Friday, January 31, 2014


What's better than a REpeat or a 3-peat??? A 4-peat!!

GTD is excited to announce that we just completed our 4th straight year of finishing "in the black" (i.e. we didn't lose money) since the crippling Great Recession of 2008-09.

That's a great back-to-back-to-back-to-back accomplishment for a non-profit organization. Although it took major cuts to salaries & expenses, we did it (again & again & again)!

We have been slowly, but consistently making wise adjustments to fortify this non-profit so that we become a bomb-proof, recession-proof, depression-proof, all-weather organization. We're not quite there yet, but we are well on our way.

We are praising God for the progress and thankful for the many supporters that help enable this ministry to make a great impact as we continue to grow & develop.

We are looking forward to what God has in store for 2014... we're going for a 5-peat!!


GC2014 Coming Back This Fall

Are you ready for the BEST TRIP EVER!?!?

GTD's Grand Canyon Trip is coming back this fall bigger & better than ever!!

Click here for details

Let There Be Light


How many GTDers does it take to change a light bulb??? Answer: 2. One to do all the changing and one to cheer him on. /// We changed out 30 lights & 2 ballasts today in the GTD office. It's looks like day time even at 10.30pm... LET THERE BE LIGHT!!


Thanks Paul & Gavin!

Ministry is a team sport... So thankful for great helpers on last weekend's retreat. Thank you Paul & Gavin Williamson!!


Awesome Men of God

One of the great blessings we have in this ministry is the high concentration of incredible people we get to meet and spend time with. People passionately pursuing God... who daily lay their own lives down in order to help & serve others. People who try as hard as they can to avoid the rampant growth of indecencies that threatens our current generation while striving for higher standards... Godly standards. That is a short description of the group of men we hosted from MorningStar Church in Tampa this past weekend during their annual men's retreat. I'm so bless to have gotten to meet these men and see their heart for God, others, and life itself! This world needs more men like them.


MSTAR Pics Uploaded

Pics from our men's retreat with MorningStar Church have been uploaded to the GTD online photo album. Re-Live the memories!!


Thank You AxcelMark!!

Special thanks to Chuck Stewart & AxCelMark Corporation for donating 100 T-Shirts to GTD!!! These shirts are designated to our Ministry Partners as a small way of saying THANK YOU for your support of this ministry =)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunrise & Cold Temps

Sunrise on the St John's River around the campfire - Ocala National Forest (MorningStar Church Men's Retreat). It went down to 29 degrees last night. I think we all put on every item of clothing we had to try to stay warm through the night - LOL!

MSTAR Retreat (Day 2)

Wow!! We love these men from MorningStar Church! We had an incredible day on our men's camping retreat. It was full of God-awesome fun. We had great morning devotons & discussion followed by Ultimate frisbee then an adventure race then praise & worship around the campfire with smores and finishing up with The Lone Ranger as our outdoor movie. Plus the day was filled with so many mini-highlights. These men are full of Christ, so positive & upbeat, and very encouraging. Their pastor is a fantastic guy. It's only been 24 hours and we feel like a family. So blessed to host this event =))). And, oh yeah, it's 34 degrees!!!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

HCA Costa Rica Photo Album Is Up!

Click on THIS LINK to see photos from HCA's (Harvest Christian Academy) mission trip to Costa Rica with GTD.

MorningStar Men's Retreat Begins!!

Only a couple days after returning from Costa Rica we are right back at it. GTD is hosting a men's camping retreat with several awesome guys from MorningStar Church of Tampa. We are at a sweeeeet campground in Ocala National Forest all stocked up with plenty of firewood as we experience temps in the mid 30's. Last night went great! Looking fwd to a full day of Christ-centered fun!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bunk Room

This has been my bunk room while staying at the church bunkhouses in Costa Rica. I shared it with one of our awesome translators & my Costa Rican BAF (Best Amigo Forever) - Toly. They recently painted this room & it looks great. I was able to use the top bunk as a shelf to hold some of my personals. Last day here =(
-DUG <><


A few days behind on the blog, but had to share what a phenominal mission trip we had in Costa Rica with Harvest Christian Academy (of Watagua, TX).

Nine Godly ladies came down and poured their hearts into this mission and their lives are forever changed and their impact will be felt here for many years.

Our deep thanks to HCA and the church here in CR (Iglesia Buen Pastor) for all they did to make this a God-awesome trip! God bless you!!

Several pics & recap blog posts coming this week =). Laurie & I return back to the US tmw night. Thank you all for all the prayer support! God did great things =)))

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Morning Devos, Exploration, & An HCA Blog

We started the eventful day off bright and early at 7:00 AM. We headed to the kitchen to eat our breakfast, gallo pinto. It was a delicious mixture of beans, rice, and eggs with a slice of bread on the side. After we washed our dishes, we grabbed our Bibles and water bottles and lathered on some bug spray. Next, we piled into the van and headed to a beautiful area to have our devotions. The area had a tranquil lake surrounded by trees, cattle, oxen, horses, and huge rocks with petroglyphs carved into them. As we arrived, a wild horse approached us and followed us as we made our way through the terrain. We split up and read The Creation Story while engulfed in a perfect example of God's glory. After discussing what we learned, we went on a tour through the land and ate fresh oranges right off of a tree. We learned about the indigenous people who lived there hundreds of years ago. We visited their cemeteries and learned that some of the petroglyphs were carvings of the sun, alligators, and deer. They often used these as warnings, signs, or directions of the land. Just as we were turning to leave the scene, we discovered that we were locked out of the van! Oops! This took no time at all to remedy because the people here are so helpful and resourceful. Our translators, Yikson and Toly, and our guide, Alfredo, unlocked the van using a wire and a shoelace! 

We continued on our journey to a woman named Albia's home, where we learned about coffee. Albia grows coffee beans, dries them out, mashes them to remove the shells, roasts them, grinds them up, and finally brews the coffee. The group tasted the fresh coffee, fresh honey, fresh water apples (a rare Costa Rican fruit), and fresh oranges while on Albia's property. The team lounged under the canopy of tropical trees for an hour or two and then headed out. Right as we were leaving, we saw an iguana scurry through the overhead trees. We loaded up the van and made our way back to the church for lunch. We had salad, torta de carne (wonderfully seasoned meat patties), pineapple, and green tea to drink.

After lunch, it was time to get to work! We sprayed the outside of the church office building and scrubbed it clean with brooms. Next, the group began sanding rust off of the metal bars on the windows and scraping chipped paint off of the walls. We labored vigorously for a few hours, then had a quick snack break with Costa Rican cookies, chips, and Pepsi. During our break, we picked some fresh starfruit from a nearby tree to sample. After the break, we continued working. The team finished preparing the office for tomorrow's paint job, and went to the hammocks for some relaxation. We enjoyed the down time by singing countless Disney songs together as locals passed by giving us big smiles (probably laughing at our terrible singing skills!). Well that's it for now! We're headed to join the other girls at the hammocks, then off to a dinner of fish, vegetables, and mashed potatoes! :) - Kim & Jess

"In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus." - Philippians 2:5 (NCB)

"Do everything without complaining or arguing. Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God's children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world. You offer the teaching that gives life. So when Christ comes again, I can be happy because my work was not wasted. I ran the race and won." - Philippians 2:14-16 (NCB)

This is my fourth time being here, but this place still completely surprises me everytime I come! It's absolutely beautiful here and all the people are so friendly and caring. I like to think of Costa Rica as my home away from home! I love and miss everyone back in the States, but I feel like I have family here also! Honestly, I didn't know what to expect coming into this trip with this particular group, but it has been so much fun so far! I love seeing these girls come out of their comfort zones and interact with the locals and work so hard. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this week holds! :)   ~Jess

Unlike my good friend Jessica:), this is my first trip to Costa Rica. I am awestruck by the culture and beauty. I was expecting it to be trashy and dirty, but the environment is truly amazing. The people are super friendly and loving. It is much different than it is back in the States... Everything here is relaxed, easy-going, and care free. Nothing is rushed, much different than it is at home! Patience is definitely a priority here. I already love so many of the locals and hope to visit again in the future! :)   ~Kimmy.... or Kimma ;)

The team is having a great day today!  We had devos at the lake to spend time with God in his creation. The girls all had some amazing insights today as they read from Genesis 1.  It's something I love to have the teams do in this location.  It always brings new light and perspective to the verses found in this chapter.  I'm amazed God was so creative with all the things he created including various shades of colors, trees, animals and people!  He's definitely not boring, he created things for us to enjoy, explore and discover!  I love it!  After devos Alfredo took us on a little tour of petroglyphs in the area!  The girls really enjoyed themselves!  I even heard one or two say this was the best experience ever!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday With HCA In Costa Rica

In a lot of ways we've had a really full day here in Costa Rica starting with church this morning! The group really loved the service and being able to participate in the worship. This afternoon we snuck in a little adventure since we are an "Adventure Ministry" and we are in one of God's amazing playgrounds! Everyone had a great time and was full of excitement and enthusiasm! Afterwards the team had a little free time to nap, take a venture into town and just relax before our busy week ahead of us! Getting a little RR is good for the team the first day since they traveled the day the before. It can be difficult the first night here having to adjust to sleeping in a new place with all kinds of new sounds! I have a feeling it will be early to bed for most of the team tonight including myself! Thanks everyone for your prayer!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

They're Here!!

The HCA Mission Team has arrived safely!!

The Team Has Arrived!

The mission team has arrived and are all eating a late lunch at the church after a big welcome from our friends here from the church!  

HCA Mission Trip Starts Today!!

We are excited for the mission team from Harvest Christian Academy (Watagua, TX) to arrive today!! We look forward to what the Lord has in store over the next 8 days =)

We Love The People of Costa Rica

One of the many things we love about the people of Costa Rica is how loving and hospitable they are. I was so honored for my friend Luis to take the bus to come visit me for a few hours as we drank coffee and fellowshipped together. Then we got to visit with our dear friends Luis & Mariaa and their beautiful family. They are so special to us. To top off the night we were invited to the home of Walter & Veronica for a delicious home cooked meal and wonderful time together. Thank you to our Costa Rican family for your loving & thoughtful ways =)

Friday, January 3, 2014

In The New Office!!

Working in our NEW GTD OFFICE in Costa Rica today!! It's so nice! New tile floors, handmade doors, wood ceiling, and a view of Pastor Daniloss house. God is so good! Thank you to the local church (Iglesia Buen Pastor) and the hard working teams, skilled laborers, and the many donors for making this dream come true! Glory to God =)

Perfect Day in Costa Rica!

Fantastic & productive day yesterday in Costa Rica. Had a delicious brunch & planning meeting with Pastor Danilo & his family followed by fresh coconut milk and a recon adventure to a nearby hiking trail & waterfall with or wild & crazy outdoor guru Alfredo (always a great time!). Then we had natural fruit drinks & lunch at a beauitful little hot springs area with our translator and "adopted Costa Rican son" Yikson. Afterwards we enjoyed meeting with Stephen Swain of Arbol de Vida to discuss all the progress & plans taking place on the property (as well as letting Laurie get reunited with her Costa Rican dog - "Buddy") as we ingested some authentic CR coffee. And finally we picked up the best tasting ceviche (made by Yikson's aunt) as we headed over to Lila's house to plan out the menu for our upcoming mission trip. It was an incredible day of productive work & reunions with special people we call our 2nd family... all in a little slice of paradise. The temps here are in the mid 70's with sunshine & blue skies. Got to bed around midnight. Slept great =)

Listo? Ready? If God Says So, I Am! (Laurie)

As I lay in bed thinking about the amazing day I had here in Costa Rica today visiting with and meeting up with friends to prepare for GTD's next mission team, I found myself looking through old blog posts and came across this...I wrote it two years ago when I became the Mission Director for GTD (Going The Distance Adventure Ministry).  It was a big step for me, but one I am glad I took!

Listo (Ready)? Vamos (Let's Go)! And so the journey has begun! 
Its official, I am spending the next 2 and 1/2 months in Costa Rica as a full time missionary and I can hardly believe it!  A long time ago the word missionary use to be like a forgein word to me and a calling that was set aside for someone very different than me! After all my journey with the Lord started late in life, and even after I still took a few wrong turns along the way and strayed from God's plan for my life. So, how is it that nowI'm a full time missionary in Costa Rica for the next couple of months? Did I suddenly become perfect? No! In 
fact I still fall short at times, but this time I'm allowing God to guide my way, and it is here where he has planted me for a bit, so I am ready to trust Him every bit of the way. 

Do I feel equipped? Not completely, but I know God will equip me. 
Do I feel like I'm suddenly more special than someone else for the position? 
No, in fact I often think I would be the last choice for the position. 
I'm quiet, shy, I often stumble over my words, my brain often feels way to jumbled to collect a thought, I'm bad with time management, I can't quote the bible word for word, I've never been to Seminary, I'm soft spoken, I don't know Spanish all to well, I am easily distracted and sometimes very forgetful. 

But,I love Jesus and I know that God looks for open and willing vessels to carry out His will and I'm trying to be that to Him and walk in obedience where he calls me, even if I can't see how he can use me with all these imperfections. I just know I have to have faith that He can do it in me and through me, and remember that God is more powerful than my weaknesses and imperfections.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corn 12:9-10

Truly I am excited for this journey and I hope you will follow along with me and at times leave me a note of encouragement to spur me on and lift me up in prayer. 
Gracias, Pura Vida! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

We Made It =)

We made it to the church in Fortuna de Bagaces and have been reunited with our dear Costa Rican friends. It truly feels like home & family here. Right now it is 7:30pm and I'm in bed about to go to sleep. Last night was my 6th all-nighter of 2013... a trend I hope to rid myself of 2014. With all the demands of running a ministry it usually requires about 60 hrs of work each week and then to be gone for 2 weeks (especially at the end of the month & the end of the fiscal year when so many tasks are due) it means non-stop work through the holidays just be able to leave... whaa, whaa, whaa... somebody call the "whaaambulance"! Anyways, every all-nighter feels like 5 years of life being drained out of my body. All that to say, I'm so happy right now to be in bed at 7:30pm and I'm so comfortable to have my own bunk room with a little desk fan blowing on me. These are the small answers to prayers from a weary body to which I can only say, "Thank you Jesus. This is EXACTLY what I needed." As I close my eyes I want to say thank you to my family & friends who have supported me & this ministry for 18 years (we turn 18 this month!!). My heart daily rejoices because of your encouragement & support. I also want to say how sorry I feel of the many family & friends I have fallen out of touch with because of the relentless busy-ness of running this ministry. I often look forward to getting back in touch with the people I love & respect, but have not talked to in years. I miss you all. Goodnight =)  - DUG

Happy New Year from Costa Rica!!

Happy New Year from beautiful Costa Rica!! Laurie & I have arrived 3 days early to prepare for a mission trip that starts on Sat with Harvest Christian Academy of Watauga, TX. We look forward to what God has in store. And we also look forward to sharing with you the team's daily outreach, challenges, & God-awesome experiences as we reach out to others with the love of Christ. Thank you in advance for your prayers & encouragement. We wish you all the very best as we enter a new year. God bless =)