I've written about Carmen many times in my blog because she's so special to me. Every day that I went to Coronado to work on the Children's Home with mission teams, Carmen would start my day with a big hug and some funny story about her family from the night before, then she would spoil me throughout the day with snacks, extra food at lunch, and often times laundry service :-)
She also has the most loving daughters in the world, and they would always find me on the worksite, yell "Wiiiiiil!" and then come and give me big hugs, regardless of how dirty I may have been. They also called me their big brother and were always asking me to come over in the evening and play dominoes with them.
So, on my final visit to Coronado, I took the family a photo album and a sweet note, hoping that I could do something to help repay their unmatchable kindness to me. I also arrived with a birthday cake, telling them that we were going to celebrate all of their birthdays for the year, since I wouldn't be there to do it with them :-(
Shortly after I snapped the photo above, Carmen and the girls proceeded to sing the most lively (two) renditions of the Happy Birthday Song that I have ever heard. And as they were singing the final verse on the second rendition, Carmen stuck her finger in the cake and attacked the noses of all her daughters. The girls then stuck their respective fingers in the cake and attacked each other . . . and me. It was mayhem. But I got it all on video, and it was marvelous.
After spending the afternoon cooking and eating lunch and drinking coffee and eating cake and playing dominoes, the girls and I wrote on the sidewalk outside with some colorful sidewalk chalk, writing all sorts of sappy goodbye messages to one another. I even drew a nearly perfect portrait of their dog, Fofi. Hah.
Before I left, Carmen and the girls circled around me to pray for me, and I nearly cried when Lady, the middle daughter, prayed to God that she wished I wouldn't leave, but that she knew that He had greater things in store for me. And she's only 11 years old.
I'm jealous of all the mission teams that will be spoiled by Carmen's love and cooking over the next only-God-knows-how-many years, and I can't wait to be back with that family.