Mark and Sharon Mansell's home is full, as are their hearts.
While the Seabrook couple had four biological children, they wanted more. Treatments from Sharon's breast cancer eight years ago left her unable to bear more of their own, so they chose adoption to grow their family.
In 1 1/2 years, they adopted two groups of children from Ethiopia. In May 2006 they adopted an 18-month-old boy, Habtamu, and a 5-year-old girl, Bethlehem, from an orphanage. Four months later, they started applying to adopt a group of four siblings, ages 4, 6, 9 and 13.
The Mansells didn't have the money to pay the $17,000 to $20,000 adoption fee per child or the airfare to Ethiopia to pick them up. "His Kids" ministry of Community Bible Church in Beaufort offered them financial help for their first two adoptive children. With the second adoptions, the couple found Christian World Adoption, a second agency that assists with financing adoptions.
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"Never did we ever have the money," Sharon said. "(God) provides on an as-needed day, the eldest Mansell children are married and have moved away. Now Mark and Sharon are down to a mere eight children, ages 7 to 16. But their neatly kept double-wide manufactured home doesn't feel crowded. It is full of love and laughter and plenty of hardworking children on what they call a "mini farm."
The sweet aroma of freshly baked bread wafts through the home while their goats, chickens, cats and dogs roam the five acres where a vegetable garden grows. Madelyne, 16, bakes up to six loaves of bread a day from flour milled by younger sisters, Elaina, 9, Haddie, 10; Bethlehem, 10; and Eska, 13. Lawson, 14, and Madelyne prepare the chickens to eat, while the younger children, including 7-year-old Habtamu and 8-year-old Yordanos, gather the eggs and remove the feathers from the birds.
"We make Christ the center of the home," said Sharon, listing their activities which include family morning and evening devotions as well as home-schooling.
It takes a leap of faith to adopt, said the couple who are now looking at local adoptions.
"You can't look at the cost of adoption," Mark said. "God will provide."
ST. JAMES BAPTIST CHURCH
The church will culminate its 125th anniversary celebration with a Holy Communion service at 10 a.m. Sunday. The church is at 209 Dillon Road, Hilton Head Island.
UNION BAPTIST CHURCH
The church will conclude the celebration of the 10th anniversary of its pastor, Dr. Edward Johnson, with services at 2 p.m. Sunday with the Rev. Joseph McKnight and Israelite Baptist Church on Lady's Island. Dinner will be served after this service.
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF BEAUFORT
Service on Sunday will address topics of exclusion, oppression and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It will be led by congregational board members Celia Brown and Betty Chamlee Miller, who recently served on the UUA's Southeast District Task Force for Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression and Multi-Culturalism. The fellowship meets at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SOCIETY OF BEAUFORT
"Spirit" will be the Bible lesson topic presented at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at 401 Scott St., Beaufort. Sunday School begins at 10:30 a.m. The society meets at Temple Beth Israel, 401 Scott St., Beaufort.
LUNCH HOUR OF POWER
Pastor John Dortch of Central Baptist Church will speak from noon-12:45 p.m. Wednesday in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel of Chisholm Galloway Home for Funerals, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort.
SHEPHERD'S HOUSE MINISTRIES
Helen Dela Houssaye will speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Quality Inn, 2001 Boundary St., Beaufort. Houssaye will share the story of how she trusted God in business and became a millionaire. Registration for the free event begins at 6 p.m.
Details: 843-422-4047, 843-252-5530
CAMPBELL CHAPEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The church will host its Back to School Bash: Second Edition on Thursday and Friday. Concerts will feature Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. John Lakin and Bank of Worshippers, Andre Delaine and Another Element of Columbia will be in concert at 7 p.m. Friday. The church with the largest number of members in attendance Friday will receive a donation toward its chosen ministry. All concerts are free, but a love offering will be taken to defray the cost. The church is at 25 Boundary St., Bluffton.
Details: 843-757-3652, www.ccame.com
FELLOWSHIP CONCERT CHOIR OF BEAUFORT
The choir will present "An Evening of Praise, Joy and Laughter" with inspirational skits at 6 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Quality Inn Hotel, 2001 Boundary St. in Beaufort. Heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served. A $25 donation is requested.
Details: Scott Gibbs, 843-812-6111; Gloria Jackson, 843-470-0858; Julia Butler, 843-263-0658
AGAPE FAMILY LIFE CENTER
A Back-To-School Expo is from 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 13 at the center, 5855 South Okatie Highway, Hardeeville. Music, food, face painting and a school supply giveaway are planned.
FIRST AFRICAN BAPTIST CHURCH, ST. HELENA ISLAND
Beginning Aug. 14, Sunday School will be at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m. The church is at 109 Olde Church Road, St. Helena Island.
THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. HELENA, PRAISE ASSEMBLY
Veggie Fun World III is Aug. 15-26 and will provide a transition into the regular fall school schedule. The days for activities are 9 a.m.-noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Online registration and payment are available at www.sthelenas1712.org.
Details: Roz Dixon at 843-522-1712, ext. 22, or firstname.lastname@example.org
LADY'S ISLAND BAPTIST CHURCH
The 146th church anniversary is Aug. 17-21. Services are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17-19. Speakers are Aug. 17, pastor Joey Jordan of the Bethlehem Baptist Church; Aug. 18, pastor John Porter of Huspah Baptist Church; and Aug. 19, pastor Joseph Josey of Mount Sinai Baptist Church. Services begin at 2 p.m. Aug. 21 with the Rev. Dr. Elijah Washington of First African Baptist Church of St. Helena Island as guest speaker.
Details: 843-524-8528, 843-524-4465