Being With Friends Is More Powerful Than Morphine

Being With Friends Is More Powerful Than Morphine

Ahhh friends, like the old saying goes, "Friends are better than morphine." Wait, what?  Yes you heard this right, and it has even been backed by science. Let Gary explain how life long relationships can do more than modern medicine ever could, do, or will.

The Art of Giving


By Grant Boatwright, ED Veritas Life Adventures

Part II: The Immeasurable Reward

Last week we looked at how the art of giving is a practice, sometimes a difficult one, but one that has some immeasurable rewards at the end. These rewards come in various forms. This could be better health as the Berkeley study found, or seeing the results of your gift manifest in a life transformed. However, the best way for you to see just how Veritas Life Adventures is a part of this giving practice, and it’s immeasurable rewards, is to hear from a continual giver to Veritas Life Adventures, Jeff, and the life he helped change in Conner Jansen, a 4 year Seeker and graduate of Veritas Life Adventures.

The practitioner: Jeff Montgomery

Giving is choice. It is not always easy, and it comes at a cost, but the reward is immeasurable. Giving inexorably links you to the plight of another and that practice dislodges self-centered thinking that can become toxic. The Bible teaches not only to tithe and give to church; but also to be cheerful givers, even outside the church. I believe that the reason for this is to take your focus off of yourself and to participate in the world that surrounds you. These beliefs are what motivate me to give to Veritas Life Adventures, which is involved in raising leaders who have the tools to go and change the world.

If you want to find a charitable cause to give to, start with one that I support, and that can make the world that you live in a better place. That is the end result in empowering young men and women to grow in physical, nutritional, and spiritual health; so that they can embark on a journey to make a positive impact on the world they live in.

The Immeasurable reward: Conner Jansen

Conner in his first year with Veritas 2012.

Conner and Grant on the Forging trip his Veritas graduating year: 3 years later and 20 lbs. lighter...due to his improvements in all three aspects!

Four years ago, my main goal in life was to get Prestige on Call of Duty and eat an entire large Pizza on my own. I was involved in my church, but there were key things in my faith that were missing. I had a foundation, but I wasn’t building on top of that. All of that was about to change when I joined Veritas Life Adventures.

The first I heard of Veritas was from my youth pastor, Gary Malone. I was skeptical at first, but then I decided to take a risk. Since then, Veritas has continued to mold and change my life for the better through the three main aspects that Veritas focuses on: the physical, nutritional, and emotional/spiritual. One of the great things Veritas has taught me is that to be truly healthy, you need all three in balance.

First, I want to talk about the physical aspect. This is, I think, is the most obvious of changes in my life. When I started, I had no desire to do any physical activity, but through Veritas, that all changed. Through a lot of hard work and determination, Veritas has given me the knowledge and habits needed to maintain an active lifestyle. Today, I actually enjoy being active and have improved so much since then.

I remember going on my first backpacking trip and struggling through everything. Now, I can get through, still with some struggle, but I don’t need to take a break every five steps.

Nutrition is another aspect. When I started, I never thought about the nutrition facts on the back of the things that tasted delicious, and I hated anything that has color in it (ie: vegetables). I never even considered cooking. Then, when I joined Veritas, I started to see everything that I was doing to my body by eating bad things. I started to love cooking for my family and involving vegetables in my everyday life. Then, I started to see my body react in better ways. I was able to do workouts more easily when I didn’t eat Whataburger right before and instead ate an apple. My acne, although not completely clear, lightened up. My life took another turn with the gift of food Veritas presented to me.

The last aspect I changed in was my spiritual/emotional. When I started with Veritas, I had a foundation of a very basic love for Christ, but not anything much past that. I hated reading, I didn’t like deep conversations, and my world ended at my TV screen. Veritas showed me that there is so much more to life than just what I was seeing. I was able to build my faith in Christ and my intellectual thought was given food and strength. Now my faith in Christ is as strong as ever, but another thing Veritas has showed me is that you can never stop improving on yourself. So I continue to build in my faith in Christ. I have been asked to lead Bible studies in high school and now in college, I look for Bible Studies around campus. Ever since I was given the gift of Veritas I have never stopped growing.

Veritas has changed my life in unimaginable ways, and I am forever thankful for that. Our group trips have given me memories and experiences that will live with me forever. Veritas has given me the leadership qualities and self-confidence I needed to stand out from the crowd and follow my dream of helping deaf people. Veritas has given me everything I needed to be the person I am today.

Now is your chance to keep Seeker transformations like Conner's continuing on Thursday, September 17th from 6 am to midnight online with North Texas Giving day.  Every dollar will be matched up to $10,000 and every $25 dollar gift, or more, will have a percentage match as well!  Challenge your practice of the art of giving, and find your immeasurable reward here.

The Art of Giving

The Art of Giving

A practice much like many other persuits, but one with some unique rewards.

From Tessa's Eyes

by Tessa Bacathe, one and only female participant in the 2015 program


Words cannot describe how relieved I was to see Cassie on July 26th.  Wait, actually, yeah, words can.

Now for me, I was going into this little road trip with a series of unfortunate events behind me, including a fresh knee injury and at that point, an unresolved issue with my best friend.  So, for several reasons, I was looking forward to seeing Cassie because something about this fast-talking, philosophical human being always seems to brighten up my spirits.  So, yes, I REALLY wanted this trip even though things weren’t perfect.

So we drove, the exact mileage I can’t say, blaring full soundtracks ranging from Johnnyswim to Pitch Perfect 2.  I had never seen this side of Texas; I had no idea Texas was even capable of having hills.   Every so often Cass and I would stick our hands out the window, using the GoPro to record the gorgeous countryside.  We eventually made it to the campsite, complete with running water and electricity, which we couldn’t help cackling over since we are used to backcountry camping with no frills.  There was only one other time we had been “glamping,” and even then we couldn’t help but make jokes about the luxuries.  Regardless, I would take nearby flushing toilets over a tree any day.

Now let the orchestra of complex music play: we organized our campsite, set up the tent, made dinner, and managed to get our fan going (yes, a fan. Because, c’mon, Texas hardly cools down at night). However, none of that went smoothly; Cassie forgot a spatula, the air mattress barely fit in the tent, and it took several attempts to get the electricity going.  Still, we ate Cassie’s “hobo food,” we were settled, and then we went for a swim.  By this time, Cassie and I (or shall I say Johnny and Joey) had adopted (who knows why) male, New York style, Italian-American personas and befriended a local who found our exaggerated accents intriguing.  This, in turn, inspired us to create multiple personalities and use them for the majority of the trip, which, now that I think about it, sounds incredibly unhealthy of us to do.

I had honestly forgotten how brightly the sun appears from inside a tent; we woke up early the next morning.  I’d been mentally preparing myself for the long, uphill portion of a bike ride we had planned, but as soon as we finished breakfast, Cassie told me she ultimately decided against it for safety’s sake.  We did, however, manage to fill the morning with activity before devouring juicy peaches for lunch and heading to the Longhorn Caverns in time for our tour.

The caverns were something else entirely; I have trekked up to some of the highest points in the U.S., but not once have I actually seen what lies underneath.  I have seen lakes wedged between mountains, but I hadn’t seen the effect of whirlpools in Earth’s crust.  While seeing stalagmites and stalactites was amazing, I’ve got to say that being in the cool air for a change really made my day (well, until I started feeling sticky from the humidity).  I rather enjoyed ducking down and wriggling myself between crevices —but I could’ve done without the occasional slip on the wet cave floor.

After the tour, we went back to Devil’s Waterhole and jumped from the cliff a few times, but mainly watched daring young men and women leap from some of the most questionable places.  We relaxed, coasting along the current, and met several other locals and tourists.  Soon after, we changed and went out for dinner in town at a lovely Thai restaurant.  Great food and lots of sun exposure left Cassie and me in a content mood.  Before we went back to our campsite, Cassie had this lovely idea of lighting Chinese flying lanterns to signify a new beginning. They didn’t take off, but I still appreciated the symbolism behind them, LOL.  I’m just glad we had enough matches to get them lit.

My content mood only lasted for so long because in the morning I felt like death.  I missed having central air conditioning, I wanted caffeine, and I wanted WiFi.  I felt so disconnected from the world, I had no signal, and I was exhausted.  My body had started protesting but there was no way I wasn’t seeing everything Cassie had planned: Hamilton Pool and Jacob’s Well.  Hamilton Pool was nothing what I expected.  Then again, I didn’t know what to expect (actually, I didn’t expect a Jello-like creek connecting to the pool).  At Jacob’s Well, Cassie took a good minute and thirty seconds to jump into it from the rocks above.  I chose not to jump but rather slink into the natural spring.  The water was freezing, but it woke me up from my funk.

This trip was coming to a conclusion, and knowing that this was also Cassie’s goodbye trip, it surfaced all sorts of feelings.  If it wasn’t for her, I would not have stayed or even joined Veritas at all.  I would have never felt so comfortable voicing my questions and opinions about life.  I admired her on so many levels; she had sass and compassion and determination and a tasteful sense of humor.  I kind of regret crying so much on the trip, but I couldn’t help it —this was the end of an era for me.  I hadn’t challenged myself to that degree ever.  I started really making decisions regarding family, friends, and school thanks to Veritas. Which by the way, I still continue to do. :)

After arriving home, Cassie helped me gather my things, and then she gave me a very special gift from the program.  I fought back even more tears (ugh) and made Cassie promise we would see each other again.


Here’s to the next chapter of our lives!


P.S. Can I give a huge shoutout to Grant, Jashley, their families and the board of directors?  Well, I am!  I only met you all a few times, but still, so much happiness filled the room when I saw you guys.  I felt extremely welcomed.  Thanks again for this extraordinary opportunity!