Acting out their faith
Apr27

Acting out their faith

Five cars filled with 22 students traveling seven hours to the outskirts of Lubbock to perform a series of skits for the community and two local churches is no easy task. But the Drama Ministries decided to hit the stage hard as they ventured to make an impact at First Baptist Brownfield and also at Trinity Baptist in Seminole April 9. “I’ve been praying and wondering, ‘What is drama?’” freshman nursing major Ben Baecker said. “Seeing how people can be affected has made me realize drama isn’t just about portraying stories. It’s more of a worship (experience) and connecting with the audience.” Drama Ministries was an inactive organization until last semester when a group of students felt led to act. Baecker believes performing can be a response to God’s love. “We’re called to tell what we’ve been through in our lives and how we can relate to other people,” he said. “I’ve seen so much of his work, presence and grace, and I know that something is happening.” The Brownfield community is home to sophomore international business major Kassidy Harris. It was Harris’ idea for the drama team to travel to northwest Texas. “I was nervous to take 22 of my family members to meet the rest of my family,” he said, referring to his Crusader friends meeting his parents.“But it meant so much to my mom and dad and to my (friends.)” However, getting there wasn’t easy. Students did a bake sale and a car wash to raise money for gas. “The Lord provided in amazing ways through those efforts,” Baecker said. The students faced more obstacles on the road — the trailer wouldn’t connect to the back of the truck so they unexpectedly had to take another vehicle, and the weather was stormy and dangerous. But the team stayed positive. “Bad things happened because the devil knew God was going to do something big in Lubbock,” junior education major Kathryn Groseclose said. “I believe God didn’t place us there to perform but to minister to the people there.” The team performed a variety of interpretive performances including Max Lucado’s “You Are Special,” Casting Crown’s “Slow Fade” and Natalie Grant’s “Perfect People.” The students also gave cardboard testimonies. “It is a silent portrayal of how Jesus Christ chisels away parts of us to reveal more of himself in us,” Baecker said. “The message we hope people got is that we are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God, but God still forgives us and loves us.” When not on stage, the group spent time cultivating relationships with the youth and the elderly in the...

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Costa Rica is business
Apr13

Costa Rica is business

Zip lining through the rainforest, climbing 5,500 feet up the side of the mountain into the clouds, riding horses at sunset and driving all-terrain vehicles in Monteverde — 18 students and three professors enjoyed a unique learning experience. Dean of the College of Business Dr. Jim King, Assistant Professor of Economics Danny Taylor and Assistant Dean of Student Learning and Student Success Dr. Tammi Cooper took a group of Crusaders to Costa Rica over spring break for a global business class. “It was a cool way of studying culture because you saw it firsthand rather than in a book,” junior business management major Andrea Olson said. “I feel like I learned way more than I could (have) in a classroom. You remember things a lot better when you experience yourself rather than memorizing facts. It was a good life experience.” The group spent time in three different cities — San Jose, the capital; Puerto Viejo, on the beach; and Monteverde, in the mountains and jungle. This helped students better understand the different lifestyles of Costa Rica and how they affect people’s behavior. “Embracing other cultures is critical,” King said. “From a business person’s perspective, it not only helps you become a better person, but also a better business person. Culture impacts business wherever you go.” Students spent time in markets, restaurants and other establishments speaking with owners and interacting with locals, also known as Ticos. They went to coffee plantations and cheese factories to see how the country’s goods went from raw materials to finished products. Olson said the people were laid back and responsive to questions. “They were very friendly and willing to go out of their way to help you. They are very conversational and cared about us a lot.” She remembers one Costa Rican woman in particular, the manager of a hotel in Monteverde. “She lined up reservations for us and made our stay comfortable. When we left, she wanted to keep in contact with us and e-mailed Dr. King to make sure we got to our next location safely and were having a good time. Nidia was a big part of our trip,” Olson said. The group also visited Funda Vida, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to “bring life-giving hope to children and youth trapped in the destructive cycle of poverty,” according to the Web site. Funda Vida was founded by Director Chris Dearnley, who was raised in the United States but felt called to work with the Costa Rican people. “A number of students’ eyes were opened,” King said. “Meeting other Americans who are around the world living out their faith in the...

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Church fires investigated
Mar10

Church fires investigated

Since the beginning of the year, more than 11 Texas churches have lost their buildings to arson attacks. Although the majority of the fires happened in East Texas, one church was torched close to home, First Baptist Temple, where many UMHB students attend. “When it first happened, everyone was shocked,” said Martin Knox, pastor of First Baptist Temple. The church was set ablaze Jan. 19, the main sanctuary destroyed and many of its records and history obliterated. “Yes, it’s brick and mortar, but there’s more,” Knox said. “There was life in that building because of the worship we had there. We had funerals, weddings, baptisms and special events. Those things bring a lot of meaning to that building.” Investigators said Jan. 29 that the fire was deliberately set, but police have not determined who the arsonist is. Investigation continues. Removal of the burned building began yesterday. “Jan. 19 changed First Baptist Church. It changed what we do and how we do things. Living in the unknown state isn’t easy,” Knox said. “We have a crisis, yet God is faithful and will see us through. We have already seen God’s guidance and … provisions in many ways.” Knox said a strategy committee is working on how to move forward, but it is premature to set a timeline. “There (are) too many unknowns that we’re depending on,” he said, adding that the church is approaching the dilemma with flexibility. “We’re honest about the situation. We don’t have the answers. But we have a God who will see us through, and I hope people see that.” Knox said that surrounding congregations have been supportive. “Churches are working together across denominational alliances,“ he said. “We meet for worship every Sunday at the Methodist Church. We’ve had numerous meetings at Christ Episcopal Church, and Bethel Assembly covered our expenses in the Mayborn Center the Sunday after the fire.” Knox said church members are at different stages of grieving. “Some are processing what we’ve lost, and some are moving on,” he said. “But they’re all very positive, and there’s a strong and healthy spirit.” While congregations usually do not expect a crisis to happen, Knox said it is good to be prepared. The pastor said they didn’t lose all records because the church had a server, but they did lose a lot. He advises congregations to be adequately prepared for tragedies. “Make copies of your records and, keep a copy somewhere besides your facility,” he said. “Have an inventory of what you have, like a video inventory. We had not done that, and so a lot of things we are trying to recall from memory....

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Students study in Mexico
Feb24

Students study in Mexico

The Department of Modern Foreign Languages is offering its annual study abroad program for summer 2010 in a new location. “UMHB has been sending students to Mexico to study for 13 years now, but we’re making some changes and instead of going to Queretaro, we’re going to Guadalajara,” said Dr. Susan Pardue, department chair and associate professor for the department. She said the summer trip includes new opportunities such as weekend excursions to Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and to the beach in Manzanillo. “Guanajuato and San Miguel are two of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico,” Pardue said. “Guadalajara is the second largest city in the country. There will be many things to do including walking tours, museums and other cultural events.” Students will receive six credit hours, and some classes will be taught by local instructors. Depending on prerequisites, intermediate and advanced courses are offered. “There will be other American students studying there and Mexican students studying English, so there will be lots of chances to (exchange languages,)” Pardue said. “The school is fully equipped with Internet and a computer lab,” which was not available in past years. One of the unique aspects of the program is the opportunity for students to stay with Mexican families rather than in dormitories on campus. “We want students to experience every aspect of Mexican life and culture,” Pardue said. “The families don’t speak English, so you learn pretty quick how to use your Spanish,” she joked. “If you want to be able to eat, you better learn how to say ‘Quiero comer.’” Senior Vicky Rodriguez, who has participated in the program before, said there are many reasons for Crusaders to take part. “I think it’s good for students to study abroad so they can learn the language and about the culture better through immersion and first hand interaction,” Rodriguez said. “The experiences are valuable, and the memories made last a lifetime.” The program will run July 3-31. The cost of the trip is $4,200, which includes tuition and fees, airfare, insurance, room and board, meals and basic transportation within the country. Pardue said, “It’s really not a bad price for all that the experience includes.” Former participant senior Erica Winekauf said what she came home with was more than money could buy. “The experience helped pull me out of my own little world here, and it helped me realize that not all other countries are like America, and they tend to have it rougher,” Winekauf said. “I was glad I went because I made friendships there that I never would have made otherwise. Some of them may not be...

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Family dynamics highlight cultures
Feb10

Family dynamics highlight cultures

With broken toes and binding straps, the young Chinese girls placed their feet into the 3 inch shoes and walked around the room with the assistance of their mothers. In the Middle East, women walked the streets with their beauty covered by a veil so that only their eyes showed. These are examples of historical female subordination — a part of culture uncharted, but pivotal in cultures around the world for thousands of years. “The primary aim of veiling and foot binding was to isolate women from the rest of society, so it’s much easier to keep your family’s honor,” said Dr. Claire Phelan, assistant professor of history who was invited by the College of Humanities to present a lecture on Jan. 25 over “Women’s Cultural Traditions in China and the Middle East.” The topic focused on family dynamics as an aspect of social behavior. Phelan based her lecture on historical Chinese foot binding and veiling in the Middle East. Dean of the College of Humanities Dr. Derek Davis, said Phelan’s experiences and studies contributed to her knowledge and passion on the subject. “She has a very diverse realm of academic interests. Some of those (are) Asian and African cultures, women’s rights … and Middle Eastern studies,” he said. UMHB strives to teach its students to be good citizens of a global world, so Phelan said she believes having an understanding of the “most basic and intimate social need” in varying cultures helps students put ordinary traditions into a global point of view. “Households are universal in world history… and (are) the most valuable and long surviving unit” she said. “Most official documents are what we base our historical research on … but official documents only tell us about dictated, ideal behavior. They don’t tell us what really went on with people who were not in charge of a society, and this group makes up the bulk of a society.” She narrowed it down to female subordination and its ever-changing role in the Eastern world by studying changes in the Chinese concepts of love, marriage and male-to-female relationships. “Families reflect religious, social, political and economic realities of the countries,” she said. “They shape our understanding of the world.” Phelan notes that while the role of Chinese women seemed degrading, they were still valued. “They were responsible for educating their sons and arranging marriages, which affects the entire family line. Girls didn’t have any choice but to obey their parents because of the Confucian ideals. It’s male over female, son over daughter — filial piety,” she said. The lecture exposed students to various family mannerisms, and Phelan concluded by stating...

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