My First Quinceanera
Blog post written by Sherry Boyer, Anna, Texas
Last night was my first quinceanera ever. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I knew that a quinceanera celebration was a big deal for Latin American girls. This celebration is a significant rite of passage and we were throwing this party for girls that would not otherwise ever have the chance to experience the party that they have always dreamed of. All the team meetings, prayer, fundraising and even the emotional send off at our church could never have prepared me for what I actually experienced.
I observed young ladies arriving at the restaurant with broken spirits and fake, “painted on” smiles, staring down at the ground with very little communication amongst them. As we gathered around them and prepared to share our testimonies, looks of apprehension appeared on their faces. I was honored to speak along with other women in our group, sharing how God has healed and redeemed the wounds of our pasts. Soon, their faces became less stark as they began to realize that everyone struggles and makes mistakes. We are all imperfect and there’s nothing we can do or nothing that has been done to us that God can’t heal if we just ask.
We affirmed the girls’ beauty, both the obvious beauty of their youth as well as the beauty inside their hearts. We shared how Jesus loves them so much that He shed his blood for them by dying on the cross. He rose again, conquering death, fear, shame and sin. They heard the powerful truth that they can never do anything to change the overwhelming love that He has for them. After sharing this hope, we told the girls all of the exciting details that were about to unfold. The party was all about them because they are worthy of being loved, cherished and celebrated. We gathered around them, laying hands and praying over each one. Then each girl picked out her own dress and shoes, which they were able to keep. The girls had their hair and make up done and were escorted into the party by the men on the team, where they were introduced by name to a loud round of applause from the guests. Then the party began!
The entire day was a blessing from start to finish but to me the highlight had to be the contrast that I observed in their faces throughout the celebration. I saw these girls enter the restaurant with their heads held down. They changed from having minimal eye contact and no expressions to beautiful princesses who appeared more confident and free. Each girl received a tiara at their table and they all placed their tiaras upon their heads. I was overwhelmed as I watched the girls dancing and singing their hearts out while the guests cheered them on. They had the biggest smiles on their faces. I could have ended the day with that, believing our mission was complete, but God chose to give us a bigger blessing.
As the girls were leaving, we lined up to say “Adios” and offer hugs. I was deeply moved by how many of the girls embraced me with words of gratitude, looking into my eyes with renewed spirits and the sweet words that I will never forget, “Dios te bendiga” (God bless you). My cup runneth over. Was all the work worth it? You bet it was. Because God loves us all. Each and every one. And those girls returned home after this unforgettable celebration knowing that undeniable truth.