A week ago today I got to be a part of something really special. In most Latin American countries, a girl’s fifteenth birthday is a huge deal. They call it their “quinceñera.” It could roughly be compared to a “sweet sixteen” in the United States, but it is probably more important to people of Latin American culture than a “sweet sixteen” would be to a person in the United States. This past Monday, Keren, one of the amazing girls that I get to disciple, turned 15 and I got to be a part of her special day.
Following in traditional quinceñera custom, Keren was able to borrow a beautiful white formal dress. She spent the entire afternoon straightening her hair and putting on makeup and getting all dressed up for her big day. After school Chad and I went over to the Children’s Home where Keren lives to take her into Rio San Juan to get her picture made. She looked so beautiful! We went to this quaint little photo studio in Rio San Juan, what I like to consider the DR version of Olan Mills, and Keren was able to show off and pose in her beautiful dress. It was so much fun helping her come up with new poses and fixing her dress and her hair so she looked perfect in every picture.
After the pictures, we came back to the Children’s Home for her big party! I felt so honored to be invited to such a special event. We used the room upstairs at the Children’s home and Keren’s mother and some of the kids at the Children’s Home had helped to decorate with streamers and balloons. Keren had a special seat of honor that was decorated just for her. The rest of the night was filled with a fun game prepared by Rosmery, a speech by the birthday girl herself, a delicious dinner prepared by Carla, and of course...birthday cake and presents! Everyone had such a wonderful time, and it was sad to see the night pass so quickly.
Keren is so special to me, and I’m so glad that I got to be a part of such a special occasion in her life. It was so fun to see and be a part of something that means so much to this culture. I pray that this next year in Keren’s life is one of the best she has ever had and that there are many more special years to come.