Tag Archives: Ministry Stories

Denver Christmas Conference 2010

Wow, we just got back from a whirlwind trip to Colorado. We enjoyed some great, but quick, time with Michelle’s family up in Greeley and then headed quickly down to Denver for our first ever Denver Christmas Conference, now that we are officially staff with Campus Crusade for Christ.

You might be asking what the Denver Christmas Conference is (better known as DCC). Well, we weren’t quite sure what it was either. But we found out first-hand that it is a great – although exhausting with two very young munchkins – experience! But rather than me trying to explain it, here are the words direct from the godcc.com website’s “What” page:

We want to see your life changed. We want to see the world changed.

Every year at the Denver Christmas Conference (DCC) college students from all over the Midwest come to grow closer to Jesus Christ through prayer, powerful worship, passionate bible teaching, and community. You will have many opportunities to be equipped with life and ministry skills, to connect and network with other students, and to reach out locally and globally. We are excited to announce that this year we will be assembling at least 100,000 meals for on-going relief efforts in Haiti in partnership with Kids Against Hunger on Dec 29.

This year you can look forward to a film festival, multiple dance parties, fun on the 16th street mall, and possibly the biggest New Year’s party you’ve ever been to.

GO DCC and GET FREE this winter break!

A snapshot of just a portion of the room during one of the main sessions.

As mentioned above, part of this year’s DCC included a time where staff and students participated in a meals for Haiti even that allowed us to package over 104,000 meals to be sent to those in need as a result of the Haiti earthquakes that happened just one short year ago this week. See the video below for the story that Denver’s local Fox news channel did (you can even see me – Nate – in the video at about 1:41 or so – at least my back as I loaded boxes onto pallets). It was one of the many Faith Building events that students and staff participated in while at this years conference.


Another faith building experience you might have seen or heard snippets about if you follow me on Facebook, was a Freeze Flash Mob that both students and staff participated in on Denver’s popular 16th Street Mall New Year’s Eve. For those that don’t know what that means, it basically means this: the total group of people at this event (around 1200 students and a few hundred more staff on top of that – so lets say 1500 to be easy) went out to Denver’s 16th Street Mall (which is an outside pedestrian street with shops, restaurants, etc – where they were holding New Years parties along with fireworks at 9:00 PM and Midnight) and acted like they were just normal people out mingling or shopping or doing whatever all up and down the entire 8 blocks of the mall. Well, at a pre-planned time of 8:15 PM, everyone that was part of the Denver Christmas Conference froze in place no matter what they were doing for 5 complete minutes. Once that 5 minutes was up, they “went back to being normal”… well, that is usually where Freeze Flash Mobs end, but not this one. As part of the faith building experience, the staff and students used the attention this flash mob produced to strike up conversations with bi-standers along the mall… all in the hopes of guiding them through a survey that leads to a spiritual conversation. It was quite the event, especially with the very cold temperatures in Denver that night.

After DCC, we headed back up north to Greeley and spent another full week meeting with friends, family and some newly introduced friends to share more about the ministry God has called us to and what it is He is doing with and through us. If we haven’t had a chance to share with you yet, just let us know – we are striving to connect with everyone personally so that you can hear first hand what is going on with our new Patrick Family Adventure.

Now that we have made it home after a decently long journey for us and our kids, we are recovering and giving thanks for all God did in the “short” two and a half weeks we were in Colorado. Thank you to all who helped us out on this trip, we are grateful!

In the Holiday Spirit

Holidays are a special time for most people, but for Disney interns, holidays typically mean working hard while everyone else enjoys their vacation.  Most Disney interns work long hours on the holiday shifts when the full-time cast members don’t want to work.  So getting an opportunity to celebrate holidays is special for a Disney intern.
Our ministry team members in Florida have begun hosting holiday outreach activities at times when the interns can attend to provide opportunities for Disney interns to get to celebrate holidays together while hearing the gospel.

For many American interns who are away from family and friends, this is the only time they will get to celebrate holidays.  For many international interns, this is one of their only experiences of American culture and may be the only time they are invited into an American home.

Disney Interns at Halloween Outreach

Recently, the team hosted a Halloween Party Outreach where interns were invited to dress up, carve pumpkins, go “trunk-or-treating” and have a discussion about ghosts, God and the Bible.  More than 30 interns came and here is what one student from Morocco had to say about the experience:

 “I do not have words to express how I felt last night.  As soon as I walked into your apartment I knew I was glad I was there.  I really liked the trick-or-treating and the questions you asked in the group discussion.  It was one of the best moments of my life.”  – A Disney intern from Morocco

Thanksgiving Feast

And just two weeks ago the team hosted a Thanksgiving Feast Outreach where more than 50 interns representing 15 different countries on 5 continents attended.  They cooked four turkeys and all the trimmings, shared the story of Thanksgiving, and had an intern named Jenne Lee from South Africa share her testimony.  It was the first time she had ever shared in front of a group.  There were also some amazing responses from the interns at that event:

“From the moment I walked into the door I felt loved.”  – A Disney intern from Mexico

“I’ve been in the US 9 months and this is the first time I’ve been in an American home.  I wasn’t sure I would ever been in an American home while I was here, until tonight.”   – A Disney intern from Morocco

Interns from Mexico

“My friends asked me, ‘Don’t you think that this is weird that they are hosting an event like this for all the interns?’ and I answered, ‘Well, don’t you think it’s a little weird that people stand in front of our housing at night and hand out free alcoholic drink coupons to get on a Party Bus?  But at least the people hosting the Thanksgiving Feast are trying to do something good and loving.'”   – A Disney intern from Mexico

A girl who Jenne Lee invited from Uganda had said that she had been hurt by Christians before and now refers to herself as a Muslim.  Despite these hurts, she decided to come to Thanksgiving and had a great night.

With such a large response to the Halloween and Thanksgiving outreach activities, the team is searching for a larger venue for their Christmas outreach.  Please pray that God would lead them to the perfect location to serve the interns and host a wonderful outreach event to celebrate Christ in Christmas.  It is obvious to see that God is moving at Walt Disney World, and we feel so blessed to be a part of it!

Missed Opportunities and Open Doors

While at Campus Crusade New Staff Training for a week in September, we met a sweet girl named Lauren who had actually spent time working with students in East Asia a couple years ago as a Campus Crusade Intern.  As we talked about our new ministry to the students on the Walt Disney World College Program, her face lit up with recognition.  She told us that she actually knew seven students from her campus in East Asia that left their country to participate in the Walt Disney World internship program and work in EPCOT representing their country as cultural ambassadors. 

“I was excited for them and thought that surely there are Americans there who love Jesus who will reach out to them,” she shared. “I was so disappointed when they returned and said that they really didn’t get to interact with many Americans and that they were mostly surrounded by other international students.”
How sad that there have been so many missed opportunities in the past to reach international students on the program like the ones Lauren knew from East Asia.  But how exciting that God has now opened this new opportunity for there to be people intentionally reaching out to these international students with the truth of God’s love!
This story opened a new dimension in our minds with the possibilities for this ministry as we considered the idea of connecting and communicating with Crusade staff at campuses around the world as they send students to Walt Disney World and as we send students back to their home countries so that they can connect to a community of believers.  We hope to pursue this idea further once we join the ministry team in Florida.
Meeting Lauren and hearing her story just reaffirmed to Nate and I the need for ministry to these students, and increased our desire to work diligently to get to Florida as quickly as possible.  Please be praying that God would continue to open doors and lead us in the way we should go, and that we would keep trusting in His perfect timing for our family as we prepare our hearts to go, hopefully in the next year.

If you would like to join our team of partners and help us get to these students in Florida as soon as possible, you can see our giving page here.