Monday, July 25, 2016


Heading up for our 21st Annual SLAMMED Adventure Trip. It starts on Wednesday. This will be Laurie's first adventure trip this summer... so glad to have her back!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Over 2600 Calvary Chapel Adventure Trip Pictures Uploaded

Relive the moments from our Adventure Trip with the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel of St Petersburg, FL. Check out over 2600 pictures from our outrageous time together at camp in the mountains of eastern TN!!


Costa Rica Missions - VBS Donations

Last night I shared in a post how blessed our ministry (GTD) was able to buy food for 25 different families while in Costa Rica (if you missed the post, it's a must read)...and today I wanted to share with you all the supplies we were able to buy and donate to our partner church with money given to our Costa Rica mission project this past month!  You're looking at $1,000 in materials!  To our supporters, we couldn't  have done it without you!  These supplies not only helped to support the VBS our team was able to participate in, but will also help to support the church's children's ministry in the months to come.  Thank you so much!

Friday, July 15, 2016

You Helped Us Feed 25 Families

Before I left for Costa Rica I sent a message out to many of my friends who have been a huge part of Going The Distance Adventure Ministry. It was my goal to raise $1,500 and together we exceeded the amount and raised about $2,650!  Not only did we get to feed families and buy needed supplies for the children's VBS, but we were able to do so much more and bless some sweet families, local church plants, provide for unexpected needs, and bless the church community. I plan to share more details, but tonight I wanted to share with you all that we were able to deliver food to 25 different families in need. Families received a bag full of necessities (beans, rice, oil, spaghetti, sauce, ramen noodles, salt, coffee, tea, cookies for the children, powdered milk, soap, tuna, tortillas, and vegetables). 

For me it's so humbling to share this gift with families whose cupboards are bare. It took about $30 to feed each family and I can only imagine what it must have felt like for some of these families to receive a gift like this. From an empty cupboard to filling bellies...I know it's not a solution to their situation, but it's love in action. It shows them that they matter, that they are not forgotten, and that God is at work. It gives them hope and helps them through another day. 

Together we share time with these families, we get to know them, we pray for their needs, and we share with them about the generous people here in the United States who made this gift possible. 

To each person who donated to this request, I wish I could wrap my arms around each one of you to say thank you individually, and I wish you could take a peek into my heart and see how full it is. Thank you for your belief in this ministry and being the hands and feet of the church. Your donation made a difference. May God bless you for your generosity.

Thank You Vero

I can't say enough beautiful things about Vero who is not only one of my dearest friends in Costa Rica, but also my right hand.  For years I have been blessed to work side by side with her and truly believe we make an amazing team! Over the last few years we have worked together in some amazing and God sized projects. Together we have poured endless hours into preparations and plans for our teams. It's been absolutely incredible to see how God has brought the Iglesia Buen Pastor team together, Going The Distance Adventure Ministry and all the many other churches we have had the privilege to work with over our 11 years of ministry in Costa Rica to impact an HIS kingdom!  Thank you Vero for all you do day in and day out to prepare for our teams, for the love your pour out, for the time you give, for your heart to serve, and for being such a wonderful friend. May God bless you and your family...we pray God will provide healing for Walter Zuniga (her husband) and that a kidney transplant will happen soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


The pleasant morning weather conditions quickly gave way to soaring heat after noon time as the temperature soared to around 100 degrees. During the challenging hike down, with only 10 minutes before we were back to the vans, one of the youth passed out... then a few other youths started feeling faint from heat exhaustion and had to lay down. It was quickly becoming a serious situation. A nearby trickling waterfall became our source for cooling down overheating kids while everyone started sharing their remaining drinking water. We possibly didn't need to, but we couldn't take any chances so we called 911 as we continued to cool down the students. Within a few minutes a small army of Rangers and emergency personnel arrived at the bottom of the mountain. One Ranger hiked up to assess the situation and help the one youth that had passed out in any way possible. By this time we had already cooled him down and hydrated him and he was sitting up answering questions. Over the next 25 minutes everyone was able to hike down on their own. Once at the bottom, the paramedics spent the next hour observing the overheated students while cooling them off and rehydrating them. No more intervention was needed and everyone was cleared to return to camp. On the way back to camp we stopped for snacks like ice cream. Three hours after the incident everyone was all smiles. Our special thanks to the emergency personnel who came and helped. They regularly see all types of emergencies in the mountains and have an average response time of only 5 minutes. We thank God for them, the youth leaders who who helped care for kids, our staff and volunteers who worked exhaustively all day, and for a perfectly placed trickling waterfall. Everyone was back to normal in a few hours. Praise God!

Everything Little Thing Makes A Difference

A few years ago I was given these blankets to take down to Costa Rica with me as a gift for anyone who might need one. That year we walked the streets of a very poor neighborhood and delivered food to families in need. This particular blanket was given to a sweet woman who was about to have a baby. This year when I returned I found this blanket hanging on the laundry line at her house. The blanket itself was made by a little old lady...a neighbor of mine who couldn't get around very well but could still knit. A few months ago that sweet little woman passed away. It was such an honor to see her blanket hanging in such a special place. The women explained to me what a special gift it was to her, how she always remembered me and the act of kindness we brought to her home.  I then shared with her the story of my neighbor Mary and she was even more touched by the gift I had given her back then. We may not have a lot to give, we may not be able to do a lot for others, but never underestimate the impact your gift can make...big or small, it makes a difference. I loved seeing Mary's kindness live on through the blanket she made.  It will be a joy to share this photo with her family. I hope they will know that her Mom's life made a difference even when she could barely leave her home.  To this woman and her family it was the world. 💕 #love #loveunconditionally #give #kindness #blanket #little #hope #God #missions #makeadifference #life

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


We had a phenomenal day of rock climbing and rappelling with the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel St Pete. It was a picturesque sunny day with jaw dropping mountain top views overlooking the white water below. It was the perfect day... until 2pm... (to be continued)...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


5am wake-up & 50-70 lbs backpacks for the rock climbing set-up team. The view makes it more than worth it!!

Monday, July 11, 2016


One of our favorite days at camp is water day! We are "soaking" up this amazing God-made water park on a beautiful sunny day in TN!! Waterfall slides, cliff jumps, and swimming... it's a goooooooooo day!!


Sometimes adventuring includes a trip to the hospital. One of our 14 year old participants hit her shin on a rock while playing in the river yesterday afternoon. The result was a 3 inch gash in her shin that required 7 stitches. We were so impressed with the young lady who was injured as we watched her keep an upbeat positive attitude while challenging herself not to cry. Mission accomplished... even while enduring the pain of the impact, wound cleaning, injections, and suture needle. This girl is tough, funny, and incredibly smart! Our thanks to the Etowah, TN medical staff at Wood's Memorial Hospital who took excellent care of our young patient who will be a spectator for most of the activities for the next couple of days. Thank you to all of prayer warriors out there that constantly lift us up in prayer!

Sunday, July 10, 2016


We are taking on the mighty middle section of the Ocoee River today! Everyone is LOVING IT!!


Yesterday afternoon the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel St Pete arrived at camp in Tellico Plains, TN. After setting up the campsite they kicked off their week with praise and worship around the campfire. The best way to start camp!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Prepping For Our Next Adventure Trip!

Carson and I have spent the day getting supplies, buying groceries, and prepping for our Adventure Trip with the middle school youth group from Calvary Chapel St Pete... which starts in a few hours. It's our 12th annual trip with this phenomenal youth group. We can't wait! Keep us in your prayers over the next 5 days as we brave the wild with 40 people!

Friday, July 8, 2016


Relive the 17 mile & 42 river crossing backpacking adventure on Jacks River Trail with Landry Academy! See why this is indeed a bucket list trip!

Click here to see all the pics:


Carson and I are about to board our cheap flight back up to TN. Our annual adventure trip with the middle school youth group of Calvary Chapel St Pete starts tomorrow!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When Backpacking Turns Into CLIFF JUMPING!

As if backpacking in the wilderness wasn't enough! 9 miles into our 17-mile 4-day backpacking trek on Jacks River Trail with the students of Landry Academy brought us to Jacks River Falls - a God crafted all natural "water park" complete with a 3 level waterfall including cliff jumps and natural slides. We couldn't get enough of God's amazing playground on this day!



We can't thank Fredrick James Accounting enough for volunteering their energy and donating their time to prepare our annual 990 business tax report. They. Do. It. Every. Year. I can't express in words the appreciation we have for the excellent job and quality work they donate to us each and every year! The amount of time, energy, money, and most importantly - sanity that they save us is enormous!! We are so blessed to have their partnership and support!!! Thank you so much Fred, Crystal, Wilda, Joe, Steve and the entire FJA team for going above and beyond to serve us so that we can do what we do! No ministry can function without many parts playing vital roles. FJA plays a vital role that enables us to do ministry. Thank. You. So. Much! We love you guys!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


I would wish this hike upon everyone! We conquered 42 gorgeous river crossings in a span of 17 miles of backpacking on Jacks River Trail over a 4 day period with a bunch of outstanding students (and some of their family) from Landry Academy including the magnificent couple - Tom & Jen Henriksen. It was AMAZING!!!!


Nearly 3000 Pictures Uploaded (FCD & PPHS Adventure trip)

Nearly 3000 pictures from our Adventure Trip with the deaf, hard of hearing, and ASL high school students of the Family Center on Deafness (FCD) & Pinellas Park High School (PPHS) have been uploaded to GTD's online photo album. Click here to see all the exciting moments!!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

CR Team Arrived Safely (Nearby Earthquake - Everyone Is Fine)

Our Costa Rica Mission Team arrived safe and sound today to our host church in La Fortuna de Bagaces. They are excited and motivated for the work God has for them over the next week.

Shortly after 10pm EST there was a magnitude 5.2 earthquake about 20 miles from the church where our team is staying. They felt the quake, but everyone is fine and is in good spirits. They are continuing to feel tremors as of 10:35pm EST. 

You can check this link for Costa Rica earthquake information:

We will update our blog and Facebook page if there are any changes or developments. Keep lifting our team up in your prayers. Pura vida!


Friday, July 1, 2016

Homebound With My Right Hand Man!

After 14 straight days of purposeful hard work (usually lasting 14-18 hrs/day) Carson and I are heading home exhausted, but filled up at the same time.

We will be back home for 1 week before our next event. Garrett will be meeting back up with us in a few weeks.

Most of our events this summer are scattered on the calendar with about an average of 1 week off between trips. We had 3 options:

1) Stay up in TN between trips
2) Drive home between trips
3) Get a cheap flight home between trips

So I did the math and actually found that it is cheaper to store our truck & trailer and get a cheap round trip flight on Allegiant Airlines (with no luggage) and fly back home. SCORE!!!

Now I can come home and take care of the office work, spend quality with family, and be well prepared for our fall events. And Carson can do some fishing. It's pretty nerdy, but I'm thrilled that I won't have huge piles waiting for me at the end of this summer!! BEST SUMMER EVER ALREADY!!

Looking forward to all that God has lying ahead! Thanks for the prayers friends, Ministry Partners, and supporters =)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rafting Day With FCD/PPHS Students

Incredible day white water rafting on the Ocoee River! The FCD/PPHS students loved it!!

Don't Overlook The Details ;)

An overlook near our campsite with our wild crew!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


"Courage is the price of admission for life at its deepest." - Tim Hansel

We put people in situations that require them to make courageous decisions. To be stretched to become more. To discover a deeper meaning of life.

The FCD/PPHS students "rocked it" today on the mountain as they courageously climbed & rappelled Starr Mtn. We are so proud of them!

Some Things Are Worth The Effort!

The view, the temperature, and the amazing feeling of being on top of the TN mountains makes getting up at 5am and hiking uphill to set-up our rock climbing routes so worth it!! Looking forward to a great day of adventure with the students of the Family Center on Deafness and Pinellas Park High School's ASL program! Keep us in your prayers. Seize the adventures =)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Having a God-awesome adventure at Baby Falls with students from the Family Center on Deafness and Pinellas Park High School  =)

Monday, June 27, 2016


We've been going non-stop for 8 days! I haven't had a chance to post any updates. Our first adventure with Landry Academy was fantastic and our current adventure with 25 deaf, hard of hearing, and ASL students from the Family Center on Deafness / Pinellas Park High School is going great. More updates from both trips to come. (Picture: Hiked to Benton Falls this morning. Good times!!)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Check-in/OK message from SPOT GTD (GPS Alert)

GTD (GPS Alert)
GPS location Date/Time:06/23/2016 18:21:01 EDT

Message:Quick update from GTD: All's good! Everyone is safe & sound. Click on links to see our location. God bless =)

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-84.59444&ll=34.97632,-84.59444&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

GTD (GPS Alert)

You have received this message because GTD (GPS Alert) has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Check-in/OK message from SPOT GTD (GPS Alert)

GTD (GPS Alert)
GPS location Date/Time:06/22/2016 21:00:03 EDT

Message:Quick update from GTD: All's good! Everyone is safe & sound. Click on links to see our location. God bless =)

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-84.55054&ll=34.95650,-84.55054&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

GTD (GPS Alert)

You have received this message because GTD (GPS Alert) has added you to their SPOT contact list.

Ready for Adventure

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Living The Dream!

We packed gear till 1:30am... then feel asleep in our climate controlled storage unit... it's always an adventure just getting to the adventure!

Friday, June 17, 2016


TN bound with 2 Jr Guides and an Amazing Woman!!

Keep us in your prayers as we tackle 2 backpacking trips, 3 adventure trips, and 1 Costa Rica mission trip.

Special thanks to our Jr Guides - Carson and Garrett - for volunteering for another summer of servanthood, and to our Zoo Keeper Richard as he takes care of the dogs & cats and works on some office repairs!

Ministry is a team sport! Get involved. And you'll never be the same!

Never Stop Exploring


It's time to reserve your spot for GTD's next adventure to Havasu Canyon this November 18th thru 23rd. 

Together we will hike 10 miles of this jaw dropping destination to explore the 100 ft and 200ft turquoise colored Havasu and Mooney Falls while spending 3 relaxing nights camped along side Havasu Creek.  

Don't have your own gear?  Don't let that stop you, we'll provide it for you!  

For more information check out our Havasu link on the left side of this page. 

Spots are limited, so be sure to reserve your spot A.S.A.P.! 

Today Marks Our 1st Annual Summer Adventures... of Our Next 20 Years!

Today we kick off our journey to our 21st annual summer of Adventure Trips... or another way to look at it is to say we are kicking off our 1st annual Adventure Trips of our next 20 years! Either way, I'd just like to thank Jesus, our Ministry Partners, our Donors, our Supporters, our Encouragers, our Participants, our current & former Staff, our Volunteers, and the countless people who have played a role in the existence and subsistence of Going The Distance Adventure Ministry (or "GTD" as we like to call it). There is so much to say, but no time to say it now. As usual, we are scurrying to hit the road. We are about to start trekking to the mountains of TN. We have 6 God-awesome adventures planned over the next 8 weeks, and we can't wait to see what God's going to do in the lives of everyone involved. Keep us in your prayers and follow our daily blog of adventure highlights and praise reports. We don't know what lies ahead, but one thing is for sure, it's never boring! Here's to the first summer trips of our next 20 years... GLORY TO GOD!!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pathways Canoeing Trip Was Refreshing!

We had a wonderful time today canoeing with 22 great guys from Pathways Community Church of Largo, FL. The overcast day gave us plenty of extra shade and kept the temps down. Our destination was Weedon Island Preserves. We paddled 4 miles through a maze of mangrove canopies. Our devotion was titled, "God's Love Language". It was a beautiful setting with some fantastic guys in God's liquid playground. We loved every minute of it!

Special thanks to Jesse Altamarino for all of his help and hard work that blessed so many people, especially us here at GTD!

Click here to see all of the pics from today's adventure!


Friday, June 10, 2016


I know I'm the king of lame posts, but that's how us nerds roll.

All you understaffed ministries & small business owners out there can relate to my inner excitement to finishing the yearly financial entries. Yay!!!!!!!

This one has been hanging over my head like never before. We were out of the office & running our programs for 5 months last year and the amount of admin work that piled-up on my desk was unprecedented! I've been working like a mad man to conquer these piles. Last month I finished tackling 3500 emails. 10 days into this month and I've just completed our 2015 finances. Wow, it feels so good!

Now they are ready to go to our awesome accountant (Fredrick James Accounting).

We are getting so much done over here at GTD Headquarters and God is opening many doors of opportunities for us (as you will notice over the coming months).

We keep moving the ball forward by the grace & goodness of God =)

Pathways Canoe Trek Tomorrow

Getting ready for tomorrow's canoeing day trip with the men of Pathways Community Church of Largo, FL.

Can't wait!! Yip! Yip!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Task Triage

1 week till departure! I'm currently sorting and prioritizing all of our ministry tasks so that we can take care of our most important jobs before we hit the road and put the rest of the office work on the "back burner". I call it "Task Triage". We already have so many answered prayers to a lot of "small" things like dog sitters, volunteers, transportation plans, and all the moving parts that allow this ministry to function (thank you Father!). And thankfully I will be back in the office as much as possible between trips to prevent the kind of task pile-up we had last year. But for the next 6 days it's a mad blitz of to-do's!! Thanks for praying for GTD and the opportunities that lie before us. Looking forward to another God-awesome summer of ministry!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

HAVASU FALLS Backpacking Trip Coming This November!

We are thrilled to announce that registration for our Havasu Falls Backpacking Trip begins today! Join GTD on a trip of a lifetime to a modern day Garden of Eden. Spend 4 days and 3 nights in paradise! We only have 15 permits available. Check out all the details as well as a new 4 minute promo video on our website link

DATE: Nov 18-23, 2016
LOCATION: Havasu Falls (within the Grand Canyon - AZ)
EVENT: Backpacking Trip
COST: $799

Monday, June 6, 2016


These are my tools for a highly productive & effective work week.

For the past 2 weeks I've been in a LOCK-DOWN mode. Sometimes the amount of work that piles up requires me to implement a self-imposed solitary confinement (or LOCK-DOWN mode as I like to call it) of monomanical work. I get up early, lock the door, put my phone on airplane mode, start cranking out the work, and eventually go to bed late. Then press the repeat button. I tend to skip sleep, meals, showers, and anything else that requires time I can use on my tasks. If it wasn't for taking the dogs out 3x per day I usually wouldn't see another person (or even natural sunlight for that matter) for days and sometimes weeks at a time. It's sort of like being manic-depressive, but without the depressive part. Thankfully this time I'm using my Pomodoro Technique to include healthy eating each day and working out regularly because these things are part of my job description. Right now I'm taking a couple of days to come up for air. I went to 2 church services yesterday, spent some quality time with people, and watched some Netflix for diversion. And today, I'm taking care of the domestics (laundry, food prep, phone calls, etc) and getting ready to jump back into another week of LOCK-DOWN MODE.

We have 10 days till our summer trips begin and I have about 2 months of work to do in those 10 days. My goal is 100 Pomodoros this week. I knocked out 93 last week and 106 the week before. A typical work week would be about 50. I absolutely love the Pomodoro Technique and I'm customizing it to make it a perfect fit for my personality and temperament.

I think our Ministry Partners & supporters would be very pleased to see how hard we work to run this ministry. It can often be perceived by the casual onlooker that we just have a bunch of fun in GTD, but the reality is that it takes a lot of hard work to plan, prepare, and provide group events. Thankfully I'm not afraid of hard work, and, in fact, I actually love it.

Please keep us in your prayers as we enter our 20th year of summer camps. We have tons to get done and I can't do it in my own power. It has to be fuel by the Spirit of God.

Watch out mountains of tasks and a summer full of physically demanding trips... I'm coming for you... in Jesus name!

The Secret of Living The Christian Life

Been reading through the minor prophets of the Bible over the past 2 months. Great stuff! So relevant 2500+ years later! In fact, the "secret" to living the Christian life is hidden in plain view in Zechariah 4:6, "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord Almighty. Trying to live out the Christian life in our own power is like pushing our car from point A to point B instead of using the engine to power it. Just like automobiles we were designed to function with an engine... by "horsepower" not "manpower". Unless we have that paradigm shift away from "my energy" and over to "His energy" then the Christian journey will be as exhausting as pushing your car to work. Christians often say that God will not give us more than we can handle. Although it is well intended to comfort those facing immense trials, it isn't Biblically accurate and it shifts the focus away from God and onto our own feeble strength. The paradigm shift that has to take place is that God will always give us more than we can handle. And that's the point. That's why it's not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit. If I could "handle it" then I never realize my need for God and I never reveal a greater power source other than myself. BUT if I fuel up on God's Word and turn the ignition key that revs the engine of the Holy Spirit then I will "walk and not faint, run and not grow weary" while revealing the power of God to those who are watching.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Events Soon To Begin

Just two and a half weeks before we hit the trail for our summer events with GTD!  We'll be kicking the summer off with one of my favorite hikes along Jack's River Trail with Landry Academy, then our Adventure Camps and Mission Trips begin!  

Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare for events and get ready to leave. There are always so many things to do before taking off!  

If you'd like to get involved with an amazing outdoor adventure ministry, or you'd be interested or know someone who might be interested in doing a private event with us (Adventure Camp, Retreat, Mission Trip, Day Trip, hiking, trip to the Grand Canyon or Utah) please share our information. Or if you'd like to come on one of our trips as an individual or as a family check out our calendar events in the left or email us. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! We benefit from from the sacrifice of many. There is no "i" in team, but there are 2 "i" 's in sacr"i"f"i"ce! That's because there are always 2 people involved in sacrifice - the one who makes it and the family that supports, endures, and grieves the loss from it. It's also because no body can can force genuine sacrifice; it can only be freely given by those making the sacrifice for the betterment of others. It's a personal decision that only  "i" can make. That's why we honor such people, they freely gave up their wants to supply us with our needs. They gave so that we could benefit. Thank you to all the "i" 's out there, especially their families, who made the ultimate sacr"i"f"i"ce so that we could live in the benefits received. God bless you all.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


We hope you have a God-Awesome weekend!  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Glorious Moment!

It may only last for 1 minute, but my inbox is finally empty!! It took 3 months of diligent work while managing my other responsibilities, but I acted on, replied back to, sorted, filed, and/or purged 3500+ emails that had piled up in my inbox over the past 18 months (and a few of them had been flagged dating back as far as 2012). I know it's not a very exciting post to read, but I can't tell you the joy I'm feeling at accomplishing this task (that actually led to hundreds of other tasks). With so many forms of communication such as facebook posts, fb messenger, tweets, text messages, phone calls, voicemails, face-to-face meetings, and letters... it's understandable that I'm going to fall behind on emails, especially while I'm traveling off the grid so much... it's nearly impossible to stay on top of everything. But now I'm back on top of one of my least favorite forms of communication - emails. And now I have a better system in place to help keep me on top. It's such a liberating feeling to get that monkey off my back! Thank you Jesus! Bring on the next big task!!!

Interview Added to GTD's YouTube Channel

Our television interview with CTN TV has been uploaded to GTD's YouTube channel. We talk about the ministry, Costa Rica, Utah, the Grand Canyon, Slammed, and much more with BayFocus host Darlene Greenlee. Check it out to learn more about GTD and some of the events we offer!