About 100 kids walked by asking how much the donuts cost, and I got to practice my Spanish explaining to them that I wasn´t selling them, that they were for a game for the ECyD kickoff.
That afternoon at the Everest School Monteclaro really made my week. It began one of my apostolic experiences here in Madrid, as I will be helping with the ECyD club there this year. The theme was Candy Land, so each girl brought her favorite chuches to share (as they call candy here), and everyone dressed up like different types of sweets: cupcakes, bubblegum, lollipops, Sugus (a version of Starburst), M&M´s, PEZ, and more. After announcing the teams for the year and a skit about ECyD done by some of the girls, the teams started a race to complete different challenges in Candy Land. Like eating a donut that´s hanging a string without using your hands.
The ECyD experience was not, however, eating donuts and chuches…although that was quite a significant factor in the smiles and cheering. There was a joy behind those smiles about the funny costumes and the sugar rush that went deeper than M&Ms and games.
Amidst the different culture, country, language, dynamic, school, families, and people I found the SAME spirit of ECyD… the same one that fanned the flame that´s been burning in my heart ever since my own years of ECyD. The same meaning, conviction, and happiness that comes from discovering Christ as your best friend. The same joy expressed in being yourself, being accepted by real friends, and some serious fun. The same fulfillment that comes from experiencing self-giving first-hand. The same hope that comes from seeing high-schoolers giving of their time and talent to help younger girls experience Christ as they have—along with the happiness they themselves find. The same excitement at discovering friendships with people who love Jesus as much as you do. The same impulse to do something great for the Church and the world.
I wouldn´t be the same person I am today without ECyD. Because of that, and because of what I´ve seen it do for others, it has a special place in my heart. That place fills with joy at moments like this.