Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy LEAP Day!!

Happy Leap Day from GTD!!

"The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him."
- Psalm 28:7


Monday, February 27, 2012


Dear Donors,

Thank you so much for generously supporting GTD in 2011. We are blown away by your thoughtfulness and kindness!

I am happy to report that we just completed our 2nd straight year of finishing in the black during a very harsh economy! Thank You Jesus! This is especially significant after the financial struggle we encountered in 2008/9 when the U.S. economy tanked.

I am also happy to report that we have made several adjustments based on the wisdom of God’s Word to “weatherproof” our ministry against our nation’s current economic climate as well as any future economic instabilities.

I could talk for hours about all that God has been teaching me about financial stability in ministry. Each lesson has transformed into an action point that has already been applied to GTD. This has caused a branch that began to wither in 2008/9 to be revived and begin to bear fruit again. I will be writing more about this topic in an upcoming post on the GTD Blog.

Our goal for many years has been to become a ministry that is not donation dependent. We desire to be 100% program supported and allow all donations to go towards the growth, development & expansion of GTD rather than going towards paying the monthly bills to keep GTD in business. I’m so excited to tell you that we are almost there. In 2011, 78% of our budget expenses were paid by the programs we run. That means that we were donation dependent for only 22% of our budget. That’s amazing!! Our goal for 2012 is to be only 12% donation dependent! And our prayer is to be 100% program funded by this time next year (Jan 2013)!!!

Of course, as a non-profit we will always receive donations, but our God-inspired ambition has always been to one day grow to a point where we are self sustaining through the programs we offer. I believe this is how many non-profits should operate so that donors help to start-up and support ministries until those ministries reach the maturity phase of being self sustaining. This will unleash donors to adopt other new great ministries & causes every few years.

But we’re not quite there yet so we ask that you continue to partner with us as we strive to hit this great goal. We thank God for you and the vital role that you play in this ministry!

And we are very excited about all the events God has blessed us with already in 2012. We already have 9 mission trips to Costa Rica, 5 adventure trips, and several retreats & day trips planned for this year. We have all kinds of God-awesome events that are open to the public - The Grand Canyon Trip, 17th Annual Slammed Adventure Trip, CR2012 Costa Rica Mission Trip, Grunge Caving Day Trip, Liquid Canoeing Day Trip, and so much more!

God has filled us with an expectant spirit that 2012 is going to be “Our Greatest Year Ever!” We look forward to all the lives that will be eternally impacted through our unique programs as we share the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ in the great outdoors. Thank you for supporting GTD! May God richly bless you for your generosity!

PS: Check out all the amazing updates & upcoming events on our website:

Doug Garner
CEO / Founder / Grunt


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Excellent Finish!!

Our adult leadership retreat with the Middle School Youth Group from Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater was excellent. Today we awoke at 6.30am and started the day with individual devotions. Laurie made some kickin' pancakes to fuel our participants for a full day of activity. While I was setting up 8 checkpoints for our adventure race, Pastor Ron was playing a game called "Mafia" with the group while enjoying the campfire. A great discussion about accusing, lying, and judging (all of which are elements of playing Mafia) resulted. It was powerful! Afterwards the group covered several leadership lessons with Ron. We then broke the group into 3 equal teams and started the adventure race. Each group had to find all 8 chckpoints scattered throughout the forest and accommplish a different team task at each checkpoint. The group had a great time & made it back to the base camp just in time for an awesome pizzadilla lunch. The pizzadillas were a huge hit! Ron finished the retreat with one last leadership objective around the campfire. Afterward the group helped break down camp... they were so helpful!! Around 4pm we shared some hugs and waved goodbye. It was an excellent retreat with a wonderful group of Godly people!! Thank You Jesus for a great event!! =)

Florida Beauty

Friday, February 24, 2012


Our leadership retreat w/ Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater's Middle School Youth Dept is off to a great start! This is a wonderful group of Christians who dedicate their time to helping young people grow in their walk with God. They are so much fun to be around =)

After setting up their tents we did an hour of team building followed by a delicious taco dinner. Pastor Ron spent an hour during the campfire concentrating on the continued growth & development of the youth group. We finished the night with some smores, a lot of laughing, and some great fellowship. We are getting up at 6:30am... so we are off to bed.

Nite, nite... God bless =)

Preparing For Tonight's Retreat

We are in Land O'Lakes setting up the campsite for a retreat with Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater. The adult leaders from the Middle School Youth Group along with Youth Pastor Ron Cooney are participating in a 24 hour leadership retreat. We are looking forward to all that God does this weekend =)

The Doodles

Faith and Courage are all packed up and ready for their first retreat of the year!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Praise the Lord, we have new tents!! These 12' x 12' mini-mansions sleep up to 8 people, but since we supply cots for each participant we can get up to 4 peeps per tent.

Coleman makes a decent quality tent. It's not top-of-the-line, but when you're housing hundreds of teenagers each year you want an affordable durable tent (with a good waranty). Our goal is to get 2 years of use from each tent. We were able to stretch the last set of tents to 3 years... but just barely.

We purchased 8 tents this month & hope to purchase another 8 before summer. We have enough cots & gear to accommodate around 70 people.

We praise God for this awesome blessing!! =)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


We have a lot of administration work going on over here at GTD Central. Laurie is working on several upcoming mission trips as well as the internships. I've got a pile of work on my desk that stacked up while we were in Costa Rica. Praise The Lord for the blessing of purposeful work!! =)

The GRUNGE Caving Day Trip pics have been uploaded to our SmugMug Photo Album!! Enjoy =)


Saturday, February 18, 2012


Caving in Ocala with an awesome group of peeps!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Over The Edge

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica!! Going over a 12' waterfall on the Tenorio River... ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!



Our annual GRUNGE CAVING TRIP scheduled for Saturday Feb 18th is officially sold out!!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jesus Has Impacted These Men In Costa Rica!!

We are partnering with a Christian rehab program in Costa Rica!! I love this video!! These are men in Costa Rica that are recovering from various addictions through a Christ-centered rehab program. This video was taken right after they completed several hours of hard manual labor for a housing project. They weren't required to work; they want to work! They are basically singing that whatever you do, do it with joy and for the glory of Jesus. =)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TOP 10

It's impossible to go to another country and experience their culture without comparing & contrasting it to my own culture in my own country.

Here is a list of the Top 5 things I love about Costa Rica that are less apparent (or becoming less apparent) in the US followed by a list of the Top 5 things I really appreciate when I get back to the US.

PS: Costa Rica has been named, The Happiest Place In The World... "Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world." according to the New Economics Foundation in Britain


  • 5) Much safer place to live and raise a family
    • (with the exception of a few areas where secularism prevails which has given birth to higher drug use, theft, & increasing rates of violent crimes)
  • 4) Less secularism, less atheism, & more freedom to worship God openly in public places
  • 3) High levels of individual honesty & integrity
  • 2) Simplicity & Frugality
  • 1) The People!!! 
    • (Awesome attitudes, very loving & caring people, no "drama", they lack anger & hostility, not overly critical & sarcastic, respectful kids, ALWAYS HAVE TIME FOR family-friends-neighbors)
  • 5) Multi-lane Highways, Emergency Lanes, Street Signs & Addresses
  • 4) Mail
  • 3) American Ambition & Drive
  • 2) Hot Water
  • 1) We Can Flush Our Toilet Paper!!


Thank U!!

Special thanks to Traci Vescovi, Jen Morrison, & Sarah Dawson for joyfully taking care of the GTD zoo & office while we were away!! You women are rock stars!!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Back N The USA!!

We're baaaaaaaack =)

Thank U Jesus for all the awesome things you're doing all over the world!!


Heading Home

About to board our flight home. Incredible trip - PTL!!

Sunset At The Windmills of Guayabo

We had a wonderful time with our dear friends Luis & Marietta (and Yikson) as we watched the sunset behind the windmills in the Guayabo countryside.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Finishing Strong

Our time in Costa Rica is coming to an end on Tuesday. The last 2 days have been very special. Many pictures & stories coming soon... we are so tired tonight, but so happy to see all that God is doing =)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

FANTASTIC 2 Days In Costa Rica!!

I will try to keep this short... so here are the bullet points:
- After painting yesterday we were invited to have lunch in the home of our amiga "Jadida"... Yummy, yummy in my tummy tummy ;)

- We then had a 2 hour meeting with Pastor Danilo & "Jami" (I don't know how to spell most Costa Rican's names - LOL!!) to plan out the next 8 mission trips as well as some long term planning.

- Then our new amigo Victor invited us to his house for his 4 year old daughter's birthday party. It was an honor to celebrate with her & her family!!

- We were then off to have dinner at the home of our "adopted son" (pretend adoption) "Jixon" along with his mom & step-dad. His mom made a great dinner of chicken, rice & beans, and pasta salad... delicious!!


- Laurie was up at 6am to go with Pastor Danilo, his wife, & our amiga "Jenni" to a youth camp discipleship leadership training.

- Toly & I (Doug) stayed in Fortuna and went to a work day at the government housing area named "Margarita". We worked along with church members & the rehab men to prepare Margarita's "community center" for a restoration project that will be overseen by Samaritan's Purse in a few weeks. Afterwards the rehab men cleaned up the kid's playground which has been run-down for years. I was so impressed with the rehab men!! They are my new friends... and new heroes =)

- My amigo Alfredo took Toly & I on an awesome adventure to see how coffee is made, how sugar is made, & to dump off about 30 bags of debris from the work project. He asked me to drive his truck... and I loved it (and every part of this adventure).

- Laurie & I went horseback riding with "Jixon" to a few waterfalls near the volcano to check it out for future groups!! I did this trek back in 2006, but Laurie never has. Loved it!- We then rushed to have dinner at the home of our cook & amiga - Lila!! Another wonderful meal by a wonderful woman!!

I wish I had time to share about each interaction and the many special moments God has blessed us with. We are blown away & humbled by all the doors that God is opening!! Until the next post, enjoy the following pics... Goodnight & God bless!! =)