Yesterday we had a beautiful celebration for our three Quinceañeras (15 year old girls). In this culture, turning 15 is a big deal and communities and churches join together to celebrate the life of the girl turning 15. In many cases, whole communities pitch in to sponsor different parts of the fiesta…a friend may sponsor some of the food, a family member may pay for balloons, a neighbor might provide plates and silverware.
When we heard that three of the young survivors we work with would be 15 all in the same timeframe, we knew that we had to celebrate! It was an amazing thing for us to see our donors both in the U.S. and in El Salvador surround these girls with love and form a community of support for them on this day. Some of our donors sent money which was used to purchase decorations and flowers for the event. Others donated cupcakes, others let us borrow dresses, still others bought groceries to make a special meal for the girls. Another friend donated his time to be the D.J. and help the girls to have a a great time dancing the afternoon away.
We are grateful for each and every person who prayed for these girls, and for everyone who sponsored part of the celebration. I am also thankful for our wonderful MTES team! Each of our staff members made sure that things ran smoothly, and they helped to make the girls feel special. Due to their situations, I cannot share many pictures but I wish you all could have been with us yesterday to see their smiles!
We decorated everything at the Lighthouse center pink and had the girls march in to traditional music, the guests of honor shared a few words, a guest speaker from a local women’s ministry center shared with them from God’s Word, and then we had a prayer and gave them each their own Bible and gifts. We wrapped up the official program with a toast and then enjoyed the afternoon eating lunch and dancing with the girls.
Our Quinceañeras had an absolute blast, and I was definitely blinking back tears watching them bask in the glow of the honor and celebration that they received. When I talk to the girls about God, I share with them that they are valuable and beautiful, and worthy of being loved and honored. They struggle to believe me, and years of pain and abuse have taught them to think that the world is cruel, and that their dreams won’t come true. Yesterday, their dream of having a beautiful day to celebrate turning 15 did come true so we want to thank each and every one of you who helped to make that happen! That truly is something to celebrate!