My name is Shawnewa. I am a student at Holbrook Indian School (HIS). I am from the Hopi and Navajo Nations. Like many students at Holbrook, my family practices traditional beliefs. My grandparents on my father’s side are Christian.
One summer my younger brother Naracaho and I attended a VBS program held on the Navajo reservation. I loved what I learned about God. I wanted to know more so I went to VBS the following summer.
My eighth-grade year of school, my grandfather tried to encourage me to enroll at HIS. I didn’t want to be so far away from my family, so I chose not to go. Then tragically my grandfather died. In my sadness and out of respect for him, I decided I would go to Holbrook my freshman year.
When I arrived at Holbrook, I loved the atmosphere. I especially loved what I was learning about God. It gave me so much peace. One day in class, the Bible teacher asked if any students wanted to be baptized. I wanted to but was afraid of what my family would think, so I did not raise my hand. A few weeks later the teacher asked again. This time I decided I did not care what other people thought. I wanted to follow Jesus. I was baptized with five of my classmates at the end of the school year.
When I went home for summer break members of my family would not talk to me. If they did, it was only to insult me. My mother told me she was not going to allow me to go back to Holbrook. I asked some of the staff to pray for me. Not long after, my mother changed her mind. She told me that she saw a change in me. She said I seemed happier than she’d ever seen me before, and that she was okay with me believing in Christianity even though she did not share the same beliefs.
I am now a Junior of HIS. I am thankful for all of the people who make it possible for me and Naracaho to learn about God’s love for us at Holbrook Indian School.