Building a marriage that will not merely survive, but thrive.
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A weekend to rediscover, reconnect, and recommit to each other.
Designed 2 Thrive began as a small church ministry with a big vision: for every married couple to understand God's plan for them to experience an abundant marriage, rather than just surviving the day-to-day struggles that can easily deteriorate a marriage if left unchecked.
This ministry was founded by executive director, Garry Koon and his wife Doris, along with ministry partners Jeff and Rosanna Doornbos. Together, with their passion to see marriages thrive and become strengthened through biblical values and mentorship, they held the first retreat in the summer of 2006.
Since that first retreat, interest in the ministry has increased, and God has allowed for the ministry to grow into a 501c3, non-profit organization, reaching couples all across west Michigan.
Designed 2 Thrive (D2T) focuses on coming alongside couples to help them build a marriage that will not merely survive, but thrive. Our organization is guided by the authority of God's word and is dedicated to helping couples understand His incredible design for marriage between one man and one woman. Our materials were created using Biblical principles and wisdom as a foundation, and we have witnessed the power of God's Word to not only change hearts where needed, but also grow and gain intimacy within the marriage.
Our goal is to provide a two night get-away weekend, hosted by various venues throughout Michigan, served fabulous home cooked meals and snacks throughout the weekend by our D2T Hospitality teams and instructed by our highly trained retreat mentors. These mentors deliver brief sessions to help couples connect and communicate effectively, equipping them with tools to help them succeed beyond the retreat weekend.
We host 12-15 retreats per year which now include premarital retreats, helping couples see the need for not only planning their wedding, but also their marriage!
Where it all started...
Leslie Van Hoven
Leslie's commitment to invest in marriages is profoundly anchored in her personal journey of grace, stemming from a critical juncture when her own marriage faced the brink of divorce. Having participated in one of the early marriage retreats in 2007, during the beginning stages of Designed 2 Thrive as a modest church ministry, Leslie and her husband chose to remain actively engaged with the community they encountered at the retreat. Surrounded by love and unwavering support, they experienced transformative shifts within their own marriage, applying newfound knowledge to rediscover and renew the foundations of their relationship.
Completing a full circle from a participant yearning for hope, her objective is to engage actively in every facet, extending hope to as many marriages as possible and sharing the grace of God with others.
Rev. Garry Koon
Director of Partnership Ministries
Garry has served as the senior pastor of two churches in Michigan for over 40 years and most recently as an interim pastor in Grand Haven, Michigan. In his thousands of hours counseling both premarital and marital couples, he observed the great need for these couples to have an experience like Designed 2 Thrive offers.
Leveraging his expertise and connections, he has effectively communicated his vision and aspirations for Designed 2 Thrive, successfully involving sponsors and garnering support for the ministry's mission. After serving as the executive director for several years, in 2024 he transitions into a partnership role, focusing on cultivating and overseeing relationships for the ministry which is critical for our success investing in marriages.
Garry & Doris Koon, Jeff & Rosanna Doornbos
A passion for strengthening marriages and helping them not just exist, but thrive, is what led Garry, Doris, Jeff and Rosanna to create a weekend away to help couples reconnect, renew and recommit to each other. Designed 2 Thrive is a weekend retreat ministry that does just that. Graciously hosted at the Doornbos' residence in Traverse City, the inaugural D2T retreats began in 2006, personally extending invitations to couples from their local church. The retreats offered a weekend escape for couples to delve into a curriculum authored by Garry, fostering learning and growth.
The ministry experienced remarkable growth with God's abundant blessings and direction, now facilitating nearly 20 retreats annually across four beautiful venues. Additionally, the offerings have expanded to include a dedicated Premarital retreat tailored for engaged couples.