Friday, September 15, 2023

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

Device Name: GTD (GPS Alert)
Latitude: 34.97646
Longitude: -84.59442
Altitude: 368.0 m | 1207 ft
GPS location Date/Time: 09/15/2023 19:24:54 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:,-84.59442&ll=34.97646,-84.59442&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

You have received this message because "GTD (GPS Alert)" has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

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

Device Name: GTD (GPS Alert)
Latitude: 34.95070
Longitude: -84.55154
Altitude: 557.0 m | 1827 ft
GPS location Date/Time: 09/14/2023 21:11:56 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:,-84.55154&ll=34.95070,-84.55154&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

You have received this message because "GTD (GPS Alert)" has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023



It's with a heavy heart that I share that my little buddy... my shadow that follows me everywhere... my 4-legged bestie (who adopted me 15 years ago) passed away unexpectedly (but naturally and peacefully, I believe) earlier today. A few days ago she was running and bouncing around the yard like usual then a couple of days ago she started "being off". I took her to the vet this morning (Tues) and they took some X-rays which revealed something going on in her lungs (possibly pneumonia or possibly even lung cancer). I brought her home to start on an antibiotic & steroid while we waited for the results, and about an hour later she passed away in the living room laying down while I was mowing the yard. I'm so bummed and sad to say goodbye to this wonderful creation of God. I have more to share (pictures & stories) about this precious dog and all that she added to our lives and the life of GTD. She blessed our lives for 15 God-awesome years! She would jump up and down when Laurie came over to take her for a walk or when I would take her & her sister for a ride in the truck. I have more to share, but I'm rushing to leave in a few hours (I'm having to do another dreaded all-nighter) for 2 weeks to run a 17-mile Backpacking Trip in the wilderness along the GA/TN state line followed by a 5-day Adventure Trip. I already miss my little buddy who would usually be within 5 feet of me all the time. She now joins her sister Faith (our other 4-legged bestie) in doggie heaven. Wow, it has been a rough year of loss. We will miss you and always love you Courage!


Friday, August 25, 2023

3rd surgery in 4 months

Please keep Dad in your prayers this morning... he is going in for his 3rd surgery in 4 months for repositioning of his dialysis stomach port. The port keeps getting blocked. He is worn out from all the surgeries and has been dreading today for the past month, but still he is all "thumbs up". It's supposed to be outpatient surgery so hopefully he will be back home recovering tonight :) 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


"The word 'silly' comes from the old English word 'selig,' and its literal definition is 'to be blessed, happy, healthy and prosperous.'" ~ Zig Ziglar
This is a picture of some of our Staff & Volunteers being silly just before working hard to set-up camp for a 5-day Adventure Trip with one of our church groups this summer :) . 
One of many things I love about this ministry is that we make laughter and fun one of our top priorities!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


A few weeks ago we ran our biggest Adventure Trip ever for 15 fUntastic families from Calvary Church of Clearwater. They LOVED the trip!! How much did they love it?? Well, if leaving a tip for our workers is any indication of how much they loved it then I think it's safe to say they loved it a WHOLE LOT!! These awesome families combined to leave our crew a $1400 tip!! How generous and cool is that! It took us 10 days to run a 5 day event with all the pre & post event set-up & break-down. We have some of the BEST, big-hearted, self-sacrificing, hard-working, Jesus-loving volunteers on the planet... many times our events are special because of how God works through our volunteers. And, although they are simply there to serve with no thought of receiving any tips, they are very touched by the love & appreciation that the Calvary families are showering down on them! Pictured here are our Staff & Volunteers from this event - mother & daughter dynamic duo Katherine & Katie, 16 year old phenom Riley, goat man Stacy, our newest volunteer poker face Andrew, and old man Doug. These people did a tremendous job turning a 5 day camping trip into a lifelong memory for 75 people! Thank you so much GTD workers!! And thank you so much Calvary Church of Clearwater families!! Lord willing, we are already looking forward to our next Adventure Trip with you in the summer of 2024!

Monday, August 21, 2023


Despite a lackluster bioluminescence glow at Friday night's annual GLOW Bioluminescence Paddling Event in Safety Harbor our crew of 44 people still had a good time enjoying an awesome sunset, a surprisingly wonderful nighttime temperature, a fun nocturnal paddle on Tampa Bay, some healthy exercise, and some good fellowship. 
The bioluminescent plankton were there, but we got on the water a little too early and didn't get to experience the level of darkness needed to really see the amazing bioluminescent bright blue glow. We also had the artificial lights of a nearby sports stadium to contend with till 10pm. The tradeoff to getting started too early was that we got to see an incredible Florida sunset from on top of the Tampa Bay waters!

We put a lot of work into preparing for this event and cleaning up from this event so huge thanks to Jan, Carson, & Lauren with the prep work and Laurie & Dad with the clean-up. All-in-all it took 5 days of work in some pretty brutal heat to run this 4 hour event! We love & cherish our Volunteers & Staff!! Thank you guys!

Aaaaaaaaaand a HUGE THANKS to Cocoa Kayaking for donating 15 AMAZING Perception Rambler Tandem Kayaks (at the beginning of this year) that helped make this fun adventure possible and comfortable!! You guys rock! We love our generous supporting businesses!
Aaaaaaaaand another HUGE THANKS to our PHENOMENAL donors & supporters who make FREE events like this possible!! 40 participants & 4 GTDers were very blessed by this event! We love you guys!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2023


One of many things I love about being a part of this ministry is how much kids can just be kids! (Even older kids-at-heart LOL). This picture was taken on Lake Rabun during our last Adventure Trip with about 45 kids that were part of an event for families. The pastor was playing all kinds of games & challenges on this awesome platform in the lake... it was such a gooood day!! :)  

Tuesday, August 15, 2023


OH MY GOODNESS!! The Men's Ministry (plus 1 awesome woman) from Calvary Church Seminole Campus was PHENOMENAL!!! Teamed up last Saturday with these incredible people, IN ONLY 4 HOURS mind you, we insulated one full side of our 40 ft storage container, insulated the entire top, added framework (still has to be plumbed, level, & squared) for more insulation & future siding, built a mini shed, pressure washed most of the vinyl fencing to be installed, & dried out 2 tents!! They were like professional construction workers!! Plus we had breakfast, devos, lunch, and I made about 10 new friends!! I love the Body of Christ! I love the church! It was a great day of progress in 110 degree "feels like" heat!! Thank you soooooo much Chris, Stacy, & Collin Yates for making this volunteer work day happen!! And thank you Men's Ministry of CCS for surrendering your day to bless GTD!! God bless you new friends!!!

Friday, August 11, 2023


It has taken 3.5 years, but we are finally insulting the GTD Storage Container (shipping container)!! This has become our #1 top work project priority. We needed to do this several years ago, but had to put it on the back burner with all the family health challenges. The inside temperature of this metal container goes well over 125 degrees in the summer heat so up until earlier this year I only stored items in it that were not affected by high temps. When my Dad moved over in the winter I needed to move $20k of our top quality backpacking gear from inside my house into the "Green Monster" (that's the nickname I gave it 20 years ago because all the sides are green and I love baseball). The only way I could allow myself to do this is on the condition that I had to insulate it before summer. Unfortunately we ran out of time and I couldn't get it done before our summer trips started. I can't tell you how sick to my stomach it has made me knowing that all of our great expensive gear has been just sitting inside baking like an oven for the past 3 months. I'm just praying that the there is no damage. This weekend we have a fantastic group of big hearted volunteers coming over to help us clad the outside of the Green Monster with exterior insulation. We had Home Depot deliver all the materials yesterday and Carson and I have been doing 3 days of prep work so the volunteers can hit the ground running when they arrive tomorrow morning. We have attacked all the surface rust with rust remover and rust inhibitors... and applied Henry's Tropi-cool 100% Silicone White Roof Coating to the roof which is designed to reflect about 90% of the sun's heat & UV rays.
As the old saying goes, better late than never! I hope that's actually true in this case!! One of my main responsibilities is maintaining and preserving all of our gear and equipment... trying to be a good steward of what has been entrusted to us, especially as a non-profit. I'll post updates along the way. If you want to work outside in record high temps with no shade then this is a great project to volunteer for haha! Let me know if you want to help finish whatever we don't complete tomorrow... we will be working on it over the next 2 weeks (as well as running events).
A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE WILDER'S who allowed us to use the Green Monster for FREE for many years on their business property... THEN DONATED THE GREEN MONSTER TO GTD ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO!! This thing has been a huge blessing to me & GTD and made managing our "non-climate impacted" equipment soooooo easy & convenient!! Now we are going to make it the ultimate 320 square feet year-round climate controlled storage unit!! Lord willing :)

Monday, August 7, 2023


We returned last week from running a 5-day Adventure Trip in north GA for 15 families from Calvary Church of Clearwater. Ages ranged from 2 to 52. It was our 3rd year in a row hosting Calvary's event for families, and each year it grows in size. This year it increased to 78 people - our biggest 5-day event ever!! I'm so blessed to share that they didn't just have an awesome time, they had a God-awesome time!! 
We ran this event right after returning from a 2-week Mission Trip to Costa Rica so we are waaaaay behind on updates & social media posts so I look forward to sharing a lot more pics and fun stories.
On a side note, several of us got sick during our travels and have been laid up for the past week+. PTL, we are all on the mend now!
Special thanks to Associate Pastor Justin Facenda and his amazing wife Carie for all the love & hard work they poor into their church families and for making this event happen each year! They are the best of the best!!
PS: This picture was taken deep down inside of Tallulah Gorge next to "Sliding Rock"... wow, what an epic unforgettable family adventure this day was!!

Friday, July 14, 2023


Last night the awesome local church and our ZSOM mission team rented the community center and partnered up to provide a free movie night for the hometown community including snacks & refreshments. To our pleasant surprise we had to keep adding more seats! The pastor estimates that over 300 people attended and they gave out 450 bags of popcorn. The gospel message was presented during intermission. The whole night was a great success - PTL!

Thursday, July 13, 2023


The ZEAL School Of Ministry mission team is in full swing this week as they and the Iglesia Buen Pastor team canvas several neighborhoods in the area inviting children to daily VBS events in each community. 

If you saw my live video the other day, you saw a small glimpse into what these events look like. We are always so grateful for the IBBP church staff and volunteers who help to organize these days and work together with our teams. It’s beautiful to see the global church come together. 

We are two cultures, 3 ministries, with one mission…to share the good news…the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. 💕💕💕

The top right hand photo is a photo of the team of people who went out on day one to invite children to the first VBS of the week. Together we walked the communities and handed out invitations. For both teams it was a wonderful way to get to know the area and people better, and for  Going the Distance Adventure Ministry and ZSOM team it was an opportunity to practice our Spanish and build relationships with the church community. The people are so gracious and encouraging to us as we stumble over our words.  

I personally want to thank all the IBBP volunteers who are taking time out of their scheduled and school break to come help us and to be a part of these events with us and their church. It’s so special to us to work together with you all. THANK YOU!!!  We love you! 💕💕💕 (- Laurie)

Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Leaving for an event is bittersweet. The sweet part is obvious. The bitter part is that while I'm away my work keeps piling up. I worked hard to successfully eliminate doing all-nighters a few years ago, but unfortunately last night was my 5th all-nighter this year and probably my 15th in the past 2 years just trying to not fall further behind. I was opening mail from 2021 yesterday - ahhhhhh!! It takes a few days to fully recover from an all-nighter, but I'm praying for a supernatural strength to sustain me... or at least a good pot of coffee haha! Here's to joining up with the team that God is already working through in Costa Rica!! Pura Vida!


Another instant classic picture from SLAMMED! I love fun people!!

Sunday, July 9, 2023



About 6 weeks ago the Yates family was volunteering for a family work day for GTD. During lunch they asked me what my biggest need was. Without hesitation I told them how the past few years of intense caregiving had put me years behind on everything in my life, work, health, finances, etc and my biggest need was an admin person who could walk into the mess and help start reorganizing everything like (or better than) it used to be... someone who could have the same kind of mindset and heart as a mission team that showed up to someone's previously organized house that had just been hit by an F5 tornado that sent everything in every direction... someone who could patiently gather all the scattered paperwork, building materials, and structural supports and start sorting, categorizing, and rebuilding everything from scratch. I'm beyond thankful for the years and time I've been able to participate in (and am still participating in) the caregiving of my parents along with my Sister, Laurie, friends, & family. And at the same time, all those years of caregiving has nearly wiped out any & every healthy thing in my life (and my Sister's life too). It's not a complaint - it's an honest status report. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to be here for my parents like they've always been there for me & Traci. And at the same time, we have barely survived the nonstop demands of prolonged caregiving. Last year GTD hired an admin person, but unfortunately about a month later she had to move out-of-state to help take care of her parents. Now, a year after losing that admin person, the Yates family asked a caring and thoughtful question, "What is your biggest need?" I said we need an admin person. The next day God placed Jan on Stacey's heart and the ball was rolling... a couple weeks later we officially hired Jan as our new part-time Administrator. For the past month Jan has compassionately walked among the rubble scattered throughout my life and work and has eagerly jumped in to start piecing it all back together - without any knowledge of anything GTD (she is starting from scratch with our ministry). GTD is right in the middle of our busy summer season and she has been steady & understanding as we navigate running multiple events out-of-state while learning more about how GTD functions. One of her first questions was, "What's the most important priority I can start with?" Without hesitation my answer was that we need to love-on and pour-out our sincere appreciation for our Ministry Partners & supporters. They have stuck with us through the thick and the thin and we couldn't do what we are doing without God working through these generous souls... and all my heart wants to do is say, "THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! GOD IS USING YOU TO SUSTAIN THIS MINISTRY AND ETERNALLY IMPACT A LOT OF LIVES!!!" Sooooooo we are thrilled to introduce you to GTD's new Administrator - Jan!! As I said last year when we announced the hiring of Kari, I say again - In the notorious words of John McClane in Die Hard, "Welcome to the party, Pal!" Our hope is that over the next 12 months GTD will be back thriving in all things administratively and organizationally... which will lead to healthy things in all things GTD! Welcome to the party Jan!


Our 2nd annual Costa Rica Mission Trip with the young adults from ZEAL School of Ministry (ZSOM) of Calvary Chapel Fellowship St Petersburg kicked off on Friday!!
Laurie & Stacy went down a couple days early to prep for the trip. I switch out with Laurie on Tuesday and she will come back to Florida to help take care of Dad while I'm finishing up the Mission Trip.
Huge thanks to Stacy for all the maneuvering, arrangements, and sacrifices he has to make in order to help lead up this Mission Trip for the 2nd year in a row! And the same for Laurie... I know she would love to be down there a lot longer with her Costa Rican family!
Things have gotten off to a great start and we pray for another amazing impact by the ZSOM crew in the community. Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, July 6, 2023


(click video above to watch everyone JUMP!)
With over a quarter of a century of experience with over 20,000 people in the great outdoors I can tell you that there is nothing quite as thrilling as jumping off of something! Here's a 60-second clip from our annual SLAMMED event where participants (kids, young adults, parents, moms, aunts, & more) JUMPED!! Most JUMPED off of a 20 ft bridge into a river and a few brave souls JUMPED off of a 40 ft cliff into that same river. And everyone loved the thrill of living in the moment, taking a measured risk, and jumping off of their fears and landing into a pool of exhilaration! Many times throughout life in order to go to the next level you have to stop debating, hesitating, & deliberating and you simply have to take a leap of faith and "GO AHEAD AND JUMP!"
On a personal note it is always deeply meaningful to me to watch family members share an experience like this. On this trip we got to watch mother & daughter, mother & son, aunt & niece, and siblings bond more deeply together through a thrilling shared adventure of bridge jumping & cliff jumping. Many things bond people closer together, but few do it as quickly and as deeply than a shared adventure!
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry
God-Awesome Adventures Since 1996!
(PS: Thank you Andrew Pieper for making this video!)

Saturday, July 1, 2023

BOLO #2... BE ON THE LOOK-OUT for...



On June 13th a BOLO went out for 4 suspicious looking people disguised as suspicious looking people. At that time they were driving a white Ford F250 in North Carolina. We've recently received a new picture from an anonymous tipster of some of those same suspicious looking people (plus 2 new additional suspicious looking people) in Ducktown, Tennessee. It appears that these suspicious looking people are multiplying, and may have switched their mode of transportation from a white metal truck to a yellow rubber raft. Several witnesses describe these individuals as "suspicious" and "the complete opposite of unsuspicious". We are asking the public for help finding these suspicious looking people before something suspicious happens. If you see any of them please do not approach them, but rather contact your local authorities and hair salons. If possible, discretely take a picture of these suspicious looking people so that we can use our facial recognition software to help determine their identity. We do not know what to make of these suspicious looking people and do not want to cause a mass panic, but we do want the public to be aware and on a very heightened low-level alert. Some experts are theorizing that these "mustached marauders" are abnormally normal, but in a normally abnormal sense, and they may have an extremely rare but very common form of Hirsutism (a condition that causes excess hair growth especially above the mouth). This form of Hirsutism is considered extremely contagious and oftentimes requires a specialized surgery known as a fakemustache-ectomy to restore ones normal less-suspicious but still very-suspicious looking appearance. [END OF BOLO-02.07012023]

HASHBROWNS > Best dollar ever spent! 
HASHBROWNS > Way to go Riley!!