Monday, July 19, 2010

July 18--Stephen Shippy

Where’s the best place to celebrate your 28th birthday? The Hogar of course! Today was a perfect day from beginning to end I feel so blessed to be spending today in this amazing place with these beautiful children and a team that couldn’t be more awesome.

We began our morning with Divine Liturgy and it was so nice to serve in the altar with the boys, Padre Juan, and Deacon Mark. After lunch we started our afternoon of festivities which began with a photo scavenger hunt. There were some really fun pictures and thankfully, the rain stayed away and we had a beautiful afternoon for playing outside.

Next was a game of watermelon relay races in the pool. They loved that it was such a crazy idea and we played in the pool for about an hour until dinner was ready. The rest of the team had been busy preparing our very special dinner for the kids and they had no idea what was in store. We treated them to Cincinnati chili, grilled cheese sandwiches, potato chips, Coca Cola, and apple crisp—aka our favorite classic American meal. During dinner I looked over and got several thumbs up and all the kids said that they loved the meal. Clean up was also a lot of fun and the some of the girls from the hogar who were helping us out were having a little too much fun with the sink sprayer. I left the kitchen looking like I had jumped in the pool.

As we were finishing our cleanup, the comedor suddenly erupted into dance party number three and everyone was having a blast. I think I had a record number of hugs from the kids today, wishing me happy birthday over and over from the moment I woke up, thanking us for the meal, hugs while dancing, and just coming over to give their love for no particular reason. There can never be too many hugs and I am convinced that with each one we give and each one we receive, the soil of our hearts is softened just a little bit more so that we can receive more of God’s infinite love for each and every one of us. We all left the comedor just beaming and I know that we will all need a few extra hugs for when we get back home and find ourselves missing the kids.

We ended the day as a team, and as if my day hadn’t been perfect enough, my amigos treated me to a special birthday treat of a chocolate bar topped with Nutella. Sweeeeet! It was complete chocolate madness—and I ate every bite.

God has truly blessed me on this day and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Love is the only present I need and I received it in abundance today. Where is the best place to celebrate your 28th birthday? The Hogar of course! Glory be to God and goodnight!

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