I am forcing myself to sit down and type! It feels like as soon as I arrived at Holbrook, I've hit the red ground running. There is always something to do and I haven't even crossed off much on my list, believe it or not. My parents were a tremendous help the first week. We were able to accomplish way more than thought possible! With the shopping, cleaning, arranging, and driving, we did what I think was the impossible. Like my mom said we did everything fuego a la lata (which translated is "fire to the can").
On Monday morning, we packed up my car and the rental my parents got that same day.
My dad was AMAZING. He started the trip loading everything up himself in both cars (because he has the gift of making things fit despite nature's physical laws), making sure the rental got all the heavy stuff so my car wouldn't be weighed down and burn more gas.
My brother woke me up to say goodbye since he had to work and wouldn't be back before I left. My cousin, aunt and uncle stopped by before we left to say goodbye and pray. You know how people say actions speak louder than words? Or that other saying, that love is deaf because only in actions can someone really know you love them? Well, I felt loved that morning. It was as if, my family was encircling me with their blessings before I left. Jonathan actually woke up early to come eat cereal with me. Then my aunt and uncle surprised me with a dish set! (I've already used everything several times!)
My parents and I spent the night in Santa Rosa and then finished the drive Tuesday morning. We arrived on campus around 1 o'clock and started working right away! The first two nights, my apartment had no air conditioner so we were trying to sleep with the temperature reading 92 degrees. Not fun. I finally met the principal, Mr. Ojeda, on Wednesday, and he was able to set me up with an air conditioner taken from somewhere else on campus. (Apparently, the system that gives me air conditioning is normally set up on the roof but has been taken down because a mission group is going to be fixing the roof later on this summer.) We left for Phoenix that same day to get my furniture in Ikea. We borrowed the school's box truck and drove down the 3 hours. Not only was it hot and cramped, my dad was afraid that the engine was going to give out because the truck has over 200,000 miles on it. We finally made it to Ikea and ran around trying to get everything on my list in record time.
I was actually able to meet one of the students, Ann, I had gotten to know during my task force year. She came to Ikea with a friend and had some desert with us as we tried to talk and eat as quickly as possible. (My dad wanted to get as much sunlight on the way back to Holbrook because the road is completely dark and he was afraid of getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere.) As soon as we finished eating and said our goodbyes, we drove to Sams Club to get my mattress and then booked it back to Holbrook. After about thirty minutes of driving, we realize the air conditioner has given out. We were in the middle of the desert. Luckily, there was some breeze and with the sun on our back, we were able to trudge along - windows opened as much as possible. We laughed with one another, talking about how this trip was legendary and crazy.
On Thursday, one of the boys deans and a friend of mine, Arbee, came and helped my dad assemble all my furniture. Between the two of them, everything was done in four hours! My mom made pancakes and then some pasta for lunch. Do you notice how clipped my sentences are, in recounting the events that transpired? That's really how my thoughts were the first week. Everything was fast paced and it felt like I would get one thought half-way formulated when another would spring up in the middle of the first!
On Friday, my mom decided we should rest and wanted to show my dad the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. At first my dad wasn't too thrilled. He kept muttering about wasting time and money to see some rocks, but once he saw the view, he was fascinated. Even though it was super hot, I was glad to see my parents relax and have a day to themselves after all they had done for me. My mom had her ipad with her and at every stop she would wander somewhere to take a photo. My dad was just excited the whole way trying to take it all in.
My dad posed several times, but I liked this one the best. He was like a little kid just awe-struck at all the colors and ridges!
On Sabbath, we went to church and I was overwhelmed. It was as though my heart had found it's place. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. The staff who knew me kept telling me how good it was to have me back and just listening to them interact with each other reminded me of a family. This, I thought, is how church is meant to be. I am certain that within this church, I will find support and joy and love. Even though there are no big programs or worship teams, there is no one my age, and the song service consisted of hymns accompanied either by simple piano or guitar, my spirit truly worshiped that Sabbath.
Most people look at Holbrook and see desert, with nothing really around. I see the wilderness similar to where God met with Moses, Abraham, Jacob, David, and with the people of Israel. Just as He called so many into the wilderness, I feel He has called me to come here. I know that there is much I need to learn and that God is going to teach me. In fact, He's already started pointing out the work that needs to be done in my heart.
Away from all the distractions of city life, I can hear the wind blowing, the lizards skidding through the bushes and rocks. I hear the silence. I look up at the black night sky dotted with countless stars and dominated by the sometimes white or yellow moon. In this wilderness I am still and know I am where I need to be.