Thursday, August 26, 2010


There's currently a detour on the main road between our house and the city of Jacmel.  IT SUCKS.  It's a terrible detour on terrible back roads and it adds at least 10 minutes EACH WAY onto what should be a 5 minute trip into town.  It's been like this for a couple of weeks now, and "they" say it will last another few MONTHS.

We do nearly everything in Jacmel.  It's where the office is, it's where the refugee camps are, it's where church is, where team housing is, where the hotel is... where, well, pretty much everything we do on a daily basis is.  And we're back and forth usually no less than 5-6 times a day.  (No exaggeration.)

So as you can imagine, this has caused us quite the headache.  (Not to mention 1-2 hours of extra time that really wasn't "extra" to begin with.)

But such is life, isn't it? 

I can't even BEGIN to describe the detours my life has taken in the past 16 months of living in Haiti.  It's crazy to even think about. There's always a detour of sorts.  Something that makes our life not run smoothly.  Language school, an accident, a death, a new kid in the family, an earthquake, a misunderstanding, another new kid in the family, you hit a horse with your car, another new kid in the family...  you get my drift.

Sometimes it is hard to see the silver lining of a detour.  Because yes, they are always a pain.  Here in Haiti, they always make your car dirty and they are always very bumpy.  But right now, the main road is TORN up.  It is impassable and the detour is the only option.

So while it might take longer, it might be bumpier, it might make my car dirty--

It gets me there safely.

As life twists and turns and you experience detours, I was just thinking this...  What if the point of what we're all "going through" right now (because everyone is going through something) is really just meant to get us there safely?

Just a thought.

what we get to wake up to every morning.

John 14:18

I will not leave you as orphans...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another earthquake story

Today was a one of the FIRST times since I've lived in Haiti that I have been able to understand and follow the sermon (in Kreyol) in church.  Jean Claude (one of the elders) preached, and I really like his style.  He's kind of ... um... "spirited" but not to the point of ridiculousness. 

Anyway, he shared this story from Acts 16:

22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

 25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"

 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

 31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

 35When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men." 36The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."


His point of the sermon was not that there was an earthquake.  But that was all I could think about. In spite of the 'violent earthquake' (not to mention all the OTHER reasons they had to leave,) they STAYED INSIDE OF THE BUILDING.  There was a freakin' earthquake.  Enough that it shook the foundations of the prison shook and all the doors opened.  That very thing happened here in Haiti.  And all the prisoners escaped.  And really, I don't blame them.  Our family LIVED outside for like 2 months after the earthquake in Haiti.

Paul and Silas had every good and logical reason to BELIEVE that this might be the way that God was rescuing them-- by allowing them to escape.  But no.  They stayed.  Against all logic.  And God had a bigger purpose. And people were saved. 

Oh that I could be stronger in the face of fear.  Oh that my faith would increase and I would have a desire to STAY in the hard times rather than trying to find the quickest route out.

I had a really grumpy start to my day.  Josiah peed in his bed.  We were rushing to get out the door on time for church (as Nick was in Port Au Prince).  When I got there it was really hot.  And church started 30 minutes late.  Which made me mad that I was rushing.  We didn't get to eat breakfast before church so we were all hungry.  Seven out of ten of my kids were complaining about each other "touching their chairs."  I had a lot on my mind...  I was just grumpy.

But when I heard the message--it was interesting.  The point of Jean Claude's message had nothing to do with the earthquake.  It was all about how God is a God of miracles.  He was then and he still is.

 This might sound like an exaggeration, but it was a small miracle today that I understood the sermon. somehow God opened my ears for the first time to understand the message in Kreyol, I couldn't help but leave with a grateful heart.  Motivated and challenged to move forward in my faith.  This is the first time this has happened for me in Haitian church. It felt good.

I am hoping this is just the beginning of what is to come.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

HCH Mangine, August 2010

Jean Louis, Josiah, Jerry, Nico and Yves show off their new soccer balls Nana brought them!

Hello family and friends,

I know I always start my updates this way, but wow, HAITI IS HOT.  I keep telling myself that we're halfway through the summer, but wow, October seems a long way off.  (For the record, September is just about as brutal as August here, so you probably have at least one more month of my complaints.)

Our schedule has been jam packed for the last month with a lot of really neat things happening.  My mom ("Mama Nana" as my kids have come to call her), a sign language interpreter, came for a visit and started a program where she has taught several deaf students in Jacmel how to make seaglass jewelry and is helping them sell them to support themselves and the ministry of Joy in Hope.  She also taught our kids some basic sign language classes and had them perform a song, "Shout to the Lord" in church.  Since her first trip here, my mom has had a heart for the large deaf community in Jacmel, and it's neat to see her reaching out to a community who has been largely marginalized here in Haiti.
Along with my mom came our longtime friend, Israel.  He is a photography/art student in college and came down to help us document our lives a bit and take sponsorship photos for our kids.  Our staff also had some portraits done, which was great fun for them too.

The next week Joy in Hope hosted a vacation bible school in Jacmel in a new location.  I am not sure what the final count was, but it was a big hit.  Nick and I actually had very little to do with this VBS, and our newest team members, John and Jennifer Hancock really stepped up and jumped in with both feet. It's great having them here!

After that Nick and I had the pleasure of hosting a two person team from our home church, Crosspointe.  Two of the pastors came down to visit and just sort of minister to our souls.  It's been the first time we've really been able to connect since the earthquake, and the time was precious to us.  We continue to love and miss our community at Crosspointe, and are looking forward to visiting in November.

Nick and I accompanied that Crosspointe team back to the states where we headed straight to Indianapolis for a week.  Nick and I got to attend the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, meet with our counselors, speak at a couple of churches, visit with some friends and eat WAY too much.  One of the big purposes behind this trip was to make a connection with a counselor who specializes in attachment issues in children.  This was excellent time for Nick and I and we walked away not just with some great take aways, but the potential for an ongoing relationship with someone who really does understand what it means to parent at-risk children.  We'd like to publicly thank Danny and Leann for watching our 3 American kids and Anise and Frantzo (a couple from our church and long time Joy in Hope team members) for watching our 7 Haitian kids. 

The day after getting back to Haiti we had a joint team come in from Florida and llinois.  They came to help repair and paint the earthquake damage to the Pye's home.  While we were blessed to be able to spend some time with this team, again we want to thank our team members (the Hancocks and the Rigels) for diving in and getting the work done. 

While this team was here, Joy in Hope FINALLY received our container of supplies from the United States.  This was after about 5 of hard work and determination from volunteer, Cheri McDonald.  She did an amazing job filling the container and getting it shipped to Haiti for free!  We were able to get a great deal on purchasing the actual container, where it now sits on our land where it will serve as a construction depot.

Meanwhile, Pwoje Konekte continues to grow.  We've had an overwhelming response and have been able to expand the diaper distribution part of the project to 90 families per week.  All of the day to day operations have been put into the hands of Haitian staff.  Things ran very smoothly during our absence.  Several families from Pinchinat have been moved to a new, better planned camp.  We're now working in both places as we try to determine where we can fill in the most gaps.  The Konekte project has become even more personal to us lately as we've agreed to help a friend foster Edwinson, one of our favorite Pinchinat babies as she works him through health issues resulting from severe neglect and malnutrition.  Having a baby around the house these past few days has been fun for everyone.  Konekte has been and continues to be a very satisfying way to serve the community, but it's exciting to me that it can now run completely independent of me.

Wow, just reading through all of this made me a little dizzy.  We have been busy.  (In addition to all of this, my computer was stolen, and I am just working on an Ipad while I await the delivery of my new laptop-- (thanks again Crosspointe.)  I am so sorry to be behind on emails again.  I assure you I am slowly but surely getting them answered. 

In the midst of all the travel and the teams and the projects, we continue to love our first calling the most--our family.  Our kids are growing and thriving.  They continue to test boundaries and act out at times, but they also are learning to grow in love and trust with us more each day.  I am so proud of them and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without each one of them.  I don't have any idea when our family might grow again.  It could be tomorrow, it could be next year.  That's kind of exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  But we know that because of the Lord, our team, our amazing family, friends and supporters, we're not in this alone.  Thank you for your faithfulness in support and prayer so we get to live this life.  It's harder than we ever imagined, but more fulfilling than we ever dreamed.

With an ever-grateful heart,
Gwenn for the entire Mangine crew
Nick, Gwenn, Nia, Nico, Josiah, Fritzie, Jean Louis, Yves, Jerry, Sanndi, Prisca, Wildarne
(and Ann David, Felecia, Hugues and Esther too!)

Remember, you can also get more connected to us at:
Our blog-
Our facebooks: Joy in Hope, Nick Mangine, Gwenn Goodale Mangine

Here are a few pics-- sorry there aren't more... my computer was stolen!
The container arrives at our land!
VBS Brema

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sewing Items Needed! (especially Triangle, NC area)

Hey all,

Next month Nick's mom, Bev is coming down for a visit and she is going to a sewing clinic with our kids. Anyone who knows Bev knows she's a quite accomplished seamstress.

She's needing the following things and would love to have YOUR help filling her bags:
  • generic sewing machine needles,
  • scissors,
  • pins,
  • 1/4, 1/5 and 1 inch wide elastic,
  • thread of all colors [especially basic colors],
  • elastic thread,
  • at least two yards of material [light weight knits, cotton, etc.],
  • seam rippers,
  • hand sewing needles,
  • any odds and ends or ribbon/lace/trim etc.
If you'd like to donate any of these items, please email Bev at for details on how to get the donated items to her.

Thank you! We'll be sure to post pics of the classes!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On getting "saved"

One of the most influential (when it comes to my spiritual journey) books I have ever read was called "No Compromise" and it was the life story of a pretty famous Christian singer back in the 70's and early 80's. It's not the best written book I have ever read, but I found the story fascinating. It was really neat to see the kind of difference one person can make when he or she is striving to be fully in the hands of our Lord.

One of the things I loved about this book was the description of these key "wake up" moments in Keith's life. God would rock him spiritually and he'd come to this conclusion where he would learn something so big or great about God that he was uncertain in the time before this revelation whether or not he was really "saved." The statement was something like this, "I don't know what I was before tonight but wow, now I know I am a follower if Jesus."

I had one of those moments tonight. I make it no secret that the thing I miss the most about living in the states (other than our families of course) is our home church, Crosspointe. I pretty much love everything about it. And I really, really miss the way God used that church as a huge part of my spiritual journey for about 10 years-- basically, all of my adult life.

One of the main reasons I miss the church is that we just don't have the same access to really good teaching. I consider both Jonathan and Steve excellent pastors and I really just miss them. Adjusting to a new culture makes church a challenge, but I am getting there. Slowly. Very slowly. Very, very slowly.

But tonight, God did something that rocked my world. He allowed a great teacher, my husband, Nick Mangine, to deliver a message that cut me right to the heart. You can read the jist of the message here:

One of the points he made towards the end, and this isn't on his outline was something like this-- "if the image you have of God is the same image you had of him 5 years ago, then than's probably not God." His point was that we never arrive, but we're always following. Over time, as we walk with him, our view of who he is changes. And if you're truly walking WITH him, you are closer to his heart and you will have more of these discoveries/convictions/moments of pure undiluted adoration. It's all a part of the package.

I've been somewhat spiritually lax lately. Nick's message was veery convicting. These kinds of thoughts bombarded me--- I am not truly following God, just sort of wandering somewhere in his general vicinity. I am often tripped up by the "next thing" that I just "have to" get to. I am impeded also by my past and distracted by my need for approval. These things aren't going to cut it if I want to walk the talk I claim.

I am so thankful for Nick's wisdom tonight. And I am thankful that God cared enough about the dirty condition of my heart to convict me of my sin so that I can turn to him for his grace... Once again.

Friday, August 13, 2010

If I have to be a prisoner...

If I have to be a prisoner, let me be a prisoner of hope.

If I have to be an orphan, let me be adopted into the family of Christ.

If I have to be a slave, let it be to righteousness.

If I have to be poor, let me be rich in faith.

If I have to be lost, let it be so that I may be found.

If I have to be dead, let me be dead to sin.

If I have to be old, let it be so I may have wisdom.

If I have to be blind, let it display the work of God in my life.

If I have to be a prisoner, let me be a prisoner of hope.

(Bible references: Zechariah 9:12, Ephesians 1:5, Romans 6:18, James 2:5, Luke 15:24, Romans 6:11, Job 12:12, John 9:3)

Big Pinchinat News.

 It's finally being mentioned in the press--  we've known it's been coming for weeks, and now it's happening.  As of earlier today, 187 families have been moved from Pinchinat to a new camp a few miles down the road-- Bwa Vital.  About 150 more families will soon be moved.

I can't believe I am using these words to describe a refugee camp but it. is. beautiful.  Each family has their own tent (as opposed to 8 families per tent in Pinchinat.)  The tents are well-ventilated (with screened windows!) and actually have waterproof floors!  These are more transitional shelters than tents.  The area was very well prepared for the transition with drainage and lots of gravel under each tent/passageway to avoid the mud that defined Pinchinat.

Seriously, these families struck the lottery.  It's like Disney World compared to the conditions they were living in.

Though the numbers would suggest otherwise, Pinchinat is really, really quiet.  They did a great job at trying to offer spots in the new camp to families with babies and pregnant women.  Today we went to do diaper distribution and really had to TRY to search out 30 families with babies in diapers at Pinchinat. This is unheard of for us. They have taken down the tents when people were moved and no one has tried (or at least no one has succeeded) in trying to occupy vacant spots.

So here's the plan... we are going to keep serving Pinchinat as long as it's there.  But we're going to focus the primary distribution of diapers in the new camp, as long as we get permission from the mayor as that's where most of the babies are.  (We don't expect authorization to be a problem... have a meeting planned for next week.)

It's really exciting to feel like the people of Pinchinat have some hope.  They needed this.  I needed this for them.

Here's an article about it but it's in French. So below it is a google translation. 
(Note: I don't know why they call it Maynard because the people call it Bwa Vital... whatever.)

After several months of lethargy from the town hall, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has finally begun the process of relocating some of the victims Pinchinat Park, one of the largest camp in Jacmel with approximately 4,000 people to the new site Mayard, located in the town of Baldwin. Several local and international partners were present during this trip which took place in an orderly and without incident. The new camp Mayard a capacity of 330 families and has sanitation facilities.
The first phase of relocation for 180 families on the 975 families that account Pinchinat camp. Oduwa Wotshu Ben, the IOM representative told HaïtiLibre concerned that this phase of priority those most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, disabled and older, indicating that the IOM will continue to give disaster assistance and that remaining measures will be taken together with the authorities of Jacmel, to prevent others occupy the vacant spaces become Pinchinat camp. As for "the second phase of relocation of other families Pinchinat Park, will begin very soon, however, the victims will be installed on another site" Wood Ox "to clear the IOM representative.
Asked by Haitilibre, some new arrivals have expressed their satisfaction at being able to access the new site Mayard "this environment is much more comfortable as camp Pinchinat" said a devastated "every family has a tent with two rooms with a number "to" another said.
At camp Mayard newcomers now breathe cleaner air, on land drainage, which does not prevent them from expressing their concerns about the non-electrified area, the locality being known as a Mayard insecure areas Jacmel.

The cutest baby I have ever seen.

Am I right or am I right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

N'ap we

Today I headed back to Pinchinat after being gone for a week. Lots of changes there I can't wait to tell you about, but that's another post for another day...

So... Here's the story for today.

I headed back there and as we were on the way, Eddie, (our security guard) said to me, "Lots of people have been asking for you. A lot of people think you aren't coming back."

So I said, "I can't believe they think I wouldn't be back. I told a lot of people that I was leaving for a week but that I'd be back after my trip."

He said, "I told them you were coming back, but they just said, "N'ap we." ("We'll see.")

"Eddie," I said, "I was only gone for a week. I have been visiting them for SIX MONTHS. I left my children here. Do they really think I'd leave my children here?"

Eddie said, "You have to understand you are blanc (a foreigner). They are used to blancs coming and saying they are going to be back. Especially after the earthquake."



I implore anyone reading today---

Pa bliye Ayiti... (Don't forget Haiti.)


Monday, August 9, 2010

Fake eyelashes

I was headed through the drive through of Mc Donalds the other day (because I am in America and I can get cheeseburgers whenever I want... Booyow!) and the girl who was rigning me up was VERY done up. She was a pretty girl but she was wearing tons of makeup and jewelry and had these long acrylic nails, and get this--- fake eyelashes. To work the drive though window and McDonalds.

Immediately I started judging her in my spirit. I wondered why she would possibly think she needed to be so extravagantly decorated while she collects money for and then delivers cheeseburgers. And I chuckled in my head about what a strange place America is.

Now, hang with me here, because I am probably not going where you think I am going.

This is not an "I hate America" post. On the contrary. I am actually loving being here for a visit. I am loving that I can drive my car up to a microphone, order food and then (without getting out of the car) drive and pay and get my food, napkins, utensils, perhaps even a cardboard carrying case for my drinks. All without ever leaving my car. That's brilliant when you think about it.

This is the first time I have been back to America since moving to Haiti where this kind of thing was weird to me. I hit the airport in Chicago and was overwhelmed by the choices of the places to eat. Somehow I just didn't remember that's what it was like here.

But back to the fake eyelashes girl. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Because yeah, I wasn't sure where to put her in my mind. Here she has a job working at a fast food restaurant, probably making minimum wage or close to it, yet she really cared about her appearance and how she looked to others. And it made me realize what an icky, gross, judgmental heart I have. See, I wouldn't be surprised to see her all done up if she worked at one of the expensive restaurants I've visited this week. In fact, I would've probably noticed if she wasn't all done up. But because she was working a minimum wage job, I guess I just expected her to "act" as if she had a minimum wage job. And so yeah, good on her. Seriously.

And while we're on the subject-- bad in me. Seriously. You would have thought that by now I'd have learned the skill of not judging others.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The best medicine.

There's an old expression about how laughter is the best medicine. I disagree. I think Ambien is the best medicine.

I am having a BLAST in the states... More soon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Heather Diaz is my hero.

We had a small team from a Florida church visit us this past week. On the team was a woman named Heather Diaz who decided to get creative on how to help Haiti. Knowing she was coming down on a team that could transport 6 large suitcases of supplies, she came up with an EXTREMELY good idea as to how to fill the bags.

She threw a baby shower for the babies of Pinchinat.

PLEASE visit her blog and read about the BEAUTIFUL shower she threw for these babies and the 4,000+ diapers she collected and has/is transporting. That is a MONTH AND A HALF of diapers for our Pinchinat program at our current rate (which, we are HOPING will increase soon!)

Heather, Arielle and me.

I LOVED meeting Heather and being reminded the incredible difference ONE person can make.

She also sent $300 cash for immediate needs in the camp!

Kids say the darndest things: episode 4290

Nick and I are headed to Indy this week for several reasons, but mostly to meet with a group of counselors that have been working with us since the quake to debrief and try to un-insane us. :)
One of the great benefits of us going is that we are also going to be having some meetings with a therapist who specializes in attachment disorder to help us through some issues we have (and expect to have in the future) with our new children.

The other day I sat down with my staff to explain what Nick and I would be doing in Indiana. We explained a bit about attachment issues that adopted children sometimes deal with and how sometimes there is special care needed to help them progress. You sometimes need to treat them differently, discipline them differently, etc.

Nia (our resident "Nosy Nancy") was apparently listening in unbeknownst to me.

Today as we were driving to the beach I had just Nia in the car and I was explaining to her that we're leaving for the states for a few days and that she wouldn't be coming with us.

The conversation went like this:

Me: Nia, on Wednesday Daddy and I are going to be leaving for a week to go to the United States, but you aren't going to be coming with us. This time you're going to stay in Haiti.

Nia: That makes me kind of sad because you will get to see grandma and grandpa and I won't.

Me: No, actually, we won't see them. This time we're going to a new place I've never been before and I am not going to see grandma and grandpa, or anyone in our family. We have a lot of meetings. It's all work stuff we need to do.

Nia: (as her face lights up with recognition) Oh! That's right. I heard you telling Hugues and AnnDavid about this. You're going to go take some classes to learn how to punish your kids more.

Exactly Nia. That's EXACTLY what we're going to do.