This January, Love & Hope Children’s Home celebrated the 15th birthday of Raquel. In Latin American culture, a girl’s 15th birthday is a celebration of her coming of age and her commitment to living a Godly and pure life. This was Love & Hope’s third formal quinceañera, and maybe our most unique, a reflection of Raquel’s spunky personality.
Preparations for Raquel’s quinceañera began weeks ago. She chose a purple and turquoise “beach” theme. The decorations for the day were put together by a combined group of visitors who worked for several days to create them almost entirely out of paper. Shells and sand were collected from the beach to decorate the tables and make centerpieces. The final result was economical, yet so beautiful!
Raquel wore a non-traditional knee-length dress for her quinceañera, and wore purple all-star sneakers rather than dress shoes. A quinceañera party is supposed to demonstrate the personality of the young lady, and Raquel certainly stayed true to hers in planning the event.
Raquel and her damas (a quinceañera’s equivalent of bridesmaids) spent all of a Saturday morning getting ready for the party. Alma, a friend of ours who owns a salon here in San Salvador even had her stylists pamper Raquel, doing her hair and makeup for free. Meanwhile, a team of people set up tables, decorated the church and cooked dinner. The quinceañera service featured music, a message from the pastor of the Union Church, Gary Powell, a slide show, and a ceremony in which Raquel received several symbolic gifts: a bracelet, ring and Bible. The bracelet and ring represent the unending circle of life and symbolize Raquel’s commitment to Christ and the promise of purity. The Bible was given to Raquel as a reminder of the importance of keeping and valuing the Word of God in her life. Raquel also wore a tiara, denoting her as a princess before God and the world; a triumph over childhood and the ability to overcome challenges that lie ahead.
Raquel’s quinceañera was a wonderful celebration of a wonderful girl. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious, and everyone at Love & Hope Children’s Home finds incredible joy in being around Raquel. We look forward to walking with her into young adulthood, as she discovers her calling, her value to God, and becomes an agent of change in El Salvador.
To see a gorgeous video of Raquel’s special day, produced by our friends at Imagen Photography, click here.
This special day would not have been possible without the help and generosity of many people. The following people deserve a huge thank you from Love & Hope Children’s Home:
The Union Church, Gary & Sharon Powell, Rachel Sanson, Mandy Sidorski, Justin Klubnik, Mackenzie Klubnik, Eric Elkins, Nathan Migal, Jason Nehez, Sarah Nehez, Sarah Begg, Charity Okurut, Whitney Powell, Kathy and Danielle Sanson, Kristina, Andrew, Elijah & Judah Berger, Joey Sanson, The Reyes Family, Seven Hair Salon, AME International, Thrift Nation, Sam Hawkins, Nick & Deb Sparks, Dave & Kathy Porter, Veronica Castellón, Yessenia Guardado, René Rezhinos, Julio Ramirez, Larixa Parada, Marisol Cristales, Kirsten Zimmerman, Shayna Naran, Meike Wagner, Suzana Gomez, Veronica Andres, and Yanira Alarcon.