Ministry reaches out to area youth

Monday March 20 was a scene of controlled pandemonium at the Belton Christian Youth Center as kids from Belton High School played elbow tag and kickball. After the games, the bedlam became a little less controlled as students were treated to a plastic rain gutter full of ice cream. The event was sponsored by Young Life, a Christian organization dedicated to ministering to high schoolers. Young Life hosts clubs every Monday Matt Lambro, the area director for Mid-Tex Young Life said, “At club we sing songs. We play games. It is a lot of humor. It is very surface level, but we present the gospel in bits and pieces over the course of a year.” As an organization, Young Life is intentional and relational. On average most leaders spend 12 or more hours a week with the kids in their ministry. The Young Life chapter of Belton started two years ago. Lambro began his ministry in the school cafeteria. There, he met an unusual student. “He was crazy. We were like who is this guy trying to talk to us? I had that impression for a while, but he turned out to be a pretty cool guy. He gave good advice and good insight,” he said Most Young Life leaders become close to the young people in their ministry. To get involved in kids’ lives, leaders will attend sporting events or go out to eat with them. Many appreciate the friendship and mentoring that comes from their leaders. A Belton High School sophomore said, “Having someone there means a lot.” Sophomore pre-physical therapy major and Young Life leader Katilee Ralph said, “It has impacted my life. Yes, I’m here for the kids and I have impacted them, but they in turn have affected me in such a positive way. I go home and my mom says, ‘You have grown up so much.’ I tell her it is Young Life. Honestly, Young Life helped me grow to be a better person.” The organization has been around for more than 70 years. The word “teenager” was not used until the 1940s. It was around this same time that Jim Rayburn, a seminary student at Dallas Theological Seminary, founded the organization for adolescents. “He started the Young Life campaign and rented a tent and put it in Fair Park in downtown Dallas. He put the word out and told everyone on the radio,” Lambro said. “At his first talk he opened by telling people about someone who knew how to turn dirty water into the best tasting alcohol that anyone had ever had and that was his niche. He was talking about...

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Alums turn idea into livelihood
Feb21

Alums turn idea into livelihood

Alumnus Luke Nunnally is often seen with his Macbook Pro in Bodega Bean working on his website Belboard.com. He sips a Red Bull as he and his business partner and fellow alum, Eliot Barcak, discuss the next sale for their company – a business they began as students at UMHB. Now they own the biggest local websites in both Belton and Waco. Nunnally saw that Bell County really didn’t have an outlet for local advertising. He came up with Belboard to fit that need. “When I was a junior here, I found out about Nami (a local Japanese restaurant), and it’s really great,” he said. “There is no excuse for you to be a junior and not know about it.” The concept of Belboard is simple. The site has a large grid that is covered with ads of local businesses. Every time registered users click on ads, they are sent to that business’s home page. But Belboard randomly makes some ads lucky – meaning some clicks will get users anything from a free California roll from Nami to one of the promoted “Big Ticket” items – like an Xbox 360. Belboard sells the ad blocks to  businesses that will normally get a spike in Web traffic shortly after the ad hits the site. Every click means more Internet traffic for the advertiser and more relevancy for Google searches than before. Sites with more traffic show up higher on searches than less visited sites. Getting their page to the top of Google search results is a marketing goal for most businesses. The idea has been so successful that the alumni also have sites in Waco, Wacoboard.com; College Station, Tamuboard.com; and even a satellite site in Athens, Georgia, Athensboard.com, due to a partnership with the University of Georgia. The coffee shop is an ideal location for the Belboard guys to get work done. They spend much of their time traveling between cities where they operate sites, and a local space with free Wi-Fi is perfect to meet with business owners who may be interested in a chunk of Belboard’s space. UMHB Associate Professor and Chairperson of management, entrepreneurship and marketing department Dr. Barbara Dalby sparked the idea for the site in Nunnally. She was teaching about The Million Dollar Homepage, a site that an English student broke into pixels and sold to universities to raise money for his education. The website made $2 million dollars in two weeks. “I noticed Luke was in the back of the room, and he was asking questions,” Dalby said. “By the end of class, he had bought a domain name on his iPhone.” Nunnally was...

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Carriage rides for raising money
Feb21

Carriage rides for raising money

February 14 marks a special day for love for most of the world. Like many people, UMHB students also celebrated Valentine’s Day as a chance for loved ones to express themselves. For about two hours during the evening and night hours on that special day, couples who wanted a spin around campus received carriage rides. The sponsor of this event was the newly created Crusader Riding Association. This is the first semester the members have actually been able to go out and ride the horses. Senior English major Sara Lewis explained how the 10 members of the organization have the means to ride the horses. “We found a barn with horses, and the lady gave us a very generous deal on that, but we still have to raise money. So we did the carriage rides as a fundraiser, and I think it was pretty successful,” she said. Milo Johnson, the owner of the carriage ride business and the man who actually gave the rides to students, has been providing the buggy service for about 15 years. He has been around horses ever since he was a little boy and has been riding since the age of six. “I had seven (horses) but now I’m down to two at the moment and one nice donkey named Joyess,” he said. The horse pulling the carriage around campus on the night of Valentine’s was named Parnell and was 12 years old. Sophomore psychology major Jenny Binford went on the carriage ride. She enjoyed the ride and getting to pet Parnell. “I thought it was a good way for an organization to raise money,” she said. “I went later at night with my boyfriend, and it was a really peaceful thing to go do. The weather was also a plus, so that was good, too.” She believed it was a great way to enjoy Valentine’s Day with someone special. “I think a carriage ride is such a loving way to express to the person you love that you love them,” she said. “The horse was sweet, the driver very nice and talkative. All in all, it was a great way to finish up Valentine’s Day.” New to riding, Lewis is happy that she had a chance to go outside on a beautiful day and ride a horse. She likes how the carriage rides turned out because that means more money for the riding club. Out of 24 possible rides, the riding club sold 15 and raised a total of $150. Senior education major Joanna Schildwachter was another student who took a carriage ride. “I went earlier in the evening, so the sky was...

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Most are unaware of invasive geotagging
Feb21

Most are unaware of invasive geotagging

Several students release vital information about themselves without considering what they’re sharing with the virtual public. While some view geotagging as a privacy issue, others are unaware that they even have access to it. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs, video, websites, SMS messages, or RSS feeds. It’s a type of geospatial metadata. Director of Technology Information Shawn Kung believes that it is an interesting yet ambiguous tool. “For the people who use geotagging, the benefits are clear: Now I know this place is located at this specific location. Wow, that looks fun or pretty or interesting,” he said. “However, because of the non-obtrusive nature of geotagging, most people are completely ignorant of its prevalence.” Many students are unfamiliar with the term geotagging, which can be an issue. Being left in the dark about this application could cause people to release information about themselves without knowledge of it becoming public. Kung described how this ignorance of geotagging affects those with  certain phones. “Most of the smart phones available today are GPS enabled. Many automatically geotag all the pictures taken with that device,” he said. “Some phones do not even give the user any hint that the pictures are being tagged.” Though most students do not recognize the term geotagging, light bulbs went off at the mention of Facebook and tagging friends in posts and pictures. Junior exercise sport major Elbe Vargas discussed his awareness about the concerns involved in tagging friends on Facebook. “I think it can be a privacy issue obviously … because you’re telling everybody where you’re at,” he said. “I think a lot of people don’t realize it when they do it, though.” For the most part, Vargas believes geotagging is a great tool. He chatted about his amusing experiences with it. “I did it just to do it because it was fun,” he said. “I was eating some chicken and I put up I was at Bush’s Chicken with my friends.” Vargas assured people that they can remove themselves from tags if they are concerned about their whereabouts being exposed. He described a situation where he tagged a friend at the mall who untagged himself because he did not want his whereabouts known. Furthermore, tagging has not always been the thing to do. When Facebook first included this tool in the fall of 2010, it caused uproar among individuals seeking privacy. Many people notified their friends through e-mails about the dangers of geotagging and how it threatens personal safety. Kung revealed he has not had any dangerous encounters with geotagging. He explained his view on this...

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Super Bowl trafficking
Feb08

Super Bowl trafficking

A high demand for children and women for the sex trade persists in a global market that thrives on exploiting them. This demand increases around huge social and sporting events. During Super Bowl weekend in Dallas, the demand for trafficking children might have been supplied but not without a fight. According to the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report, 12.3 million adults and children are in forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution worldwide. As far as justice goes, there were 4,166 successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009. Various organizations geared up this weekend to rescue victims of sex trafficking in Dallas and to raise awareness about this global issue. Traffick 911 fought child sexual slavery with its campaign, “I’m not buying it.” They developed street teams to locate and rescue victims of human trafficking. According to the Traffick 911 website, the group wants the world to know North Texas is not OK with the buying and selling of American children. It hosted a tailgate party at the Aristide Event and Conference Center Saturday, Feb. 5. Many speakers, such as Dallas Cowboy and three-time pro-bowler Jay Ratiff and U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger of the 12th district, attended the event. Coordinator of publications and social media at Waco’s Texas State Technical College Sarah-Jane (Sanders) Menefee supports Traffick 911. Menefee is a UMHB alumna and former editor of The Bells newspaper. Since she was unable to participate in the street teams, Menefee stood behind the outreach by seeking God’s favor. “We are following Traffick 911’s prayer guide which has daily scriptures and prayer requests. Our plan is to fast the full day of the Super Bowl in hopes that the Holy Spirit will move in awesome ways through the anti-trafficking outreaches,” she said. Menefee and her husband, Matt, did not participate in game day festivities. “We’re not attending parties or even watching the game. How can we celebrate when so many women and children are in slavery?” she said. Other organizations combating child sex slavery are aware of the influx of prostitution rings that appear around the Super Bowl and have listed information on their websites about the issue. Stop Child Sex Trafficking Now actively works to bring down the sellers of this trade. According to its website, its partners are trained and capable of bringing down predators and providing justice for victimized children all over the world. Like Traffick 911, Love 146 is an outreach that also runs rescue missions. According to the website, the group aims to fight child sex slavery and exploitation with the unforeseen and restore survivors. The organization hopes to create international round homes, housing for recovered...

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Wednesday night worship decides on theme of biblical basics
Feb08

Wednesday night worship decides on theme of biblical basics

The Ten Commandments are iconic in Western culture. They have been the subject of countless paintings, and the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments has been made into many films. However, most Christians actually know very little about them, and cannot name all ten. The campus Wednesday night worship, Focus, does not usually put an emphasis on doctrinal issues, but for the next five weeks, two different speakers will talk about the Ten Commandments and why they are still relevant to Christians. Freshman biblical studies major and worship leader of Focus, Jack O’ Briant, said, “I think that one of the main reasons we decided on this is because it is something  that does not get taught a ton. We especially want to focus on commandments that are neglected, like the Sabbath, but are foundational Christian truths.” The idea originally came during a Focus planning meeting from Baptist Student Ministry Director Shawn Shannon. Last February, Focus did a three-week special on the Trinity. After that, Shannon thought they should do something more doctrinally based. “Worship that takes place in an academic environment as it nurtures the heart does not have to leave the head behind,” Shannon said. While having discussion with one of her co-workers on the importance of having a good relationship with parents, Shannon realized that the Ten Commandments dealt with this issue. She began to realize the importance of the Ten Commandments in her life and decided that it would be good to take a special look at them during Focus. She also found that there were many misconceptions among Christians about the Ten Commandments, and she wanted to help clear up some of them for students. Shannon thinks that one of the biggest misconceptions  about the commandments is that they are only negative. She said, “Each one could be turned into a positive. Like honor your father and mother and observe the Sabbath, those are two positives. But even ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ becomes ‘thou shalt be faithful.’” UMHB has many Christian studies professors who are proficient in the Old Testament. The next two weeks of Focus will give Dr. Stephen  Von Wyrick, professor of Hebrew and the Old Testament, a chance to share his experitise. “I have some background that I might be able to bring to the discussion on the Ten Commandments. I always enjoy being with the students. That is what it is all about. If I can help them understand something in my field, then that is great,” he said. Wyrick plans on giving background on the Ten Commandments, such as why they were given, their purpose and how...

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