Janine Maxwell’s Journey By: Esther Wang

9/11, CEO of the second largest marketing company run by a woman, depression, the devastation of Africa, and serving Swaziland. Janine has lived through them all. From self-made marketing CEO, to passionately serving Africa. From a fabulously wealthy empty life, to a humble complete life. Janine Maxwell’s journey of life is exciting, touching, motivating, and compelling.

Janine started her life as an adopted child born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Northern Ontario, Canada. Her parents were pharmacists, her mother is a strong Christian and Janine has a half-sister. She graduated from the Evangel University in Missouri, Springfield with a Bachelor Associates Degree in Communications within three years.

From a young age Janine wanted to be rich and successful, she was independent and wanted to set out from under her parent’s roof and rules. She begged her way into a marketing job with her charisma and charm, and went on to work for them for a short period of two-and-a-half years. At age twenty-four Janine decided that marketing was easy, and that she could create her own company. That company was ONYX. ONYX soon became the largest marketing group with large exclusive clients such as Kellogg’s, Campbell’s, and Disney. Her life was the American dream. Janine had a large house, three cars, a live-in nanny, beautiful children who went to private schools, and a loving husband. She lived large and spent large. She lived in excess, but 9/11 changed everything.

Janine never went to New York during September. She traveled there for business during February. Janine was at New York on September eleventh because she had a marketing conference with Kellogg’s. Janine’s hotel was above the Grand Central Terminal which was rumored to have a bomb that was ready to explode. She also had two clients of whom she was responsible for, a colleague, and the heart-stopping knowledge of her husband being on a plane headed for Chicago. Janine grabbed her clients, belongings, colleague, and ran. Sixty blocks added to distance she ran back to the hotel for her phone charger along with the stress of finding a safe place for all the people in tow, was nerve wrecking. Janine recalls that the thought “What would my children remember of me” preoccupied her. Janine returned to Canada three days later to her husband and children safe and sound, but as a very different Janine.

The experience of 9/11 itself was traumatic, but the after effects dauntingly impacted her life. Janine became depressed and slightly paranoid. She installed a television into every room of her house, spent thousands of dollars on escape equipment, stocked up her parent’s cottage with food supplies, prepared antidote for anthrax, and had plans and backup plans in case of a crisis. In her depression she asked God ‘What is the meaning of life?’, ‘What is my purpose in life?’, and ‘You saved me from 9/11 to do what?’. She picked up the book Purpose Driven Life, and its message combined with her first trip to Africa was the catalyst that ended her depression and began her journey of listening to God’s calling.

Janine’s first trip to Africa took her to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. There she saw children living on the streets and sleeping in the garbage piles just to keep warm. Janine listened to their stories and was overwhelmed by the excess of violence, drugs, and abuse. After she returned to her luxurious life in Canada, she found herself increasingly irritated by the wasteful way people lived around her, and became frustrated about wanting to help the African street-children. In 2004, Janine decided to organize The Hopes and Dreams Team with the goal of releasing Africa from poverty, famine, and AIDS. Her team consisted of co-workers, family, and whoever else wanted to join. Janine found that she was very happy and content in Africa, and soon realized that this was God’s calling for her. She also realized that she could no longer focus on her work at ONYX with a whole heart. The CEO contemplated and asked for advice from close friends. Janine then decided to throw herself back into her work for about a year along with continuous prayer concerning Africa. Then in 2004 she firmly believed that God was calling her to serve Africa, and that she should shut down her 16-year-old self-established company worth 0.6 billion NTD. Her decision was met with incredulity and some severe words from close family members, nevertheless she shut down ONYX and turned to face the opening path of serving Africa with all her heart.

Heart For Africa is focused on HOPE. They make every effort to abolish Hunger, care for Orphans, eliminate Poverty, and to Educate the people of Swaziland. Janine invites people from everywhere to visit Swaziland to aid and serve the people of Swaziland in agriculture, labor, and education. Heart For Africa organizes eleven-day trips to Swaziland for people who want to experience Swaziland and serve the people by farming or educating children. The dates for upcoming trips are:

· June 23rd – July 3rd

· July 14th – July 24th

· July 28th – August 7th

· August 11th – August 21st

· November 17th – November 27th

You can register and find out more at www.heartforafrica.org.

In the present and near future, Janine is moving permanently to Swaziland and is building a community called Project Canaan. The project will include a self-sustaining farm that will provide agricultural training and enable the country to rise up and support themselves. Project Canaan will also include a Children’s Home where Janine and her family will raise the children as her own. Project Canaan will provide employment for sixty-five percent of the population of Swaziland, and will provide for abandoned babies as well as providing medical and dental care. This is Janine Maxwell’s dream and calling. She prays with her whole heart that Project Canaan will be successful in providing Hope for the Kingdom of Swaziland.

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