Thursday, March 21, 2024


I'm so saddened to share that our dear friend & former Costa Rica Missions Director - Jim Butski - has suffered a severe stroke. This is his 2nd stroke in about about 6 or 7 years. We are just learning of his 2nd stroke that evidently occurred at the beginning of February right after Jim moved to Gainesville to take a new position with FWC. We are learning about the severity of this 2nd stroke, but it appears to be very severe. Jim has been one of my best friends since meeting him 22 years ago. He worked on staff for GTD for a couple of years and lived in Costa Rica helping to develop our CR Mission Program. Before & after working on staff, Jim was one of our most frequent volunteers dedicating many summers and weekends to helping us run camps and cooking up a ton of delicious meals. He has lived with me, cared so deeply for my family, been a faithful supporter of GTD year after year, and we have traveled plenty of places together as part of GTD as well as several trips with our group of friends... we have biked across Florida, hiked the Everglades, kayaked the 10,000 Islands (and many other places), rock climbed & rappelled in GA, caved in TN, and other countless adventures together... he loves Jesus and we've shared many conversations about our faith and what God was teaching us along the way... he is a great great friend full of selflessness and a huge heart to serve... I gave him the nickname of "Rock Star" back around 2005 when we were at a restaurant eating lunch and the waitress handed me the bill and handed him a note with her phone number... the note said, "I think you are so hot! Call me!"... being an average looking guy I obviously had never experienced this before LOL... I've only seen things like this in the movies haha! I was slightly offended that I had never received a note like this from a waitress at a restaurant (they were probably just too shy to ever tell me - that's the lie I tell myself - haha!), but I was more amazed than offended that I was in the presence of someone who does receive such attention LOL!! I said, "Wow, Jim, have you ever received a note like that before from a waitress?" Expecting him to say no, I was jaw-dropped when he humbly forced the words out, "Many times." I was like, "Say what?!?! Bro, you are like a Rock Star!!" I had one good looking year of my life when I wasn't too repulsive looking and I think I got a love note from a "secret admirer", but I've only heard of things like this when watching documentaries of rock bands hahahaha!! While I saw it as AMAZING! Jim saw it more like a nuisance. He didn't want the attention I was relishing him with, but I couldn't stop. From that day forward I called him "Rock Star"... I don't know if I was happier for him being a Rock Star or happier that I had a friend that is a Rock Star hahaha! Jim has been my right hand man helping run many many adventures through the years - sacrificing his time, treasure, & talents to help me run God-awesome adventures for 15+ years. In fact, if you were on a GTD Trip between 2002-2017 there's a great chance you've met and been blessed by Rock Star! He has always helped me, always... he always goes on the trips and says, "Doug, what can I do to take as much off of your plate as possible. I'll do all the cooking and help with anything else you need." In the picture above you can see Jim CARRYING 2 BACKPACKS three miles up a mountain to help run a rock climbing trip!! He was and is a Rock Star on many levels! One time he was riding his bicycle (not a motorcycle! a bicycle!) from Florida to Michigan and biked over 100 miles OUT OF HIS WAY to help us run an Adventure Trip in Tennessee!!! All I can say is if I was biking from Florida to Michigan I would be looking to cut off any miles I could and wouldn't add miles on my trek!! That sums up Jim Butski "Rock Star"... he is an extra mile kind of friend! He has been battling for 6+ years to overcome the devastating effects from his first stroke... and just weeks before his 53rd birthday he suffered a devastating severe 2nd stroke. I'm so saddened to hear this and ask my friends to lift him up in prayer - mountain moving faith-sized fervent effectual prayer!! Rock Star needs it! We are planning to go visit him in Gainesville in the next 3 days. Thank you dear friends 🙏 🙏 🙏
UPDATE (March 23, 2024): 
Thank you all for your prayers for Jim! Traci, Laurie, & I are going to visit him tomorrow and we will read him your loving words. I talked to one of his family members yesterday. They were so helpful. While trying to honor the family's privacy & needs, and at the same time also keeping his cherished friends updated, informed, and best equipped to pray all I can say is that our dear friend Jim desperately needs our prayers, love, and support. His 2nd stroke greatly surpasses his 1st stroke. He needs lots & lots of love from his friends, mountain-moving faith sized prayers, and he needs God's supernatural intervention... he needs a miracle. Thank you again for your love & prayers! I will keep you updated.