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A Graduation in honor of these awesome ninas!

I'm so thankful to God that He allowed us to be in Reynosa the same week as Julyssa's graduation from Elementary School!

This family is our Familia on the Canal.  These two girls and their brother were some of the first kids I met on my first trip down there.  I'll never forget pulling away in the van at the end of the week and looking back at Julyssa as we both just cried and cried about having to say goodbye.  It's amazing how you can connect with someone in such a short period of time.  We have remained close with the family over these last 5 years - we both have pictures of eachother hanging in our homes. 
Later that day, they asked us something that really showed me how close we are and will remain.  You see, in Mexico, many couples don't have Marriage ceremonies.  But as the groups have come through, many have decided they wanted to honor God with one.  This year, Erika and Rafa (The parents above) want to do the same.  They asked us when our fall trip would be so that they could schedule their wedding for while we were there!  I'm so excited!
Mexican weddings are really great -- one thing that is cool is that each piece of the ceremony is gifted. For example, the rings, cake, Bible -- all of it is given as a gift.  Wade and I signed up to buy the rings!  How special! And we will get to be a part of the wedding ceremony when we present them.  This is our second wedding ceremony that we have been involved in on the Canal.  I am overwhelmed at where God has brought us in our relationships there.

It was really precious to see how proud the kids were of their diplomas.  I wish you could have seen their faces when a huge group of Americanos walked in!  They were thrilled. I know it meant so much to them that we traveled to the city to celebrate with them.  (You also should have seen the faces of those who didn't know us - SHOCK! haha)

Cynthia is another one that I met on my first trip.  It's amazing how the three kids or families that I met my first trip are still the ones I'm closest with.  Cynthia was just 5 years old when I met her.  I'll never forget the day her parents asked me to take her home with me so she could have a better life. Oh how I wish I could have.  But seeing her now, I know she has a wonderful life with amazing parents who are really growing in Christ.  It's beautiful.
At the beginning of the week, Cynthia suprised me by asking me for a Bible.  Of all things.  Not candy or clothes or shoes like I get asked from kids all the time.  A Bible. God's Word.  I was taken aback.
I found the prettiest pink Bible and wrote her a note inside, which I had translated into Spanish, and gave it to her as a gift at the graduation ceremony.

There was another very special moment for me that day that had nothing to do with Graduation.  This is Manny.  Known for sucking his thumb, He's a big time sweetheart. One story I always remember about with him was several years ago as we gave out stuffed animals to the kids, he came up and searched through them until picking out Minni Mouse.  Precious. 
He's older now, and probably wouldn't be caught dead with a Minni Mouse!
Manny comes from a poor family who are rich in Christ. His father is a traveling evangelist and the kids are in an out of school.
Him and his sister have always called me Barbie.  I don't think they even know my real name. I love having a nick-name in Mexico.  BTW, Manny is a nick-name too. His real name is Nathaniel.

Anyways, as we were about to load the vans for Graduation, Manny pulled me to the side and slipped me this note in secret.

Roughly translated it says, "Barbie, would you help me buy something for my mom's birthday because it's today."

My heart broke.  This is a family that is close with other members in MY family as well, and we always try to bring groceries to them to help out.  Only once before have they asked for help with anything and it was for the mother to go on a Christian women's retreat (That was a cool story because my mom had found a peso worth the amount of the retreat before we went down and sent it with me to be used for the ministry!)

As I said, we were about to get in the vans so I began to wrack my brain with how to help with so little time!  I went to Rebecca, one of our American missionary contacts down there, to ask if we could stop and buy a cake on the way back. It was all I could think of, and I wasn't that happy with it because Sarah (The mother) would know it wasn't Manny who got it and he wouldn't even be able to go with us to get it.

Rebecca had another idea. She went into her room and rifled though some things until she found a perfect little cross necklace in a box already with a bow on top! PERFECT!

He was so excited and later told me that she loved it :) I'm sure she's wondering just where he got that from -- since he's only about 9 years old! 

As I continue to journal our week in Mexico, I'm realizing I could probably stretch this out to a two week series!

Tomorrow, Rain Rain Go Away and The Group gets Ministered TO!