Today was our first Philippians test! One of the parts of Joshua is memorzing the book of Philippians. I was a little apprehensive about it when i entered the program because i have never memorized an entire book of the Bible before. Rich (the director) gave us a little piece of advice from day one, which was to take a verse a day and memorize it. Last night the Joshua building was buzzing with students reciting the first chapter over and over and over again. My friend Nicole and i spent most of the night walking around outside of the Joshua Building shouting out verses in weird voices, eating LOTS of junk food (to help us study of course) with the occasional interuption of watching the Joshua boys wrestle each other in the living room until one tapped out (since we can't watch TV, it's nice to haev people to entertain you). Before we knew it, the morning came and we were all line up in the great room (living room) at 8am sharp to recite what we had been working on for months! It felt like game day back in high school, the adrenaline was pumping and i was ready! I got to recite it to my friend Carter who had heard me say it the night before and in a few moments we were high fiving and i was signing a big PASS!!!! next to my name :) I walked outside, walked down the road a little bit and raised my hands and said THANK YOU GOD FOR HELPING ME MEMORIZE THIS!! HURRAY!!!
it was a good feeling :)
Below is a pic a friend took of me while i was working in the boat house this weekend.
Part of the genius of the Joshua Wilderness Institute is a little thing called 'Pause Families'. At the beginning of the year 5 to 6 Joshua Students are paired up with a family or two of Full Time Hume Lake Staff. About every other week the Joshua Students get together with their Pause Families and hang out. It is a time to get away from the building, have a home cooked meal and some time of fellowship and fun!
This year i have been blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the Nelson Family. Allow me to introduce to you: John, Jen, Genevieve, Jacob and Garrett Nelson! They are WONDERFUL! John just transitioned into a Utilities director here at Hume and Jen stays busy raising their three kids and counseling students at the Hume Lake School.
Jen is such a good cook and blesses us each week with a wonderful meal! John LOVES to beat us all at 'Insane Uno'. Genevieve likes to dress me up and play with me (as you can tell by my lovely headband in the picture). Jacob loves to EAT! Every meal he eats so much that John and Jen often have to tell him to slow down or to stop haha. Little Garrett is so precious! He is still perfecting the art of talking which often leads to a lot of laughs and translations followed by 'you are so cute!' Earlier this week when we were at their house i was talking with Jen in the kitchen when Garrett called out, 'Dominique!' i answered, 'Yes Garrett?' Then he said, 'I love you!' with a big smile on his face :)
I am so thankful to the Lord for this wonderful Pause Family!
When i turned my back You stood there holding your arms out When i walked away You continued to reach for me When i took another path You called my name When you found me on my knees broken and weeping You lifted me up, gathered me to yourself, called me your child and took me home
At Joshua one of the many blessings we have is what is called 'Solo Initiative'. Every week on either a Tuesday or a Thursday (depending on if we do grunting or not...i'll write a blog about grunting sometime) we get to work on our Solo Initiative. I decided that my Solo Initiative was gonig to be guitar (even though i secretly want to paint!). Today was my first day. I discovered today that trying to teach myself something is REALLY HARD. I have some books to help (thanks Josh) and am hoping that i will be able to get some tips from the amazing guitar players we have around here, but would like to ask for your prayers! Would you be willing to say a quick prayer for me and my Solo Initiative? If so, please pray that God would be my teacher and help me to be patient and diligent as I seek to stick with this new venture. ready.... PRAY! jk. but thank you much if do!
At Joshua, we get the amazing opportunity to have Speakers come every week or so and challenge us through God's word. The first two weeks of the program we had the priviledge of learning from Sam and Eileen Meier. Sam and Eileen showed us Jesus not only in word but also in deed. The second week i was here at Joshua i injured my left ankle pretty badly playing Basketball and as a result couldn't walk around on it without having intense pain. On the weekends here at Joshua (minus the weekend of a trip and our one weekend off) we work down in main camp. Joshua students are not allowed to drive their cars on work weekends or ask for rides, so if you want to get around anywhere you have to walk. This small fact = bad news for my freshly sprained ankle. I tried to explain my situation to a staff member hoping for some mercy and was told to get some crutches and do my best. I hobbled upstairs to my room, took some ibuprofen and began to cry. I was so sad that i sprained my ankle and was gonig to injure it even more by walking down the hill. I sat on my bed and prayed to the Lord and asked, "God please provide a ride for me, my ankle hurts so bad". I got dressed in my work uniform and looked out of my window one last time to see if a ride would magically appear and then decided to begin walking down the stairs. It was about 1pm and at the pace my walking was, i knew it was going to take me every bit of time i had to walk down to work. I started out down the hill a little ways, every step throbbing with pain when i heard a voice call out, "Hi Dominique, are you counting your steps or something?" I obviously was walking funny and turned around to see Sam and Eileen who had gone out for an afternoon stroll. I began to explain that i had injured my ankle and then totally lost it and began crying. Sam quickly answered,"Let us help you!" and explained that they had a quad just down the hill and that if Eileen and i would say a prayer that it would start, he would be up in just a few moments to pick us up. We agreed and Eileen and i sat down and began to talk. She comforted me with kind words and said that she had just been praying that very morning that she would get the opportunity to talk with me again before they left to go back to Ohio. What an AWESOME answer to prayer! Here i was discouraged about my ankle and not having a ride when God brought Sam and Eileen to my rescue! I can't remember a single time in my life when i have felt more thankful for a ride! Eileen and i said a prayer together for my ankle and the quad and before we knew it Sam rode up oh so valiantly! The rest of the day I was overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness! Sam and Eileen took me to the infirmiry where the nurse examined my ankle and gave me a note so that i could get rides up and down the Joshua hill as needed.
While in San Franciso i got the chance to meet up with my Uncle Niyo and Aunt Sofia and some of my cousins! It was AWESOME! They were in awe at a few of the Joshua rules (no t.v., being even, no music, etc) but we had fun catching up and laughing together like Valenzuela's do :)
Last week our group had the opportunity to drive out to the bay area and work with Habitat for Humanity. It was our very first trip off of the Hume Lake Property. Unlike what most of us expected, we spent the majority of our work days cleaning out a warehouse and our last day on site helping complete some homes. The warehouse was intense! We wore masks so we could breathe amidst all the dust and came home COVERED in dirt each day. The first day on the job my leader split his finger open while we were moving two large steel objects and a day later one of our own stepped on a nail (see the joshua blog for some insight on that http://www.joshuawilderness.org/). Suprisingly, i didn't get hurt at all. Thank you Lord! We slept on the floor at a nearby church and took showers at a public pool which made for interesting times. At the warehouse i met a man named Mike. He seemed pretty hardened and cursed a lot on the job. One day he noticed i was wearing a Biola t-shirt and said "Biola?! The Biblical Institue of Los Angeles? humph. the only two good things that came out were its two pro baseball players." I looked at him and smiled and said, "And Me". He smiled back and i said a prayer in my heart that Jesus would draw Mike to himself. If my only reason for getting the opportunity to go to San Fran was to meet Mike and say that prayer that day, it was worth it :)
Before all the work began we got to enjoy a free day in the city which was a lot of fun! Below are some pics with me and some friends at the Cheesecake Factory and the view from the balcony in Union Square.
here are just a couple pics from Joshua's 80's theme night. Let's just say that on theme nights i am glad to have roommates to borrow things from. After having an awesome dinner with rockin 80s music we went down to the Ark for a skate night :)
jk. Joshua is not that bad, but every Thursday we have room checks. We have to make sure our rooms are SPOTLESS or face the consequences. So far we haven't had any consequences, but the staff will write on our mirrors what we missed or what they thought wasn't quite in order. We have to dust and clean everything. Today me and my roomie got our first PERFECT room inspection! It sounds like something kind of silly to be excited about, but, we were REALLY excited and gave eachother high fives and took some pictures to celebrate!
I guess it's just the little things in life :) ...
We were priviledged to get the opportunity to have a professional Ettiquette Instructor come and teach us a few manners aroud the dinner table at Joshua!
People were pretty excited because Ettiquette Dinner is the only time in Joshua that we will get to have a date all year long! I was just excited to get dressed up and get to eat a 5 course meal :)
The staff went all out decorating the dining hall for us so once we stepped through the doors it was like entering another land! There were pink rose petals all over floor and hanging plants and candles, it was amazing!
We learned how to walk into a dinner party with a date and to eat REALLY slowly taking one bite at a time and placing our fork down each time to chew and taking small enough bites so that you can carry on a conversation at the same time.