150 children are being blessed in Honduras, Central America thanks to the generosity of two missionaries with an incredible zeal for souls. Vincent and Zulena Pescatore met in Guatemala after he left his job as a highly paid corporate auditor to build homes for the poor. Little did he know that this one change in his life would set off a chain of events leading to a precedence for orphan care in Honduras. After successfully founding a family-style community for orphans in Guatemala, Vincent and his wife felt the call to found a second in the foothills of the jungle covered mountains on the coast of Honduras. They named it, “Farm of the Child.”
Vincent Pescatore’s mission to serve the poor ended tragically; he died in a plane crash while delivering medicine and supplies to the nearest hospital, which was an eight-hour car ride away. Vincent was not only survived by his wife and five small children (ages seven months to seven years), he also left behind a legacy of unmatched orphan care in Honduras that still operates to this day - thanks to Zulena's sacrifice during the hardest time in her life, the help of the community, and three religious sisters from the Franciscan order.
Today Farm of the Child is home to more than 50 orphan children ranging from three to 18 years. Not only that but they also educate more than 100 children from both the Farm and local villages. Some children walk for miles up and down steep mountains, coming from the jungles and surrounding villages just to attend school. Even the medical clinic at Farm of the Child serves over 200 people from the local village!
“God is great and loves each one of His children intimately. And that is especially evident here at the Farm of the Child.” - Francesca Pennino
Farm of the Child is truly a gift from God for these orphan children who have come from broken homes. They are saved from a life of abuse, drugs, violence, and so much more. Farm of the Child is a place of healing and love, safe from their broken upbringing. The children receive counseling and therapy, and are able to recuperate from their traumatic lives outside of Farm of the Child.
Each child has a story to tell, many came from homes of neglect and abuse. It is a miracle they can find and accept the healing and love at Farm of the Child. Yet the children do, and they are so grateful for the hope they have found through Farm of the Child.
“I’m grateful for a place to live, for the education I am given, for the church that is always here to help me, and for the food that’s always on our table.” – Bryan, 14, arrived at the Farm at eight years old
“I am most thankful for the gifts of health, education, and the spiritual things I am learning here. I am learning that in everything I do, God is the center.” – Dorfa, 16, arrived at the Farm at age nine
Every child brought to Farm of the Child is a miracle, and the children leave an impact on everyone who visits, so much so that their lives are forever transformed. Jose Manuel is another miracle child…
Arriving unexpectedly in the back of a police pick-up truck, Jose Manuel came to the Farm sick, bruised, and scared. That first night, the Franciscan Sisters did not learn much about Jose Manuel, only that he was nine-soon-to-be-ten. Jose Manuel had been taken out of his home because of abuse and neglect. He had never been to school. He had learned to count by selling vegetables on the streets, and spent most of his young life fending for himself.
More than a month in his new home at the Farm went by before the real Jose Manuel began to bubble forth. He brought with him a strong personality, and a desire to play soccer and spend time with all who pass by. Jose Manuel began to excel in school and the community. Constantly smiling and, at times, singing, one cannot help but rejoice in the once trapped child that has been set free here at the Farm. From a life of instability, danger, and violence, a child was reborn into safety, education, play, and above all, limitless love.
This is one story, but the same method has been applied more than 70 times to break down the walls the children have put up to protect themselves. Without these walls, the children are able to be children - to laugh, play without care, and feel loved.
Farm of the Child not only cares for up to 50 orphan children, but the children of 100 families in Trujillo at their school, St. Peter’s Catholic School, which is on the orphanage property. They give a quality education from Kindergarten up to 9th grade. St. Peter’s Catholic School provides relief to so many in the community, because attending a public school means they would receive a deficient education where recess takes up half of their school day. It is not uncommon to find a fifth or sixth grade student in public school who is unable to read or write. Instead, by attending the St. Peter’s Catholic School, they receive a premier education that costs their family $24 a month. Unfortunately, this is still too high a price to ask their families to pay; so we turn to you, our Catholic World Mission family, and ask you to sponsor a child’s education in Honduras. The education they receive at St. Peter’s Catholic School far surpasses that of any other school in the area. The curriculum and educational system at St. Peter’s Catholic School are designed specifically to address the challenges children from disadvantaged backgrounds face. Farm of the Child would love to provide dignified life for all that live in the community, and the surrounding village but there simply are not enough funds to expand the school, and provide daily meals for their community.
While the children at St. Peter’s Catholic School receive the best education in the region, the classrooms they learn in are in urgent need of renovations, and expansion would be a dream come true for the children from the surrounding villages who are turned away due to the lack of space.
Classrooms need fans to keep the children cool in the sweltering heat from the jungle…
A worn out tarp hangs over the windows during the rainy season where shutters should be…
The only school bathroom is completely exposed to the elements and provides little privacy for the children…
An additional classroom is needed to welcome more children…
The teachers, who make so little, save pennies to pour their hearts into their classrooms! Three teachers have purchased white boards for their classes because so many of the students were allergic to the chalk they were using every day. Each white board and a pack of markers costs over $450 (including shipping from the US)! The list of urgent needs – including funds for daily meals for the children – grows longer every day.
The needs of the children at the Farm of the Child are many. We wish to keep them all in school, while expanding to help even more local children, but we also need to ensure the children’s fund for meals is not depleted! With so many crosses to bear, we know Christ has big plans for the Farm of the Child! Forty-one of the children have already graduated and gone out into the community and are able to provide a sustainable income for their families! Of the Farm of the Child alumni currently, there is a recent college graduate, three are enrolled in college classes, and another is serving in the Honduran navy!
“There is much fulfillment in watching the children gradually transform and realizing that their lives have been radically altered by the Farm.” — Tricia Zackrisson (Social Worker)
We are so thankful to collaborate with Farm of the Child and the Catholic World Mission family to provide care for the children, and ensure they know they are loved children of God. But without your generosity the mission will not continue, and the blessing that is Farm of the Child, will dissolve. Today you can join in breaking the cycle of poverty for a child from Farm of the Child. Your support is urgently needed to give these children a safe place to live and learn, and a future full of hope.