Sep 8, 2021
Meet Janine Maxwell. Along with her husband, Ian, she’s the co-founder of Heart for Africa, a faith-based humanitarian organization which has focused on the areas of Hunger, Orphans, Poverty and Education (HOPE) in Eswatini and Kenya for 15 years.
How a Canadian, who was running one of that country’s most successful marketing companies, ends up in southern Africa is a compelling story. In 2001, Janine was a self-proclaimed “capitalist pig” in New York, right in the heart of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and fleeing from gunshots echoing in the madness. It was the kind of life-changing event that plunged her into depression, took her through a period of deep introspection and onto a path for the true meaning of life. When the rollercoaster ride stopped, she found herself in Africa, where she encountered the AIDS pandemic, hunger and disease, and her life forever changed.
“If you say that’s not OK, then what are you going to do about it?” Janice says. “You can’t say it’s not OK, then not do something. Especially not as believers.”
That’s what she’s written three books to address. A graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, MO, Janine most recently wrote “Hope Lives Here,” through iDisciple Publishing. She and Ian are parents of adult children Spencer and Chloe, and serve as adoptive parents to more than 300 orphans in Africa. Some of what they’ve seen has been miraculous.
They have witnessed blind children given sight, deaf children’s ears opened and lame children who now not only walk but run to school every day. If that’s not miraculous enough, consider that of those 300 Janine is helping raise there are some 40 “terrible twos.” Yet she has maintained her sanity — all because she decided to act and encourage others to do the same.
“Do something!” she says. “It doesn’t have to be Africa. Do something. Just stop looking in the mirror and stop complaining.”