Francelene’s Story: Perseverance & Business Growth

Mar 6, 2020

How would you describe poverty? Poverty is best understood as brokenness. Brokenness in relationships, brokenness in access to resources, brokenness in opportunities, spiritual brokenness… On my recent trip to the Dominican Republic with the Keystone Custom Homes team, what I saw in our associates wasn’t poverty. I saw dignity, joy, and a healthy pride in what they’ve been able to accomplish. I saw worship and gratitude toward the Lord for His provision for them. I saw mutually encouraging relationships as clients shared business advice, prayed for, and supported each other. I saw the dignity of fellow image-bearers of God as they swept their dirt floors with homemade brooms. I experienced hospitality as we were gladly welcomed into people’s homes. And the smiles…they were beaming.

Do you know what I didn’t see? No one was coming up to us asking for anything. They didn’t need our money or handouts because they had their own money and they were handing out the things they sold in their businesses to their paying customers! They didn’t need our business plans or ideas because they know better than we do how to take care of themselves and break the cycle of poverty!

Pictured is Francelene. She is an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word. With her first loan from Esperanza, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic, Francelene started selling used clothes. She grew from there and now owns her own convenience store. Despite recently losing her husband, she perseveres and plans to expand her business through another Esperanza loan once this loan cycle is complete. People in her community regularly come to Francelene when they want to start their own businesses in order to glean from her entrepreneurial wisdom. Even if they are opening a similar business directly across the street, she freely offers her advice. We asked her, “If we wanted to start our own business back in the US, what should we do?” She said, “Think about what you like to do, and what you can do and start there.” Additionally, she offered, “Don’t spend all your income. Reinvest it into your business so your business can grow.” She needs to start making LinkedIn videos!

Esperanza strives for its associates to experience transformational development. Transformational development is a process of reconciliation through which a human is restored to a right relationship with God, society, and self. Through biblical discipleship and Christian witness from loan officers and community churches, HOPE and Esperanza ministers to spiritual needs, restoring individuals’ view of themselves as dignified, desired, and capable children of God. Instead of simply helping those who have been oppressed improve their economic standing and potentially become oppressors themselves, we seek to transform the whole person and encourage clients to allow themselves to be used as instruments for God’s Kingdom as they grow in their relationship with Him.

Increased income through micro-loans means freedom from hunger, education for children, better medical care, safer housing, and the fulfillment of many associates’ dreams. But we also hope to impact our associates’ way of thinking about themselves and their value. We believe that God created each man and woman with skills, abilities, and inherent dignity, and we seek to restore their dignity and self-worth as we invite them into a relationship with a loving God. Please consider making a huge impact in the fight against global poverty by starting your own Homes for HOPE project or introducing us to someone who can. Thank you also for your prayers and support. We could not facilitate this amazing work without you!

To learn more about how the building industry is partnering with Homes for HOPE to accelerate the end of global poverty in all its forms, please contact Matthew Baehr at 717-719-0313 or

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