Jun 21 2011

Final Details Coming Together…

“All my bags are packed and I’m ready to go…”

We have finally confirmed all our flight details and whew! It was definitely a challenge to put everything together! We are flying to the northern side of Haiti to the Cap Haitien Airport and there are no commercial airlines that fly into this airport. There are many different ways we considered, but finally decided to book a charter flight with IBC Airlines who fly cargo/passenger flights on a twin prop plane into Cap Haitien three times a week. They fly out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale and while the latter was our smaller airport of choice, no flights were available for our schedule. SO…we’ll be flying out of Miami on July 1st and returning to the states on July 29th – exactly 4 weeks to the day!

We talked about driving down to Miami to save a few dollars, but this past weekend we discovered a “$99 each way” special to Miami via American Airlines. These sold out almost immediately, but I was able to get a deal very close to this so we are going to go ahead and fly instead of drive. Much less of a headache and of course, much less time consuming!

We are now busy packing and deciding what we actually need to take. We will also be taking some medical supplies and other materials to the local village clinics where Melissa will be helping. For those of you that can help, I will be posting a separate list of medical supplies that we are still trying to locate. It might be possible that you already have some of these supplies or know where you can find them. Stay tuned.

So much to do in the next week and a half! More updates to come!

Grace and Peace.

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Jun 8 2011

FINALLY! Haiti Update

I finally have some news on our trip to Haiti! I know, I know. Most of you are thinking, “I thought you were already supposed to be there?” Well, sometimes God has a WAY different plan than we could ever ask for or imagine.

We were scheduled to arrive in Haiti for the month of June with our friends Gerson and Heather Nozea (you can go back through the archives and read more about them). About three months ago, the Nozea’s experienced some unforeseen challenges in Haiti which redirected them back to the states. They have also recently found out they are pregnant! Gerson and Heather are going to finish their college education and see what the future holds from there. We are thrilled to have them back home in the states, but more importantly, thankful for all the work they have done for the people of Haiti – they have truly made a HUGE impact!

So where does that leave us? Obviously, we have been searching for a new organization to serve, but one that also aligned with where we feel God is leading us. For the past few months I have been in contact with various organizations, but this past Tuesday, God aligned an incredible meeting with several different organizations. Let me tell you about each of the organizations and then I’ll explain where we go from here.

  • The Bridge Community Church – our home church and a church full of Jesus. Tim Gray and Ben Durbin attended the meeting with us and to be honest, if it wasn’t for these two folks, I don’t think Melissa nor I would be anywhere near the path we are on today. We are eternally grateful for this church and its people.
  • Tennessee Valley Community Church – Pastor Steve Gallimore – what a fantastic fellow! I talked with Steve on the phone a few times and he put together the meeting with everyone involved. Steve’s church is helping to sponsor the two organizations below.
  • New Hope Missions International – an organization in the northern part of Haiti with an emphasis on building relationships in the community through churches and schools. Four ministerial locations have been established in northern Haiti: Limonade (1990), Biley (1991), Milot (1993), and Bas Aviation (1995).
  • New Life Haiti International – another organization in the northern part of Haiti. Debbie Hutchinson and her son Ric attended the meeting with us as well. Two fantastic folks who obviously love Jesus and want to redeem Haiti. They are doing TONS of work – you can read more about them on their website.

So what’s next? We’ll be leaving on July 1st for Quartier-Morin, Haiti (near Cap Haitien airport). We’ll be staying in a compound for 30 days with New Life Haiti International.

View Larger Map

What will we be doing? That’s a great question! We’re not really sure what God is up to so we’ll just take it one day at a time. New Life is busy working on a Children’s Home as well as several other projects. Melissa will be helping with clinics and other health care. We are going to simply serve and to share Jesus with a country full of hope and possibility.

There’s potential that I will have access to the internet so I’m hoping to keep a daily (or as frequent as possible!) blog update while there. We’ll have electricity and someone to cook two meals a day for us. And this time I won’t be sleeping in a tarantula field! 🙂 The northern part of the island is definitely more agricultural and a different pace of life from Port-au-Prince.

Because there are no airlines that fly into the Cap Haitien airport, we’ll have to charter a plane from Fort Lauderdale or Miami. And of course, now we’re staying in a compound instead of a house with friends. Due to both of these unexpected items, our cost of the trip has increased. Many of you have been fantastic and have already jumped in and became sponsors – THANK YOU!!! For others of you, would you prayerfully consider becoming a sponsor for us? You can donate directly via the Paypal link on the right, or shoot me an email: goldie@bucketology.com directly. We appreciate any and all help no matter how big or small!

I’ll be updating this blog over the next few weeks so please stay tuned. You can subscribe via this link or just check back in periodically. We’re incredibly excited about this new opportunity and can’t wait to share our journey with everyone!!

Grace and peace!

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Jan 20 2011

Haiti: The Return

There is much unrest in Haiti today. Election results are still in question, corruption and government intervention are regular occurrences, and now the return of the “Baby Doc” brings even more uncertainty to a country in turmoil.

So what’s next then?

A return. A return to Haiti to continue working with Growing Hope for Haiti. To continue to impact families who struggle every day to survive. No jobs and no money with barely a roof (or tarp) over their head.


But we can make a difference. Maybe not for the entire country, but for at least a few families along the way. We have start to somewhere. And that somewhere is Haiti. We need to rescue helpless orphans like Johnna who barely get enough to eat each and every day. We need to help the tent communities who are so desperately trying to put themselves back together; for their story to continue.

It started with hope and that hope must continue to rise.

So here’s the deal. Not only do I feel passionately about this, but my entire family feels like this is so important that we all need to go and serve. For the entire month of June 2011, the Goldsmith’s (Michael, Melissa, Seth and Emilee) will be traveling to Haiti to do the only thing we know how to do. Work hard, give as much as we can, and love as much as possible. We’re heading to Haiti, but we need your help.

We’re looking for 40 sponsors ($100 each) to make our journey. We’re going to do our part by selling a great deal of our possessions to make this trip happen, but we can’t do this without your help. Would you be willing to be one of our sponsors? (By the way, as of the writing of this post, we have our first sponsor! My friend Stephen Emlund and Creative Improv have graciously extended their help. AWESOME!!) You can sponsor us by clicking on the Paypal link below:

Of course, any amount will help, so don’t feel like you can’t click if you aren’t a full sponsor. Any amount will help. And your sponsorship will not only change our family as we prepare for this remarkable new journey, but hopefully those families in Haiti as well as we go and serve. We’ll also need tons of prayer as we embark on this new path. I’m not sure what the future holds for us, but I do know that this is the next step in our journey. We are simply being obedient.

If you have any questions about this decision, questions about Haiti or need more information on how to be a sponsor, please email me: goldie@bucketology.com and I’ll be glad to visit with you. Be sure to stop by Bucketology for more info and for updates soon.

Grace and peace.

“and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Isaiah 58:10-11

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Jan 18 2011

Haiti: Hope Rising

If you haven’t had an opportunity to hear about our groups incredible journey to Haiti this past summer, I encourage you to start at the beginning:

Day One (Part One)

Day One (Part Two)

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Day Seven

Day Eight

And of course our incredible team:

From Left to Right: Mark Burlison, Michael Goldsmith, Zack Mills, Jake Whitener, Jeromy McDowell, Heather Nozea, Matt Helms,
Melissa McDonough, Jonathan Barnes, Ben Durbin, Justin Yount, Stephanie Hedrick, Jackie Adams

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Jan 18 2011

Haiti: Day Eight

The posts that follow are a brief description of daily events surrounding an organized trip to Haiti in the summer of 2010. There were 12 of us total plus one reporter from the Daily Journal in Farmington, MO. I have relayed each post as it was written in my journal so please overlook any grammatical errors or crazy talk. I will also try to include pictures along the way.

Monday, July 12th

Well…it’s the last day. Hard to believe we have endured a week in tents, in incredible heat, torrential rain (we also had heavy rain at bedtime last night – ALMOST flooded, but thankfully not!), tarantulas, mosquitoes, little food, beans and rice, hard work, cuts, scrapes, bruises and the emotional drain of feeling overwhelmed by circumstances out of our control. I’m not sure how many people would make it through a week like this, but if you asked anyone on our team if they would do it all again…the result? Everyone would give you the same answer…ABSOLUTELY!

We got up at at 5:15am today. We were supposed to shower, tear down our tents and then load by 6:30am. Due to the heavy rain, we decided to leave our tents up to dry. Heather and Gerson will tear them down for us at some point. We’ve asked them to give our tents to the orphanage since they have to sleep on mats underneath a tarp. I think it will really help them to have 3 large tents and hopefully almost all the children will have a place in the tent to sleep.

After a quick shower everyone packed their belongings. I gave Gerson and Heather pretty much everything left over I had: my ponchos, clothes, shoes, fan, batteries, medicine, bug spray, air mattress, etc. These are things they cannot get in Haiti very easily and many things they can give to others. Hopefully it will help in some small way. All of us tipped the cooks as well. We must have done okay, since Heather said they were VERY happy. I gave them $10 and all three ladies thanked me and kissed me on the cheek. With our small tips, we were able to give them as much money as they make in a whole month!!

We said our goodbyes to those at camp and loaded our bus to head pack to Port-au-Prince. Guess what? We had the same driver as we had before. He is amazing, but let me tell you, he can scare the pants off of you with his crazy fast driving and swerving!

Traffic was as bad going into town as it was coming out. We took a little different route into town and ran smack dab into a huge traffic jam. Remember as well that they have no road rules so this made things very hectic and very interesting! We ended up in downtown Port-au-Prince which are streets and streets of market type areas. I hope the pictures will represent this. Most of the buildings were crumbled in, but the people still managed to keep “business as usual.” The streets were packed with people and vendors on a busy Monday morning. Fortunately, we allowed plenty of time to get to the airport, and we arrived shortly after 10am for our 12:10pm flight.

The airport for take off was WAY different then the airport for the landing. There were only a few “red hat” guys, but they didn’t bother us much at all. We quickly made our way inside and found a very clean area with AIR. Thecheck-in and customs areas were small, but we moved very quickly through the short line.

The line above is there for a very specific reason…it notes the end of my journal entry. I sit here finishing this blog entry nearly seven months later with much difficulty. Sure, sure, we got back to the States, had a pizza as soon as we landed at the airport and all of us pretended that we were back to “normal.” We landed in St. Louis to many friendly faces, family, lots of smiles, food in abundance and of course, all the creature comforts of home. If only it were that simple.

The first few days back were very difficult. There were times I would be driving and the tears would stream down my face. Or I would begin sobbing when thinking of those who had touched our hearts with their story. Life, for me at least, would never be the same.

It’s been months now and most of us have settled back into the daily “routine” that bores our souls. All of us long for another day back in Haiti, another day to make a difference, another day to serve an incredible God that overwhelms us. For now the 2010 journey has ended but yet the story continues…

Tomorrow I will be announcing something that will change our family forever…it’s nothing earth shattering, nothing extraordinary, but it will be something that will probably mark our family for generations to come. Simply put, we may never be the same.

And as far as I’m concerned…well, that’s a good thing.

Grace and peace.

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