Blog written by Stephanie Keenan
Today is our midway point and the trip has been amazing! But in my heart I have been waiting for this day from the beginning because the center we were visiting today is where "Lady X" lives. You may remember me writing about Lady X last year. She was the girl that started the whole quinceanera idea and we were so excited when she was able to be a part of it. I had heard that she was still at this center so I had been anticipating this day all week.
Today was water park day. We were going to pick up all the kids (from babies to teen moms and some with special needs) and take them to a local water park. I think we all had some apprehension about what a water park in El Salvador would be like, especially with a big group like ours. The first stop was to the center to pick up the kids. We were not allowed to go inside and had to wait for the kids to come to us. My excitement quickly faded when were waiting, more and more kids were coming out and there was no sign of Lady X. I asked Kurt if she would be coming and he said no, she goes to an outside school and would not have the day off. My heart sank! I picked myself up and put on a happy face for the other girls. The line of teenage girls began to come out of the center and I smiled recognizing a few of the faces. Then all of the sudden I saw a face smiling running towards me, there she was, my Lady X. She got special permission to take the day off school:) I thought she would never stop hugging me, it made my day!
This photo was taken last year when I took Lady X and another girl to shop for their dresses.
We quickly loaded the buses and headed to the water park. It was much nicer than I had imagined. We split up and took kids to different areas. I was quickly whisked away to the wave pool with Lady X and some of her friends. The wave pool is a little different than what I have experienced in the past. It's a bit crazy and there are no life guards telling you what not to do! It was an awesome experience, followed by some much needed rest in the lazy river, where we passed all the special needs kids with huge smiles.
After lunch we moved onto the big purple slide, where my life was almost taken from me. Sorry Mom and Stephen! It was crazy and the entire team can't stop talking about the first drop! We finished the day in the wave pool. Almost all of our team was in the pool this time with most of the kids from the center. It was full of laughter, screams and waves, huge smashing waves!
Before leaving the water park Jenni was able to share her testimony with all of the kids and staff. Although everyone was tired, the kids were very quiet and attentive as she talked about God's healing through painful times in her life. Jenny (the translator) translated and it was a powerful moment as the kids were reminded of why we came to serve them, because of God's great love and compassion.
When we were almost back to the center to drop the kids off, Lady X pulled a translator over and asked her to translate for me. She wanted to tell me something. She said that she was so thankful that the Lord let me come visit her again and that I took care of her all day, not leaving her side. She had been asking Kurt all summer when I would return. It was as special for me as it was for her. I am blown away that the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to serve these girls for the last four years and pray that he will allow me to come again. I'm not sure what I would do if I never got to see Lady X again. She has been at this center for 4 years, as long as I've been coming. Our lives have been intertwined and our hearts have been made full by God's deep love for each of us in bringing us together. If she were adoptable, I would have her in a minute.