It is amazing to look back and see what I have achieved while living with the Stirlings in Traverse City. Last May, I graduated from Northwestern Michigan College with my associate degree in nursing, and I received my registered nurse licensure last July.
Needless to mention, Dr. and Mrs. Stirling’s help and support were essential in both my academic and spiritual growth. Dixie Stirling is a nurse, and proved to be such a true inspiration to me. She is a wonderful mother of four beautiful, intelligent and equally caring women, and now a proud grandmother of nine adorable grandchildren. No list can include her positive qualities and traits; but whatever attempt made at such a list must include her marvelous baking and cooking skills.
Dr. Mack Stirling is the greatest mentor I could have ever had. His motivation to always do his best, his sincere desire to help everyone and his drive to constantly learn has encouraged me to not only do my best in school, but also learn more about my own religion.
When I moved into their house in August of 2008, I was not a practicing Muslim. After living with a loving and caring Christian Mormon family for so long, I can unquestionably conclude that had it not been for the Stirlings, I would have never become a practicing Muslim. Nor would I have had the courage and inspiration to teach others about my religion.
Next year I will be graduating from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids with my bachelor of science in nursing. I can honestly conclude that my host parents are responsible for so many of my successes in college.
I am honored to be so close with these people, who truly represent their religion, yet manage to respect and love those who are different from them. I believe they perfectly follow the message of Prophet Isa (PBUH): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Nargilya Gasanova has one more year of college to complete. Her eventual hope is to work with Doctors Without Borders.