People, and Serve the World, reported originally as two. And the number of 1000 signed up has increased significantly, and is creeping towards 2000 as I write this. Jodie walked through the same exhibit in a neighboring city two months ago, and so we’ve decided to take our kids through this one. I’ll walk Caleb through it (with a splitter so we can share the Ipod) so if there is audio that’s too intense, I’ll just FF.

p.p.s. I’m praying that hearts are broken this Christmas…broken for the things that break God’s heart. If you can make it, I bet this is one experience that you’ll never forget.


Diane Davis said...

we had this exhibit at our church last year and it was eye opening for many.

the preaching of your church and my church is very different, but the programs are super similar. i love the focus on justice.

i'll be mindful of you all in hoping this exhibit is impactful in a way that causes movement... in hearts and in actions.


bluesky said...

A great supporter of World Vision is AIDtoCHILDREN.com.

AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a dual-purpose site for building an English vocabulary and raising money for under privileged children in the most impoverished places around the world.

Check it out at http://www.aidtochildren.com