Campus gathers for prayer event
Sep29

Campus gathers for prayer event

More than 100 Crusaders gathered around the flag pole in Vann Circle to participate in See You At the Pole — an annual student-initiated and student-led gathering encouraging young people to pray. The event is focused on building unity within smaller communities to affect the world. About three million students across 20 countries participate in the annual event. “We are blanketing the world, community and state with prayer,” said junior social work major Ashlee Driskell who helped lead. “It makes a huge difference because it’s not just our school—it’s schools all over the country.” Participants were encouraged to pray for their school campus and its leadership, the local community, the United States and the world. Junior nursing major Imani Innocent believes the entire church body is called to worship in prayer together. “It doesn’t matter what denomination you are,” he said. “In the end, when we meet together, what matters is that we’re serving Jesus and he is Lord … Nothing else matters. Faculty, staff and administrators were also present, including university President, Dr. Randy O’Rear. “Students learn from leaders, and it shows us how important prayer is to the faculty,” Innocent said. Innocent led participants in the prayer for the nation. “I am not an American citizen yet, so it was a privilege to lead students to pray for this country and what this nation means to me,” he said. Innocent will officially become an American citizen today. The student leadership team anticipates that students were impacted and walked away knowing their actions were not in vain. “I hope they would take away the power of prayer,” Driskell said. “The Spirit was really dense, and it was powerful to pray with friends. When we all join together in prayer, it makes it that much more powerful and effective.” The gathering, which happens the fourth Wednesday in September, began in 1990 with a small group of students in Burleson, Texas, who felt burdened to pray for their friends. It quickly led to a Texas initiative that challenged teenagers to meet at their local flag poles to pray simultaneously at 7 a.m. “It’s amazing to see the harvest that has resulted from the relations major Sarah Wagner. “There are countless lives around the world that have been touched by this that we don’t even know about.” The theme of See You At the Pole this year was based on 2 Kings 22:13, “Engage: Go and pray ….” Leaders hope students will make prayer an intrinsic part of their lives. “Jesus said ‘Ask and it should be given to you.’ I know that he knows what we need, but yet he...

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Simplicity of the Gospel: Finding Jesus in dead cat

The search for something profound often leads to silent disappointment, while the simplicity of life’s adventures can bring us to an unexpected point of reverence; so a 4-year-old boy I babysit showed me. As we went on our usual walk—pretending to be Woody and Jessie from Toy Story—we talked about fighting bad guys and finding Buzz Lightyear, and all the other random things that go through a young boy’s adventurous mind. But as we looked down the road, a giant white monster truck—or maybe it was just a Chevy Silverado— zoomed past leaving behind a squirming baby cat half run-over. After I instructed the young boy to stay on the sidewalk, I ran into the road and picked up the baby kitty before another car could hit it. It was horrific. The kitten’s eye was literally hanging by a thread, and blood was gushing down my arm. The cat was spastically jolting from a few functioning nerves. I laid it behind a rock so the child couldn’t see death overtake the small, helpless animal. I’m not going to lie. Though I’m 21 years old and the cat wasn’t even mine, I had to hold back tears. I couldn’t believe it. A half amputated cat just died, and I watched every moment of it. I don’t even like cats. But it was hard for me to see something happen to such an innocent creature. Of course, the little boy wanted to see the cat, so I led him over there to cease his curiosity. We had a mock funeral, which included some condolences and, of course, a prayer. Then we headed toward the creek to play in the water. “The cat died,” he kept repeating until we reached our final destination. “This is real sad. There’s blood on your hands.” He kept staring at the blood on my hands. After I rinsed my arms in the water, he looked at me and smiled. “Now we can be happy,” he exclaimed. “There’s no more blood on you, and the cat is with God.” Then he asked me a simple question that really made me think. “Did the cat die because he wasn’t supposed to be playing in the road?” “Yes, the cat did die because he was in the road,” I said. “And the road is dangerous. That’s why we can’t walk in the road.” He looked at me, content with the answer. “The cat died, and it was sad. And there was blood. But now there’s no blood so we can be happy because we know we cannot play in the road,” he said. I almost envied this young child’s...

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Alum casts new line, encourages students to ask questions, seek truth
Sep16

Alum casts new line, encourages students to ask questions, seek truth

Austin Fischer drove up to campus as he has for the last four years. But this time, it wasn’t to get a degree or play flag football on the intramural fields; it was to share a message of grace at Focus— the campus’ weekly worship service. “There’s a lot of confusion as to what it means to be a Christian,” Fischer said. “Life and faith seem like two friends that don’t get along very well. You like them both, but you don’t know how to get you, life and faith together because it feels so forced and weird.” The ’09 alum—currently studying to get his master’s of divinity at Truett Seminary in Waco—wants to communicate to students that doubt is not a sign of faithlessness. “You don’t have to be afraid of questions,” Fischer said. “There is freedom in asking, and when we do, we find a faith so much deeper. Asking questions is the beginning of faith.” Fischer spoke at Focus for the last two weeks, and will speak again Wednesday night at 8:28 p.m. in the     W. W. Walton Chapel. His hope is for Crusaders to see their relationship with God as a safe place. His advice is to “ask a lot of questions, say a lot of prayers and be mindful that God is in everything— no matter how big or mundane.” However, Fischer is quick to admit he hasn’t always done these things. “I was not very fond of Jesus or the church in high school,” he said. “I found a lot of different things enticing and never felt guilty for doing them.” God captured Fischer his sophomore year of high school, he said. “I just came to a place where I realized that what God had to offer was so much better than what I was doing.” Fischer believes his past experiences allow him to relate better with others, especially students. “There are certain things you can’t empathize with people unless you’ve been there,” he said. “I definitely remember what it’s like to want to believe but not be able to find much reason to.” Fischer struggled in college like most students, which is why his messages hit home for many Crusaders. “When I was a sophomore at Mary Hardin-Baylor, I went through a time of difficult questioning,” he said. “It’s easy to start questioning what you’ve been through.” He reminds students of the grace that can be found in this search. After graduate school, Fischer would like to pastor and teach introductory philosophy at the collegiate level, but only, he jokes, if his other three dream jobs don’t end up a reality— becoming...

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State improves bridge structure by raising dangerous guardrail
Apr21

State improves bridge structure by raising dangerous guardrail

Two years after the death of a 68-year-old Belton woman, a cross, delicately covered by lavender flowers, still lies on the SH 317 bridge, located near campus. Lanelle Chimene fell from the bridge 20 feet to her death for unknown reasons. Many blame the woman’s fatality on the structure’s insufficient safety precautions. The protective guardrail was only 24 3/8 inches high. Concerned citizens, The Bells and other media outlets expressed concern over the event, prompting officials to take action. “The death of the elderly woman precipitated the changes and construction to the area,” Belton City Manager, Sam Listi, said. Renovations to the bridge, which was built in 1957, began in February after critical communication was made between the state and the city of Belton. Because SH 317 is maintained by the state of Texas, construction had to be made by the Texas Department of Public Transportation, not the city. Belton requested that TxDOT reevaluate the current structure. “It is called a Safety Enhancement Project, and it provides us the opportunity to get this bridge railing retro-fitted prior to a larger project of improvements, currently being planned for that roadway,” Ken Roberts, the local district representative for TxDOT, said. “It came as a result of the city’s expressed concern. Completion and approval of plans and the availability of funding allows this work to take place at this time.” There are two main types of financial support for project completion — traditional and stimulus. The majority of TxDot’s funding is traditional, meaning projects are paid by legislative appropriations and bond issuances. However, some are stimulus funded, meaning they will be financed by the federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. SH 317 runs north to south from Valley Mills to the intersection of Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 190. Predominantly affecting students is the area close to 11th Street, where the elderly woman died in 2007. TxDOT employees are currently working there to heighten the bridge railing 2 feet 8 inches and top it off with a 6-foot chainlink fence. The work is to be finished this month, along with the resurfacing of various sections along SH 317, a project that will cost $514,884. The 317 project as a whole is broken into three main parts. The construction of new roadway lanes, an estimated $21 million, and the widening of the roadway, an estimated $8 million, are both under traditional financing. Neither has received adequate funding. The projects are set to be done in July 2011 and May 2012, respectively. Gary Sargent, UMHB chief of police, said regardless of renovations, the bridge is not a safe place for pedestrians....

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Learn to juggle life
Mar10

Learn to juggle life

College life is a lot harder than people make it out to be. Students are dropped off in a random dormitory where their freedom is stolen by curfews, room checks, and all sorts of fines. Some work two jobs while taking 18 hours of class, which means around midterms and finals, anxiety and stress levels skyrocket. On top of that, many want to work out at the gym, play intramural games, spend time with friends, go to Focus on Wednesdays, go out dancing on Thursdays, serve at Reaching Out on Saturdays, go to church on Sundays, and participate in an endless number of other activities. Then there are roommate problems and disagreements. Professors don’t understand the problems of sharing a room with someone who refuses to shut the light off before 3 a.m. and blasts her rap music at whatever hour she chooses. Professors also have the habit of assigning projects and essays for the same week. Then there are the stresses of finding a job in a crappy economy, or piling on thousands of dollars in extra debt for loans to go to graduate school. Of course, there’s finding a spouse. Those who haven’t found their special someones better move quick, because after age 23 it all goes downhill. College students have so much to handle and too many decisions to make. That’s why in the chaos of juggling work, school and relationships with friends and family, it’s easy to become self-centered. It’s popular to blame financial institutions, corrupt media and broken families for screwing up America, but individuals are also at fault. Americans have glued their lives together by indulging in affluent lifestyles. Our society has lied to itself for so long that it is corrupted by selfish patterns and desires. Yes, circumstances are demanding and situations can be tough, but as students at a private institution in a Christian atmosphere with housing of any sort and edible food on the table, we are blessed. Feeling small and victimized is easy with deadlines and varying conflicts, but it is important to remember when money is short, people are demanding, and life is tough, we’re all in this together. Complaining and sulking only adds to the...

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