Monday, July 17, 2006

De Bron 2006: The Conference to End All Conferences


Yeah, where to start?

At the beginning i guess. Seems good to me.

On Wednesday the 5th of July, 2006, the Webster family (ie, me, because the rest of them are just lame) departed from Slussbrovägen 62, Åkersberga, Sweden on a road trip spread over two days to De Bron, Holland for the All-Europe TEAM Conference 2006. That was a mouthful.
I had been looking forward to this conference for a while. They are always special, and always a high point of my summer, especially spiritually. Since my job for the summer fell through, I was waiting expectidely for this trip, it being the one thing I was going to do during the summer outside of hypothetical schoolwork. It was also going to be a time to kick back and relax with people I had not seen in years and soak up the common experience we have in serving as missionary kids (or is it teens?). Anyways, im running on.

As we departed, spirits were high:

However, driving southward, into the sun, with no AC, and with an outside temperature of 30 degrees the whole way, a smidgeon of uncomfortableness (uncomfortabilitude?) was to felt. Sweden went by in a breeze (of hot, scorching air):

We soon crossed over into Denmark thanks to ye huge bridge of doom:

After 2 hours of boring Denmark, with road signs saying things to the effect of "Meh, something this way, maybe", we took the ferry to Germania:

It was a welcome break, the cool see breeze bringing out the baywatch in me:

Driving through Germany towards Lübeck, I then saw a most horrific sight: the super giant is getting nearer and nearer to complete world domination:

After that scary encounter, we headed to the Etap Hotel in Lübeck to watch France move on to the final, and to rest up for the final push the next day.

Thursday, July 6th, we head out from Lübeck and head to De Bron. Spirits are again high:

We enter into Holland, home of... flat stuff:

And we finally arrive at De Bron:

De Bron is a wonderful conference center. It has typical dutch buildings, complete with thatch roof, and is so chalk full of memories and happenings it's unreal. We've been there since 1999, and it's always awesome:

This year they had done away with our beloved pool table, the playground and the pond. Getting there 2 days before the conference actually started, I thought it was going to be excruciatingly boring: all of our play stuff was kinda, well, gone. Upon further investigation though, we found a new basketball court, volleyball nets and the big ol' fields we loved so much.

My dad finally got to be where it was he needed to be, as the one in charge of the housing: in front of the café, rehearsing his jokes:

This year we also had some new arrivals. Four baby chicks, which would end up becoming strong and free, ready to be released unto the world by the end of the week, greeted us with their infant skeeks and chirps. A metaphor for the week? Naaaaaaaah:

Also new to the week was daily swims in the river Vecht, right by the center. It would become a welcome addition to the day, with its refreshing water and razor sharp rocks. Here, my dad and I innaugurate the waters:

Friday the 7th of July marked when the week died down when it came to media coverage. We were either too busy swimming at the best pool evah in Ommen (more on that later), or greeting the new arrivals. The first to arrive were the pre-teen workers from the USA, along with Christian Owen, conference junkie numero uno:

Twas cool to see her, as we have been to pretty much every conference together and basically grown up together. We helped with the children's deal, fixing up the rooms and making a sweet banner for the Kenya Lounge. Daniel Clifford was also there, and we went to the pool to do flippy spinny stuff. Lots of fun.

Saturday the 8th of July was when the conference actually started. People started pouring in. The Niemeyers were among the first ones there, and we played basketball and football until a bunch of TEAM Germany, Italy and... what am I saying, EVERYONE showed up. The opening night was awesome. We "only" had Benjie to lead the worship:

But that was definitvely enough. Thanks for taking care of the power point the rest of the week!

Germany beats Portugal for second best loser of the World Cup.

Sunday the 9th July. At this point, everything is kinda confused in my mind as to what happended each day. I believe that this was the day when John and Michelle showed up to help out in the worship:

(token maraca player there aswell).

This trio would end up being the youth leaders aswell. I was thinking about writing more on that laterm but i might aswell now: All three couldn't have been better chosen for the job. Their lives are so filled with powerful experiences and inspiring stories showing the power and grace of God, it was simply amazing to ahve them there, teaching us in theology roudtables, The Stranger talks, guy vs girls talks, media and culture talks... And nevermind they are such talented musicians and singers (Michelle makes up for our lack of tone on Friday for sure)... I could not imagine any better leaders for the week. Coupled with them the invaluable TEAM serve team and the man the legend Ben Strength... This week helped me and everyone gain better knowledge about God and enabled us to worship the Lord like only a conference can make you.

Anyways, back to the timeline. Sunday was also the day that most of the dudes went to the pool in Ommen. We had fun on the diving boards, but that wasn't the highlight. What was, was our TROUNCING of the dutchies at football. They played dirty, they played mean, and yet we owned them 5 to 3, with us scoring the golden goal. whilst we were ahead. It was amazing.

Sunday was also the world cup final. Long story short, France lost to not necessarily the best team in over time. Zidane went out with a bang:

Yeah, so a lot happended Sunday...

Monday the 10th.... eh forget it, i have no clue what we did each day after sunday. I'll "just kick it from my head you know what im saying, i can do that, no disrespect, but that's how i am".

Anyways, Monday and Tuesday i forget, but it was fun. If one of those days was when we watched High Scool Musical for the first time, then it has to be said that movie rockzorz my soxorz. Thank to Mike Zuch:

for that beauty of a movie.

The reason i forget most of it is prolly because Wednesday was the day we all went to 6 FLAGS BABAY! Ok, so now it's Walibi World, but yeah. That day was amazing. From messing with stupid employees (*looks right... looks left... looks right...* No. Good times Ben, great times), to riding all the most insane coasters ever, to driving some Go Karts, to basically just having afield day of fun with the coolest people in the world, Wednesday the 12th of July 2006 is one of my favorite days ever:

Thursday was the day some peeps went to Zwolle:

However, the smart people decided to stay behind and have Benjie walk us through the Bible in 4 and half hours with The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus:
Im still reading that book, and it's amazingly awesome. Thanks Benjie!
After the study, I managed to catch the third showing of HSM, and then the end of the Empire Strikes back. Great day. Oh, and we showed Stockholm Syndrome (check down this page). Twas a hit, so im happy about that. Jon Hegner's France field video rocked aswell.

The nights were awesome too. Joe Muckle, Stephen Davis, Myself and later Ian Strom would stay up till one every night just talking about stuff, with references to obscure comics:

and with with frequent interruptions by Ben:

so that we would cry ourselves to sleep (in a good, laughing way) :"Hey, did you guys order the half naked fat guy from the guys next door?" / "It was some other dude with wooden shoes, i swear!" Good times....

Friday the 14 of July
was the final day of the conference. There was the traditional children's program. Amos Stott rules:

However, nothing was planned for the youth. So Ian, Josh Prince, Joe, Stephen and I decided to do "In the Jungle" and "Eye of the Tiger" a capella, with Josh Crooks accompanying on the beat box. We had 10 minutes of practice, we bombed it, but we ruled it aswell. It was amazing... Good times:

(The sound and video are way off... this is all i have of it so far.)

After that, the youth had a big time photoshoot. Ill try to put the main ones on here (email me for all of them):





John being the definition of "That Other Guy"

Patty and Anna


Spies (yes, this is a link!)

Six Flags Memories



Best Buds

Of course, we weren't happy at all. We were all emo:

Well, that's a plethaura of pics for you. The day ended with all of us singing worship songs, final goodbyes and in my case being lame and going to bed out of sheer exhaustion. The next morning, i said goodbye to everyone that was still there, we went over the week and promised to see each other again.

If we don't see each other before, it must be said that when i get a house, you guys are ALL invited over for a huge get together bash of sorts. Or until next time!

Saturday the 15th
, we departed, the first to arrive and the last to leave on our voyage back home. We listened to the Wayside album, reminding ourselves of how blessed we had been that week.

Spirits were still high:

As we headed on the long road back home,

we couldn't help but feel light as the wind, turning the huge propellers of the many windmills along the road:

Ours was a renewed calling to be in the world to serve the Lord, providing the gentle push to put things into motion and produce the fruit this world desperately needs (man, being a HS senior helps when it comes to making up stuff like that... :P). With our renewed selves thanks to this wonderful conference, we could almost see Christ, right there with us on the road:

Epilogue and Reflections:

Going into the conference, I had a goal. Because the older generation, basically all of our older siblings, had made it a point, nay, an art form, to seggregate against us youngin's, who wanted nothing more than to hang out with the cool kids, i made it a point of mine to make sure that, even though some kids would like others more, no one would be left behind, alone and bored.
Having been excluded from the older and indeed cooler kids' group by these older kids and knowing how that felt, i decided to include everyone as much as possible. Why should the younger guys not be able to have fun with us? Why would they somehow not be worthy? The younger guys are the ones who are going to be the future of the field, they deserve a good example. And guess what? EVERYONE of us older dudes followed suite, subconsciously. We all knew what it was like to be the butt of the jokes, and we all did admirably well keeping the good times going for everyone. We had fun with the younger guys, we hung out with them and we all had fun together. When DJ:

came up on stage at the end of the week, telling us just how glad he was that he as a twelve year old was accepted with the up to 19 year olds, i had a silent fist pump. When David Blanchard:

thanked Joe and I for making him feel comfortable and included when we went to the pool, that was awesome. That's what it was about: sharing the awesomeness.

As you grow older, you don't realize it, but there is a following.The little dudes look up to you, they take their cues as to what is cool and fun from you. If they see you skate, they want to skate. If they see you playing football, they also want to play. They want you to hang out with them, because you're what they want to be to some degree. Likewise, if you treat them poorly, they feel abandonned, uncool, and ignored. This, unfortunately, is more lasting an impression than any good impression you may have had. Unfortunately, that is a major thing i remember about my sister: being treated like crud, not being allowed to hang out with her and her friends. It was great to know that we managed to be the group that reversed the dynamic the older generation was setting.

Getting the praise that we did from the adults was amazing, compared to the last conference when the youth were in huge trouble. I want to thank all of you teens for being the best group ever. You rule, we rule, we're awesome.

I want to thank the Wayside again for being awesome. I learned so much about... a bunch of stuff. From the Bible to theological debates to the Christian Clique, it was all around awesome. I feel spiritually replenished, and even though re-entry has been tough, i feel that i can change my pre-conference dynamic for the Lord.

Thanks to TEAM serve (Hannah, Brooke), Conference Junkies (Christina, Julia), our helpers (Ben... you rule)... You guys were great.

Thanks again to all you peeps keeping it real all across Europe and the best part of Canada! You guys are all amazing.

Im going to try to make a movie for you all with what i gots, so sit back and relax, it'll come. A taste of what is to come:

Thanks again. I'll leave you with our theme song (so say Ian and Josh). We are on the Front Line.
God Bless You.


Blogger BDM said...

Your video clips remind me of old black and white movies.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous John Thompson said...

Dude- I don't know what to say! Great blog!

It was totally OUR HONOR to serve you all. You really inspire us! I hope we can do it all again some time. Who knows... maybe a Wayside ALL EUROPE TOUR could be on the horizon! And maybe - just maybe - we could bring a DRUMMER!!!!!

Fan that flame, baby... and PUSH ON THROUGH!

- Mr. Puppet

10:57 PM  
Blogger trenchcoatsparrow said...

Patty, you are an all-integrating inspiration. I'm glad the MK experience went down so well. However, I choose to go down in history rather as the inventor of the self-slicing potato. Wa-TCHA!

1:04 PM  
Blogger trenchcoatsparrow said...

Oh yeah, and "huge trouble"...well...yeah. That's true. People shouldn't hook up at Conference.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous anna said...

Hey Patty!
Sweet blog. What fond memories! Hope everything is going well since you've gotten back. Look that homework in the eye and tackle it!...or something like that. :P
God bless!

8:01 PM  
Blogger benjie said...

Fan-spankin'-tastic. Send me some photos, yo; I didn't shoot a thing.

And what John says is true - it was an absolute privilege worshiping, talking, learning, partying and egg-shaped-kickballing with you guys. You can't imagine how God blessed and grew me through y'all.

See you "next time," bro.


10:50 PM  
Anonymous Nadine said...

you totally rock my world!
conference was great!

11:26 PM  
Blogger trenchcoatsparrow said...

Tee-hee...worship teams always dig us MKs :-D

11:55 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

you mean us mk's... you're an old timer and you know it.

12:18 AM  
Blogger trenchcoatsparrow said...

You don't grow out of being an MK. Ever.

6:43 PM  
Blogger TheCondor said...

ya so i´ve already told you what i think about this, but i´m in spain now staying with the steffens, and me and Tim had a few good laughs again. We are big fans of your trice repeated thumbs up pose in the car...props for that...ttyl peace out man

10:56 AM  
Anonymous benny strizangth said...

Looks left....looks

Yeah, I will def. never forget that dude at the theme park; he was
a real treat to say the least.

I really liked your blog and thought for someone your age it's very
professional and well written. Have you ever considered going into a
journalism profession? Perhaps media journalism?

Well dude...i've said it once and i'll say it again...
"That was better than heroine..."

I thought just having the opportunity to work with you was worth
the trip over to Europe. Your attitude during the good and the bad
was tremendous; the attitude of Christ shines through you like a beacon
in the night and people see that. Always remember your being watched; not
necessarily by the corporate conglomerates at Wal Mart, but younger and
older Christians. I have been saved for a little under 4 years and found
that just being around you and a few of the other guys my faith was lifted. I
saw something in you that even as a Christian I was envious of; the joy of
the Lord. I pray that God will give me the same; and even more so; the passion
that he put in you.

Keep going after Jesus with the bar-nun' hard core persistence and passion. I
will miss not being around you, and miss our midnight chats.

"I went to the store to buy a candleholder; but they were out; so i bought a cake;
then..............i died of an overdose...."

I will be praying for you and if you ever get the opportunity to come hang out in the
states we could go to Aspen together and ski; its only about a six hour drive.

My email addy is:


11:51 AM  

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