New group promotes faith through sports
Oct13

New group promotes faith through sports

Political unrest dragged the Karen people from their homes as their patty fields and barns were incinerated by the Burmese government.   Thailand native and sophomore exercise sports science major TJ Greeson once traveled to makeshift Karen villages nestled between the more than 8,000-foot peaks, which divided Burma and Thailand to share Christ through sports.   “These villages have schools set up for the children,” Greeson said. But often times, the parents were not so fortunate to make it to the refugee villages.   He continued, “Most of these children have seen their parents killed or imprisoned.”   In addition to hiking gear, Greeson toted his Bible and ball.   He was a senior in high school at the time in a sports leadership class, “which is learning how to be a Christian athlete,” he said.   Sports offered the Karen children a chance to connect with God and provided them a reprieve from the struggles they faced. Along the way, it taught them about one of the most important aspects of sports––attitude.   So, when creating a new ministry known as Called to Play, Greeson took to heart the belief that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.   “We bridge the gap between sports and Christ,” he said.   Greeson believes sports are a gift from God, meant for His glory.   “It’s all about attitude, godly attitudes, and how that can change their lives outside of sports,” he said.   Called to Play teaches biblical concepts to athletes like humility, respect for officials and positive, uplifting communication. The idea is that those attitudes benefit life’s other facets.   The ministry came to fruition over the summer, beginning with a conversation between Greeson and Junior Christian major Quinton Payton.   Philippians 3:14 surfaced as their guiding verse.   The New International Version says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”   Greeson said, “God has called us to do something with our lives.”   He believes the calling for those involved in this new ministry is to disciple children.   Right now, the group is comprised of about 15 to 20 students, but has hopes to grow.   “We are making a difference here and that’s exactly what UMHB wants from its students,” Payton said.   Called to Play held its first soccer camp March 29.   On Oct. 25, they will host a basketball in the Temple’s Canyon Creek area. “We like to get students in the range of 1st to 5th grades,” Payton said, “just because they are ready...

Read More
One nation, under Jihad: The Bells on the Islamic State
Oct13

One nation, under Jihad: The Bells on the Islamic State

America under fire   AK-47 bullets ricochet off the metal framework of a once-bright, red merry-go-around. A five-year-old boy scrambles from its bars, trapped by the dissonance of war. His memory flashes to the joys of recess and freedom, before breathing his last breath.   Sound like far-fetched fear-mongering? Ask Israel. Radical Islam never rests.   Old enemy, new face   Talks of ISIS, ISIL and the quest for an Islamic State are on the minds of most Americans. And if you think the West is safe from their reach, you’re wrong.   ISIL (the Islamic State in the Levant), as we’ll refer to them from here on out, is no new enemy, and they’ve hurt us before.   In 2010, “Caliph Ibrahim,” under the nom de guerre of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, asserted himself as leader of ISIL.   ISIL found fertile soil for harvesting a new caliphate when America withdrew.   The group’s origins flashback to the Second Gulf War in 2003. With Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in disarray and al-Qaida on the run, the United States conceded a major victory against her terrorist foes.   But radical Islam is a bacteria, and when the U.S. pulled out in 2011, it was like failing to finish a medication — the enemy came back harder and more determined than ever.   ISIL spun off of al-Qaida, but its atrocities proved so horrendous, even ravenous members of al-Qaida reprimanded its actions.   A coming caliphate?   ISIL has called for radical Muslims worldwide to join them in their quest to create a caliphate, or Islamic State.   They adhere to a convert or die world view. Enemies like ISIL, Hamas and Boko Haram, a group declaring its own caliphate over Nigeria, push for a world governed by Sharia law.   Even at home, our own countrymen fight for jihad. Some estimates suppose as many as 300 Americans now wave the black flag of ISIL.   In his new book, Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore, Jay Sekulow wrote, “America must commit to destroying ISIS, not just ‘managing’ it or limiting its influence.”   He suggests we work together with our “true allies” to defeat ISIL.   All opposed to this jihad, whether Shiite Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Yazidi or Sephardic Jew, must intercept this threat. The United States and other Western nations should provide arms to forces like the Pershmerga, Kurdish fighters opposing ISIL in northern Iraq.   A coalition drives us all together to win this war.   United, we [all]...

Read More
Israel blamed for Hamas’ blood lust
Aug27

Israel blamed for Hamas’ blood lust

Not even a full day into the cease-fire on Aug. 1 between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization plaguing the Gaza Strip and two Israeli soldiers laid wrapped in tallits — preparing for the afterlife.   Peace and cease remain irrelevant to both factions, but the United States would rather play politics than address the situation for what it is: Israel and the Palestinian citizens of Gaza remain under attack by radical Islam.   Hamas is a guerrilla group claiming concern for the lives of the 1.7 million people living in Gaza. They say they fight for a better economy and a better way of life for Palestinians.   And whom do they blame for their suffering? Israel. They claim Israel’s occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip nearly a decade ago as the reason for the violence. But the humanitarian issues plaguing the Gaza strip stem from a terrorist organization controlling the Palestinian state. It wasn’t 10 years ago that Israel withdrew its military and yielded control of the strip to the Palestinians. Israel gave Gaza 3,000 greenhouses in an effort to boost their economy, but looters ransacked those facilities and proved the states’ lawlessness.   Hamas lives only to eradicate Israel while Israel does all it can within its power to protect Palestinian citizens. Hamas fires rockets at will into Israeli cities, while the Israel Defense Force warns Palestinians of imminent missile attacks.   One way they do this is by contacting Gaza residents before launching a deadly strike. Sometimes it’s by phone or a process known as “knocking on the roof,” where a smaller missile explodes above the building before the larger, lethal attack.   Humanitarian groups complain that Israel’s “knocking on the roof” tactics are ineffective and the targeting of terrorist militia members violates international humanitarian law.   Have these same groups forgotten that Israel is suffering its own losses? It’s true that more than 1,800 Palestinians have died in the conflict. Many blame Israel for attacking civilian infrastructure, but Hamas runs its military operations using Palestinian citizens as shields.   The UN found a stockpile of Hamas munitions in one of UNRWA’s Gaza schools. “We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness told The Times of Israel. This is the third time the UN  found rockets in its schools.   Hamas uses mosques, homes and marketplaces for its quest to vanquish Israel. Any notion vowing Israel is the evil fueling this conflict is absurd. The common denominator of all deaths, Palestinian and Israeli, is...

Read More
Unplanned pregnancies not without hope, future
May06

Unplanned pregnancies not without hope, future

THE BELLS — A group of people entered the room of a Bible study group for moms with young children at Grace Church in Southern Pines, N.C. They took their time, speaking a word to each woman.   UMHB sophomore public relations major Elena Aydelotte was the last to be spoken to. “When they got to me, they were just ecstatic,” she said.   They believed God had something big in mind for Aydelotte. But Aydelotte wasn’t so sure. She began praying fervently. She asked God, “Lord, what do you have for me?”   Several prayers later, Aydelotte believed God had called her to the pro-life cause.  She began volunteering with Life Care Pregnancy Center in Carthage, N.C. “I became a counselor and made some bonds with women there that were coming in,” she said.   The women Aydelotte counseled were single moms in crisis — a role she would soon play.   After the birth of her third child, Aydelotte knew things at home weren’t in order. “I walked upstairs at home one way and walked down a single mother in crisis,” she said.   So she packed up and came back to Temple, her hometown. “Let’s just say I was pretty angry at God.” Aydelotte thought, “What’s the use of being good.” So, she said went on the “dark side for a little bit.” Yet, God wasn’t complacent with the lifestyle she had adopted. Her pro-life journey wasn’t over.   Aydelotte began attending church again but felt that with all she had done, she could never be a counselor again.   Then one day, she said. “I was having stomach cramps” and was told she needed an ultrasound. Aydelotte had no medical insurance. She went to Hope Pregnancy Center in Temple to see if they’d provide a free ultrasound. She told them, “I’m not pregnant, but you guys have an ultrasound, and can you just look at me and say you need to go to the emergency room or not?”   They didn’t give her the ultrasound. What they did give her was another opportunity to fulfill a purpose for her life. “By the time I left, they had handed me a volunteer packet and told me when training was and that they’d love to have me.” God wouldn’t let Aydelotte off the hook.   Her mother told her, ‘if I didn’t have that abortion, you wouldn’t have been born because I wouldn’t have been able to get pregnant with you. That’s why your purpose is pro-life so his life is not in vain.’ To Aydollete, that’s God saying that her aborted brother’s life still has meaning....

Read More
FAA keeps economy grounded due to slow regulation of drones
May06

FAA keeps economy grounded due to slow regulation of drones

THE BELLS — The MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can employ four air-to-ground Hellfire missiles and a guided bomb. It’s the kind of drone that Call of Duty fanatics foam at the mouth for, hopingto use its power during gameplay. But drones are no game. Enemies of the United States can attest to that fact. Drones have been around as agents of war, mostly for reconnaissance purposes, since the Spanish-American War (that is if you count a kite with a camera attached to it as a UAV), but no one doubts their capabilities today. Drones offer us so much more than an upper hand on our enemies.  Commercial America has much to gain if it accepts the use of these vehicles. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shocked the nation when he revealed his big R&D project to 60 Minutes in December. His “Octocopter” is set to deliver packages to customers doorsteps in 30 minutes or less. UAV’s are predicted to be most useful flying over miles of farmland. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, it’s expected that the commercial market for drones will find about 80 percent of its work in an agricultural setting. Kevin Price is an employee of RoboFlight, a Denver based company that sells drones and analyzes field crop data. “It is endless right now, the applications in agriculture,” he told USAToday. Farmers “are going to be able to see things and monitor their crops in ways they never have before. In the next 10 years, almost every farm will be using it.”   The drone industry is in limbo right now due to the Federal Aviation Administration’s slow response to establish guidelines for commercial use. Certainly, much thought must be put into regulating drones. Problems can occur if they inhibit the flight paths of airliners and civilian aircraft. According to its website, the FAA’s top priority is safety.   The FAA has set up two camps of UAV operations: Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems and (UAS) Public UAS. Civil UAS is where farmers would fall. Their website says that “Obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate for a particular UAS is currently the only way civil operators of unmanned aircraft are accessing the National Airspace System.”   This is causing a holdup, and although the FAA is attempting to improve its current Civil UAS (i.e. farmers) regulations, nearly 100,000 potential jobs sit unfilled. Public UAS is a more complicated issue because much of it surrounds urban areas where commercial airliners dominate the airspace. The FAA must step up and realize the positive economic impact both UAS sectors could have on our...

Read More