Tuesday, June 6, 2023
SEVERAL KIDS SAVED... AND BAPTIZED IN THE RIVER! THANK YOU JESUS!!
Saturday, May 27, 2023
IT'S BAAAAAAAAACK!! ...FALL RETREAT Oct 20-22, 2023 ...ONLY $55/person!!!
For the first time in many years...
Special thanks to the AWESOME Yates family who set aside their day last Saturday to volunteer and help us prepare for our summer Adventure Trips!! You guys are an amazing blessing and a huge answer to prayer!
And another special thanks to Carson and his girlfriend Lauren who tirelessly help me ALL THE TIME with their great zeal and fun-loving attitudes!
GTD is kicking off its 27th summer of outdoor ministry in a few days in NC, and we couldn't do it without big-hearted volunteers and selfless donors!! Volunteers helped us prepare, volunteers are helping us run the camps, and volunteers / Ministry Partners are helping & housing us in SC, NC, GA, & TN... it's a total team effort by some of the best people I've ever been blessed to know! As one of my friends said, "There is no greater power for good in this world than the Body of Christ." We get to experience that truth every year! Thank You Jesus!
Keep us in your prayers as we undertake a lot of hard work, primitive living, & healthy risk taking in the months ahead.
The other dynamic that I covet your prayers for is that I will be traveling back and forth from camps to home in FL to help with my Dad, keep working on his living space in my house, and try to chip away at a very loooong list of responsibilities that I'm years behind on. Please pray for my Sister and Laurie who are helping with Dad as well as family friends who help with Dad a lot too. And, of course, pray for Dad who is making great improvements.
Thank you so much!!
Friday, May 26, 2023
CARSON IS VERY "TIRED" TODAY! ...GTD GETS 25+ NEW TRAILER TIRES!!
Carson is literally changing about 25 tires today and tomorrow on all the GTD trailers so I would have to say he is going to be very "tired" LOL! This is waaaaay overdue on a few trailers and perfect timing for the rest of the trailers. As a mobile ministry our trailers are one of our top 3 most important pieces of equipment so getting some new treads will set us up for about the next 4 years on the bigger trailers and maybe 8 or more years on the smaller trailers. This is a big deal for our ministry and is made possible by the VERY GENEROUS $10,000 local grant we received to address our trailer needs. GTD currently has 7 trailers (3 enclosed trailers, 2 utility trailers, 1 kayak trailer, & 1 boat trailer) plus 1 golf cart. Thank you awesome grant donors for enabling our ministry to address our trailer needs and keep on trucking for Jesus with God-awesome events in the Tampa Bay area, central Florida, and all over the Southeastern United States!! Aaaaaaaaaand special thanks to my right hand man, Carson, for all his hard work as part of the GTD NASCAR crew!!
I'M YEARS BEHIND ON EVERYTHING, BUT I JUST GOT A YEAR+ AHEAD ON OUR PUBLIC EVENTS!
Being years behind on everything is an awful way to live so as I fight my way out of this terrible pit I'm tackling one chunk at a time to get caught up and then going the extra mile to actually get ahead of the game with that "chunk". One example of this is our Public Events. At GTD our goal is to provide 1 monthly adventure that's open to the public, either free or very inexpensive, has a website with specific details, has a registration page for sign-ups, and has been fully planned out. A lot of work goes into each event. I've been behind on all of those tasks for our Public Events for the past 4 or 5 years. BUT NOT ANYMORE! I've not only gotten caught up with all of our monthly Public Events for 2023, but I'VE GONE THE EXTRA MILE and planned out all of our 2024 Public Events!! That has never happened in our 27 year history! That may not be a big deal for some or most people, but it's a huge deal for me. It marks a moment in time - the first time in about 5 years - when I'm actually "bailing out water" faster than the water is coming into the boat. That's a big deal to me! Up to this point I had been bailing out water non-stop, but no matter how hard I would work at removing the water it would fill up faster than I bail it out. It felt like I was bailing out the Titanic. I'm exhausted, but happy to share that most of our Public Events are ready to go for the next 19 months!! PTL and thank You Jesus! Click the pic to see our upcoming schedule for GTD's Public Events for 2023 & 2024, and start planning ahead to come out play with us in God's amazing playground!
You can also visit each event page (see left side menu) for specific details and to register for some God-awesome events!
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry
God-awesome adventures since 1996!
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
DAD IS MAKING STRONG GAINS! ...I'M WEATHERING SOME DEPRESSION
Earlier this month Dad had to go on dialysis which was something we've been trying to prevent for several years because it requires him to go to a Dialysis Center 3 days a week for 3-4 hours each time. Little did we know just how much dialysis would improve his health and strength. Since going on dialysis he has been able to walk with a cane, he started back driving, he has gone grocery shopping, he has cooked a few of his world famous delicious meals, he has slept better, he has to go "potty" less often throughout the night, he and Traci got matching iPhone watches (this is probably the biggest miracle of them all haha), he has been giving away tomatoes & gifts, and he has started back attending City of Pinellas Park functions among other small (but actually HUGE) little steps of progress in his quality of life. Just prior to going on dialysis he was hospitalized for 10 days and had pretty much hit rock bottom (we all had)... he started talking more and more about this probably being his last months of life. But to all of our surprise, he started on dialysis and immediately started feeling better. We want to thank you for your prayers, support, encouragement, and love throughout this very long & difficult journey with our parents. We have learned many times along the way that things can change dramatically overnight, but today we are happy to share that things changed dramatically for the good over the past few weeks. Thank you everyone for your prayers... they mean everything to us!! My Sister and I aren't doing the greatest. To say that we are exhausted and a mere shell of our normal selves would be an understatement. I'm weathering mild to moderate (and sometimes severe) depression about 75% of the time, and feel less like a human being and more like a zombie from longterm exhaustion. But that other 25% of the time I'm very happy and find myself belly laughing for the first time in years. That 25% of good stuff reminds me that the 75% of depression and discouragement will eventually pass. Like backpacking in the middle of a thunderstorm you realize that you just have to outlast the storm and keep putting "one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking out that door" like a young animated Kris Kringle used to sing. Thank you again for your love & prayers :)
Monday, May 22, 2023
SIDEWINDER WAS AWESOME! ...CHECK OUT THESE GR8 PICS!!
Thursday, May 4, 2023
WE HAVE ABOUT 6 SPOTS LEFT!!
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Newest update on Dad:
Thursday, April 20, 2023
GETTING TO THE "HEART" OF THE PROBLEM
Monday, April 17, 2023
5 DAY GTD ADVENTURE TRIP FOR ONLY $55!! JOIN US IN TN THIS JUNE FOR OUR 28th ANNUAL SLAMMED!!!
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Our next FREE event is PADDLEBOARDING on May 6th!!! LUNCH INCLUDED!!
Thursday, April 13, 2023
RECORD BREAKING CROWD OF NEARLY 60 PADDLERS JOINED US ON LIQUID LAST SATURDAY!!
Sunday, April 9, 2023
HAPPY EASTER!! HE IS RISEN!
Friday, April 7, 2023
SOLD OUT!! OVER 50 PEOPLE REGISTERED FOR TMW'S LIQUID KAYAKING TREK!
HUGE thanks to Cocoa Kayaking for donating 15 amazing tandem kayaks and to our loving & generous supporters who enabled us to purchase 10 tandem kayaks a couple of years ago before the cost of kayaks & equipment inflated.... and an additional HUGE THANKS to our incredible supporters because we are able to offer monthly public events like this for FREE or at a greatly reduced price! From the bottom of our hearts here at GTD, THANK YOU SO MUCH AWESOME SUPPORTERS!!!
We are looking forward to a God-awesome adventure tomorrow! Happy Easter weekend everyone :)
HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY!!
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
- Ephesians 2:8-9
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
DAD IS BACK AT DUG'S SHANTYTOWN... AND BACK TO WORK!
Saturday, April 1, 2023
JOIN US FOR OUR FREE KAYAKING TREK (INCLUDING LUNCH) AS WE DEBUT OUR NEW KAYAKS ON APRIL 8th!!
Friday, March 31, 2023
A TRIBUTE TO A GTD DOG NAMED FAITH!
I'm saddened to share that one week ago today we had to put one of our GTD Dogz (Faith) to sleep. Faith has blessed our lives and so many of our participants for nearly 15 years. She & her sister Courage "joined" GTD when they were 6 weeks old - a day after a bear came into one of our campsites and I decided to get a dog to be our "wild animal alarm". Faith & Courage instantly became part of my family & the GTD family and traveled with us on adventures throughout the southeast from the swamp trails of the Everglades, to the canoeing trails of central Florida, to the rock climbing mountains of Tennessee, to the waterfalls & gorges of North Carolina, and to the backpacking trails & State Parks of north Georgia. Faith loved going on all of these great adventures and both dogs did an outstanding job fulfilling their role as alarms for & deterrents of wild animals entering camp, alerts of strangers walking nearby, and most importantly they served as a fun-loving face-licking affection-giving representative for our ministry. In many ways they were as much of a GTD staff member as any employee or volunteer. Everyone loved Faith as soon as they met her, especially kids! No matter how God-awesome an event was this Labradoodle could always make it even better just by being the lovable & silly dog she was. I never used to understand how people could get so attached to pets until I got these dogs. Second only to God Himself, these dogs have taught me more about unconditional love, the power of asking and receiving (they were always asking for snacks, truck rides, belly rubs, & to go outside), unstoppable joy, not holding a grudge when others (me) let them down, and the importance of stopping office work & going outside for some fresh air. Faith was a much better dog than I was a owner, but she was always so happy when I walked through the door and would run over and start pouring out the love. And as much as she loved me she adored Laurie. They say that you don't pick your dog, your dog picks you. Courage picked me as her best friend, but Faith picked Laurie as her bestie. As happy as Faith was to see me she was a thousand times more thrilled to see Laurie. Laurie is a much better pet owner than me. I call her, "Laurie Finger - Friend Of The Animals". Faith would come alive and sprint to Laurie as soon as she saw her... it was like everyday was Christmas and Laurie was Santa Claus! With all that was going on with my parents over the past few years I never posted this on social media, but Faith has been aging very poorly over the past few years. She went completely deaf, had terrible arthritis in her hind legs that made walking difficult & caused her to fall many times throughout the day, and for about 18 months she has had dementia which caused her to walk aimlessly & stand facing the corner in any room. Even with all of that she was almost always happy. But there were also times when she would fall and be unable to get back up on her own and begin to panic. I was hoping she would make it to the end of the year, but last Thursday she took a sudden turn for the worse and lost all sense of balance. She couldn't sit, stand, or walk without falling and hitting her head. Her eyes were twitching uncontrollably. We believe she developed Nystagmus. I didn't want to put her down, but over the next 24 hours it became obvious that was the only option. We called Laps of Love who come out to your house. Laurie came over and slept next to Faith all night on Thursday night and then we had Faith outside (her favorite place) all day Friday feeding her rotisserie chicken & cheese. Faith's final act of affection was to nuzzle up into Laurie's lap just before the meds were administered. It was so touching and crushing at the same time. Faith passed painlessly while laying securely in her best friend's lap. She was a fantastic dog and lived a great dog life, and she served our ministry well for nearly 15 years! Thank You God for making animals... what a cool invention!! A few years ago there were 4 cats and 2 dogs living with me. Now it's just 1 dog. The house feels a whole lot emptier without all these fun-loving furry friends... but that's the hard & unfortunate part of having pets... they just don't live as long as you wish they did. Goodbye Faith! Thank you for your service and all the doggone good times!! And thank you to the thousands of people who loved on Faith over the past 14+ years on events and to the long list of people who dog-sat for her & Courage during trips and events that they weren't able to travel to (like Costa Rica, the Grand Canyon, etc). Check out all of the great pictures of Faith (and Courage)... from 6 weeks old to her last day... with thick hair, closely shaved hair and everything in-between :) . Faith was one-of-a-kind with so many quirky & hilarious behaviors... the house and our hearts are emptier without you Faith! That just shows what a great dog you were!!
Monday, March 20, 2023
THE COMEBACK KID IS... WELL, HE'S MAKING A COMEBACK! THAT'S WHAT HE DOES =)
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for and checked up on our Dad! We are happy to report that he is doing really good. His cellulitis is gone, swelling is gone, redness is gone, and pain to the touch is gone. His knee replacement surgery was a success and he is receiving physical therapy. He is walking with a walker and making small gains of progress everyday! This guy is The Comeback Kid! PTL!!
He has been at The Vescovi Resort & Spa (aka, my Sister's house) for the past month. Traci, Dave, & Carson have been doing a fantastic job of caring for him while we continue to move forward with preparing a nice place for him at my house. He really looks forward to being more independent and a lot more mobile! This guy never gives up! Way to go Dad!
Sunday, March 19, 2023
SAY HELLO TO GTD's NEWEST ADDITION!
We are beyond thrilled and overwhelmed with gratitude for a local grant we received during our annual fundraising season for $10,000 to go towards replacing our aging trailers!! Since we are a mobile ministry trailers are one of our top 3 most important pieces of equipment. Without a trailer we couldn't run most of our events. All of our trailers are 20+ years old and have served us incredibly well. But they are aging and we need to replace them as we gear up for our next 20 years of ministry, and work on our expansion strategy. Well say hello to our newest addition!! This is GTD's "new" 2019 barely used trailer that spent most of its life parked at a house and utilized as a storage container. It's a heavy duty enclosed car hauler and it's in mint condition including new tires! It's 6 ft longer than out current trailer so we can hold a lot more "fun stuff"!! And it's 7 ft tall so Carson & I won't hit our heads anymore haha! Wowww, we are soooooo happy to have received this generous gift!! This is such a big deal for our ministry! I estimate that this trailer will be used to provide God-awesome adventures to over 20,000 people in the years ahead... now that's an impactful use of just a portion of a $10,000 grant! Aaaaaaaaand we still have remaining funds from this grant to go towards more trailers!! Our kayak trailer is rusted out so that's next on the list... especially since we have "new" 2-year old tandem kayaks that were just donated to GTD (from Cocoa Kayaking) in January that are worthy of a new ride :) . It's with hearts overflowing with gratefulness that we say THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH to our local grantor!!!! You just made this ministry stronger, better, and more capable to impact young people's lives (and all ages, but especially the youth) for many many years ahead!!! God bless you!!!!!