Sunday, March 10, 2013

Heartache and Hope in Haiti: The Britney Gengel Story by Len and Cherlyann Gengel

Article first published as Book Review: Heartache and Hope in Haiti: The Britney Gengel Story by Len and Cherylann Gengel on Blogcritics.

Nature often wreaks havoc on the world. Many times we see the destruction through the view of a camera, while other times the action is on our doorstep. Never sure where disaster will strike, when the damage happens elsewhere, we watch in sadness. When nature’s fury hits close to home, despair overcomes those involved.
In Heartache and Hope in Haiti: The Britney Gengel Story by Len and CheryLann Gengel , the authors share with us the pain and disbelief of such a powerful force. In 2010 their daughter Britney, a sophomore at Lynn University, traveled with a group of student to work for an aide group. This was their chance to give back to the world, and Britney in particular was touched. After a short time in Haiti, she determined that her life’s work would be to help open an orphanage in this country where hope was alive in its children. Yet only a few short hours later, an earthquake leveled Port-au-Prince and the Hotel she had been staying in.
Unable to reach her, the family lives in fear, alternately dreading and then excited by the news. But as with confusion and reporting, the news was often not just misleading but entirely wrong. Their Britney was never coming home again.
Here begins the life of rebuilding and how Len and Cherylann chose to take a vision and make it real. Shaking off their own grief, they take Britney’s dream and move it towards reality.
This is a heartfelt and hurt filled story, but filled with love and hope. To see how others transcend past the pain of losing a child and find a way to offer hope is a testament to that love. They chose to take that anguish and use the power of that pain to move forward and build the dream that keeps their daughter alive in a very different way.
While I had heard about the Earthquake, I was able to view it from afar where it didn’t touch me. Even hearing the stories and seeing the footage, the sadness and caring were there, but the destruction seemed remote and far away. With the Store of Britney and the Gengel’s efforts to make her wishes come true, you have no choice but to become a part of the devastation and pain. You feel the horror and the hope as they wait for news that will bring their daughter home. IF you have children this will tear at your soul. Reading the stories of the children and the people in Haiti, bring home the devastation in a way, that even pictures on the news were unable to capture.  
This is a remarkable story, built with courage and love. The inspiration lends us an example of how goodness flows in even the worst of times. This would be a marvelous book for a reading group. The story pulls you in and the chills and despair felt by the Gengel’s becomes your own. Even the profits of the book are slated to benefit the Orphanage now built in Britney’s name for the honor of the children of Haiti. You cannot move away from this story unmoved. You will marvel at the tenacity of the will to make a dream succeed.
Rating 4/5
This book was received from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

1 comment:

Cozy in Texas said...

Sounds like an amazing story. My son was scheduled to go there for a mission trip when the earthquake struck and they went anyway. They had to land in the Dominican Republic and drive along dusty roads, sometimes on top of the vehicle to get there. The pictures and his stories of devastation were so sad.