Internships provide education, opportunities
Dec06

Internships provide education, opportunities

Hundreds of classroom hours and countless assignments, exams and papers go into earning a degree. But in almost every field of study on campus, students are also getting hands-on experience through internships. Senior social work major Joy Smedley currently interns at the Texas Baptist Children’s Home, where her studies are being brought to life through the work she does there. “Yes, we need the book knowledge, but a lot of times it can become so mundane just sitting in the classroom, and there’s only so much you can learn from a book,” she said. “Actually being out there and having to put what the book says into play and into practice, it just makes it so real.” Smedley is part of the organization’s Hope Program, which deals with community outreach, mainly through working with children and youth from low income housing areas. “We get to teach them scripture and pour into their lives, but we also get to teach them skills like anger management and building up self-esteem, things that they’re not going to know or learn if they don’t have good role models in their lives,” she said. Another part of her job is aiding parents in the community who have financial needs. She said that getting to work with so many different kinds of people and situations has taught her skills that will help in any career she chooses. “There’re a bunch of little things that when you interact with people, you just kind of learn,” she said. “Everything is like a learning process, and I feel like a lot of things will play roles in the future.” While Smedley has gained a lot of experience, what she values the most about her internship is the time she spends getting to know and interact with those who come to the outreach program. “It can be intimidating because I think, ‘What can I offer these kids? We have nothing in common.’ But just seeing the Lord work through it, it’s funny the things he uses to connect us,” she said. Senior public relations major Bailey Starnes spent a summer interning for GoNow Missions, which sends college students in Texas around the world to serve and share Christ. Because she hopes to work for non-government organizations in the future, Starnes said the job helped her see what that would be like. “I’m really interested in nonprofit organizations, so it was cool to be first-hand working with the person who came up with GoNow and their mission behind the organization,” she said. “I learned how they function under a bigger nonprofit, and just saw how that works, and where their...

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Alumni dedicated to fighting slavery

While reading the statistics associated with human trafficking, many people find themselves easily overwhelmed with the enormity of the issue. And with millions being affected around the world, it may even seem like too large a problem to solve. But for some UMHB alumni, the tragedy is something they cannot ignore. Through different methods, organizations and circumstances, they have worked to educate, bring awareness and fight the injustice of modern day slavery in whatever ways they can. After graduating in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in music, alumna Charlotte Bumbulis began a career in education. But within the fifth year in the field, she started to struggle with her vocational and spiritual identity. “I enjoyed teaching, and I knew I was good at it, but I felt like there was a lot more to the world that I was missing out on,” she said. In the midst of this soul searching, Bumbulis attended First Baptist Austin’s first global market event to support fair trade, which seeks to buy and sell goods within a system that honors those who produce them. “I think it was very much a divine, active thing that was going on,” she said. While there, Bumbulis specifically remembers being struck by a particular patchwork bag she came across. “I remember thinking, ‘This is a beautiful picture of restoration. This is a bag that’s made out of what’s normally seen as scraps and trash and useless products, and now it’s woven together to be something beautiful and reused and restored,’” she said. “That was very powerful in my life.” Bumbulis soon decided to leave her teaching job, while at the same time, the director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission was looking for someone to begin a fair trade initiative targeting Baptist churches in Texas. She said, “Those things were happening simultaneously. I feel like that was very much God moving in my life.” From there, Bumbulis spent the next two years developing what is now the Good News Goods program, a ministry that seeks to promote ethical consumerism through fair trade opportunities. She also did a lot of speaking and traveling with churches to educate others about the realities behind what they purchase due to human trafficking and forced labor. “There’s a price tag,” Bumbulis said. “We see the price that we’re paying, but there’s a much deeper price that someone else is paying on our behalf.” It was after a screening of a documentary on human trafficking that former UMHB alumna Kathlee Roscoe began to have a heart for the issue. “I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that this horrible evil was...

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Gungor enlightens campus on worship
Nov16

Gungor enlightens campus on worship

A Bach cover may not be how you’d expect to hear Christian artist Michael Gungor open a show, but at the concert and conversation held Nov. 9, it seemed a perfectly appropriate fit for the intimate discussion about faith, doubt and taking risks with his music that followed. “The thing that I sense in Bach is just the transcendence .… It’s such a beautiful example of what music can do for the human heart. It’s very directly tied to worship for me,” Gungor said. The event was part of C3, an initiative started by Associate Professor and Music Department Chair Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey to promote discussion about the connection between faith and culture. “The whole intent is to create conversation using interesting people as catalysts,” he said. After Gungor played a couple of songs, he and Humphrey sat down to do just that, talking about everything from the questioning of fundamental beliefs, to what’s next for Gungor’s music. Through taking some risks with the Beautiful Things and Ghosts upon the Earth Gungor learned to let go of the traditional view of what it means to glorify God through music. “Whoever I am as an artist, as a creator, as a musician, maybe there’s something of God in that,” he said. “I can follow that to wherever it goes as an act of worship, even if that doesn’t fit into any kind of genre.” Though Gungor said he is still searching for what his future work will look like, he is drawing motivation from books he’s reading and the beauty of nature surrounding his Colorado home. “Everything that comes in is inspiration,” he said. “It all goes into the stew.” For Humphrey, one of the important aspects of the C3 conversations is to help hold a mirror up to the Christian community. “We rely on people to show us what we look like from the outside,” he said. During the discussion, Gungor spoke about the importance of pointing out issues in the Christian culture with righteous indignation instead of jaded cynicism. “The natural, easy way, with no love, is to laugh and make fun of it. The harder thing is to speak truth to it in love,” he said. Freshman biology major Victoria Fahy, who attended the event said she enjoyed listening to Gungor’s perspective issues.”My favorite part was hearing his point of view on things. He pointed out things about the Trinity and not being in a box, things I’d never thought about,” she said. “I was able to broaden my horizon.” One area where Fahy‘s views expanded was the meaning of worship. “It challenged me to look...

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Emphasis on missions brings encouragement to campus
Oct30

Emphasis on missions brings encouragement to campus

Missionaries who have served around the globe came to campus last week to share stories of their work and their lives during the annual Missions Emphasis Week. The event kicked off Oct. 22 with a concert in the SUB to raise awareness for human trafficking, a first for MEW. Steering committee member junior elementary education major Ellen Logan said it was a great way to start the week, by highlighting an issue that students are becoming passionate about. “I really feel on this campus there is this intense fire for bringing awareness to human trafficking, and I think it’s really cool that our school has something that we want to take a stand against because I think that’s important,” she said. “It was really well received, and I think the people that were there really enjoyed it. And it was nice having something a little bit different than what we normally do.” Throughout the week, missionaries led events on campus and held seminars discussing different aspects of missions. A Global Runway fashion show displayed dozens of traditional garments worn by women from all over the world. As each model walked around the room, the audience heard about the origins of the outfits, as well as the culture and lifestyle of the women from the countries where they came from. Senior social work major Kristen Kimmell said it was a new experience for her, and she enjoyed the focus on international women. “I loved seeing all of the cultures represented. And I really liked that they told a story about all of them to make it more personal,” she said. Wycliffe Bible translator Mike Cahill conducted a language simulation called the Tonsil-Whaka Tribal Experience. Students split into two groups, one representing a foreign tribe, the other representing American Bible translators. The tribal group was given words in their language to speak, as well as different customs to express as the Americans tried to communicate with them. The activity highlighted the difficulties and miscommunications that take place when attempting to translate a language. Cahill said, “There were elements of the simulation that were very realistic. Culture and languages are so different that you can offend someone five times and be unaware of it. Some elements like that show you the differences from American culture.” Each day, missions fairs were held to give students the opportunity to learn about a multitude of organizations. “That for me is the most beneficial time because you can choose to stand at a booth for an hour and talk to the same people, or just go for five minutes at each booth,” Kimmell said. “It’s just...

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Politics vs social sites
Oct30

Politics vs social sites

The old saying about not discussing religion or politics seems to be as outdated these days as parachute pants and VHS tapes, at least when it comes to the latter. If you’ve been on any form of social media in the past couple of weeks, no doubt your newsfeeds have been inundated with posts and tweets about the presidential debates and upcoming election. From loyal Obama backers to rallying Romney supporters to independents and those who just “don’t care at all,” it seems as though everyone has an opinion. And social media has been the place to share it. While the Web can serve as a good spring board for exercising the right to free speech, it can also become an avenue for bitter arguments between friends, family and even strangers,when it comes to a topic as volatile as politics. But because people can hide behind a monitor and say whatever they want, the Internet has become a place to blast, not only candidates, but every belief, opinion or conviction someone else may hold. Apparently all old adages have been thrown out the window because the wisdom of not saying anything at all if you can’t say something nice has also been discounted as people take to their keyboards and computer screens to vent about who said what during the debates. Sure, political conversation can be a great thing. And the fact that we have the freedom to engage in such conversations so openly is a right we should not take for granted. However, what good is it doing anyone to rant on Facebook about your opinions without any regard for whom you may offend? It’s almost enough to make you think twice about logging on to social media sites at all. Who wants to be berated with one hostile statement after another when all you really wanted was to look at pictures of your best friend’s cruise or read a humorous post about someone’s day? And it doesn’t just stop at one comment. If you’re looking to garner attention on your wall or feed, just say something offensive about one of the presidential candidates or mock something they said on national television during the debates. Soon, your friends and followers, and possibly their friends and followers, will engage in an argument that goes on for hours, or even days if you’re lucky. And usually, the conversation turns into petty name calling that has little or nothing to do with the original post. The truth is, it’s unlikely that what is said on any social media site in a moment of annoyance while watching a debate is ever going...

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