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May 2, 2023

The Winter Retreat Was Marked By God’s Presence


By Cynthia Makachi

Although the spring semester is winding down, the impact of Ski Safari, the annual CU Nova winter retreat, is still evident among the CU Nova community today.


Princeton Ski Safari

CU Nova students agree that the theme of Ski Safari, “Hunger for God,” was timely—both for their personal walk with God and also for the community as a whole. Each day began with an hour of prayer at seven in the morning led by a student (two days being led by freshmen!), followed by student-led devotionals during breakfast, and then teachings after breakfast and in the evening. 


Teachings were led by CU Nova ministry faculty on how to pursue God in various ways. Topics ranged from reviewing the Seeking God Lifestyle methods that are introduced to students as freshmen in Bible courses to honoring the Lord with their time at school and in their relationships. There was also a day of teaching about the power of prayer and prophecy, as well as learning how to be sensitive to the voice of the Lord. 


Times of fellowship also occurred during the day and in the evenings as students had snowball fights, played board games, and even had music jam sessions and rap battles. These times of fellowship were wonderful as they allowed for students to grow in relationship with one another and feel comfortable to share experiences and struggles during group prayer and response times. 


“I was so excited to be there,” said sophomore Delaan Nedd. “I love everyone in this community and spending time with them outside of the academic setting, so it was great to be with them and spend time with people that I had never met or never connected with.” 


Tiffany Agyarko, a senior, related similar sentiments to Nedd. “I think it was really great to see bonds being formed across our community. That’s something I always appreciate about retreats,” reflected Agyarko. “We leave campus not having ever spoken to some people but by the time we’re back there’s a noticeable strengthening of community.” 


This strengthening of the community remained as the spring semester came into full swing. Students were quick to apply the lessons and encouragement they received during Ski Safari into their schedules. Daily morning prayer meetings started the first day of the semester and have continued since then. Students have also gathered together to pray at different times in the day and have also organized fasts together. 


A major event for the campus was the Intercollegiate Day of Prayer worship and prayer night that was organized by CU Nova and other Christian fellowships. The night was centered around a similar theme to Ski Safari of relying on the Lord and pursuing Him first no matter what may be going on in life. Many students came to the event and were encouraged by one another during and after the event concluded. 


Ski Safari has also marked the CU Nova community in a few other ways like emboldening younger students. “I think our experiences with the presence of God during Ski Safari definitely empowered underclassmen to walk in the authority God has called us all to walk in,” Agyarko said. “Seeing them interact with each other and do ministry daily reminds me of Paul’s charge to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14 ‘do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you.’” 


Indeed, students are dedicated to holding fast to the gifts and passion they have for the Lord, which can be understandably difficult in such a demanding and fast paced environment such as Princeton. Underclassmen and upperclassmen alike, however, have cultivated the habit to remain in prayer and encourage fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to stay steadfast even when school is demanding or personal life is difficult. 


Though the end of the semester is approaching, the CU Nova community is continuing to “hunger for God” and seek the Lord’s guidance for next steps concerning the summer and next semester. For myself, a rising senior who has been very blessed by Ski Safari and CU Nova as a whole, I am confident that the students of CU Nova will continue to grow in their desire for God, individually and corporately, as the Lord further works in each of us.