Joshua Tree 2008 Testimonies

Joshua Tree Excursion
January 25 - February 2, 2008

Read what the most recent WilderneSS participants have to say about their five days of solitude in the desert of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.

"God showed me how much I had a head knowledge attachment to Him and not a personal heart oriented relationship. It pains me to realize where I truly was in my walk. I’m determined to never go back to my consumerist relationship with God. I’m going to work at incorporating silence, fasting, and solitude into my regular life. I don’t know how yet but I know I will be lonely for God if I don’t.” Nate Sjogren, Hospital Administrator - Detroit

"I came spiritually dry to a dry and barren place to get spiritually drenched. I was. Not in a flood or downpour of spiritual hype or sensationalism but in quiet tears of confession, repentance, and the soft washing of forgiveness. This time points to my need to intentionally schedule regular extended times away with God.” Dave Brunelle, Pastor - Cleveland, Ohio

"One of the best and most challenging times of my life - a memorable milestone in my journey of faith. It allowed me the opportunity to briefly set aside all worldly pursuits and answer the question, ‘Is God enough?’ Indeed He is! My life and my ministry will never be the same. During these five days in the desert I realized my identity was in the wrong place. I had been finding my identity in what I do instead of who I am. I pray that I can always be mindful that the most important thing about me is to whom I belong. I highly recommend this program to anyone with the guts to confront their inner demons on a journey to encounter the living Messiah!” Billy Williams, Spiritual Director – West Virginia University

"God has used my time at WilderneSS to make me more grateful and more dependent on Him. I feel a renewed sense of His presence, a deeper intimacy, and that He is my strength. To anyone thinking of participating in WilderneSS I would say while it’s hard, it’s worth it. WilderneSS makes you press through in seeking God and as a result He is there and He speaks. If I had not been in the wilderness I would have run back home after a few days (and missed) each new day that brought a new word from the Lord.” Ty Grigg, Missionary - U. of Illinois

"This extended time with God was the best I have ever spent due to the location, how it was lead, and how I chose to approach it. The direction on starting and stopping a fast was very helpful and I finally did a fast right because of it. I appreciate that WilderneSS forces dependency on God, thus providing a pattern to follow when back in a context where I can easily fall back into depending on myself or those around me." Greg Van Nada, GCM National Leader"

"Spiritually WilderneSS has been a godsend. It has helped me to reconnect with God and revitalize my relationship with Him. Coming in I felt at a crossroads in life. The first day of WilderneSS I turned 41. Before leaving I wrote, “I have spent my years of strength well - how will I spend my years of wisdom?” Like Jesus going into the wilderness before beginning the last stage of His life, I think WilderneSS has prepared me well for mine.” Aziz Nahhas, Pastor - Ohio State University"

"“WilderneSS has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It has been significant in that God has brought me back to a place of being very grateful for the life He’s given me. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and contentment again.” Stefanie Hamilton, Church Leader - Detroit"


"WilderneSS has left me processing through things I never knew about my self. It was 98% a struggle for me – I’ve never felt so alone, cried out to God so much, or been amazed with how much I don’t trust God with basic survival-like things. WilderneSS has showed me weak areas in my faith and how I neglect my relationship with the LORD on a daily basis. I need to give God more space to speak in my life. It’s really shown me I’m far less connected to God than I thought.” Jen Geib, Church Leader - Detroit"

"One passage that God kept bringing to me was, ‘Keep watch and pray for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.’ The best part of the time was the struggle as I felt His care for me and it made me wholly dependent on God.” Beau McCarthy, Pastor - Detroit


"Altogether this experience challenged me more spiritually, emotionally, and physically then anything I’ve ever done. From being out here I’ve realized how busy I am and how easy it is to put God in the back seat. I will most likely participate in another WilderneSS. For anyone thinking of doing WilderneSS I would say be prepared to be tested, to struggle, and to claim victory – this is no picnic." Dan Stavale, Financial Planner - Detroit"

"This week will have a lasting effect in that I grew in understanding how to seek and listen to God. I come away from this trip deepened in my desire to know and love the people around me." Wayne Wager, Pastor - U. of Illinois"