Encounter Atlanta is a five-day cross-cultural experience that explores God's heart for the nations while in the diversity of the city. Every morning begins with a culture lesson taught by a new teacher every day followed by a field trip. These trips include visits to a Hindu Mandir (temple), an Islamic Mosque, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. The excursions are facilitated by Encompass missionaries and Christians who were former adherents to Hinduism and Islam. The day concludes with a variety of ministry projects in the Atlanta communities.
These ministry projects allow the Encounter Team to personally interact with local immigrants, refugees, and internationals. This particular team was able to converse with people from 19 different nations last week! Eritreans, Omanis, Pakistani, Jamaican, Guatemalan, and Vietnamese are just a few of the peoples encountered. Hearing the stories of these people further expanded the team’s understanding of differing worldviews and broke down many barriers in their own hearts.
By the time the week wrapped up, many team members expressed how their stereotypes had been broken and the value of intentionally befriending people from different cultures became inherent in their hearts. One team member explained: “It's been made clear to me that you must understand people as individuals if you truly want to build a relationship with them.” This is exactly the kind of response Encounter Trips hope to produce. Praise God!
Please join us in praying for this team as they transition back into their work and studies. Ask for God to provide opportunities for each team member to practice reaching out to the internationals and refugees around them. And, let’s praise the Lord for how he continually uses these trips to work in the lives of his children!
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:34)