A dark day for Texas, a tragedy for America
Nov06

A dark day for Texas, a tragedy for America

Nearly 50 years ago, Dallas, Texas, was the epicenter for a tragedy of historic proportion. Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed one of America’s most well known and beloved presidents — John F. Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963. In the convertible with the president was Texas Gov. John Connally, who was shot, but lived. The two unscathed first ladies, Jackie and Nellie, watched in horror as the murder unfolded. Immediately after the bullets hit their target, the limousine began racing toward Parkland Hospital, just on the outskirts of downtown. Today in the U.S., a lot of confusion and mystery still surround the events that led to the assassination. Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, has devoted the majority of his professional life to studying Kennedy, his death and the atmosphere of the city during that politically tumultuous era. The museum specializes in the films and photographs taken the day of the killing. Hundreds of hours of video and a treasure trove of pictures are open to the public. Mack said. “Some Kennedy family members have visited the Sixth Floor Museum. We don’t identify them by name. When they get inquiries about the assassination, they say, ‘call the folks in Dallas. They know that stuff.’” Although the Kennedys may outwardly claim not to have much interest in the assassination, one has to wonder if they’re at least curious. “It’s been interesting to me to observe the public statements the family has made. They’ve always said they’re really not interested in learning this part of the story over and over and over again. They’ve discouraged questions about re-opening the assassination investigations, but it turns out they’re just as curious as everyone else…. Some parts of the story just don’t have a satisfactory answer,” Mack said. One of those parts, the shooter, Oswald, was a shady character who defected to the Soviet Union and came back the U.S. full of bitterness. To help shed light on the events surrounding the murder, a former employee of the Texas School Book Depository spoke as part of the Sixth Floor Museum’s Living History series. Because of a car pooling arrangement, he drove the assassin to work that terrible day. Due to a deteriorating domestic life, Oswald stayed in a Dallas rental house during the week, but went to live with his Russian wife, Marina, in Irving during the weekends. Buell Wesley Frazier, who lived near Irving took pity on Oswald and volunteered to drive him out of the city on Friday afternoons and bring him back to work on Monday mornings. He told him, “Lee, anytime you want to go out and...

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Missions Emphasis Week
Nov06

Missions Emphasis Week

At this point in the semester, students hit a wall as advising, housing and midterms flood the minds of the young scholars, while others work diligently behind the scenes to prepare for them a small breather —Missions Emphasis Week. While planning this annual event, which took place Oct. 21-25, the directors and committee continually strive to stir the hearts of students in more than one way: share Christianity with students and ignite a call to action in believers. “Everyone is called to live like a missionary, even if it’s not overseas,” junior English major and steering committee member Bethany Pittman said. “We wanted to get people involved, (especially) those who did not have a mindset of missions.” The committee’s goal was to expose students on both ends of the spectrum. They did this by urging professors to give missionaries their class period.  As a result, mission workers were scheduled for more than 110 classes before the week began, breaking the campus record, while more were scheduled throughout the week. “We want (students) to connect with missionaries, so this year we really wanted to see the campus get more involved,” junior nursing major and Missions Emphasis Week codirector Joseph Salley said. In addition to in-class discussion, the 40 plus missionaries who strolled the campus last week made their way into several university-wide seminars and various meet-and-greet events. Couples and individuals from every facet of nonprofit mission-based organizations came to tell their story and encourage students to discover their calling. “We share things, but we don’t know what people are going to do,” missionary and co-founder of Volunteer for China, David Wilson, said. “It would be a mistake for me to talk you into going anywhere. You’re just as much a missionary as I am.” Wilson discussed his call for missions with listeners. Both he and his wife, Ann Wilson, worked in professional math and science fields for more than 30 years. Upon retirement, the couple volunteered with various organizations until they founded one of their own. Given their educational background and their retired life status, Wilson described their situation as “ironic.” “I never thought I’d be doing this. I never dreamed that I would be visiting another country or teaching English in China,” he said. Others like Butch and Nell Green, who serve with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as strategic catalyst for Muslim Internationals, found their calling at their university during their college days. Nell praises the work of the Baptist Student Ministry on her campus and understands the importance of it in the lives of UMHB students. “We were grown, nurtured and called through the BSM,” Nell said. “We just...

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Stadium brings energy to flag football
Nov06

Stadium brings energy to flag football

Crusader Stadium has already proved itself to be a great venue to watch football, but many students didn’t ever think they would have the opportunity to play under the lights at the new facility. However, the intramural flag football championship games were moved from their normal location at the recreational fields to the stadium. “Playing intramurals in the new stadium was awesome. It’s great that they’re finding ways for the whole university to enjoy it. The campus rec staff went all out by introducing the team members, having the national anthem, giving stuff away for free and using the scoreboard during our games,” senior business major Adam Rea said. The idea for moving the championship games to a bigger field where more people could enjoy the games has been on the Student Government Association’s agenda for a number of years. “I think Jonathan Kendall with SGA and Campus Rec tried this in years past with intramural basketball championships being held in the arena. It was never an option for flag football before now,” Director of Campus Recreation Sue Weaver said. The overall atmosphere of the championship games was  one that is usually not felt with intramural games. Playing on such a  stage gave the players a feel of what it would be like to compete in a big game at Crusader Stadium. “The event was absolutely a success. It was a great opportunity for those participating in the games to be recognized and to play in such a great facility. Fans and parents came to watch, and our Campus Rec staff, SGA, and other organizations were recognized,” Weaver said. The hype that was brought to the night gave the team competing and the fans that were there a lot to look forward to. “It was very cool to get to play in Crusader Stadium,” senior business major Tyson Brower said. “We have been playing together all year as a team … and we all really enjoyed the championship games. It gave a different feel to intramurals.” The games were  full of   both big plays and excitement, but the coed championship had the teams and fans biting their fingernails till the last second ran off the jumbotron. “Unfortunately, our coed team came up short, but we had a great time playing together all season, and I made a lot of new friends through intramurals,” Brower said. That One Team was the squad that secured the victory for the coed side of things, while the Dream Killers won the men’s division.  Both teams were awarded T-shirts as well as bragging rights until next year. “Winning intramurals is all about getting the...

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Sport Spotlight: Bianca Patterson
Nov05

Sport Spotlight: Bianca Patterson

Volleyball player Bianca Patterson is a junior math major from Killeen, Texas, and attended Harker Heights High School. Before transferring to UMHB, Patterson attended Navarro College. Patterson has added an extra threat to the Crusaders and has tallied  266 kills this season. Off  the volleyball court, Patterson enjoys being with her friends. “I like to hang out with my teammates, and I like to read,” she said. Her favorite book is My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Patterson and her teammates all have pregame rituals. “I usually listen to “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson before every game, and lately, our team has been doing crazy dances,” she said. Besides sports, Patterson also has a passion for music. “I play the piano, and I sing at my church,” she said. After college, Patterson plans to go into coaching. “My dream job is to be a high school volleyball coach. After college, I plan to maybe assist with my old high school volleyball coach,” she said. Patterson attributes her playing style and competitive spirit to her mom’s advice growing up. “When I was in fourth grade, my mom wanted to toughen me up. So she initially tried to sign me up for soccer, but the only sport in season was volleyball. So I started playing, and I’ve been playing ever since.” Patterson and her teammates have already posted the highest season win total of 28 wins in Division III Cru volleyball history. They will be working to add more victories to their record when they travel to the University of Texas at Dallas where they will participate in the ASC Volleyball Championship Tournament Nov....

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A Monumental Witness to God’s Faithfulness
Oct09

A Monumental Witness to God’s Faithfulness

More than 19,000 students. Two universities. The same historic location. As the columns at Old Baylor Park stretched up into the sky on a perfect day in early autumn, guests of Baylor and Mary Hardin-Baylor universities took their seats in Independence, Texas. With a promising breeze and the sun shining on Academy Hill, the two schools had the privilege of gathering for a rededication service Sunday, Oct. 6. Each school selected a number of guests from the student body, as well as faculty, staff and members of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Presidents of both colleges were present and spoke, as did Dr. David Hardage, executive director of the BGCT. Before the ceremony, Hardage had preached in the historic First Baptist Church at Independence. He explained the reason for the event. In May of 2012, the ownership of Old Baylor park was given to the two universities, which wanted to rededicate the columns and highlight their importance in history. Hardage described the key role the original Baylor and Baylor Female College, which later became the separate universities of today, played in the history of the Republic of Texas. “It was the Texas Baptists … that fought for religious liberty…. You are the result of that vision from years ago,” he said. Dr. Thelma Cooper is part of the original President Dr. John Hill Luther’s family. To begin the service at Old Baylor Park, she spoke with genuine appreciation for the occasion. With the trees framing the iconic image of the four pillars on top of the archway, those in attendance were reminded of God’s goodness. “We look back with gratitude to those who paved the way before us…. We are grateful to the two institutions fathered here today,” she said. 168 years ago, Judge R.E.B. Baylor and Rev. William M. Tryon’s charter for a new Christian education system in the Republic of Texas was approved. Each speaker at the event emphasized how influential this piece of history became. UMHB President Dr. Randy O’Rear spoke about the ways God has blessed the Crusader side of history. “Independence is the birthplace of these two great universities, and today we pause for a moment to recognize and celebrate God’s faithfulness to both Baylor University and the University of Mary Hardin- Baylor,” he said. Baylor University President Judge Ken Starr also took the podium to address Baylor’s success as a place of higher learning. “People are the important thing…. Isn’t that why we are all here—the students,” he said. UMHB Student Foundation passed out collectible coins bearing the image of the columns and each university’s name, along with “1845.” Guests also enjoyed...

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Churches Help West Community Rebuild
Oct09

Churches Help West Community Rebuild

The sound of accordions and brass performing waltzes and polkas rang out from the speakers as smiling clerks and customers happily exchanged midday greetings. After one step into the jovial atmosphere of the Czech Stop, home to West, Texas’ famous kolaches, one would not have suspected that six short months earlier, this little town, less than an hour’s drive from UMHB, was rocked by a devastating explosion that claimed 14 lives, nine of whom were first responders. Beneath the area’s relaxed, tranquil surface, dramatic memories of chaos and tragedy can be conjured up at a moment’s notice. “Initially I thought it was an earthquake,” Associate Pastor of St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption, Father Boniface Onjefu, said of the April 18 event. “I had just finished the 6:30 p.m. mass, and I came to the rectory when I heard a loud explosion.” The priest recalled walking out to the street to witness town residents streaming out of their houses to see what had happened. He said, “I saw people running around helter-skelter everywhere, saying the fertilizer plant exploded. While I was standing in front of the church, I watched the dark smoke head up into the sky…. We never had peace for three days.” Because West’s population is one deeply rooted in faith, many of the Czech-Americans being Catholic, the sanctuary became a safe haven of constancy in the midst of a tempest. “If you live in West, you will know that the church is the center of activity….,” Onjefu said. “The church is the centerpiece, so when the explosion happened, they all came here. People were asked not to go back home, so we kept them at the church to take refuge.” He said the parish was able to provide spiritual, emotional and monetary support to community members, who have expressed much gratitude. The town is a tight-knit one, and the clergy are no exception. Catholics and Protestants alike belong to the West Area Ministers Alliance. Because St. Mary’s was the largest unaffected church structure deemed safe at the time, all the congregations met there for a candlelight vigil and prayer service the Friday after the Wednesday explosion. The community of faith has played an active role in the revitalization effort. First Baptist Church of West continues to meet practical needs. Pastor John Crowder, a childhood friend of university President Dr. Randy O’Rear, said he and his family were on their way back home from his daughter’s track meet in College Station when he received a phone call from one of the church elders about the explosion. Naturally, he inquired about his home and dog, but the deacon...

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