Friday, February 1, 2013

the best birthday

For about a dozen years or so now, I've celebrated my birthday either in New York or on a plane to New York.  Generally, it hasn't been a big deal.  I turned 47 last Saturday and true to its schedule, the New York Gift Fair helped me ring in my new year. 

I'm not sure why, but this year it was hard.  The Marriott Marquis is sometimes generous in upgrading my room and this year was no exception.  A great view of Times Square, but for some reason it just made me sad.  Sad that I had a great hotel room in a beautiful city and I was by myself.  I know, pathetic right?  I generally don't enjoy a lot of attention on my birthday, but you still like to spend the day with those you love.

So as I was feeling sorry for myself, a young man half way around the world was experiencing a miracle.  And it was that miracle that snapped me out of my wallowing in self-pity. 

Two of my favorite boys in the Sunflower Orphanage have graduated from high school and have aged out of the home.  I've written quite a bit about Adril who is about to hit his one year mark on his mission in the Lima West Mission in Peru (a fun update and pictures from Aril coming up!).  Adril's younger cousin is Wilfredo.  Wilfredo stole my heart the first day I met him.  He is painfully shy and will hardly talk with or even look at people. 

Over the past 6 months we've been trying to help him go on an LDS Mission.  Leonidas helped him get his doctor and dental work done (no small feat for this boy) and get his paperwork completed.  And then for some reason, Wilfredo moved to a small town a few hours from Lima.  In the meantime, we didn't know what happened to his mission call.

I felt a bit of inspiration to reach out to a friend, Will, but I didn't know him all that well.  So instead, I contacted another friend Kathy who in turn talked to Will.  A day later, Will called me while I was in Atlanta and let me know he was on it.  He knew a bunch of key people in Peru and they were all working on the situation.

Here's the deal.  Wilfredo only communicates with us on FaceBook messenger so we have to catch him when he is online and then my Spanish is horrendous (and his isn't all that great either!).  It all seems so simple to write about now, but after a series of miracles and answers to prayers (and I am not exaggerating when I say MIRACLES), Wilfredo received his mission call last Sunday at his branch.  He is going to Ecuador, Guayaquil North mission and reports to the MTC on June 5th.

There is no way this boy could have done it without the help of Will, President Calderon, Elder Hooker and many others.

Wilfredo wrote to Kathy that he cried tears of joy when he opened the envelope and read the letter.  I cried too.  Hard.  I'm amazed at how many people took the time to help just one person.  It reminded me about what the scriptures say about the worth of a soul.  A month ago I was SO anxious and terribly worried about this boy.  I couldn't figure out a way to get money to him, I couldn't figure out a way to help him receive his mission call, I couldn't figure out a way to communicate with him without the help of Facebook and Google Translate.  A month and many miracles later, he's on his way to the best experience of his life.

And honestly, it made me feel absolutely silly about being lonely in my hotel room in New York on my birthday.  What does that matter when God is working miracles in Wilfredo's life?

And really, there isn't a better birthday present than this.

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