|One of our dear friends, a young Diné man, Leander Nozie, has moved back into the Henry home and we are hoping he will stay in our guest room for a while. He lived with us for a short time a couple years ago. You remember the epic tail of how he and DH traveled to California together after Leander tried to go AWOL? Well, after the Marines conducted a psychological evaluation, and investigated the situation, they found that Leander had been depressed even while he was applying to join. Long story short, our friend was separated from the Marines without a dishonorable discharge and is back home on the Navajo Nation. Leander felt more at home with our family than any of his family-of-origin so when we expressed to him that we wanted him to stay with us for at least a year, he teared up and accepted our offer. He has expressed how glad he is to stay with us and see how a Christian (and nuclear) family functions.
Because of all the past experience we’ve had with him, Leander hasn’t had any problem merging back into our home. After his experience of drill-sergeants yelling at him in boot-camp, he feels refreshed by DH’s easy-going, gentle spirit. He also has enjoyed having Emily’s expert ear. Leander shares many meals with us and laughs with the kids. He landed a job working maintenance at the Quality Inn right down the street. The job has him working crazy hours — at times it’s felt like he has a swing shift, working midnight to 8 AM one day and 5 PM to midnight the next day. That’s one area we feel concern for him. Nevertheless, he seems to be in good spirits and doing well.
We have tried our best to offer Leander a good place to transition, a place that provides structure, accountability, training, and family. Some of those things include fellowship together (the way he did with a few of his fellow recruits), working out regularly each week, taking vocational assessment tests to pursue long-term career directions for him, counseling, etc. Leander and DH just began working together in a textbook called Learning English with the Bible.
It’s a book that starts in the basics of Grammar and eventually gets into diagramming sentences but does so using Scripture throughout each lesson. The hope is to prepare DH for when he has to teach our kids about diagraming sentences and further Leander’s English skills, all the while furthering their studies in the Bible. So far, the book has been something everyone has enjoyed.
A couple years ago, on a summer afternoon, DH had gone to the Window Rock flea market to engage people in conversation about the Gospel, and he met a man named Randy (not his real name). DH was playing the guitar and singing hymns and worship songs, so Randy struck up a conversation with him, sharing that he too was a Christian. Their meeting was brief, but obviously memorable because a few months later at the Labor Day Parade and Fair, DH was walking home from the fairgrounds and someone called out to him. It was Randy! There aren’t many 6 ft 6 white guys with blonde hair and a full beard here, so it was likely easy for Randy to spot DH and remember him. He was now living out of his truck. It might be hard to imagine, but during the Fair the highway that runs through Window Rock is lined with people camping out in their cars and tents for the week’s festivities. But Randy wasn’t just camping out. That day he shared a bit more of his story – how his marriage was on the rocks and other areas for which he needed prayer and a listening ear. Then DH started bumping into him regularly at the Window Rock Wellness Center. Their friendship grew little by little as they would chat at the gym. But until this past February, DH hadn’t often seen him there.
This past Valentines Day, we got a call from the WIM office and bookstore that someone was looking for DH. When he went over there to find out who it was, he was happy to discover it was Randy. This man, who is normally pretty cheerful and optimistic, was behaving more anxiously, even somewhat paranoid. He needed a believer he could trust, and DH was glad to be that person. They have remained in closer touch over the last couple months, but we have a deep concern for Randy’s spiritual and emotional health. He often texts or calls DH when he’s in some kind of trouble, but we suspect that either alcohol or mental illness could be part of the picture. Would you please pray with us for Randy?