BY LAURA ISENSEE
Francisca Galo never crawled before she walked. First, she dragged.
She leaned on her hands and dragged what was left of her legs — burned by a kerosene lamp when she was a baby in her hometown in Honduras.
Finally, at 21, Galo walked. She wore size 6 sneakers and prosthetic legs through the help of medical missionaries from South Florida.
How Francisca took her first steps is one of seven stories in Las Aventuras de Abuelita/The Adventures of Grandma Abu, a new bilingual Christian children’s book.
The author, Martha Gonzalez Rovirosa, based the book on her mission work in Florida, Latin America and elsewhere.
Rovirosa was part of the team that brought Galo to Miami in 1997. The Miami Lakes resident recently helped Galo, who lives in Honduras, to return to South Florida for another medical trip to replace deteriorated prosthetics for a new, state-of-the-art pair.
“It was an emergency,” Rovirosa said.
Her new book is another mission.
“It’s all focused on serving others,” she said. “Grandma is going to be teaching others how to serve with a simple act of kindness.”
The first story recounts how Rovirosa left Cuba — and her accordion — with her family to come to the United States. Other real-life tales include sharing sandwiches with homeless people in downtown Miami and comforting a sick girl, Lucia, in Guatemala City with a simple hug.
At the end of each story, Rovirosa included a Bible verse, a reminder to pray and a question, like “What can you do to help someone who is hurt or in pain?”
Galo read her own story — Francisca’s First Steps — when she arrived at the airport in August. “I never thought my story would go so far,” she said.
Galo, who is studying business in college in Honduras, hopes to share the book there.
Rovirosa, who wanted to be a Catholic nun when she was little and now is an evangelical Christian, said she wants to teach them about volunteering.
“What you plant is what you receive,” Rovirosa said. “I have gone through a lot in my life, but the joy of giving is what gives purpose in people’s lives.”
The publisher, Editorial Unilit, with its main office in Doral and printing operations in Colombia, produces about 100 books a year. All are Christian-themed, from self-help books for women to young adult books.
Las Aventuras de Abuelita/The Adventures of Grandma Abu marks the first bilingual book for Editorial Unilit, said Judith Barbieri, who coordinates production for the company.
“We publish for the family,” Barbieri said.
They see a large audience for the book, both in the United States and abroad.
Rovirosa has grand plans for her branded, illustrated self: two more books, merchandise — maybe a mini abuelita with a suitcase — and interactive games and lessons for the book’s website.
“When God opens a door, I run through it,” Rovirosa said.
Originally Posted at : http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/09/17/1828993/grandmothers-missionary-works.html