Editor’s note: Sources are named by first names only because of the sensitivity of potential future ministry.
Members of the Cedarville org Rusul Salaam are passionate about reaching Muslim people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they are beginning by raising awareness and growing support around campus.
Hannah is a junior intercultural studies major pursuing minors in both biology and Middle Eastern studies. She is the president of Rusul Salaam, having begun her term at the start of the school year in 2013. Hannah, from Pennsylvania, has family members in a Muslim country and hopes to do Muslim ministry, specifically through agriculture using her biology minor.
The name “Rusul Salaam” means “peacemakers,” and the members of this org want to be messengers of peace to Muslim people, Hannah said. The org seeks to prepare Cedarville students for this type of ministry. Rusul Salaam has existed as an org for a while, she said, but it recently came back to life in 2013 when Hannah became president.
“Our goal really is to equip students right now to be able to share the gospel with Muslims and people in a Muslim setting,” she said.
They also want to develop the students’ abilities to build relationships with Muslims to more easily share the gospel, she said. Sharing the gospel in Muslim countries is much more dangerous than sharing the gospel in America, with which most Cedarville students are accustomed, Hannah said. Christian organizations in Muslim countries often have to relocate new Christians to prevent them from being harmed.
“Bringing someone to Christ in a Muslim country isn’t just like bringing them to Christ and like discipling them,” Hannah said. “It’s also making sure that those around them aren’t going to be hurting them.”
Angela, Rusul Salaam’s vice president, is a junior biology major with a Middle Eastern studies minor. She became interested in learning Arabic in high school and has taken Arabic classes for two years at Cedarville. She is also interested in Muslim ministry, though she is not sure how she wants to be involved. She became involved with Rusul Salaam in the fall of 2013 and became vice president January 2015.
Every other week, the members of Rusul Salaam gather for an org meeting, and on the off weeks, they gather for 30 minutes to discuss the Bible and the Koran and to pray.
Both last year and this year, Rusul Salaam went on a mission trip to Dearborn, Mich., where there is one of the largest Muslim populations in North America. In Dearborn, the Cedarville students assisted an organization that does full-time ministry with Muslim people and teaches them English, Angela said. They helped with projects and had the opportunity to hear speakers.
She said it was a blessing to work alongside the members of this organization. They hope to make this mission trip an annual event, Angela said, but that is not definite yet.
Both Hannah and Angela said it is important for their members to learn about Muslim culture as a part of their Christian ministry.
Realizing how much of their culture is tied to their beliefs, Hannah said, is very important. People in America tend to separate their culture from their beliefs, but culture and beliefs are deeply intertwined for Muslims, she said.
“We want to learn more about Islam ourselves and then teach the campus more about Islam so we can better minister to Muslims when we meet them,” Angela said.
Hannah also pointed out the importance of holding to the truth of the gospel.
“An ability to share God’s Word with Muslims in their cultural context without straying from the Word of God,” she said, is something that Rusul Salaam can help students with. “Not conforming Christianity to be able to fill their cultural beliefs. Not conforming Christianity to our Western beliefs.”
Both Hannah and Angela said they have been blessed by their involvement with Rusul Salaam. Hannah said the biggest blessing for her is the connections she has made and being able to talk to people with the same goals. She also appreciates praying with others for Muslim countries and discussing what is going on in the Middle East.
And Angela said, “I’ve been blessed by being able to talk to other people with similar interests, because there are a lot of people from different majors that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
Rusul Salaam is also working on connecting with other orgs that work with Muslims, especially CU Outreach, Hannah said.
Rusul Salaam is holding an event from 1-4:30 p.m. March 28 in BTS 104 where students can learn more about the basics of Islam and hear from the members of Rusul Salaam about sharing the gospel with Muslims. Students will have the opportunity to join breakout sessions with people who have lived or are living in a Muslim country.
Kjersti Fry is a freshman pharmacy major and reporter for Cedars. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and she enjoys playing the piano, playing ultimate frisbee and spending time with friends and family.