Joshua Tree 2009 Testimonies

Joshua Tree Excursion
February 4 - 12, 2009

Eight days in the desert. Five days of isolating solitude. Three days of fasting. One day of complete silence. Read how God touched the lives of those who withdrew into the desert in order to seek the face of their heavenly Father.

“This has been a pivotal week in my life. It is as if I am becoming born-again-again. I’ve hardly believed in prayer for so long – even the existence of God! As I prayed, it was as if I were a new Christian so long ago, just simply trusting … I have so much more I could say here. My journey of faith was so shipwrecked … I don’t want to get tired of Jesus again. WilderneSS has helped to bring about a total resetting of my walk with God.” David Williams, 30, Web Developer, Virginia


“I have partaken in nothing so terrifying and rewarding as WilderneSS. Practicing the disciplines in regular life does not have the gravity of WilderneSS. There is something special about being in a spot that demands absolute reliance on the Father, his protection, his provision and his fellowship. WilderneSS points to the need for continued practice of the spiritual disciplines in my life." Nate Sjogren, 31, Arts Director, Detroit


“During this time I’ve learned how easy it is to let the busyness of ministry choke out the quality of my walk with God. It’s subtle and hardly noticeable and before I know it God is shoved aside so I can do the all-important work of ministry. That was happening to me and I never want it to be that way again.” Billy Williams, 34, Spiritual Director – West Virginia University



“At one point I was sulking and feeling sorry for myself. But then I began to sing, any thing I that I could remember the words to that glorified God. Waves of emotion filled me as I sang. I cried for the first time in years. Tears rolling down my face I shouted scripture when I couldn’t think of another chorus. Sometimes I was laughing, crying, and singing all at once. God reminded me that he is with me and he cares. This experience has been remarkably intense, I think it will be seared in my mind for a long time.” Nate Jones, 27, Youth Director, West Virginia


“This is WilderneSS #2 for me, it is such a great program. For me it is a spiritual blessing, a good physical challenge, and a general fast from all things comfortable or comforting. It brings lots of emotion to the surface to wrestle with God about. I love the desert, I feel like God’s voice, his nudging of my spirit is so clear here.” Caren Hunter, 32, Mom to three, Detroit



“Every time I set aside time to ‘just be’ with God, like WilderneSS affords, I leave knowing his voice, his word, his personal instruction to me. I leave here with more intimacy and trust in the Lord.” Drew Hunter, 31, Executive Pastor, Detroit




“I think this was a wake-up call that was maybe way overdue. I was reminded of how my life with God doesn’t need to be so complicated. Sometimes I can tend to doubt what he could do in my life or in other people’s hearts. This experience has helped me remember how truly awesome God is. This experience has helped me learn to trust God more – to depend on him more – and to interact with him more personally.” Steve Englund, 27, GCM Missionary, Virginia


“If I were to design a time away with God myself I would allow myself more comforts, but I am confident that stripping the comforts away make WilderneSS a better experience. WilderneSS will leave me a lasting memory of God’s continued protection and provision. It has reaffirmed that this journey I’m on is walk of faith." Rich Pence, 45, Nurse Anesthetist, Florida



“I’m glad that I participated in WilderneSS, it was a very peaceful time. This time has helped my walk with God in that I’ve learned more about patience and listening. Overall it has been a time that has brought me closer to God.” Ryan Slattery, 28, Contractor, California



“The time was very difficult. From the start I just wanted it over. I was hungry, cold, lonely, and tired. I felt like Esau willing to sell his birth rite for some stew. I am addicted to comfort and pleasure, I whine, I don’t like being hungry, cold, and feeling all messed up. I wouldn’t normally characterize myself as weak – but now I know I am. I’m dependant on Jesus. I have learned that I have a long way to go on this journey and that God will see me through.” Beau McCarthy, 35, Pastor, Detroit


“This time has been an oasis in my journey of faith where I can stop and put down my load and take a long drink before starting up again. This time has encouraged me to spend more regular times in solitude. I now have a plan to have weekly, monthly, and annual time of solitude.” Andy Bleyer, 31, Pastor, California