ARK Foundation hopes to bring freedom to trafficking victims

Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells Many civilians of Bell County are unaware that as they go about their day, other citizens are forced to participate in human trafficking right under their noses. On the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHRTC) website, Belton, Temple, and Killeen are located in the hot zone along Interstate-35. There have been 45 confirmed cases of minor sex trafficking identified just at the Bell County Juvenile Justice Center since 2014, which confirms its prevalence in this part of the country. In 2012, ILO estimated there were 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, and according to a US organization that studies human trafficking, the Polaris Project, approximately 100,000 children are estimated to be in the sex trade in the United States each year. Many people think this doesn’t happen in America, but it does. In fact, Texas is number two in the country for the most human trafficking areas. Texas is so involved that 20 percent of all U.S. trafficking victims will travel through Texas at some point. Human trafficking is an issue that involves men women and children of all ages. Trafficking has been a global issue for over a decade and many don’t know it even exists. However, there are groups that strive to end this epidemic. The Ark Foundation is a group that focuses on the human trafficking going on in Bell County. Kathy Ylostalo, the director of the ARK Foundation here in Belton, said the ARK Foundation does more than raising awareness about the trafficking problem. “[Our foundation is an interdenominational, faith-based, non-profit organization that focuses on assisting children and adults in crisis, to help them experience Acceptance, Restoration, and Kinship through close interpersonal relationships, and by being shown the transformational love and truth of Christ,” Ylostalo said. The organization sees their job as being the newest Noah’s Ark. Since Noah led God’s people and animals to safety, they hope that their cause is able to restore hope to victims and empower new beginnings. The Organization also references the Ark of the Covenant, which went ahead of the Israelites in battle. The foundation also hopes to go ahead of these victims and fight agaist human trafficking. The ARK Foundation exists to bring good news to the afflicted and freedom to the captives. Their goals include assisting the victims to encounter Jesus Christ and grow in understanding the freedom of trusting and walking with Him, as well as finding their value in Christ; Providing assistance and guidance that helps victims find resources for physical and spiritual needs; Aiding those who are trapped in enslaving life circumstances to...

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Servant Artist: Local photographer captures faith in photos, inspires students

Published in the October 12, 2016 issue of The Bells Nan Dickson is a photojournalist who volunteers her time instructing aspiring photographers and artists with the art department. Now she is hosting several exhibits of her work at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple and on campus. Despite her success outside of UMHB, Dickson would most succinctly describe her role as a servant of the art department. “To me, a servant is a person who sees what needs to be done before anyone tells them to do it and knows it needs to be done and just does it,” she said. “I’m there to serve the professors, students, and really whoever comes by. ” And when she’s not serving the university, Dickson is using her gifts to bring light and awareness to important issues. “Free Behind Fences” is a photo series Dickson completed that centers around a women’s prison ministry called Discipleship Unlimited. The ministry minsters to women behind bars by creating a Christ-centered atmosphere for them even when the women of the ministry cannot be there. The artist thought these women, who are trying to strengthen their relationships with God even in prison, would be a compelling series. Dickson said she was brought to this minstry by God. He gave her a specific vision for her series while she was praying. “He said, ‘he next exhibit you shoot, love will be shooting the pictures through you,’” Dickson said. Through a series of events, Dickson met Linda Strom, the president and one of the founders of Discipleship Unlimited, and was invited to photograph the women of their ministry. That opportunity morphed into an exhibit. The namesake of the exhibit is a reference to the large and imposing razor wire fences that surround these women. “The women in prison who come to Christ are free even though they’re behind those fences.” Dickson accredits her work solely to the Lord, but in part to an intercessor with whom she lived for 16 years, Lily O. Rogers. Rogers was a prayer minister and small group leader with Discipleship Unlimited, and prayed without ceasing for Dickson’s work. She developed alzheimer’s disease later in life, and Dickson cared for her along with Dickson’s mother, who also had Alzheimer’s at the time. Although she was more or less confined to the house due to her caretaking responsibilities, she found that she could take pictures in tune with her photographer’s spirit, and began to catalogue the disease. That body of work, called “Shadows Dancing at Twilight,” generated interest that eventually led to Dickson focusing on early-onset alzheimer’s for an exhibit. She believes most people do not...

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UNDER THE RADAR: The best groups of UMHB you may not be watching

Published in the September 28, 2016 issue of The Bells JV FOOTBAL Fans scream, the smell of popcorn floats through the air, and sweat rolls down the players’ faces. One thing’s on their mind: getting the ball to the end zone. The Cru junior varsity football has gotten off to a great start to the season as they are currently 3-0. Next Monday, the Cru will take on Wayland Baptist University in Clyde, Texas. The JV football team consists of approximately 70 players, most of them being freshmen with several sophomores. “Our young guys do a great job coming out here and going through the same practice as the varsity guys do…But then they have their chance to shine and do their thing on Monday nights,” JV head football coach Keith Mullins said. Head Coach Mullins believes that being on the junior varsity prepares younger players for the intensity of varsity ball. “The JV team prepares a player for varsity by giving him playing experience in a game type setting,” Mullins said. JV football player sophomore Exercise Science major and mathematics minor Derek Sides’ love for the game motivates him to be a better player on and off the field. “I chose to play for the Cru for the love of the game,” Sides said.  “I have a passion for sports, mainly football. Football helps me grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Sides believes the team has great potential for the remainder of the season. “We have so much talent and teamwork. It is more of a family rather than a team. We have the potential to do something great.”   BLACK SHIRT CRU University staff knew the Crusader Marching Band needed a change when the 28-ensemble band remained stagnant for several years due to lack of interest and time, so six years ago the Blackshirt Cru Spirit Band was born. “Our primary purpose is to support our athletic teams on the field and the basketball area,” Blackshirt Cru Spirit Band Director Nils Landsberg said. “But our main purpose during the game is to basically be the soundtrack to what’s happening on the field.” Since its switch from marching band to spirit band, the band boasts 79 members of various majors and backgrounds. “One thing that is unique about the spirit band is that we’re the largest spirit student organization on campus. And there aren’t just music majors in there,” Landsberg said. “Having the opportunity to be in front of an ensemble that is made of some many walks of life and for some many different reasons but we all have the same of making music together is just awesome.”...

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New manager brings changes
Sep28

New manager brings changes

Published in the Sept. 28, 2016 issue of The Bells In the few years that Bawcom has been open, there have been vast changes to try and appeal to the comfort and accessibility of the students and faculty. The new building, a building, which opened in 2014, was not only closer to/attached to the stadium, but also more spacious and allows for more people at one time to study and hang out. Former golf coach Mr. Doak Flemming has been the assistant director of Bawcom for the past year, and is seeking to make Bawcom even better than it already is. “You know, taking over a brand new building, there’s not a lot of changes. The building had only been open a year when I took over, and so we’re looking to make some improvements, such as furniture. We’re working on a project with that,” Flemming said. “We’re consistently working with food services to improve quality, cleanliness, and those kinds of things. Aesthetically, we work with the design team of the university to see if there’s anything we can add to the building. Flemming is working on a project with the Physical Plant to possibly create storage for items such as skate boards and scooters, seeing their vast popularity around campus. Many students come to Bawcom to study or eat with friends. “Bawcom is where I come to study,” freshman pre- physical therapy major Bryan Buckberry said. “It’s nice to know that someone is looking to improve what’s already a pretty nice place.” Students congregate on all three floors of the building, and are excited to see changes. “I think new furniture would be amazing,” Buckberry said. “I’m in here all the time and I know that comfier furniture for the first floor would make it easier to stay for longer periods of time and study.” Flemming also said that he has worked to make the building only accessible to students and faculty during football games. Being selective about who enters Bawcom allows students who need to study to still feel included in the football experience. These changes have not gone unnoticed, and many have taken advantage of the opportunity to stay inside the building. In the two years it has been open, Bawcom has become a local favorite, a building both accommodating and appealing on the inside. And if Flemming has anything to do with it, it’ll only continue getting...

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Self-defense class teaches students awareness on-campus
Sep28

Self-defense class teaches students awareness on-campus

Published in the Sept. 28, 2016 issue of The Bells With the number of mass shootings growing by the day, “campus safety” is a popular news topic. However, as a private university with just under 4,000 students in attendance (that’s just under 7% of the population of Texas A&M), campus safety looks a little different to UMHB. So what does it look like to be safe on campus? What are the biggest threats on campus? What are the most common crimes committed here at UMHB? How do we defend ourselves when preventative measures have failed? These are some of the questions that officers Steve Carter and Kevin Mertz answered during their self-defense class, last Thursday evening in the Lord Conference Center. “The main goal of this class is to make students safe on campus,” said Carter. The officer said the biggest danger to students on campus is self-inflicted danger, or students putting themselves in harm’s way. Carter suggests avoiding potentially harmful or illegal situations like not bringing alcohol or drugs on campus. He also suggests that students take their things with them when they leave their vehicles and dorm rooms. “The most common crimes on campus are thefts,” the officer said. “We have thefts that happen from people coming from off campus to on campus, but we also have thefts that are student-to-student.” On-campus thefts are more than likely crimes of opportunity,” Carter said. That’s why the officer stressed so heavily the point of being aware of one’s surroundings and not being an easy target. Carter also cleared up for his self-defense class that any time you enter a vehicle when you’re not supposed to, it’s considered a break-in. After the informational portion of the class, the officers gave the students a tutorial on how to defend themselves against a physical assault. Carter believes that the best defense is being self-aware and being aware of your surroundings. He uses the verse, 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” to emphasize his points. “Your best weapon is your mind,” he said. “Your best defense is to be someplace else.” Carter also spoke about listening to “that little voice” that alerts us to when something is wrong. “Listen to that voice,” Carter said. “Don’t ignore it. At the police department, every one of us believes in that little voice; that it is more in tune with your surroundings than you are.” As a precursor to learning basic attack moves from Mertz, he told the attendees that the class was not meant to teach you...

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Have you found your church home?
Sep28

Have you found your church home?

Published in the Sept. 28, 2016 issue of The Bells A study conducted by the Barna group shows that approximately 40 percent of college students do not retain their faith during their college years. The university not only wants to cultivate a student’s education, but also their faith. University Chaplain, Dr. George Loutherback, believes that finding a church that fits one’s needs is essential for a college student. “A local church connection is very important for community, spiritual growth, and for feeling connected,” Loutherback said. “A local church offers opportunities for ministry investment, a chance to be with peers in a worship experience, [and] a chance to learn and be taught by someone who is gifted in the ability to teach.” For students searching for a church, Loutherback suggests talking with other students, visiting several churches in the area, and picking the one that the student enjoys attending the best. Churches of all different denominations can be found in the Belton/Temple/Killeen area, most of them offering college groups for local students. First United Methodist Church in Belton even offers a home-cooked lunch on Wednesdays for college students in exchange for a small donation. Students can enjoy fellowshipping with peers and church members during this time. For those who don’t have a transportation method or simply want to worship close to home, Everyday Disciples Church has weekly services on-campus in the Bell Baptist Association. “The Bell Baptist Association uses their building as a church plant incubator for free, so we are taking advantage of the space and opportunity to be on-campus,” Pastor Rich Diaz said. Outside of finding a church home, students can grow spiritually through service opportunities through the university’s Baptist Student Ministry. Some of the ministries led by the BSM include Drama Ministry, Hospital Ministry, Helping Hands, Hope for the Hungry, Random Acts of Kindness, and Worship in the Quad. Other ministries include Cru Catholics, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Small groups, an on-campus Bible study organized by Temple Bible Church. “I think it’s important to get involved in ministries in college because you need to figure out how to stay rooted in your faith,” said Children’s Ministry co-leader sophomore Spanish major Rosie Sawatzki. “When you’re away from home the first time it’s easy to get distracted by all the things in the world, and we need to set aside time to be reminded who we are to Him and in Him.” Sawatzki believes that through Children’s Ministry she’s able to live out Jesus’ teachings about loving her neighbors. “Being with the kids helps me realize that I’m working towards something with real meaning,” Sawatzki said. “I get...

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