Say Yes to the Dress!
Blog post written by Jenni Ramsey
We arrived in San Salvador at almost midnight last night after two delayed flights and a tiring day of travel. We were greeted at the airport by friendly faces and miraculously loaded 46 bags into the back of a pick up truck and squeezed our team of 26 into the rental bus. After a quick pizza dinner at the mission house, we sorted through the dresses, shoes, jewelry and hygiene bags and quickly collapsed in exhaustion and anticipation for the day ahead.
This morning we were thrilled to personally invite 40+ girls from the government center to the quinceanera (which is being held on Sunday evening). While rumors had been spreading about a possible big event, they had not been told about the quinceanera or any of the details. There was an undeniable energy in the air when the girls entered the meeting area and saw the dresses and shoes. When we announced that we had come to celebrate their quinceaneras, the girls exploded into cheers. I'll never forget that moment.
The girls giggled and squealed as they selected their dresses and shoes and were pampered with nail polish and eyebrow waxing. The gratitude, awe and joy could be seen in the twinkle of each girls' eyes. It was such a privilege to hand a professionally printed invitation to each one of these precious girls and to experience their smiles, hugs and words of thankfulness.
When the girls were finished being pampered, we had the opportunity to share our hearts and purpose for celebrating them. Two team members shared testimonies of healing from sexual abuse and the hope they have found in Jesus. We expressed the miraculous way in which God sent our team from the United States to celebrate their quinceanera out of his great love for each of them. They were reminded that while their fathers or mothers may forsake them, the Lord will always receive them (Psalm 27:10). Their faces lit up as we spoke truth into their lives about their value and worth as young women. As soon as we finished sharing, I was approached by a girl who had tears in her eyes. She told me that she will turn 15 next month and was grieved by the fact that she would not have a quinceanera. She was overwhelmed that God had sent our team to make her dreams come true.
It's difficult to describe the emotions I felt in that moment. Our entire team had the undeniable sense that we had been sent here for a very specific purpose. There were many moments of awe and tears could be seen in our eyes throughout the day as well. We are overwhelmed to be able to bring the hope and healing of our God to these precious girls "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). Tomorrow we will repeat this miraculous experience at two other girls' centers. Most of the team is feeding the homeless this evening as I type out the blog. Stay tuned for blog updates, we plan to post daily!