In the past, these encounters have taken place only in Atlanta and Southern California. However, this past summer the Encompass Mobilizing team launched the first ever Encounter Columbus trip in Ohio.
Pastor Dustin Speaks of Grace Polaris Church and intern Colleen Homoelle helped organize the Encounter trip alongside the Encompass Mobilizers. The experience took on a different shape compared to past trips by being held over a weekend, instead of a full week, and focusing on Islam, rather than a full cultural spectrum of religions and cultures.
Overall, 23 people from all around Ohio participated in the Encounter trip. For many in the group, Columbus is their own backyard. It was a sobering reality for the group to see that the Nations were not far off but within reach.
A Columbus couple, Matt and Kristy, expressed how the trip impacted them.
“I really enjoyed the Encounter experience, and I especially enjoyed watching my husband’s heart grow as well. For me, this was the first encounter I’ve really had with Muslims in terms of understanding their beliefs. Visiting the Mosques and talking with Muslims was especially beneficial. However, my heart broke for a Muslim girl named Megan. After talking with her, the word "bondage" really stuck with me. Hearing the fear and hopelessness that comes from a "do good try harder" mindset has brought the Muslim people closer to my heart.” –Kristy
“Having spent a year in a Muslim nation in the military, I was familiar with the basics of their religion. However, the encounter offered great insight into the Muslim experience here in America. It was a great trip and I am thankful that Kris and I got to attend. The urban mission field is a great chance for us to develop our familiarity with Muslim interactions. I especially enjoyed the variety of breakout sessions that occurred and how each one built upon the previous one. The most impactful for me was actually initiating relationships with Muslims outside the classroom. My job takes me into many areas densely populated with Muslims, so knowing how to engage them well was a great learning point. My biggest takeaway, after hearing a Muslim coming out of Islam into the arms of Christ, is that the love of Jesus can and will win over those oppressed by their religion.” –Matt
Encompass Mobilizer Juli said the trip was a great success! So much so, the team agreed to organize future trips. As of now, 2019 Encounter Columbus trips will take place in the Spring and Summer.
Seeing God’s heart for the Nations in a cross-cultural context is so incredibly fruitful in the life of a Christian. These trips are a great and easy way to encounter what God is doing in the world and in your own backyard. Would you consider participating in this experience?
For more info visit our Encounter Page