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In summer 2022, Madeline participated in Encompass’s six-week Explore Atlanta experience where she participated in cross-cultural ministry in a context that was specifically designed for her. “The Encompass staff crafting my internship made it so personal,” she said. “They had a really thorough process of getting to know me and crafted an experience for me that was brand new.”
Madeline was interested in languages, teaching, and exploring, so Encompass integrated all of those components when designing her experience. Some days she would provide basic translation for an immigration service, receive discipleship from Encompass staff, and then eat dinner with an international family, while other days she got to stay in a yurt, see different parts of Atlanta, and teach English to internationals. She approached every day with a spirit of openness, and as a result, God transformed her heart.
As she started meeting with new people every day, Madline noticed a feeling of insecurity welling up in her spirit. She said, “I had a lot of anxiety and wasn’t feeling super confident in who I was.” But that’s not who God created her to be. Just like the Apostle Paul teaches, God hasn’t given His people a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind—so God opened Madeline’s eyes to her true identity. She said, “One day I just came to God with it and actually surrendered it—and from that point on, something clicked—I finally started believing that I’m valuable. That word ‘valuable’ just came to my mind, and I held onto it the rest of my trip. It really comforted me and started sinking deeper and deeper.” From that point on, she didn’t feel insecure about meeting with new people any more.
Not only did God minister to Madline’s insecurities on this trip, but He also pursued her heart. She says, “Encompass had me go through a book titled ‘With,’ which focused on being ‘with’ God. It helped me practice living in that posture, and I’m still really benefiting from it today. I just feel so much freer from legalism and find myself wanting to be with God more.” On her trip, Madeline felt her faith becoming less of a duty, and more of a relationship.
When she returned home from her trip, Madeline had a greater sense of direction for her life and a renewed excitement for outreach. As a first grade teacher, she themed her classroom “world cultures” to introduce her students to global missions. She also said, “It’d be really cool to be doing something with refugee ministries, or teaching English to people who are just entering the country. That’s something I’m really passionate about, so I’ve started getting involved in that here in Ohio.” This past summer break she spent some time helping Spanish-speaking kids learn English, and next summer she hopes to go on a mission trip to provide professional training in Costa Rica.We love how God used this trip to make a lasting impact on Madeline’s life. You can experience this kind of growth and transformation too. Check out our Explore Atlanta page if you’re interested in experiencing the joy of cross-cultural ministry for yourself. We’re excited to see how God moves in your life!