Independence Village rolls out red carpet
Nov25

Independence Village rolls out red carpet

Lights. Camera. Action. There were men in tuxedos, women in dresses and even a red carpet at the first ever Independence Village Video Awards. A variety of free candy, drinks and an endless supply of popcorn filled the McLane Great Hall in Bawcom in preparation for the entertaining videos.   Nov. 13, the I.V.V. Awards show began at 7 p.m., emceed by Independence Village RA’s Nathan Forester and Lindsay Harrell.   Forester enjoyed being a part of the unique night.   “My favorite part about being an emcee was the great opportunity to showcase the hard work of the many talented individuals of UMHB,” he said.   The show kicked off with previews for upcoming feature films such as Avengers: Age of Ulton, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Mockingjay and more. Viewers were also treated to a brief video highlighting some of the projects of the I.V.V. Awards sponsor group, Astra Club.   Astra is a do-it-all student organization. They’ve done anything and everything from picking up trash around Lake Belton to serving food at a soup kitchen. They’re involvement earned them the UMHB student organizations Community Service Award. At the event, they had a table set up where they were accepting donations.   Next, attendees were able to watch all 10 videos that had been submitted for the contest. The subject matter in the videos ranged from a comedic look at the life of a nursing major, to interviews with the “twelve disciples,” to even the bathroom habits of sloths.   After all the videos were shown, there was a brief intermission. During this time, students were able to vote on which video was their favorite. This vote eventually decided who won the top prize. The judges, RD’s Chris Green, Colleen Mitchel and Traci Squarcette, were responsible for selecting the various other awards.   The best actress award went to Rachel Lewis for her role as sloth expert in Sloth Potty Training. She delivered absurdly funny lines about sloths’ bathroom habits with a seriousness which was surely hard to maintain with Leah White (best supporting actress) next to her, pretending to be a sloth.   The best actor award went to Alex Lanoux for his serious portrayal of a man who lost an election in Black Infinity. This video also won the most dramatic award and the drama began and ended with Lanoux’s superb work at inhabiting his character.   The best director award went to Justin Minchew for Black Infinity. This video clearly had the most professional look to it, which probably had a lot to do with the directing.   Minchew and his friends created the movie...

Read More
Student takes gospel to India
Nov25

Student takes gospel to India

 After May graduation, some Crusaders will be off to work or to pursue a master’s degree. Others will be taking off for India.   A team of students led by Director of Student Organizations Tiffany Wurdemann will embark on a two-week mission trip. It is the first time a group from the university will spread the gospel in India. Students will be working with Supreme King Ministries to put on a Bible camp for their orphanage and local children. Wurdemann said that the team will also have the opportunity to meet and minister to students from their university. If time allows, they plan on starting a building project for the orphanage.   When pursuing her graduate degree, Wurdemann led mission trips to Vietnam and Mexico.   “Because of those trips, I am aware of the growth that happens to an individual when they are exposed to the global culture as well as the bond that happens with a team when you experience it all together,” she said.   Senior education major Maegan Loya went on a trip to India last year from May 18 to June 8. She and her fellow travelers visited Pune, Srinagar, New Delhi and Calcutta. They went to be exposed to India and see what it would be like to live and secretly minister.   “They are a part of one of the biggest unreached people group of the world, and they are most desperately in need of the word,” Loya said. “After being exposed to it from our trip… they don’t have access to the word until we physically take it there.”   Loya advises the students heading to India in May to be ready for a life changing trip. She says to prepare your eyes for what God will show you and have a humble heart to things He will teach you.   Wurdemann acknowledges that there will be cultural barriers to their ministry – language and time schedules.   “I know we will need to have patience and trust to know that God will design our schedule as well as work through language barriers to preach the gospel He wants shared.,” she said. “We have to be reminded that we are just vessels for God’s...

Read More
Ebola: Global concerns spur Texas response
Nov07

Ebola: Global concerns spur Texas response

Ebola –– That mysterious African disease that had never been detected in the United States until a couple of months ago and never diagnosed on U.S. soil until earlier last month. It’s the recent culprit responsible for bursting America’s bubble of relative security, protecting its inhabitants from exotic, life-ravaging illnesses. The fresh memory of the death in Dallas and the not-so-distant scare in Belton has Central Texans wondering what their schools, workplaces and government are doing to protect them.   Although the virus is communicable and has been posing a threat from Texas to New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it is not airborne and is difficult to transmit unless a person comes in direct contact with an infected patient’s bodily fluids or a surface that has.   However reassuring this news may sound, many are still paranoid considering that trained medical professionals are still contracting the disease.   Something else feeding the uncertainty and fear is the virus’ 21-day incubation period. People who have come in contact with the disease may not exhibit symptoms for three weeks. This is the reason for quarantine among medical professionals, missionaries and others who have traveled to West Africa are imposing on themselves.   Senior nursing major Kristiana Bohene believes it’s necessary for those working with Ebola patients to think of the common good and quarantine themselves during that incubation period.   “If they were potentially exposed to Ebola, they should be quarantined until they are not showing symptoms. The quarantine of one can be good for all to prevent the further spread of illness,” she said.   A potentially disturbing precedent is the refusal of Maine nurse Hickox to self-quarantine.   Bohene said, “I can’t imagine being in her shoes, but I do think that sacrificing 21 days for the good of others is the right thing to do if she is showing symptoms.”   The state of Maine is working to bring her into compliance.   After the CDC began re-evaluating the health risk to passengers on the Frontier Airlines Flight #1143, from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas, it was discovered that two Belton ISD students, one from North Belton Middle School and one from Sparta Elementary, along with their family, were traveling on the same plane with one of the nurses who cared for Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died at Texas Health Presbyterian.   School district officials cancelled classes for thorough cleaning at those two campuses as well as Belton Early Childhood School because students are bussed between that building and Sparta Elementary.   Many are expressing frustration with the federal government’s seemingly slow...

Read More
When trafficking stats become human
Nov07

When trafficking stats become human

A young Cambodian girl sat slumped on the curb outside of a church, her body rocking with heaving sobs. After attending a Christian church service, the girl’s Buddhist family beat her for betraying their faith.   But it wasn’t their disapproval or her own physical pain for which she cried. She had lost her Bible.   In a display of their disapproval, her family had burned her Christian scripture, and she was brokenhearted about the loss of the book that meant so much to her. Senior nursing major Allison Toy remembers this moment vividly, recalling the passion with which the child mourned.   “She looked at them (the missionaries), and told them she wasn’t upset about being beaten. She hadn’t been able to read the word of God in three days,” Toy said. “So my team gave her a Bible, and she came to the community center every day just to escape and read it.”   Five years ago, Toy attended a conference where a man spoke about surviving the killing fields in his homeland, Cambodia. Even though his own people sought to kill him, he had nothing but love for them. “It broke my heart. I prayed about it a lot, and I really felt like God was calling me there,” she said.   Toy embarked for Cambodia first as a student, then transitioned into leading for two years before staying on her own this past summer. What made this summer different, though, was the combination of joy and unimaginable hardship.   Toy led a team of Americans for 10 days, serving through medical missions in clinics, working at the hospital, ministry in the church, teaching in the community and volunteer work. Toy’s parents joined the effort for the first time, too. Toy’s mother, Terri, knew Cambodia as a country ravaged by the regime of Pol Pot.She realized their need for love and was excited to experience the land that captured her daughter’s heart.   “While her dad and I have always had a great respect for Allison, it was an incredible opportunity to watch her live out her passions … her purpose, her respect for and understanding of the culture,” Terri said.   Dad Eugene made use of his skills as a doctor, teaching Cambodians about sanitation. He was amazed at the provision of God. When one supply would run out, patients required something different and needs could be met.   “For me, I learned so much from the people we met. The missionaries there have so few resources … yet zeal and desire to do more,” Terri said.   After 10 days, the other Americans left...

Read More
Week highlights foriegn missions, brings visitors to campus
Nov07

Week highlights foriegn missions, brings visitors to campus

Missions Emphasis Week is one of the busiest weeks on campus, bringing people from all over the world together. The event is also one of the most popular traditions since it began in 1999 with Dr. George Loutherback.   It has grown exponentially in recent years, bringing missionaries from around the world to come speak to classes, chapel and scattered gatherings throughout the week.   “We do missions emphasis week because we believe you can touch the world from here,” Director of Baptist Student Ministries Dr. Shawn Shannon said. “It helps raise awareness of global issues and opportunities and creates ways to make connections with those with specific people and agencies.”   A steering committee of 43 students have been planning this year’s MEW for nearly a year. A lot of organization goes into preparing for the week-long event.   The students split up into groups that work on different things that involve interviewing, hospitality, public relations, prayer, seminars and special events.   “We want to engage the whole campus. We are engaging students, but also, we have missionaries in up to 90 classes now, and they’re there to communicate with anyone in the classroom. We had a luncheon for faculty and staff. There were more than 120 people there,” Shannon said.   Of course, with all the thought that goes into getting missionaries to come speak, there is a lot of planning into what else is going on during the week.   There were different places on campus where students could go listen to the missionaries, but there were also more hands-on occasions. This included having coffee with international missionaries, a special speaker at Wednesday night Focus and a recently added activity, the global runway.   It was first done two years ago, and was held again because it was such a hit with students.   Music and fun filled Brindley as people walked up and down the stairs and across the stage to show off a different cultures traditional clothing.   Student involvement is a big part of what makes MEW happen every year.   Senior nursing major Allison Toy has chosen her last year to be a part of the week. She served on the faculty relations sub-committee.   “We have a list of missionaries and their bios and what they’ve done and we connect them with faculty members. A faculty might request a missionary who has a business background or a specific missionary, and we pair them up,” Toy said.   She also said that being involved in the committee instead of just participating in MEW has been a great experience because she gets to...

Read More
A sweet shop spin-off
Nov07

A sweet shop spin-off

College students are always needing a sweet tooth fix, and what better way to do that than by supporting a local business?   A new sweet shop just opened up in Morgan’s Point on Sept. 12 called Sips n’ Sweets.   But this is no ordinary dessert place.   “We are trying to carry unique things, but our big thing we want to be known for is our specialty soda,” owner Devenee Smith said. “You can mix or create your own drink, or we have our signature soda you can try.”   The shop also has different fresh-baked cookies, gourmet suckers that can’t be found anywhere else in Texas and ice cream that can be eaten in a cup, cone or used to make a soda float.   “Ice cream was actually an afterthought, but we are huge fans of Blue Bell. We are not originally from Texas, but we love Texas and we love Blue Bell, so we put it in,” Smith said.   Smith, who is originally from Utah, decided after being here for a few months that she wanted to open up her own business. With the support of her husband, who is a resident at Scott & White, and a lot of help from her dad to remodel the place, Sips n’ Sweets was finished and open in a matter of weeks.   “I’ve always loved business … I like using creativity … so this gives other people the opportunity to create their own treat.”   Smith hopes that the restaurant becomes people’s go-to when they want their daily soda fix or just as a hangout spot after school and work. The shop is a great little place for kids, families, and friends.   Junior psychology major Austin Darron works at the shop and said the environment is a unique one that everyone can enjoy.   “I think Devenee’s fun spin on soda is something that everyone enjoys. Kids love it, college kids are addicted to it, and adults are so curious, they try a new one every time.”   To reward frequent customers, Smith has started punch cards to get a free drink after 10 purchases.   This month, there is a special on the pumpkin cookies and the spiced pumpkin pecan ice cream.   Smith said, “We want to keep it exciting … sometime in the next couple of months, we want to do a competition on who can come up with the next best...

Read More