Way better than energy drinks!
PO Box 7523 | Seminole, FL 33775
Phone: 727.394.9483
Toll Free: 1-888-697-2479
Fax: 727.230.4760

GTD Participation Since 1996
Events: 300+
Participants: 7000+

Email, Letters, & Testimonials

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St Petersburg Times
"Outfits such as Garner's Going the Distance Adventure Ministry are creating weekend getaways that combine prayer and Fear Factor. Since 1996, Garner has been turning Christians into weekend bungee jumpers, rock climbers and skiers."
-Matt Nelson (Reporter)

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine
"If Garner was going to have a slogan tattooed on his forehead, it might be something like "No Fear Through God". His enthusiasm for Christianity and adventure, two concepts that he refuses to separate, borders on obsessive, and he's quick to insert the phrase "God-awesome" in any manner of conversation.

-Graham Averill (Writer)

Tony G. Post
April 23, 2012

The "Men of Valor" outing was awesome and a great investment of my time! The video segments and squad times were right on target and the pre-sunrise cross march was just what I needed. Thanks for putting this together for us!
Anonymous Anonymous Post
July 3, 2010
What's Up Doug and GTD crew-
My GTD experience occurred two years ago in 2008 with my youth group from Durham, NC. I clearly remember Doug's first talk with us; he said that "We truly hope that this week that you share with us will be one of the most fun and important weeks of your life." So, after a rock climb, cave dive, rope swing mishap, bathing under "Flash Dance", a really big cliff, white water rapids, a bridge jump, and more carsickness one could ever want, I decided it was one of the best weeks of my life. The challenges that were placed before me forced me to look to God for guidance. Not only did I seek that guidance, but I realized the importance of His constant involvement in my life rather than occasionally calling on Him for help. In other words, my necessity for God evolved into a constant desire for Him at all other times. My GTD trip provided an important experience that simply couldn't be found at any other camp or large conference. While things can get rough and complicated spiritually, I can still reflect on some of the simple truths that I learned about myself and God on that GTD trip. Thanks you guys for being such a solid crew, and if anyone is reading this and debating whether or not they should go, GO!!! The least you are guaranteed is a fun filled, awesome week!
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
BLOG entry from participant/mom:

Hi All, WHAT A TRIP WE HAD! GOD answered SO MANY prayers! (especially those of being afraid!) He showed HIMSELF so STRONG! What an awesome group of middle schoolers they are! Precious in His Sight and mine.

We had THE Best Time at Youth Camp!! All glory and praises to GOD. He put together the perfect youth camp package including all the leaders! Many of us got to do things we have never done and see an area we have never seen, (for me and Alex it was quite a switch from the adventure of caring full time for toddlers the last 4 years). Again God showed us His beautiful creation and His marvelous character by reminding us of His love through His protection, shelter and providing ways. He had blessings and surprises around every corner for us. I am so glad He gave me eyes to see them. I know He loves it when we enjoy what He has created. We did some of the scariest activities that only God Himself could give me His peace about, especially when I watched my children doing them! I just had to LET GO AND LET GOD as my Aunt Donna would say!

We were in the absolute beauty of the Tellico Plains area and the Cherokee National Forest on the border of TN and NC. We camped in tents in a very primitive camp ground. The water we used for cooking was from a creek. We collected it and treated it for drinking and cooking. No electricity at all. Vault toilets and no showers! "Swimsuit shower" was in the North River. A huge thunderstorm awoke us just before midnight our 2nd night there. The rain drenched us (in our PJ's) as we ran into the vans for safety, but God kept us safe through the lightening that literally was right over top us.

We went white water rafting on the Ocoee River. Rock cllimbing & repelling on a nearby mountain, waterfall sliding over Baby Falls and cliff and bridge jumping!!!!! Alex and Forrest both did the rock climbing and the 70 foot rapel. Forrest did the 40 foot cliff jumping and all 3 of us went whitewater rafting, went down the water fall and jumped about 25 feet off the bridge. Keeping in perspective we are a bunch of Floridians: The temperature of the water was so VERY COLD, below 68 degrees, but it was so very clean and clear! Great for Trout fishing but close to freezing for us. We had A BLAST though! I can't wait for next years camp. Whitewater rafting is my new favorite "ride". I'll take it over an amusement park any day!

- Cassi and family

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
Email from participant:

Doug: How are you. Missing you and the team. I wanted to send you something that I wrote on the plane on the way home. I got the fear filled opportunity to talk to the youth group first thing Sunday Morning and read this, followed shortly after by presenting the same to the entire sanctuary. Another first for me! Although well outside my comfort zone I was privileged to have the opportunity to share what was on my heart. Please could you share this with Laurie and the team in Costa Rica. The mission had such an amazing impact on everyone one of us. Thank you just doesn’t cover it but it will have to do for now. Have a God Blessed and Awesome summer. Hope to see you again soon. True North is on its way.
- Paul

Costa Rica with GTD and Skycrest’s youth group:
God put it on my heart to go to Costa Rica before I was saved a year ago. This trip with the youth group and “Going The Distance” was well underway before I became aware of it. It took less than 60 seconds on the phone to Ben (youth pastor at Skycrest) one afternoon to say yes. I know now that I was always destined to go on this trip. God has a wondrous path for us to follow and many guides and signs to navigate with if we only open our hearts and learn to hear his word. I have never been more myself and I have never been closer to God and his people as I was this last week.

Now I didn’t have a real good appreciation of what a mission trip with GTD would entail. I did assume that we would go somewhere remote, work hard, be productive, serve and teach.
- Well remote we certainly were. We were in the middle of God’s country walking where only cattle, monkeys and ants had been.
- Yes we worked hard, but it was fun, fulfilling and loaded with stories.
- And yes we served.
- But as for teaching, I for one was more the student than the teacher.

We learnt from the local community that had an unashamed and boastful lust for Christ and faith. We learnt from the folks from GTD who served us with love, devotions, spiritual guidance and focus on the Lord. We learnt from the adjoining missionary family who treated us and made us feel like close family. And boy did they feed us well. We learnt how a simplistic lifestyle away from the corporate and industrialized convenience of the U.S. is filled with far more than a $ could ever purchase when lived through Christ. We learnt so much from each other every second of the day.

We worked hard, enjoyed every minute God gave us and played even harder. I could not wait to get up and get the day started and would only go to bed when my eyes would stay open no longer. We lived and slept and worked in a cattle shed. By the weeks end there wasn’t a resort in the country that could have provided such a wonderful experience and adventure.

We touched the lives of local children at our out reach festival, but were equally touched by them. We climbed, explored and jumped of waterfalls that were not seen or known by the public. We ‘Zip Lined’ through the tree tops and bathed in hot water pools at the base of a volcano. We body surfed on waves that humbled the craziest in the group. We would start our days with devotions and end them in a round table type meeting, where by sharing our days with each other we saw how good life is when you live with Christ in your heart.

The people that were there from this youth group, the folks from GTD and the local missionary family, experienced a week that will be embedded in our memories and soul forever. We will all be praying that we will be able to sustain the feelings, the confidence, the spirituality and faith in our lives every day now that we have returned home.

I thought that we were taking 10 teenagers to Costa Rica. We were in fact taking 10 young adults. When we left Costa Rica there were two lines at the airport, one line for “minors” and one for “adults”. Shay being the only 18 year old on the trip got great satisfaction going down the line for adults while the other 9 did not. If only they knew the children they were looking at, they would not consider one of them a “minor”.

The best part is this is just the beginning of the Costa Rica mission. At the very least this is a 10 year project that will carry on giving far beyond our lifetimes. When the opportunity arises to go on a trip like this in the future, I encourage every one of you not to be an observer. I can tell you with all of my heart that there is NO reason not to go. So when the opportunity does arise, do not make the mistake of weighing up the pro’s and cons. There are no cons, and you have no idea of the pros until you have experienced a GTD mission, because God is ultimately in charge of that. Have faith in him, step out of your comfort zone and experience life and closeness to God in all its glory.

To those of you who went this year; thank you for your welcoming hearts and friendship and helping me on my journey with God.

- Paul Williamson
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
Email from a Pastor's wife:

We love you and are so grateful for the memories and adventures that GTD has brought into our lives.

- Linda Jividen
Plymouth Baptist Church of Indiana
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
Email from group leader:

We all had a blast this weekend... everyone loved it. My homegroup thought you guys were so cool, they definitely want to do another trip...

- Stacy M.
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
Email from participant:

I am so extremely excited! I've been excited about this trip since the day we got home from the last one. I wouldn't have even unpacked my bags if my clothes hadn't gotten so filthy. My life has done a complete 180 for JESUS this year and it all started on the trip last year!!!

- Jen M.
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
Email from participant's mom:

This is jacob's mom... Jake has been attending your summer camp for 3 years now. What a difference you all have made in my sons life. I thank you first for that. He is doing well attending the american school for the deaf in hartford, but continues to talk about his fun fellowship and adventures at the camp. the only thing that kept my son grounded was the love and support of fcd and gtd. we miss you all very much.

with sincere gratitude,
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
Email from participant:

Hi Doug,

Just wanted to write you a note saying thank you for an awesome weekend. Lee and I had a wonderful time. We enjoy the outdoors and experiencing things in which we have never done before. Thanks to GTD we got to do both. Mostly, we enjoyed the Christian aspect of the weekend. This ministry is a wonderful outreach, helping everyone feel close to God while doing things they love in God's beautiful natural environment. The tree jumping was quite an experience also. I love pushing myself to the limit, and you helped me do that. Thanks for the opportunity.

We enjoyed all the Christian fellowship. We met a lot of wonderful people.We hope to see many of them again, as we plan on attending many more of the GTD outtings. We can't wait for the upcoming calendar to come out so we can coordinate with our schedules.

I just want to say thanks again. You are running a terrific ministry and I'm sure God is proud of you. Keep up the great work. Can't wait to see you all again.

God Bless,
Lisa Phipps & Lee Gowans
Webmaster Post
September 5, 2009
Email from participant:

Hey GTD, Hey Doug,

I just wanted to let everyone know that I had soooo much fun on the Tennessee and N.C. trip back in June. I thought the trip would be easy for me, but it was very difficult. I didn't realize how bad my fear of heights had become. I was literally paralyzed with fear as I looked down over the 20 ft bridge, hypeventilating, and scared as can be, then the 40 ft cliff, was even worse. I stepped out in faith and claimed victory over my fears, and just did it.

It was very nice to be in the beautiful mountains, I worked a full time and part time job most of the year, and took 3 classes for school, so the trip was a relief for me.

Thanks again for such a great trip, and helping me overcome my fears through Christ!

Ron Thompson
Naples United Church of Christ, Naples FL
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