Inspiration from key Astros player
Jan26

Inspiration from key Astros player

On Tuesday Jan. 19, the manager of the Houston Astros Brad Mills, Golden Glove receiver Michael Bourn and Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton ate breakfast and had a Q&A with the baseball and softball teams in Shelton Theatre. The Houston Astros were on tour for their winter caravan throughout Texas to help drum up interest in the upcoming season. Hamilton is entering his 64th year as a major league baseball broadcaster. He has also begun his 25th season as the voice of the Astros on the radio. In addition to making his resonant voice familiar to thousands of Houston baseball fans throughout the seasons, he also hosts the off-season live talk show, Astroline. Students witnessed Hamilton in action as he narrated the breakfast discussion with his roaring voice and quirky jokes. Senior marketing major David Keil said it was neat to meet the new manager and the Golden Glove winner. “I’m interested in how Brad Mills will manage the team and have a winning season,” he said. “It was cool that I got to shake Michael Bourn’s hand after he had received his first award last year. It is a great award to receive.” Bourn became the second Astros outfielder to win a Rawlings Golden Glove for his defensive play in 2009, joining five-time winner Cesar Cedeno (1972-76). He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player by the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He is the first to win the title since Lance Berkman in 2002. “In this game there is always something to be worked on,” Bourn said. “You have to keep going at it day to day, especially on this level. If you have a bad day, put it behind you. If you have a good day, hopefully, it will carry on to the next.” Bourn had a breakout season at the plate, too, hitting .285 with a .354 on-base percentage and leading the NL with 61 stolen bases, just four shy of the club record. He hit .353 with runners in scoring position. “Speed is a God gift that was given to me for the job,” Bourn said. “So, I try to use it on my best defense and offense. When you see the crowds clapping, it sends chills through my body.” In October 2009, Mills signed a two-year contract with the Astros. He has managed 11 seasons in the minor leagues with the Cubs (1987- 92), Rockies (1993-96) and Dodgers (2002), moving into managing immediately upon the completion of his playing career. He has coached 11 years at the major league level, including the past six as Boston’s bench coach. It was...

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Casting Crowns performs, lead worship at Expo Center
Nov24

Casting Crowns performs, lead worship at Expo Center

Cold rain did not stop fans from pouring into the Bell County Expo Center on Nov. 20 to see the Grammy Award winning band Casting Crowns, featuring artist Matt Redman. As the concert began, a sea of hands were lifted high in worship. They have sold 4.5 million albums in the past six years. The band has also received an American Music Award, 23 Dove Awards and eight chart-topping radio singles. Their new album Until the Whole World Hears was released on Nov. 17. Lead singer and song writer for the band, Mark Hall, said he was excited about the show in Belton. “Our concerts are very interactive,” he said. “We also tell our audience the stories behind the songs and display the words on the screen so everyone can sing.” Freshman computer graphics design major Stephen Webster was enjoying the concert. “The show was amazing,” he said. “I’ve seen great worship experiences, and this was one of them.” Junior elementary education major Rebecca Widmer said her favorite song the band performed was “Voice of Truth.” “I had never really soaked in what the song really meant,” she said. “(It) made me realize that God is always there for me, and He is always faithful and loving.” On Feb. 5, Casting Crowns performed at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. They played their mega-hit songs for the U.S. president and the former British prime minister, along with more than 3,000 attendees, including dignitaries from more than 180 nations. “It was really cool,” Hall said. “We got to meet Obama and Tony Blair. What made it special was that we had an unofficial worship service, and it was neat to see who in government was a Christ follower.” In 2006, the band won a Grammy for Best Pop/Contemporary Album for Lifesong. They also received Grammy nominations in 2008 and 2009. “It was pretty cool to win,” Hall said. “We won four years ago, and going to the awards show was kind of like taking a trip to Mars. It was a chance to be around artists that we normally wouldn’t be. I also got a chance to share Jesus in interviews with non-Christian news stations.” The band recently returned to the United States after traveling in North Korea. “We saw much emotional pain there,” Hall said. “Upon returning, we saw the turmoil at home with the economy change. There is so much hurt in the lives of families and churches. Our song ‘If We Ever Needed You’ is a desperation prayer.” Aside from touring, Hall is also the student pastor at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga....

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Survivor champions right to life
Nov24

Survivor champions right to life

On the night of Aug. 29, 1977, Melissa Ohden’s mother was having an abortion at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa. Over one billion babies have been aborted since the 1970s, but Ohden is one of eight known babies to survive the experience. Her biological mother had a saline infusion abortion. This procedure was common in the ’70s, but is no longer performed. “The doctor takes out amniotic fluid from the womb and inserts a salt solution to burn the unborn baby from the outside to the inside,” Ohden said. “My mother was then induced to have labor, and I was delivered.” When Ohden was born, her two-pound body was supposed to be dead. After a few seconds, she began to make small, grunting sounds and demonstrated noticeable movement. Even though the medical staff was not required to care for the barely alive baby, the staff transferred her to another hospital and checked her into neonatal care. Carefully observed by nurses, the baby girl continued to grow stronger. On Oct. 17, 1977, Ohden was adopted. Doctors warned her new parents that she could have mental and physical disabilities from the attempted abortion. The family welcomed her with open arms, and when she was 5 years old doctors assured the family that she was going to be healthy. “I grew up in a loving home , ” Ohden said. “My parents did not tell me I had been adopted until I was 14 years old. My older sister had become pregnant , and my parents told her about my abortion survival. That was the way the Lord intended me to find out.” Ohden had support from her family but said she felt angry, confused, sad and scared after discovering her true past. “I began to feel guilty for those emotions because it was a miracle that I was even alive,” she said. University chaplain Dr. George Loutherback heard about Ohden’s amazing story and invited her to speak on campus. On Nov. 11 she shared her testimony with students during chapel. Sophomore nursing major Ashley Filippuzzi is vice president of Cru 4 Life, a UMHB group dedicated to the pro-life movement. “I am greatly appreciative of Melissa coming to speak with us,” she said. “I hope students are more aware now on the issue of abortion.” Sophomore elementary education major Amanda Willey is also an advocate for pro-life. “I hope that people heard her story and see how abortion affects so many lives, not just the woman having the abortion,” she said. “We have a responsibility to speak out about the abortion.” Ohden said she has lived an “amazingly wonderful...

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Music and faith open the door to education
Nov12

Music and faith open the door to education

The musical talent and faith of a little boy allowed his dreams to become a reality. Minister Dr. George Harrison grew up in Belton. He is also the director of Cultural Affairs and Community Service for the university. At 6 years old, he was ordained a minister for the children’s choir at Magnolia Baptist Church. Harrison’s gift of music would later open the doors of education for him. “I have always loved music,” Harrison said. “I have also been a minister for 49 years.” The minister has two older brothers, Roscoe and Prince. Roscoe is now the pastor at 8th St. Baptist Church in Temple. “George has always been hard working and very talented,” Pastor Roscoe said. “He can write, play and sing.” Harrison said his father started working for Cochran, Blair and Potts at the age of 12. “I grew up on S. Pearl Street and later moved to Main Street. It was mainly African American families. My father was a great provider.” Tragically, Harrison’s father passed away on Dec. 16, 1968. Harrison was only 13 years old. “Dad had me at an older age; he was 55. I was a surprise,” Harrison said. “He had been sick before he died. My brothers were much older than me and did not live near us, so after that, it was just my mom and I.” With rent at $75 a month for their Main Street house, Harrison’s mother struggled to keep a roof over their heads. “After my Father passed we couldn’t afford it and we lost it,” he said. “We moved back to the house on Pearl Street and fixed it up.” The young boy’s mother never gave up hope. She continued to provide for her son. “I’ve been working since I was eight years old,” Harrison said. “My mother catered and was a domestic cleaner. I would go with her catering and carried Coca Cola trays for tips.” Pastor Roscoe said their mother never let the other boys know how badly she was struggling. She did not want them to worry. “My mom and I were always taken care of,” Harrison said. “Ray Potts, who had employed my father, always made sure we had clothes. I also remember the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. Jones, who owned Firestone on Main. On Christmas Eve, they would let me pick out toys and let my mom pay off the money by spring.” Pastor Roscoe said, “We learned hard work ethic from our parents,” Harrison is currently writing a book inspired by his childhood. “It is titled, Life’s Lessons from my Mama, stories from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The...

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Redeeming time and recovering hope in the face of death
Nov12

Redeeming time and recovering hope in the face of death

Sandi Ellis has witnessed 3,600 deaths in the past 12 years. She calls her job a “sacred holiness.” Ellis is bereavement coordinator and social work regional mentor for Vistacare Family Hospice in Temple. “My basic role while working in hospice is to help the terminally ill come to the point where it is easier for them to leave this world spiritually, emotionally and physically ready to say goodbye.” In 1998, she earned her bachelor’s in social work at the age of 46. “I took the death and dying class 13 years ago, and it made me want to be a social worker. I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do.” Ellis interned at Vista Care and two days after graduation became a full-time employee. She explains death to her patients through a metaphor. “Imagine going to the nicest restaurant with the love of your life and you’re dressed and ready to go. You get to the restaurant and the host tells you, ‘Just a minute, we want everything to be perfect.’ You wait and the host returns to say, ‘Now your table is ready.’ That is the same picture as Jesus, at the moment of your death, saying ‘Your table is now ready. You will join me at the grandest banquet you could ever imagine.’” Ellis returns every semester to speak to David Myers’ UMHB death and dying class about hospice care. Junior nursing major Jacquie Case said hearing Ellis’ experiences has been an eye opener. “I could tell how she was speaking from her heart,” she said. “She showed her emotion and didn’t hold anything back.” Junior nursing major Imani Innocent said he appreciated her sharing the tales of her patients during their last moments on this earth. “She showed so much compassion,” he said. “She helps her patients leave this life peacefully.” Ellis doesn’t focus on death itself, but on the time one has left. “I help the family know with assurance that they can’t stop their terminally ill loved one from dying, and that they need to just focus on service to their loved one,” she said. She has led 100 people to Christ. “There is a difference when a Christian and a non-believer die. I have seen the room light up.” One of her fondest memories, is caring for a 61-year-old woman from Killeen who was bed bound. Ellis arranged for the woman’s daughter and two granddaughters to move to Killeen to help her. “Every time I visited the woman, she was listening to a transistor radio, aluminum foil on the antenna for better reception,” Ellis said. “She loved listening to oldies,...

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