Quinceanera Reflections from a Salvadorian
Blog post written by Rebecca Urquilla, San Salvador, El Salvador
This was my fourth quinceañera and I must say this one has been the BEST so far. For me, as a Salvadorian, I know how important this rite of passage is for every Latin American girl. Seeing girls my age or younger with their eyes filled with tears because no one has ever told them how beautiful they are is hard. It is definitely one of the most difficult moments of serving the girls. Being part of the quinceañera is always an honor and blessing. The girls and boys that attend this party are broken, hurting and confused in life. They have all been through different, hard situations which can make them have a hard heart towards the Lord. The “behind the scenes” work of the party is very tiring. All of the people involved in the preparations are exhausted by Thursday morning but we all know that what we will experience that day will be worth it.
Before the party starts, team members and volunteers are working as fast and as hard as possible in order to do the makeup, nails, hair and put the amazing dresses and shoes on each girl. Before heading out the door the girls see themselves in the mirror and with tears in their eyes, they FINALLY acknowledge how beautiful they are. This year we also invited young men from three orphanages to be part of the party. The men in our ministry and those on the short-term team from California really enjoyed getting to know the boys and helping them to get dressed for the party. However, our main focus was not to make the girls look speechless or the boys look handsome, but to let them know how LOVED they are by God, who has not forgotten them. It is unbelievable to see them understand that they were chosen by God. He loves them. He has given them a hope and a future. What a joy to be a part of this!
Once the party begins these young men and women forget about their pain, past and struggles, and smiles cover their face. As I said before, as a Salvadorian it’s hard to see their pain but it is definitely worth it. After four years, it is still shocking to observe the struggles, transformations and emotions of the evening, but it fills up my heart so much. I am forever grateful to be part of this opportunity to bring the Gospel to young men and women in my country and to be used by God in this way. This work is definitely not about us but about Him working through us.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” -John 15:16