Monday, August 13, 2012

Sanctuary, A Light On A Hill

I would like to introduce you to my roommate, Sashina Yazzie. She graduated from Holbrook Indian SDA School last year and, with her permission, I would like to share with you a part of her story. Sashina is from Window Rock, AZ (which is on the Navajo Nation). She has just recently gotten out of an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. He would beat her, control her, take her things - he took her phone and computer as well as total two cars she had -, verbally abuse her, and cheat on her. But Sashina is no ordinary woman. She said that after he would beat her, she would wash her face and leave their room with a smile. She said she has always been strong and she is lucky to have gotten out alive because many women get killed on the reservation by their boyfriends. As I listen to all of this, I can only look at her in wonder. It takes a different kind of strength and courage to go through a horrible relationship, a personal hell, and still be able to smile and laugh. Sashina finally ended the relationship when she realized he wasn't going to change and now is starting a new life for herself.

As the congregation shared praises and prayer requests in church this past Sabbath, Sashina spoke of her gratitude for Holbrook and the support she has found here. Through sobs, she said if it wasn't for Holbrook, she didn't know what she would have done. All I could do was hug and hold her. What can you say when someone shares such strong,  soulful feeling?

I am remembered how, in history, people would claim sanctuary and would hide in the church against evil or violence. This is how I view Holbrook. It is a sanctuary for all the students who attend, whether they realize it immediately or not. This is one of God's lights on a hill and I pray that I will not get in the way of its shine.
Sashina is back at Holbrook to work on campus as a custodian and take some classes at the local community college, NPC. She wants to become a nurse and plans on transferring over to Union college at the end of this academic year. I am so immensley glad she is my roommate! We have laughed every night over trivial things and we have bonded over Veggie Tales and tea. She is a blessing God has placed in my life and I am eternally grateful for our friendship.

I went and got Sashina from Window Rock two Sabbaths ago and we started working on the dorm the following Monday. Here are some photos of our accomplishments!

 The donation closet before and after. We ended up filling up trash cans we bought for every room with donated items that would have probably been left to expire in boxes if Sashina and I hadn't organized and gone through everything we had!
We often get soap bars, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotions, face wash, shampoo, sunscreen, and other toiletries sent to us by the box so I decided that we needed to make use of the stuff before it all goes bad! Here are the trash bags. We made some for elementary, junior high, and high school. At the last step of registration, each room was given a trash can with the donated items.
Sashina and I also finished making posters and we staple gunned them to the walls (except for the ones I had painted. I had to nail them onto the wall because the board had curved. It was extremely hard and I have vowed to never paint one of those foam boards again!). I've got to send a shout out to my mom who sent me all the letters for the quotes on the posters in the high school wing. I love you, Mami! :)
 This one is a little hard to read but it says:
"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy. I'm telling you it's going to be worth it."

 This one says:
 "You've only got three choices in life: Give up, Give in, or Give it all you've got."

 My mom made this one :)

My mom also made this one!

I also set up a photo booth for registration using wrapping paper and the staple gun my mom gave me (never realized how fun those things are). I had to force some of the girls to take their photo but some of them got away from me! I also cut out some mustaches (that seems to be all the rage right now) and some of the littler ones got excited to use them!

I should have video'd the entire dorm just so you could see the tremendous difference Sashina, Malvina (an RA), Heidi (the other girls dean) and I did! But here are a few more photos of the finished product:

 Laundry Room before and after. We ended up throwing a lot of old, stained, and disgusting things away while we cleaned out the dorm. There was actually an enormous pile in the lobby area that I regret not taking a picture of.

 Our cleaning closet before and after.

 High school bathroom, shower side. There are lots of bathroom photos I could put up but lets just say, it took Sashina and I a good 2 hours to feel as though the bathrooms were properly disinfected. Heidi actually made some cleaning scrub and liquid that smelled great. After we finished, I got some air fresheners at the dollar store and the bathrooms now smell like rain. :)
 Junior high and Elementary wing.
 The playroom. This took FOREVER to clean! I found a decomposing mouse underneath the piano. It reeked down the entire hall, even after we had put it in a trash bag and closed it.

 High school wing.

My mom also made this gigantic poster! What I plan to do is take all the photos we took during registration and put them up on this poster.

We have 25 girls right now but I'm told more normally come in the next to weeks. It's my hope to have a full dorm! Your prayers are greatly needed and appreciated. The staff did a prayer walk last Friday night all over campus and Heidi, Sashina, and I stopped at each girls' door after lights out last night to prayer over them specifically. But I don't think there's such a thing as praying too much!

There are also so many needs in the dorm. A lot of the girls don't have working lights in their rooms, our plumbing is crazy, and the roof leaks. Please pray that we get mission groups and donations to help us fix up the dorm!

I will try and keep you posted. Right now I've got to get ready for my class!