Sunday, August 21, 2016

END OF THE SUMMER CLEAN-UP (Part 5)

We made it back home safe & sound a couple of hours ago (Praise the Lord!). We ended up stopping at a rest stop outside of Lake City, FL for a few hours of front seat "sleep" before finishing the trek this morning. The truck and trailer did great! Now it's onto unloading and cleaning up the gear in the truck and trailer. Giddy up!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

END OF THE SUMMER CLEAN-UP (Part 4)

Roadside stretch! The 2 longest days of the year for me is the day I drive the trailer up to the mountains and the day I drive the trailer back home. Today is the drive back home. Keep us in your prayers as we travel southbound. Yip! Yip!

END OF THE SUMMER CLEAN-UP (Part 3)

We've finished cleaning, sorting, and restocking GTD's rock climbing, rappelling, and backpacking gear. PJ!! GTD owns enough high quality gear to outfit 30 climbers and 20 backpackers. We cache the gear in a God-awesome location in north GA where we are within 2 hours of 5 different airports and centralized to tons of hiking and climbing spots. All of this gear is used to introduce people to outdoor activities in God's creation along with the greatest adventure of all - following Jesus!

Friday, August 19, 2016

END OF THE SUMMER CLEAN-UP (Part 2)

We spent the day at the laundromat washing & drying 25 sleeping bags plus several loads of food bags, compression sacs, pillows, towels, clothes, etc, etc. We spent about $125 in quarters... that's a lot of quarters - LOL! Well, they say, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." ;)

END OF THE SUMMER CLEAN-UP (Part 1)

Yesterday we started our end of the summer clean-up. Outdoor adventuring can be messy business. To keep our gear and equipment in great shape and to extend its lifespan to maximum length we have to work hard to maintain it. In years past we didn't have time to stay on top of our equipment like we wanted to as we would rush from event to event with a skeleton crew of workers. Over the past year we've been striving to do a better job with the equipment we've been entrusted with (taking into consideration our small staff along with limited time and resources). We have to be back to FL on Aug 20th so we are scurrying to "get 'er done!" :)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

They came, they hiked, they conquered!! 23 backpackers from all over the United States came as part of Landry Academy's annual Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip in Hampton, TN. All 23 participants literally poured their sweat, blood, and tears into conquering this challenging ridge hike. And they did it!! We've had a lot of GREAT groups over the past 20 years, but this was one of the BEST! I wish everyone could meet and spend quality time with this group of teenagers and their parents. Their depth of character, love for Jesus, positive attitudes, and zest for adventure is 2nd to none! We quickly became more than a group of individuals, we became a family. Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to such wonderful people. This is one of those times. I'd go anywhere with this group of incredible people. We are so proud of them and their accomplishment! Tonight we eat, celebrate, and hopefully have a well earned deep sleep. Glory to God!

LAST LEG!

We are on our last leg of our AT hike. Today we will cover 7.3 miles in order to complete our 4 day 22 mile backpacking quest! Love this awesome group of people!! PJ! (Praise Jesus!)

Friday, August 12, 2016

BLOW DOWNS!

Downed trees (also known as "blow downs") was the name of the game today. We hurdled, crawled under, squeezed between, scrambled over, and traversed around 30+ downed trees during our hike today. It added about 2 hours and a lot more sweat onto our quest today, but we made it to our camping spot for the night. Everyone kept positive Christ driven "can-do" attitudes throughout our hiking obstacle course. We love this group and their depth of character! We are overcoming each challenge and soaking up this adventure!

GAME ON!

We are taking on another physical day on the Appalachian Trail! Bring it on!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A.T. HIKERS!

We are having a BLAST hiking a 22 mile section of the Appalachian Trail!! (Landry Academy AT Backpacking Trip 2016)

FEEDING THE SOUL!

This is more than just a backpacking trip. It's a God-awesome backpacking trip that is focused on seeking Him first! We start each morning with daily devotions from the Bible. This morning we focused on Philippines 2. There is no better way to start each day than feasting on God's Word! (Landry Academy 2016 AT Backpacking Trip.) =)

MEGA BEAR BAGS!

One of the precautions we have to take while backpacking is hanging all of our food outside of our campsite area so that we don't attract unwanted midnight visits from wildlife such as bears. All food should be hung well away from camp (usually in a tree) at least 10' off the ground and at least 5' laterally away from the tree. It was quite the adventure and a great source of laughter as we hung 250 lbs of food last night!! I love how much fun this group is even when it comes to doing our nightly "chores". Can't wait for today's adventures!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

BACKPACKING ON THE A.T.!!

We kicked off our 22 mile backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail today with 21 fantastic students, teachers, and family members from Landry Academy. We split into a few groups before hitting the trail. 4 days of hiking in God's amazing creation is already off to a great start!

BACKPACKING WORKSHOPS

Jen & Tom Henriksen along with Laurie Finger did a fantastic job teaching, preparing and equipping the Landry Academy crew for our upcoming AT backpacking trip that starts later today!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

TREE CLIMBING WITH A VIEW!

Yesterday we kicked off our 2nd Annual Appalachian Trail Backpacking Trip with Landry Academy. The first 2 days consist of trip prep including teaching workshops, distribution of gear, and a whole lot of fun - especially this 60' tree climb with a breathtaking view of our base camp!! Tomorrow afternoon we start our 4 day 22 mile trek on the AT. This is one of the most amazing groups we've ever worked with... we already feel like a big family!! Can't wait to start this hike! Praise God =)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

ALL PACKED UP!

Our goal was to pack up all of our backpacking gear yesterday in 4 hours for our next event. We did it in 12 hours! Classic overachievers. LOL!

Full day of final prep today. Then trekking towards Hampton, TN!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Hiya Hiawassee!

We have arrived to our Gear Cache location in Hiawassee, GA. We've set up our camping hammocks on the beatiful shores of Lake Chatuge. Tonight and tomorrow we will be packing up all the gear for our A.T. backpacking trip with Landry Academy. Everything kicks off Monday! Can't wait!

Last Flight of the Summer

We barely made it in time to board our flight for our last event of the summer. I was able to get an hour of sleep last night... at least it's progress!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

GO WEST... GTD WEST!

We are excited about how God has been developing our GTD WEST DestiNATION Trips! There is so much raw rare beauty and thrilling adventures located in the western United States and GTD is honored to take you there! Check out these 3 amazing adventures scheduled for this fall. Our UTAH Trip is sold out, but we have some spots available for our Grand Canyon (North Rim) Adventure and our Havasu Falls Backpacking Trip. Click on the links below for all the details! Hope to see you on one of these Christ-centered God-awesome adventures!!

Links:  GRAND CANYON  |  HAVASU FALLS  |  UTAH


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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

PHOTO BOMB!


One. of. the. BEST. PHOTO. BOMBS. EVER!!
LOL!!!!!


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SLAMMED Pics Uploaded


Nearly 3000 pictures, videos, and GIF files from our 21st Annual SLAMMED Adventure Trip in TN have been uploaded to our online photo album! 

Click here to see all the God-awesome Christ-centered fun we embarked on!


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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Courage

"You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both." 

This past week these ladies chose courage, and for me it was a privilege and enjoyment to be a part of their rock climbing experience!  I loved seeing their courage take them outside their comfort zones and push them to new heights. It was a real difficult climb and you did it!  I'm so proud of you girls!  You totally went for it!!! -Laurie

Monday, August 1, 2016

FEARLESS!

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear..." - 2 Timothy 1:7a

Pastor Rob Beswerherick and several others take on Top Gun's 40' cliff jump!!

GTD's SLAMMED 2016

ALL MY FRIENDS ARE DOING IT!

IF YOUR FRIEND JUMPS OFF A BRIDGE DOES THAT MEAN YOU'LL JUMP OFF A BRIDGE?!?!

ANSWER: Absolutely, on a GTD trip!!

Bridge Jumping - SLAMMED 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

ON ROCK? ROCK ON!

Fighting gravity all the way up to the top of one of our favorite climbs - Slab McNabb in TN! Awesome times with 20 outstanding people on SLAMMED 2016!!

DEVOS IN THE WILDERNESS!

Mixing thrilling outdoor activities with quality time with Jesus turns an exciting event into a God-awesome adventure!! Seeking God first!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

PREVAILING WHILE RAPPELLING!

Overcoming fears and conquering self imposed limitations was just part of the experience while we went over the edge of our 7-story heart-stopping rappel yesterday. Not even pouring rain or impending night fall could stop us from completing this adrenaline pumping adventure! Praising God that He calls us to be overcomers, not succumbers!!

SLAMMERS TAKE THE PLUNGE!

Our 21st Annual SLAMMED Adventure Trip started off with splash as we took on the thrilling waterfall slide and cliff jumps of Baby Falls! God's playground is AMAZING!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ALL WEATHER MINISTRY... EVEN THE SCORCHING HEAT!

It could be worse... it could be 104!! Getting ready for our SLAMMED Adventure Trip. With this heat I'm so glad we have 20 "cool" people on their way up to camp!! I see a lot of swimming in our future ;)

IT'S ONLY FLAT ON THE BOTTOM!

We almost made it through the entire summer without a flat tire... almost. One small screw kept our annual flat tire streak going. Not a problem, the GTD Pit Crew is on it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

TRIPLE PLAY!

Today we got a rare day to go play on the rocks without a group. Often we don't have the time during an event for the guides and volunteers to actually get to do the activities we are providing for the group so today was a special day of play for us. In this picture I'm belaying Laurie from on top of the mountain as she rock climbs upwards (I have her locked in during the picture) and Carson is rappelling below. We had a wonderful time checking out new routes for future groups while savoring some play time during our down time. Our trip starts tomorrow and we are recharged! Yip! Yip!

Monday, July 25, 2016

TN BOUND!

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!!


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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 TALE OF 2 DAYS... IN 1 DAY... THE REST OF THE STORY...

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

THE TALE OF 2 DAYS... IN 1 DAY

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

EARLY BIRD GETS THE VIEW!

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

GOD-AWESOME WATER DAY!!

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!!

SHIN vs ROCK!

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

RAFTING DAY WITH CALVARY!

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

CALVARY CHAPEL HAS ARRIVED!!

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

OVER 700 LANDRY BACKPACKING PICS UPLOADED!

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:
https://goingthedistance.smugmug.com/2016/2016-BKPK-Jacks-River-Trail

TN BOUND!

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!


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