Such a bright light radiates from deep within Franchesca, a 15-year-old resident at Hogar Immanuel, Dominican Republic. Countless mission volunteers as well as her caregivers readily attest to her magnetism, charm, and keen sense of humor. Anne Gilbert, Director of Hogar Immanuel, smiles when she talks about Franchesca: “Oh, Franchesca? She is our 'public relations representative' — always greeting visitors, taking them by the hand, and showing them around campus.”
Franchesca arrived at Mustard Seed Communities in 2010 when she was just two years old. Abandoned, she showed signs of neglect and malnutrition, and she struggled to move at all. Franchesca has cerebral palsy and epilepsy; yet, with the care, education, and love she receives at Mustard Seed, she has made remarkable strides towards physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Through the daily physical therapy she receives at Mustard Seed, Franchesca’s mobility has increased dramatically. She moves herself around in a wheelchair (visitors take note: she will take you on an adventure through Hogar Immanuel!) and can walk with assistance. She enjoys going to school each day and finds fulfillment in creating heartwarming interactions with everyone she meets.
A vibrant teenager, Franchesca finds joy in connection and communication. She is quick to laugh and extend a warm hug as a sign of her joyous outlook on the moment. As Franchesca continues to thrive under the care of Mustard Seed Communities, we look forward to witnessing how her encouragement to empower herself with mobility and education will propel her to a fuller life.
Along with several other Hogar Immanuel residents, Franchesca recently attended the historic groundbreaking ceremony for Hogar Niños de Dios, MSC’s second home in the Dominican Republic. With the highly-anticipated opening of this new home, 56 children with disabilities that have been abandoned, children like Franchesca, will have the chance at a brighter future! Her presence at the event was a testament to the power of love, generosity, and perseverance.