The notion of summer camp quickly faded into the background. Prior to coming, Joseph had been on six medications. He was misdiagnosed as having intermittent explosive disorder. Joseph’s violent outbursts had been happening with greater frequency. At the Ranch, Joseph was adjusting to life without medication, and the sadness and anger resurfaced.
Despite this, Joseph’s tender nature and care for others was made apparent at the Agony Ride, where he manned his post faithfully at the Beckwourth SAG, never missing a bike that came into the station. A month later, Joseph persevered through the 15-day backpacking trip in Tahoe National Forest and even jumped off a 40 ft dam with his teammates.
Through it all, Joseph was hearing the Gospel message and watching it lived out every day through his interns. But life had embittered him, and he continued to resist.
“I kept toughening up against them, constantly doing my own thing, punching concrete, trees, plywood….”
In November, Joseph was standing in the Ranch living room, surrounded by the people he had spent the last four months with, faced with the consequences of his decisions. He was to be suspended from the program for two weeks. As Joseph looked around the circle, his face wet with tears, he saw his own grief mirrored in the faces of his peers, of his interns, of the staff.
After another suspension in January, Joseph recognized he was continuing in the trajectory of more discipline and that he felt powerless to stop it. He finally stopped fighting. Joseph surrendered his life to God.
“I’ve questioned the Lord about a lot of things that have happened in my life, but I have realized that my life is nothing without God. I needed him more than ever.
"I felt like I could have been dismissed many times, but I either got put on restriction or was suspended. The Ranch gave me a lot of grace. With that grace, I feel that must have been God working in that as well.”
Immediately following this decision, there were positive reports from his counselor and his teachers that there was a noticeable shift in Joseph on both fronts.
In the coming weeks Joseph began to learn how to walk with Jesus. In May, he made the decision to be baptized before the Ranch church family.
“If I never came to the Ranch, I wouldn’t have uncovered the things I’m working on until way later in my life. I could have been violent to my kids….”
Joseph looks forward to God’s good plans for him and holds on to the words in Jeremiah 29:11. “I have more aspirations now. I want to be a wildland firefighter and also want to do something in ministry. I’ve always wanted to tend to people….”
Pray with us as Joseph takes steps in this new path.