Friday, July 15, 2011

Free Fun Field Trip for a Family of Five

Last year in February, I entered Celebrating Life Contest hosted by Focus on the Family. When the contest was over, I received an email informing me that I won the grand prize of a free trip to Colorado Springs for a lunch with Jim Daly, President & CEO of Focus on the Family. I was the person who referred the most people (using my Referral Code) to sign up for the contest, and to make a donation to support the work and message of Focus on the Family. I was so thrilled! I replied with some questions because I didn't realize that the prize was only for 2 people and 1 night. I mentioned that we have 3 kids, one of which is a special needs kid and we always travel together as a family. I asked if there's a way that our whole family (five of us) could go. Our kids love Adventures in Odyssey and it would be wonderful for them to visit Focus on the Family. The lady who coordinated this emailed me back that she had to talk with others and would get back to me later. The last time I heard from her was March, 2010. I kept waiting but I heard nothing back from her at all. I didn't want to bother her. I prayed and asked God to work it all out according to His will and I just left it in God's hand. Then 2011 came around. I still had not heard from her. I decided to try calling her. I discovered that she no longer worked there. I explained to someone at Focus on the Family about my situation. Then one day (not long after my call), I received a phone call from Mr. Ken Janzen. He was such a kind and gracious gentleman. He kept apologizing for the delay in giving the prize and offered to award me with an all-expense-paid trip for all five of us to Colorado Springs and instead of 1 night, it would be 2 nights. I couldn't believe my ears :). God is totally awesome and full of wonderful surprises! He blessed us beyond what we could ever imagine.

Fast forward to July 7th...we flew (with Frontier) to Denver and then drove to Colorado Springs. Focus on the Family paid for our airfares, rental car, hotel (Homewood Suites), meals, tickets to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Chuckwagon suppers & Western music show at Flying W Ranch. We paid for the third night at the hotel so that we could spend 4 days in Colorado. The first night at the hotel, we had dinner at the hotel and then played in the pool.

On July 8th, we had a special inside peek at Focus on the Family led by a personal tour guide, Suzanne Martin. We got to go behind the scenes of the making of Adventures in Odyssey. They even let us record our voices using their prepared scripts and gave us CDs of our performances. Once a month, Focus on the Family holds a chapel. We really enjoyed the chapel time there. The guest speaker that day was William Bennett. The couple who's involved in a ministry in South Sudan led the worship. We bought their CD: Music for the Radio (all proceeds go to buy portable radios for people in South Sudan so that they can listen to the Gospel via radio). Lunch with Mr. Jim Daly was lovely. Three other people joined us: Evan Reedall, Suzanne Martin, and Carrie. Mr. Daly was very pleasant, friendly, and cool. At the end of the meal, they brought out a special cheesecake with my husband's name and my daugher's name on it :). They have July birthdays. It turned out that Mr. Daly and Carrie also have July birthdays. As if all this wasn't enough already, Focus on the Family gave us tons of gifts such as The Truth Project DVDs, The Truth Chronicles Adventures in Odyssey CD set, Adventures in Odyssey postcards and stickers, Adventures in Odyssey water bottles, Focus on the Family water bottles, G.Harvey (gifted artist)'s book, The City Series, and $50 gift card for Focus on the Family bookstore (which I didn't take long to spend it :)). We also had fun at the welcome center. We went down the twisty slide and checked out all the different rooms. After we left Focus on the Family in the evening, we visited Garden of the Gods. Beautiful sandstone monilith! After dinner at Red Lobster, we watched lightnings. We had never seen so many lightnings before. Great light shows in the sky!

On July 9th, after breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. We took the Mountaineer Sky Ride. I'm afraid of heights but the Lord helped me survive the ride and enjoy the spectacular view. We fed giraffes and watched grizzly bears tear up a campsite (set up purposefully for a demonstration). We really liked this zoo...so many fun things to do and see. We also drove up to Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Interesting castle! Then we went to Flying W Ranch to have chuckwagon suppers and enjoy Western music show. Before the suppers, we walked around the Western village and took a train ride through a "mine".

On July 10th, after breakfast at the hotel, we checked out. We visited Air Force Academy. Then we drove to Denver. We stopped by downtown and shopped at Cherry Creek Mall. We enjoyed yogurt at Cherry on Top. We flew back from Denver Airport to Portland Airport. On the plane, we saw the majestic Mt. Hood up close. Wow! What a vacation...short but sweet :)! We're so very blessed! Thank You, Lord! And thanks bunches to Focus on the Family! We love you all and your ministry!

*Photos will be added when I get a chance :).

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