We were not disappointed and neither were the boys! Rosa did a great job organizing the entire party. She had a whole ceremony set up just as if it were a real graduation. All of the graduates were dressed in a shirt and tie, there were special graduation pictures, cake, and the whole nine yards! Kate and I had brought Bibles for each boy as a small present, and Rosa decided that because of that we would be the padrinos, meaning godparents, for this party. We both had a chance to tell the boys how proud we were of them, how much we valued their friendships, and share a few words of encouragement as they look towards their future.
|The toast (Sprite, of course!)|
I decided that I wanted to share two verses with them. First, I spoke about 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old is gone, the new is here!" Many of these boys have come from difficult pasts. In some cases they have endured terrible hardships that have left deep marks on their lives. In other cases, they themselves have made mistakes that continue to affect their lives today. The beauty of this promise, though, is that in Christ all things are made new. Christ doesn't look at their pasts and condemn them; on the contrary, he is the one who makes all things new. The boys are at a turning point in their lives, and as they look to the future they can rest confidently in the fact that Christ brings renewal each and every day!
Secondly, I shared Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." I wanted the boys to remember where their strength comes from. Some of them have big dreams, and others struggle to dream of becoming anything. But if they learn to rely on Christ, then He will give them the strength to do His will! He is the wind behind our sails. If we rely on Christ, then He will show us the way. If we try to make our way through life on our own, then we will always finish disappointed.
We had a great time of sharing and celebrating together. To finish the party off, a group of friends from town came up to Kusi and joined us in an hora loca. Literally translated, that means a crazy hour. Here in Peru that means a straight hour of dancing without stopping. I am not much of a dancer, but I have to say I had some great fun. Sorry friends, no pictures or videos :-) Maybe next time!
|The boys' new Bibles wrapped and ready to open|
|With Kevin, Mauricio, and Frank|
|The graduates with all of their other fellow Girasoles|
|Okay, just one picture of me dancing! Did I mention that some imaginary friends joined us?|
I can never quite express how much of a blessing it is to be a part of these people's lives. To comfort them in their sadness and share in their joys and triumphs. Thanks to everyone who is a part of this ministry. God is definitely at work here in Peru!