Enter Nick and Gwenn Mangine. I became aware of the Mangines at a church service in North Carolina. Gwenn gave the message that day. She was introduced by the pastor who explained how the couple got a calling one day that they should go to Haiti to help the children there. No one in the audience even shifted in their seat for the next half hour. The Mangine’s story of how they ventured to Haiti and adopted several orphans with the help of the church was riveting. The commitment that they made to raise these children as a family felt daunting to me. Imagine picking up, leaving your friends, family and all the conveniences of living in America and going to Haiti! Gwenn didn’t sugar coat the new life she and her husband chose. It came with many hardships-guns, difficult social issues the kids came with, disease, and mental trauma to name just a few.
This sermon was a few years ago. The Mangines and their large family are still together and making great strides! You can learn more about them at www.joyinhope.org.
The issues facing the orphans in Haiti struck a chord in me that has not gone away. I’ve tried to bring attention to their plight in my new novel, BY THE SOUND OF THE CROW. Most of us will not have the courage, nor will to go to the extreme that the Mangines did to help those in need in Haiti. Perhaps, however, we can pitch in a little to help and make it a lot.