Monday, January 25, 2016



One of our longest church relationships has been with First United Methodist Church of Oviedo (aka, FUMCO). GTD has had the honor of hosting their annual youth group camping retreat for the past 12 years.

We like to think of GTD as an All-Weather ministry because we will host an outdoor event rain or shine or anything in-between. Sometimes the group would rather postpone a camping trip if adverse weather is going to affect their attendance. We will accommodate a postponement whenever we can so that the event is as successful as possible. When this past weekend's camping retreat was forecasted to be rainy, windy, and freezing we anticipated the group would probably want to reschedule the event until later this spring. But this wasn't just any group, this was FUMCO! Some of these high schoolers have been camping with GTD since they were in 7th grade. They are seasoned veterans. They didn't need to or even want to postpone the trip. They wanted whatever the weekend weather had in store. They are an All-Weather youth group!

Over the course of 2 days and 2 nights we encountered rain, high winds, and sub-freezing conditions... and they loved every minute of it! It wasn't easy, but it was a whole lot of fun. They never complained or requested Uber to come drive them home. They camped out, played Russian football, ate all kinds of delicious meals, cooked smores and doughboys over the campfire, played board games, fellowshipped around the firering, doubled up on their sleeping bags, wore every layer of clothing they had, skipped showers, made pizzadillas, ate several delicious camp meals, sought God in their daily devotions, were challenged by 2 nightly Bible messages, laughed a whole lot, built memories, talked and grew closer together, and burned 2 truckloads of firewood. Laurie and I were so impressed with them. Some of the best memories we've had over the past 20 years have been when the weather conditions have been the worst. Instead of dampening attitudes it united spirits. It's another reason why camping trips are so important to family and friendship bonding. But it takes a willing spirit... just like the FUMCO crew displayed. It was a great trip and we are already talking about next year, our 13th year with FUMCO. We love this group and thank God for the wonderful blessing of our long term relationship. We look forward to what lies ahead!

If you want to see the 124 pictures from our camping retreat, including me (Doug) forgetting my bag of winter clothes, Laurie laboring for 2 hours on one of the best camp meals ever cooked (fajitas!), and the GTD Dogz sleeping in a tent then CLICK HERE.