Fox News reporter to speak in chapel
Apr12

Fox News reporter to speak in chapel

Rigging together a Spongebob sign announcing his captivity on Obama’s campaign jet, running a marathon two years after open heart surgery and writing a best-selling novel are just a few of Todd Starnes’ accomplishments. He will be sharing some of his experiences and advice with UMHB students Wednesday when he speaks in chapel. “I’m not a pastor or a theologian. I’m going to share a view from the pew. I’m going to talk about getting out of your comfort zone,” Starnes said. “I’m also going to be sharing some of my adventures as a journalist.” Starnes is a network news reporter for Fox News Radio, based in New York City, but covers stories well outside the city. One of his favorite assignments was Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Starnes was the embedded reporter for Fox News and learned what it is like to travel with a presidential candidate. “The campaign jetliner was sort of like a dorm room with wings. We decorated it with photos, key cards from hotel rooms and even a giant cardboard police officer who was taped to the rear bulkhead,” Starnes said. He spent a lot of time with  the other reporters covering the event and was close to them by the end of the trip. Starnes said, “There is a real bond that develops between other reporters because we’re working 18-hour days, traveling together, working in extreme conditions and trying to out-scoop each other.” He considers covering the campaign trail one of his favorite assignments because of the outcome of the election and the memories he has from the time spent on the job. “It was the assignment of a lifetime, being able to have a front row seat to what would become a historic campaign,” Starnes said. He mainly works in radio broadcasting, providing people with stories over the air rather than in print or video. “I love the immediacy of radio journalism; the ability to tell a story and paint a visual image for our listeners using words and sounds. It’s really an adrenaline rush,” Starnes said. In addition to covering stories for Fox News, Starnes also tells his own stories in his humorous novels. “I love writing, and my  books are a natural outflow of what I do on the radio and also on my daily blog,” he said. His first book, They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick, tells of his journey of having open heart surgery. Starnes has also written a second book called Dispatches from Bitter America. Obviously gifted with words, he has won several awards, including an Edward R. Murrow and the Associated Press Mark...

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Hooten visits Solzhenitsyn’s Russia

Colleagues and students of  Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jessica Hooten are aware of her passion for Russian literature, and just recently she was able to travel to Russia and fulfill a lifetime dream. On March 20, Hooten boarded a plane bound for Moscow to attend an exclusive book launch for Solzhenitsyn’s Thought and Art: Essays from the West. The book is a collection of essays by Western scholars on Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s worldview. Hooten said,“A lot of Western scholars write about Solzhenitsyn’s theology and philosophy more than his politics. Russian writers usually only view him politically.” Solzhenitsyn was a Russian writer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. His first novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, published in 1962, exposed the evils of                  communism. His novel has been compared to Uncle Tom’s Cabin in that it brought awareness to the bleak situation in Russian concentration camps. Eventually he was arrested and deported for his political insurrection, spent 20 years in America and continued his writing. After his extended stay in America, the communist government in Russia fell, and he was able to return to his homeland. In 2008 Solzhenitsyn died of heart      failure. His wife, Natalia, came up with the idea for the book, and Professor Emeritus Edward Ericson, Jr. of Calvin College edited the volume. The Russian scholars eagerly received the book, and they are enthusiastically   praising it. “Mrs. Solzhenitsyn actually took me to the apartment where he was arrested and sent into exile. That was an amazing opportunity because it will probably be a museum in 10 years,” Hooten said. She had an opportunity to speak with the Solzhenitsyns. “Getting to meet the family was an opportunity to tell them how much her husband’s work means to so many people,” she said. Only three weeks before the book launch, Hooten was invited on the trip. She took  passport photos the next day, and the next week she went to Houston to apply for her visa. The English department chair  Dr. Brady Peterson and fellow faculty supported her trip. Peterson said, “Jessica Hooten’s being in Russia showcases UMHB to the global community and brings the global community back to UMHB.” Professors as well as students substituted for her classes for the week she missed. Though the purpose of the trip was for the book launch, Hooten still kept up her work. She spent time each night grading papers and keeping in touch with those subbing her classes. Junior social work major Amberly Clay subbed for Hooten’s British literature class. “She was supportive when I was facilitating her class ….     Because of some of her pointers she gave...

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Iditarod receives volunteers from Alaska Missions
Mar29

Iditarod receives volunteers from Alaska Missions

Known as the last great race on earth, the Iditarod takes mushers from all over the world on an 1,150-mile dog sled journey through the icy Alaskan tundra. From Anchorage in south central Alaska to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast most residents in the Alaskan community gets involved as well as volunteers from the lower 49 states. Senior international business major Tommy Wilson used his spring break to help out with this Alaskan tradition.  He teamed up with Alaska Missions for an eight-day trip to Nome where he served as needed. Wilson was impressed with the way the organization helped the city run events, which included snow-machine transports across the Bering Sea, finish-line security, custodial work, kids clubs and sports clinics for the town. “The missionaries there are not trying to create an event and come up with something different from the Alaskan culture,” he said. “Instead, they are looking at the culture and asking themselves how can we minister to them.” Wilson’s responsibilities included frying food for the community basketball tournament for the concession stand and working in the dog lot to take care of the mushers’ dogs after the race. Alaska Missions seeks to create projects that are evangelistic in nature and help to break down barriers to the Gospel. Brenda Crim, Baptist collegiate minister at the University of Alaska in Anchorage has been helping provide volunteers in Nome for five years for the Iditarod Outreach. “We position ourselves where Alaskans gather and create servant evangelism projects,” she said. “We eventually became their (Nome’s) go-to group because of our quick response.” Although the jobs were not glorious, by laying hay down for dogs to sleep on at 2 a.m. or mopping a gym floor, Wilson was able to share the gospel with several people. “Our volunteers serve and share the Lord in a low-key manner, through friendship and serving. We keep returning year after year, and more doors continue to open for us,” Crim said. “This year we saw 42 decisions for Christ.” Assistant director of the UMHB Baptist Student Ministry Jena Coulson has recently discovered the problems that Alaskans are dealing with, such as high suicide rates, alcoholism and molestation. “The statistical information has made me aware of the deep need for healing in this land which only the Father can provide,” Coulson said. The BSM supports Go Now missions, which sends students to Alaska for two-week summer trips to serve where ever they are needed. On his way back to Texas, Wilson met a Nome native who recognized him from working at the concession stand. He thanked Wilson for volunteering his time and...

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Students serve, ‘reach out’
Mar29

Students serve, ‘reach out’

Spending one’s Saturday cleaning up after animals, sorting inventory, and doing yard work at 8 in the morning probably does not sound ideal to many. However, to some students, this is a time to give back to the community, work together and serve God. Reaching Out is a Student Government Association event sponsored by director of community service and cultural affairs George Harrison, director of spiritual life Tyler Potts and the representative chaplains of each class. Students “reach out” to the Temple/Belton community by providing a helping hand to various community organizations and individuals. They work in teams, based on the assignments they signed up for, from 9 a.m. to noon.  Registration for Reaching Out began at 8 a.m. Saturday March 26, in Shelton Theater. To prepare for this university-driven project, junior theology and philosophy major Potts said, “We simply made some phone calls to some locations and asked them if they wanted some help. Some of these sites were Helping Hands, BCYC, Temple Animal Shelter, Family Promise, Families in Crisis Center, Hope for the Hungry and the Ronald McDonald House.” Something different this year was the registration and organization at Shelton Theater, which made the process easier according to sophomore accounting and finance major Audrey Ohendalski who worked at the Family Promise site in Temple. “They had the groups set up outside for you to pick which site you were headed to with donuts and juice,” Ohendalski said. “Then you went inside Shelton for explanations and worship, which was really nice because they separated the chaotic area of scheduling and time and space set aside for worship. Then we went back outside, and they had driving instructions on the tables where the sign-ups had been. The people in charge did a great job keeping everything perfectly flowing.” So what makes UMHB students so eager to participate in Reaching Out? Sophomore nursing major Emma Smith, who worked at the Families in Crisis Center site, said, “I decided to do it because I like to serve others but find it hard to really serve alone, and it’s much more rewarding to me to be able to serve with friends and other UMHB-ers. My favorite part is seeing the reactions from the people at the work sites after the job is done because they are so happy and it’s a huge deal to them when to me it was a simple, easy task that made a huge impact.” Besides being able to give back to community, Ohendalski said she liked the social aspect of it as well. “I like meeting all the new people to work with and also the people...

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Former Army chaplain shares ministry
Mar29

Former Army chaplain shares ministry

As Christian studies Assistant Professor Dr. David Howard approached the microphone, he looked out into an enormous ballroom filled with the top U.S. military chaplains and their spouses. Among the audience members was the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Major Gen. Douglas L. Carver, a man Howard met when he was just starting his Chaplaincy. Howard’s influence on him led Carver to become a chaplain. “When we first met in 1976 in Germany, I was young and inexperienced in the ministry and the military,” Howard said. “God can use you when you are young and just starting out – even when you are unaware of the impact you are making in another’s life.” Unbeknownst to Howard, Carver, a young Southern Baptist artillery officer, had little respect for military ministers. That is, until he met Howard, a new military man with an acoustic guitar and a passion for God and the troops. Inspired, Carver went to seminary and now is the senior chaplain in the entire Army. He asked Howard to speak at the event 35 years after they met. Howard’s task was to speak for the retiree recognition breakfast at the chief of chaplain’s annual Strategic Leader Development Training Conference in Hilton Island, S.C. The event was far from home for the assistant professor of both the College of Christian studies and the Department of Graduate Counseling and Psychology, but Howard is no stranger to traveling or the military. He enjoyed a 20-year career as an Army chaplain before retiring to family counseling and, eventually, teaching, So Howard’s talk about “re-tiring” to prepare for the next stage of ministry was one not only of knowledge, but of great experience and passion. He studied several retired chaplains who have gone on to lead productive and fruitful ministries. Sitting before the stage was a new class of retirees, ready for the next step in ministry. He hopes that these retiring servants, “rather than rusting out, we would be pouring out and wearing out as we actively move toward the finish line of our lives.” Howard received the title of chaplain even before he found faith. Attending Pacific University as an undergrad, he was named chaplain of his fraternity. His peers thought he was the obvious choice because he was “the only sober one on the weekend.” But Howard was no man of religion – yet. He turned to a book of prayers by Peter Marshall who served as U.S. Senate chaplain during the trying years after World War II for help leading his fraternity brothers. “These prayers guided the men who were making incredible decisions for our country. I was intrigued...

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Glass blowing studio offers unique opportunities
Mar08

Glass blowing studio offers unique opportunities

Nestled in the historic town of Salado, Texas, sits a little blue workshop called the Coyote Glass Gallery/Salado Arts Workshop. Upon entering the shop, one can see the bright glow of the 2000-degree furnace holding liquid glass. The music of Frank Black plays in the background and the sound of cold glass shattering off the iron pipes flows through the air as the artists continue to make new pieces; the furnace roars when each piece is being flashed. The shop’s tables exhibit the finished pieces that show off their reflections and their elongated shadows. The smell of the cherry wood block and burning newspaper infuse their scents. Finally, hard at work, there are two students from UMHB: senior studio art major Gail Allard and sophomore art major Kate Winchell, wiping sweat from their brows and focusing on creating exquisite glass pieces. Offering a variety of classes and glass artwork, the Salado Arts Workshop has become a popular venue in the Salado community. Tibish Meyers and her artist sister, Melissa Paxton, along with their husbands opened the shop in October 2009, investing in some commercial buildings. Meyers said, “Our goal at the time was to do a weekend glass workshop that would also bring people in to see our buildings. However, the event was so popular with the village of Salado that we convinced some of the participating artists to stay on.” Allard is the expert glassblower of the shop with Winchell as his apprentice. They have both been artists since childhood. Allard said, “I have always practiced some form of art since I was young, from painting pictures on my bedroom walls, to taking apart various objects and re-assembling them in interesting ways. As a glassblower, I knew I wanted to make it my career about a month after I first started working with glass.” Winchell said, “I became interested in art as a career starting in seventh grade. I was in 3-D drawing and my teacher took one of my pieces for the art department and showed the advanced art teacher.  He said I had the potential to be really good at this. He offered for me to be in one of his advanced art classes. I accepted and immediately fell in love.” So what is glassblowing exactly? “It is an ancient art form that has been practiced for nearly 2000 years. You take hot molten glass, add pretty colors to it and make beautiful sculptures or vessels,” Allard said The shop is designed as a nonprofit organization. They are trying to get the younger generation to create 3-D modeling, pay tribute to art, get involved in the...

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