Offering hope through textiles
Feb04

Offering hope through textiles

Over 3,000 miles away, hundreds of women and their families’ lives are being transformed through the operations of tiny warehouse number seven located in the UMHB Williams Service Center.   The works of Threads of Hope, a nonprofit organization that aids artisans in Peru by purchasing textiles and shipping them to churches and organizations around the country for them to sell.   “The university invited us with the belief that it would be beneficial for students by providing them with academic as well as service opportunities,” Jennifer Kellner, Threads of Hope center manager, said.   Since the foundation of Threads of Hope in 1999, the organization has strived to meet the needs of these family breadwinners by, “empowering impoverished women, [and] transforming lives.”   Originally based out of Plano, under the leadership of Cinde Rawn, Threads of Hope director, the small operation moved its warehouse to the campus just last February as part of a rare partnership that provides opportunity to its students, as well as assistance a people group in need.   “The organization’s collaboration with UMHB is unique,” Dr. Christie Bledsoe, chair of the Threads of Hope advisory board, said. “We are providing a space for the business operations.”   This “incubator idea” as one might call it, includes taking in an organization and giving it the room it needs to grow.   During the first year in action, the advisory council pushed to establish a functioning operational system, the “focus for 2015 will be marketing and publicizing the Threads of Hope partnership with UMHB on campus, in the community and among other universities,” Kellner said.   The partnership came about when a few members of the Threads of Hope board came to speak during the campus’ annual Missions Emphasis Week, just a few years prior.   “They were warmly received and their message resonated with the students,” Dr. David Bonner, advisory council member, said. “This led to student internships and projects, as well as two international studies trip,” which included both an MBA and undergraduate class.   As the relationship between the university and Threads of Hope continued to grow, the organization addressed Dr. Bonner with its needs, one of which included a place where passionate, servant minded students could help improve the operations of the nonprofit for further growth.   “(With) creativity on both of their parts, it culminated with Threads of Hope coming on campus to occupy space in the Williams Service Center,” Dr. Bonner said.   Since the warehouse has moved to the university campus, the organization has seen exceptional growth, as textile sales rocket to 44 percent.   With established contacts in...

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Campus welcomes new student body president
Jan22

Campus welcomes new student body president

It’s not often a political position is vacated mid-term. When it does happen, it’s imperative that someone step up and fill the role. When Student Body President Christian Harper resigned following the fall semester to pursue his education at Texas Tech University, senior international business major Jonathan Kendall eagerly took his place to become the new voice of the student body.   Kendall previously served as the junior class president before running for Student Body President for the 2014-15 academic year.   After losing that election to Harper, Kendall was appointed to the position of senior class president. Once it was established Harper would not be returning, the application process opened again.   “Once we knew about the vacant position of student body president, we notified the current senate members as well as the student body,” Student Organizations Director Tiffany Wurdemann said. “You have to serve on the senate for at least one semester and have junior hours to be able to apply for the position. Jonathan has served multiple years in the senate…. He applied and was unopposed, therefore we did not have to have a campus wide election and he could step right into the position.”   Kendall said he is honored to be able to serve his school and the student body throughout this semester.   “I believe in the mission of UMHB and see our school as a leader in private Christian higher education,” he said. “We are small but this serves to allow us to focus on people and relationships. I’m one of many that advocate for our school, and so I am blessed to serve in this capacity.”   Wurdemann said that even though Kendall didn’t come into the position through traditional circumstances, she still believes he is more than qualified for the role.   “I am a huge Jonathan fan. It is a great gift when you are granted a student under your care who is passionate and willing to learn,” she said.   Although he did not step into the position through traditional circumstances, she still believes he is more than qualified for the leadership role he has now assumed.   Kendall will only serve for one semester as he will graduate in May, but he still wants to leave the student government in a better state than when he found it.   “I hope to set up SGA for success going forward. I want to sharpen this group to be a clear voice of students as we serve the needs of this campus,” he said.   Internal Vice President and junior psychology and communication double major Spencer Sims doesn’t think...

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Crusaders traverse globe for missions, academics
Jan22

Crusaders traverse globe for missions, academics

While many students spent most of their breaks relaxing at home and binge-watching Netflix, some students decided to use their time to serve on mission trips and study abroad during the Christmas holiday.   Senior Christian studies major Hannah Bolin took courses in Israel over the break. The trip was 10 days long and covered six hours of courses needed for her major.   “We explored the Holy Land sites. We visited all throughout the land where Abraham’s descendants, the 12 tribes lived,” Bolin said.   The group that went on the trip had to wake up at 8 a.m. to visit four sites every day. These excursions delved deeply into the material covered in the upper level courses of Old and New Testament while also providing the students who went on the trip with a richer understanding of the stories contained in the Bible.   “I want to become a mission’s director or a mobilizer for missionaries in the future,” Bolin said. “This trip really made scripture come to life for me and I can’t wait to share that with others in the future.”   While the trip was a smooth success for the students, there were many preparations that to place during the planning that began long before the trip.   They had to attend prep meetings, which occurred weekly. These gatherings ensured that everything was ready to go and covered a lot of what the students were going to be experiencing during their time abroad.   They also had to discuss travel safety and the research project that would also occur throughout the trip while they were learning.   Each student kept a travel journal during the 10 days and went over their itinerary to stay on track.   “This trip really put the Bible into color for me,” Bolin said “Walking in the land where Jesus walked really was beautiful. We read scripture at every site, and we could really see the Bible come to life at that time.”   While there were several groups that studied abroad, there were also students who went to different countries and served on mission trips.   Senior Christian studies major Leah White went to India over the break with three other students and her sister. With no major commitments holding her back and with the help of her church, friends and family, her decision to spend two weeks in India was easy.   “The decision to travel to India over Christmas started off as a whim of love and turned into an exciting adventure. As I was growing spiritually in the beginning of last semester, the Lord touched...

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New fossils wow students, professors
Jan22

New fossils wow students, professors

At the end of last semester, a local woman, Marion Mount an area native, donated her assortment of fossils to the university’s science department.   “Ms. Mount was very interested in assurance that the collection would be displayed, and after this was promised, she decided donate the collection to UMHB,” Dr. Ruth Ann Murphy chairperson for the environmental science and geology department said.   Murphy is excited about the new possibilities the collection will provide for students during their learning experiences and for faculty as they teach.   She said, “It allows students to see a greater variety of samples from various places in the world and provides professors with more options for maintaining student interest and involvement. Often our geology students become teachers themselves, so this can benefit their future students as well.   The collection offers multiple examples of many of the fossils, making it easier for a classroom full of people to view them.   “There are many, many specimens so large numbers of students could look at them at the same time, but many of the items are tiny. The entire collection would probably fit in a large file cabinet drawer, except we protect the items by wrapping and cushioning them with felt or the equivalent so that requires more space,” Murphy said.   Not only is there a greater quantity of specimens, but there are some special ones.   “We can show the students lots more examples of fossils including sharks’ teeth, turtles, shark vertebrae, a whale tooth, porpoise ear bone to mention a few. It is a phenomenal collection,” she said.   Bill Lukens is an adjunct professor of geology at UMHB and a doctoral candidate at Baylor University. He believes hands-on experience and visual aids enhance his ability to teach as well as his students’ ability to learn.   “Geology is the study of the Earth, its contents, processes and how each change through time. Ideally, I would bring my students to the best examples of every rock and fossil that exists for any particular lesson. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time and money to venture out into the great beyond twice a week! So instead, my job is to bring the geology to them,” he said.   Lukens is thrilled by one specific fossil in the new collection. “My favorite specimen is a well-preserved tortoise shell from a critter named Stylemys. Stylemys tortoises enjoyed the temperate, woody savannah landscapes of the Great Plains around 30-35 million years ago.”   Students are just as excited for the enhancements provided by the specimens.   Junior organismal biology major Victoria Camenisch believes the fossil...

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Churches touch lives of Temple residents
Jan22

Churches touch lives of Temple residents

One thousand families ministered to, 725 families fed, 465 families clothed. The previous numbers are averages of families served each month by Churches Touching Lives for Christ (CTLC).   CTLC is a group of more than 30 churches that work to provide food, hygiene items, clothing and emergency assistance to people in need.   Since its inception in 1994, 14,000 different families have been served. CTLC operates in Temple, Texas, through the support of organizations and businesses in the community.   As an all-volunteer organization, CTLC depends on church groups and individuals to further its ministry.   On designated days, volunteers register clients, distribute food and clothing, and meet with clients to counsel and pray with them.   Their mission is to meet the needs of individuals in order to lead them to Christ. Executive Director Jim Hornsby is a volunteer who runs the organization as well as Feed My Sheep not far away.   CTLC aims to provide “an atmosphere of spiritual encouragement for those who some, regardless.”   The ministry gives Central Texans who qualify the basic necessities including but not limited to toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, a variety of food items, clothing, shoes and lunches for children for the weekend.   Their partnership does not stop with churches. Businesses and agencies in the community including Wal-Mart, Capital Area Food Bank, Holy Trinity Catholic High School and AARP are a few who either donate directly or help finance CTLC.   Tenille Smith is a client of Reaching Out Crisis Ministries, a ministry dedicated to “guiding and leading women that struggle with substance abuse problems and/or life-centered problems to victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   She and other women from Reaching Out volunteer at CTLC every Tuesday.   “It’s very beneficial for the community. Mr. Jim does a lot of work back there. I think we’ve helped close to 80 people so far today,” Smith said.   The Tuesday before the Thanksgiving holiday was busy with client’s getting their monthly food cart in time to prepare a meal.   Hundreds of turkeys were donated, which contributed to the large numbers of clients and a hectic day for volunteers.   Women from Reaching Out, teams from churches, and individuals and families helped fill the food sacks.   They grabbed from stacks of peanut butter jars, loaves of bread, canned goods, meat and non-perishables to fulfill client’s food vouchers.   Denise Doyle is a retired special education teacher and band director. She and her autistic and deaf son David volunteer once a week. Doyle says it’s a good opportunity for David to get out and interact. They have been...

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Junior social work major crowned new Miss MHB
Nov25

Junior social work major crowned new Miss MHB

As a campus that prides itself on unique traditions full of history and meaning, UMHB is home to the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant, a competition that searches for beauty in its contestants. Not outward beauty, but inward beauty.   The winner of the Nov. 9 event was junior social major Zasmyne Robinson.   She exudes pride and passion for her school saying, “What I have found through involvement here on campus and throughout my entire experience here at UMHB that will shape my life forever has been a community that I honestly could not imagine living without.”   Although Robinson had been aware of the tradition, she never suspected that one day she would be Miss MHB.   “I’ve attended pageant every year since I’ve been here at UMHB, and I have always wondered what it’s like to actually be a part of it, but I never knew if I had what it takes,” she said.   Through the campus activities she’s participated in, which include Freedom Movement, Ministry Leadership Council and Revival, Robinson believes she’s grown spiritually.   “As I’ve experienced hardships here, I’ve always been directed back to Christ through chapel, staff, students, etc. I have learned how important it is to surround yourself with people who want the best for you. I have been beyond encouraged by this campus and the faculty,” Robinson said.   She also credits a certainty about her future that many in her stage in life don’t possess to this spiritual growth.   “I feel confident about starting my career once I leave UMHB, because I truly feel as if I’ve benefited from such a Christ-centered education.”   It’s this same reliance on her faith that remained with Robinson when she was announced as the winner.   “I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with emotion when I heard my name called to be the new Miss MHB,” she said. “I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming. After all, I went through this experience with 25 other equally deserving girls. I also couldn’t help but marvel at how far God has brought me; from a young child being so insecure about who I was and what I had to offer, to this moment where I found myself center stage.”   First Runner-Up senior public relations major Payton Pierce is also grateful for growth she’s experienced during her years on campus.   Her participation in Student Foundation and the Welcome Week Steering Committee have allowed her to hone her leadership skills.   She was excited and grateful to have been able to represent her peers in the pageant.   “I became involved...

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