Songs around the campfire
Janelle Grove | February 26, 2018
A little while ago we took our RUF International students from George Mason University camping. We had students from Asia, South America, and the Middle East attend. Most of these students had never camped before and were wholeheartedly embracing the new experience of campfire dinners, setting up tents, and running from the smoke.
Not all was ideal. We had to be firm with a few students that girls and guys were staying in separate tents. Mohammed*, one of our Muslim guys, spent some time in his prayers at the edge of our site.
A Taiwanese student and I had learned to play some campfire songs on our ukuleles, so I taught a bit of American history and culture through old folk songs like "Clementine," "Home on the Range," and "I've Been Working on the Railroad." To my surprise, the students LOVED singing and kept asking for more. After we had gone through what we knew (more than once) I hesitantly asked if they wanted to learn some songs we sing in church. Out of the enthusiastic responses, my favorite was Mohammed's loud, "yeah!" followed by a hearty, if not-on-key, singing:
“Lamb of God, who takes away your peoples' sin
Great is your redemption
You gave your life, a very pleasing sacrifice
We adore thee, we adore thee, we adore thee.”
Did he realize what he was singing? Maybe not 100%, but I'm reminded of one of RUF's key presuppositions: God is at work. I'm not exactly sure what that will look like in the life of Mohammed, but I know it is true and it gives me hope. I look forward to someday joining with men and women from every nation - maybe even Mohammed - to sing praise to the Lamb around the Throne!
Janelle Grove is currently serving as an intern at George Mason University RUF-I. A specific branch of RUF welcoming foreign students and internationals on U.S. campuses.
*Names have been changed throughout for the sake of privacy.