She loves a lot of things: volleyball, singing, writing, drawing, and her brothers. And Northwest Christian School’s Elizabeth “Liz” Nixon doesn’t take the things she loves for granted.
Perhaps that’s because when she was in eighth grade she lost her little sister, Abby. Nixon said she remembers her parents waking her up to tell her they were taking Abby to the doctor, and not to worry. But Abby, who was in first grade at the time, died due to complications from strep throat.
“It’s really hard to put words around that confusing time,” Nixon said. “But my school family just lit up my life.”
According to her adviser Andrew Lewis, Nixon has added her own light to the student body and staff. “She’s a visionary,” he said. “She has a true understanding of just how wonderful things could be.”
Lewis said Nixon is the type of person others turn to in times of trouble. “Liz is always a listener and possesses a wisdom far beyond her years. She hopes for the best in everyone around her.”
Nixon shrugs off the praise. “I guess I’ve been through some stuff and been stronger through it,” she said.
Her self-deprecation doesn’t surprise Lewis. “She’s humble,” he said.
“She truly doesn’t know how great she is.”
The Christmas following her sister’s death, Nixon’s family traveled to Haiti to work in an orphanage. “We’d always wanted to do missions as a family,” she said, and admitted, “we were hurting a lot.” So, instead of wallowing in their grief, they focused on children in need.
The realization of how much her family still had hit home. “It really shaped my life,” Nixon said. “It opened my eyes and gave me much to be thankful for.”
And that trip to Haiti enriched her family in an additional way. In January 2009, the Nixons adopted two young boys they’d met during their time in Haiti. The boys joined Nixon and her brother Sam and sister Becca.
“They’re my brothers,” she said. “I love them so much.”
As she looks toward the future Nixon said, “I might be playing volleyball at Corban University in Salem (Oregon).”
She plans to pursue a degree in elementary education and wants to take another mission trip – this time to Africa.
“I want to go out into the world and help children,” she said, growing quiet for a moment. Taking a deep breath, she added, “God is good.”