The Princeton EXPERIENCE


I went to Princeton.

This is what I did over my spring break. Why, you may ask, did I go to Princeton, Kentucky instead of anywhere else in the whole entire world? Well, that's a great question.

My answer is that the opportunity to go to Princeton during spring break was an answer to a prayer I prayed a last semester. It's really as simple as that.

Now, the time for spring break was drawing nearer and I remembered that I had signed up for this trip. I was pretty excited to be going on a mission trip during my break instead of just going home (which would have meant doing more school work to "get ahead" or something....). And unlike so many things in the past, not knowing people is not nearly as scary as it used to be--even in a setting where you are just picking up and leaving with them. It's taken me awhile (aka my whole life, especially these past few months) to work through this. But now I see that God has been changing my heart and attitude towards people to bring forth who I really am in Him. That's a whole separate blog post though...I'll get to it eventually.  :)

Anyway, I just love how God uses a week to change your whole entire heart. Your whole entire life. Here at Princeton, I learned so much about prayer. So much more about prayer. He also showed me what it's really like to SHARE the gospel, in whatever form it may be in. He used the deliberate aspect of His nature to change my thoughts about my future. God also used a person young in His faith to encourage me in my own walk and remind me of the importance of passion, sacrifice, the hope we have and the light that it shines. God is so beautiful when He is doing His work, He is just made of grace! The love He has for me I am still learning, and my love for Him is still growing.

Lord I need you,
Oh, I need you,
Every hour I need you
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need you

So on our trip we worked with kids in a Job Corp., visited churches, a prayer center, nursing homes and a worked in a secondhand shop. Along the way we had the chance to tell our stories, encourage others, give out Bibles, laugh, have conversations, preach, live with people, sing in the car (an everywhere else), complete office work, eat with people (on of my favorite things), serve people and bring the gift of music to everyone we were with (no matter if we even had our instruments...).

These things were taken one step at a time, hour by hour, consumed with prayer--that's how we began everything. This is where the trip gets intense. I'm sure everyone who went on the trip can agree that we really encountered the full force and peace of prayer. It became apparent with the international student that went with us. Sam, a freshman from Vietnam who became a Christian three days before we left our trip. Although young in his faith and speaking only broken English, Sam got up and told his testimony several times this past week, more than many believers ever get to do (or rather, take the opportunities that they have....we are so bless in America that we can do that and nervousness be the only real issues). We watched him grow and change throughout the week, and taught him about American customs and his new faith. To our surprise, we also discovered that not only can he play classical guitar and flip pancakes without a spatula, but he can also dance.

You start where I belong
On my knees
On my knees
Where I am weak or strong
You meet me here
On my knees
On my knees

One night though, Sam realized the full cost of being a follower of Christ. Being from a Buddhist country, upbringing and culture, Sam's conversion is not being taken lightly. The weight of his decision came down on Sam, and we met it with prayer--the all-consuming power of prayer. Crying out to Christ, tears poured from us all and our hearts were broken, seeing the persecution that he was under from his own culture....Romans 8:18-38 was read during this time:

"18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.  30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
    we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Lord I need you,
Oh, I need you,
Every hour I need you
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need you

This powerful night not only brought us closer to our Lord and each other, but it reminded me that this is what the family of believers is here for. Praying with you, being there in your darkest times, it's our job, our love to do that fora fellow beliver, no matter if we know them well (or at all) or not.

The very next day, Sam was talking with some of us and basically said in his limited (but growing) English, "Why shouldn't I die? Jesus died for me, so shouldn't I be willing to do the same?"

THIS is the sentence said by someone who gets it. SO MANY PEOPLE think that they get it, but in realitity they have dust in their eyes and just don't feel the daily passion that our faith and acceptance of grace gives us!

A lot of people I feel like will (and do) focus on all the disadvantages and other issues Sam may have, but the point it that he is saved, he is REDEEMED and he LOVES the Lord. Although Satan is not happy right now, and is trying his best to break apart all that God did in Sam, he will have a community of believers to fall back on as well as a already victorious God.

This grace that we have--there's no end to it--that's why it's so amazing, and the fact that because of Jesus we can become worthy of this grace.

This one thing remains
Your love never fails,
Never gives up,
Never runs out on me
And on and on and on it goes,
it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
I never ever have to be afraid because this one thing remains

Knowing and experiencing all of this just during this past week has given me a different outlook on my life because it has reminded me of the basics of my faith. I got to tell Sam the story of Jesus walking on water--it was his first time hearing it. Then when he asks you how to pray, it kinda stops you in your tracks. After explaining this (along with how to get a girlfriend in the U.S......I told him he didn't need one....), I began to see how much we have in our faith, and how different it is compared to any other faith/religion in the world.

How he loves us,
Oh, how he loves us
Oh how he loves us,
How he loves

One thing that's really different than other faiths is prayer. And boy, was this trip wrapped up in prayer. I could feel it before we even started. It felt well-prayed over. How many of you all have ever felt this feeling? Having something be well-prayed over? Sure there will always be room for more prayer, but starting off on the right foot makes so much more of a difference....it is this, I believe, was the reason that our team was so effective. Instead of there being tension because of petty issues, there was an air of goodwill and trust (which leads to self-disclosure according to my human relations text book), a unity that only developed more throughout the week. What this unity enabled us to do was stay flexible with our schedule, band together to support one another, absorb newcomers like one of our own, and work more effectively together while serving and ministering.
It is this unity that should be everywhere when it comes to believers because it so reflects the glory of God! This is what He expects from us and from our churches, wherever and whoever we or they may be.

A lot of times I think we pray but never really look for a response, when in fact, there is one. Or many, whether yes or no. So, here are just a few of the answers to prayers on this experience:
Sam realized the cost of his faith
Safety with deer in the road
Salvations and re dedications
God's hand in the music and worship
People public speaking about missions(an various other things) and affirming other's calling
Finding food that Sam could eat/liked to eat got easier
Saved people @ Beach Reach, our other team doing mission work in Florida!
Giving out Bibles!
Serving people/strangers/students together @ lunch
Herroll, Shea, Dalton and Jerroll
Music preparing my heart
Testimonies--strength to share and trust that God's words will trump mine
Someone preaching for the first couple times
Team time (aka debriefing time together at the end of the night)!
Devotions during team time
Healing sickness
Safety with as much traveling as we did, and for BR travel's too 


With all that we did, I encountered something that God has been trying to tell me for awhile--
my life is from here on out, all about Him.
I thought I had given my life over, but now I can finally feel that this overwhelming devotion to my Lord doesn't end here. This is just the beginning of surrender, of love and passion and mission of truth. What a joy, what an honor, to be going on this journey, which will hopefully take me where my trust is without borders.

My Lord and my God, we come before you today to praise you for simply who you are. Thank you for your provision, watchful hand, grace and mercy and undeniable presence while on this trip. I am so thankful for the people you have put in my life, this team and our leaders and all the new friends we have made along the way. I pray that you would continuously pull these people, whether believers or not, to you, to romance them with your unfailing love because you are so beautiful. Lord,  
Set a fire in my soul,
One I can't contain, I can't control,
I want more of you God,
I want more of you God

(and thank you to the person who took the picture :) ) 

~Our Team~
Living out our passion for God

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