Loving Arms is a Canadian charity working to transform the lives of the people we serve living in Guatemala.
After a day off on Saturday, today was the big day – the reason I had to make this trip for May of this year. Today we celebrated Enma’s quinceanera.
We arrived at the Centre of Hope early in order to get pictures and prepare for the celebration. Seeing Enma in her dress was amazing. It made her look like a princess from a fairytale. We took some pictures and sat talking while we waited for the setup to be ready. Enma gave me a picture and letter she had written me in English. I had some time to practice my Spanish with Enma, her parents, and her sisters.
The celebration was to take place at the restaurant next to the Centre. The dining area was laid out beautifully with balloons and flowers. Next to the restaurant building was a setup that reminded me of an outdoor wedding. To reinforce that thought, Enma walked in to a musical processional as we stood and cheered for her. She and her parents were introduced and sat facing the crowd as the ceremony was opened with prayer and special singing. Then there were some Bible verses and speeches. The singing and speeches were lovely and I could feel a tear trying to fall from the corner of my eye. As I watched Enma, I wondered if her makeup would last through the tears of joy.
They called me up front for a gift presentation. I gave Enma a necklace with a cross inside of a heart, which I placed around her neck. Then it was time for the sermon. It was in Spanish, of course, so I wasn’t able to understand everything, but the major part of the message was keeping God’s word in your heart that you might not sin against Him.
After the sermon, there was more special singing and speeches, and I was called up for the preacher to thank me and pray for me. Then we all lined up to hug Enma and she was given many presents by those in attendance. We took more pictures before heading in to the dining area for lunch.
Lunch was a traditional Guatemala meal that I could not even pretend to be able to spell. I did recognize the drink as Rosa de Jamaica, which I had drank before at the macadamia nut farm here. After the meal, we sang Happy Birthday to Enma, she blew out the candles, and we had a lovely three tiered cake.
As the crowd began to slowly leave, we gathered up her presents and took them to Alicia’s car and said our goodbyes. The letter I have from Enma thanks me for what I have done for her family and fulfilling her dream (the quinceanera). I can’t help but have tears in my eyes, knowing what this celebration meant to Enma and how I was able to play a part in it. I believe this was a day that neither one of us will ever forget.
Copyright Loving Arms Charitable Corporation 2012 • Charity Registration 83310 4359 RR0001