Hollison Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams Jr

LTTC 2009

on June 29, 2009

Here it is! My official wrap-up of the 2009 Life Teen Training Conference!

The short story: it was awesome!

The longer story: We had a great time, made new friends, learned a lot, had a lot of fun, grew spiritually and ate wonderful food, all while staying in a great place.

The longest story:


Carrie and I flew into Phoenix in the morning, arriving about 9:45 AZ time. Our friend Meagan was gracios enough to pick us up from the airport and took us to a part of Phoenix near Scottsdale where we met up with Angela to eat breakfast/lunch. Since it was only 10 in the morning for Meagan and Angela, they had breakfast, but it felt like noon to me and Carrie, so we had lunch. Angela suggested a great place to do this – Paradise Bakery. It is a lot like Panera (in fact, we think Panera might have bought it???) and there are actually a few in Dallas, but we had never been there. It was really good. Ang had some sort of oatmeal thing that she raves about and I had a delicious Thai Chicken Wrap. Mmmm.

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After our brunch, Angela took us up to Carefree because she wanted to explore the area (she’s only there for ten weeks to do a nursing externship at the Mayo Clinic). So we arrived at the resort the conference was at, and checked in, but our room wasn’t ready.


We went to our first session and then after that, we all (400+, I think) loaded into charter buses and headed down to mass at St. Timothy in Mesa. For those that don’t know, St. Tim’s is where Life Teen started, so we were going to go to mass where it all began, almost 25 years ago. Mass was great – I think I counted 25 priests PLUS Bishop De Jong from the Netherlands.

S6301582 (this is not at mass – but this is Bishop De Jong)

Immediately after mass, we had the tried-and-true youth ministry meal of pizza, and then got to watch a Life Night at St. Tims’. It was fun to watch and not be the one worrying about time, skits, lines, or behavior of teens (no, not OUR teens. they would never misbehave when adults are presenting something).

After mass and Life Night, we headed back to Carefree and finally got our room key. That’s when we got our lovely suprise – due to some rearranging, we had been upgraded from our “resort room” to a Villa. Holy smokes! The Villa we stayed in was bigger than my apartment! It was so nice – washer and dryer, full kitchen, dining room, bedroom with king size bed and master bathroom, guest bathroom. Oh man. So awesome!

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We woke up early (long story) and headed to the conference room. Carrie went to morning prayer and I went to an early bird session about youth ministry web sites (NERD ALERT!). Then joined back up again for a day of keynotes and workshops and breakout sessions. I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically my sessions for the day were: Empowering and Equipping Teen Leaders and Collaborative Relationships in Ministry. We had two keynotes that day.

At lunch, we sat down at a table with a group from Guam and became fast friends with them. They are a great group of people and we found ourselves spending a lot of time with Ace, Tam, Edrienne, Robbie, and the others from Our Lady of Lourdes in Guam.

S6301601 (Robbie, Ace, and Tam – not at lunch)

At dinner, we met another great person: Sister Barbara Joseph from Oklahoma City. Sister BJ is a vibrant lady who not only runs the youth group at her church, but also runs a food pantry for the homeless: Sister BJ’s Pantry. She was a lot of fun and invitied Carrie and I to come visit any time we wanted to. Since I have friends in the OKC area, we may just do that!

Monday night, we ended the day with mass and then we had XLT in the conference room with our musicians for the week, Matt Maher and Audrey Assad (and Matt’s band). Audrey is an “up and coming” musician and she has a beautiful voice! XLT was beautiful and Meagan and Angela came and joined us, and then Angela actually stayed with us in the Villa that night.


Another early morning – Carrie went to morning sessions and I went to an early bird session on utilizing video. We had mass, and then began our long day of sessions. I went to: Curriculum and Beyond, Teen Confirmation, Handling Issues, and Presenting to Teens.

Tuesday night, we went over to the Villa that our friends from Guam were staying in and had fun talking with them and some other adults from California. They fixed some traditional food from Guam and it was delicious! We had a lot of fun and probably stayed out way too late, but hey, when else do you get to do this?


No early morning sessions, we just woke up and packed and headed up to the conference room:


We had a closing keynote, and then mass. Meagan came to mass and then we loaded her car and started back towards Phoenix. We stopped along the way and ate lunch at In-N-Out Burger, and then boarded the plane back to Dallas, where Wally and Charlene were waiting to pick us up.

Here are some more random photos from the trip:

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