Written by Stephanie Keenan
Introducing Lady X (name protected). This girl is the reason for our big party tomorrow. Last year she told me her story and it changed my life. When I was in El Salvador last summer, I heard many girls share their traumatic life stories. I noticed a common theme in the fact that none of the girls were given quinceaneras, and this deeply grieved them. When "Lady X" shared her story in July, 2011, we decided to return this year to do the quinceanera. I have been conflicted all year in wanting "Lady X" to be here for the party, yet also hoping that she would have transitioned to a better place. Yesterday when we were trying on dresses, she asked if I remembered her. It didn't immediately come to me, but a few minutes later I was talking to our translator, Jenny, and realized that "Lady X" was "the one." When I asked Jenny if this was the girl who inspired the quinceanera, her face lit up and she said "Yes!"
Last year "Lady X" broke my heart with her story. This year she broke my heart when I realized that we didn't have a dress large enough to fit her beautiful figure. I could see the sadness in her eyes when she told me that none of the dresses fit her. In an instant, we decided to buy her a new dress. To our surprise, the director allowed us to take "Lady X" and another young woman was also more shapely on a "shopping excursion" to pick their dresses.
I will never forget the look of pride and joy on "Lady X's" face when she walked out of the dressing room with "the perfect dress." During our drive to the dress store, these precious girls told us that they had NEVER been shopping before. Ever. No one had ever taken either of these girls to a clothing store to choose their own clothes. We were reminded today that we take so many things for granted. Our team was blessed to collect 140 dresses for the quinceanera celebration. We realized today that it wasn't an oversite that these girls did not find dresses among the 140. It was God's perfect plan, allowing us the privilege of shopping with these girls for the first time. They were glowing and their smiles never left their faces. I can't wait to see them in their flowing gowns tomorrow!