This past Sunday we celebrated Areli Abigail’s 15th birthday as a church. The quinceaños celebration here is a big deal, often rivaling and even surpassing the fanfare and expense of a wedding. Often you’ll hear that the three gift options for a 15 year old girl are either a big party, a big trip or a car. Really. The quinceaños event is primarily a Catholic tradition, but one that has been adopted by the evangelical church here, with some modifications. The main modification is that Christian churches do not condone getting hammered after the religious ceremony. Ok, there may be other differences, too, but that’s the main one!
Eduardo, Areli’s father, works as a security guard in a mall about half an hour from here. His shift…24 hours on, 24 hours off. Think about that. Fortunately for him, he had off this past Sunday…but only after working a shift that ended at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Needless to say, he was tired, but excited to be there. Because of their economic situation, I’m sure Eduardo never dreamed that his daughter would have such a great 15años event. Enter the church family! Everyone supported them in making Areli’s birthday very special. It was a joy to see, a joy to be a part of.
During the service, Jim played and led some of Areli’s favorite songs, and I had the opportunity to present some symbols (crown, ring, broom, Bible) and talk about the importance of God’s Word in a young person’s life. At the end…lots of wonderful meat to put in a tortilla, and a traditional waltz between Areli and her father, brother, and later…nearly every other man in the church. It was appropriate, fun, and satisfying for both the family and the church.
Several of Areli’s friend also came, and clearly heard the gospel. That was the other hidden agenda to an event of this nature…reaching people who otherwise would probably not come to church with the good news of the gospel.
Thanks, Shari, for the pictures!