Encountering the World of Islam
By Marti Wade
Recently we touched base with a woman who volunteers in the global outreach efforts at one of our partner churches. Rachel’s involvement grew out of an experience she had in Ethiopia on a medical mission team sponsored by the church. “A Muslim came through a clinic we were doing. [He] was the first Muslim I had ever met,” she explains. Rachel and her team asked if they could pray for him, as they usually did with patients. He agreed. But as she started to pray, Rachel realized she had no idea how her words might sound to him, what his life might be like, or what, as a Muslim, he might believe. “I came home with a lot of questions.”
A few weeks later Rachel found herself enrolled in a class at her church called Encountering the World of Islam (EWI). This 12-week class is hosted by local churches to help believers in their community grow in their understanding of Muslims and learn to reach out to them. Rachel’s church has now sponsored EWI classes many times. She helps coordinate the classes.
“It changes the way people watch the nightly news and helps make them open to what God would have them do.”
“God uses the course to touch hearts and stir passion for Muslims in the heart of believers. It’s a good chance to learn what Muslims believe (and what they believe we believe) and what the barriers to the gospel are,” says Rachel.
“It changes the way people watch the nightly news and helps make them open to what God would have them do. It’s also a refresher on grace… Your heart is humbled again by what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.”
How This Class Is Helping Rachel’s Church
Any member of the church who is considering or open to serving in the Muslim world is encouraged to take the class. Others minister to Muslims closer to home. Class alumni are now building relationships with Muslim refugees and partnering with ministries that teach English and citizenship classes.
Rachel’s church also works with a nearby university to provide host families for international students. Organizers often struggle to find enough families to connect with Muslim men who want to visit American homes. This year, Rachel and her church are happy to say they were able to help meet the demand. After taking EWI, their people were no longer afraid to befriend Muslims.
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