Carlitos came to stay with me today. He made sure I had a ride to church with David and Edson. He usually goes to church with us, but his parents asked him to go with them this week. But after church he came by my place and invited me to his mom's house for lunch. His mother is a sweet little lady who works with Doris at El Refugio, and she has offered to cook for us whenever we need a meal.
After lunch we went to the grocery store and bought everything we'll need for breakfast. I found what I needed to make french toast, because I've been missing American breakfasts, but I realized that there's no way I'll be up in time to actually prepare a meal. I'll probably end up making toast one morning and fried eggs another. It will make the food last longer, if nothing else.
This evening we went to Diana's birthday party. Diana used to be a leader with Young Life and is now what they call an adult helper. Her's was probably the most interesting birthday party I have ever attended.
First of all, the usual cast was present. Almost everyone was part of the Young Life family. Many of them had been leaders in past years, are on staff, or are currently leaders. The only people that weren't a part of the Young Life family in attendance were Diana's mother and younger sister.
We started the party with karaoke via Youtube. They had set the television up so it was the monitor of the computer, and had plugged a microphone into a stereo system It actually worked really well as a karaoke system.
Then, what I consider the coolest part of the party took place. Instead of everyone gathering around to watch Diana open gifts, Diana sat down in the middle of the group, and began to share how certain people in the group had affected her life, how they had helped her grow throughout the last year. After Diana thanked each person, that person then got to choose a Young Life song to sing with the group.
It was a really neat way to celebrate. Instead of making Diana the center of attention, and instead of us thanking her for her life, she took her birthday and made it a time to appreciate the lives of those who have helped make her life what it has become, celebrating those have made her who she is. It became a very other-centered, community-oriented celebration.
After Diana had finished sharing, Edson gave a brief devotional on the story of Zaccheus. It was a really incredible way to celebrate one's birthday, by gathering friends, thanking them for their support, and by praising Christ together.
After the devotional, they stuck a sparkler that was firework-grade in the cake, sang a version of "Happy Birthday," and brought the karaoke back. We sang several more songs, and then danced the rest of the night. We had so much fun. I'm so glad to be a part of this family, even if I'm flying back to the United States in a matter of weeks. I'm enjoying learning from them about how to grieve together, how to celebrate, and how to live. And I'm glad that one day I'll see them all again.
As I get ready for bed tonight, I'd like to follow in the example that Diana set for me tonight.
Dad, thank you for your support. Thank you for all that you've helped me through in the past couple of years and for praying for me continuously. Thank you for loving me.
Mom, thank you for being there for me, for listening, and for always offering a positive point of view. Thank you for teaching me how to care for others.
Erik, thank you for teaching me, for training me, for showing me the importance of building relationships. Thank you for challenging me to do something with my faith.
Greg, thank you for making me laugh.
Max, thank you for being a brother.
David, thank you for being a friend and a confidante.