No doubt most reading this are familiar with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), the campus ministry of our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. Our church is blessed to partner with RUF at College of William & Mary, and to have both Ben Robertson, and his family, and Chelsea Kelly as part of our church family.
What fewer are likely aware is that there is a branch of RUF that works specifically with International Students who are studying in the U.S. – RUF-I, or RUF International. International students often represent the best and the brightest from their respective countries. Many of them will return to their homelands and become significant leaders – including some places where missionaries are not allowed. International students also have unique needs. So RUF-I seeks to come alongside these students, to provide a safe and welcoming place, and to love them and share the love of Jesus with them. While there are only a fraction of RUF-I campus ministries as compared with traditional RUF, one campus with RUF-I is George Mason University, a large Virginia state college.
Here’s why we are writing this note: We received notice a few weeks ago that an administrative glitch had occurred, and support from Grace Covenant designated for Ben Robertson accidentally was placed in the account of RUF-I staffer Janelle Grove, who serves RUF-I @ George Mason. Janelle was effusively thankful and grateful – and she expressed it not only to us at Grace Covenant, but to many of her supporters. Apparently Janelle was a bit short in her support, and had recently asked prayer supporters to pray that she raised the needed additional funds – about half of which seemed to come out of the blue, unsolicited, from a church where she had no personal connection – Grace Covenant. Unfortunately for Janelle, those funds needed to revert to the campus minister for whom they were designated.
Our missions committee leaders and our Elders all felt awful for Janelle (- though Janelle took the news very graciously). So we had a thought: Though our Missions Committee has no immediate plans to pick up regular support for Janelle (though her ministry is certainly worthy), and the the committee has either already designated funds or already has preliminary plans for the funds which have been entrusted to them, what if we made this situation known to you, the Grace Covenant family? What if some, in the spirit of Christmas, and out of a commitment to see the gospel reach the Nations, might feel led to offer one-time gifts to support Janelle and her ministry? Afterall, she serves a worthy mission, at one of our state universities… Perhaps the glitch could prove providential. Perhaps at least part of the gift Janelle briefly thought had been given might be recouped.
So we come to you, with just a suggestion. If you would feel led to offer a gift to Janelle’s ministry, we want to encourage you to do so. Even if it is only a small amount, no doubt Janelle will be encouraged, and the seed of the gospel will be shared with the International Students the Lord brings into her relational sphere this school year. To learn more about Janelle, click the RUF-I @ George Mason link, and scroll down to her bio. In her bio you will also find Janelle’s email, and a secure link through which you can offer your gits. For those who would prefer, you can instead make a gift to Janelle though Grace Covenant’s Missions Committee. Just make sure you clearly designate the funds to “GCPC Missions” and “For Janelle Grove”.