History comes to life through music, speech
Feb24

History comes to life through music, speech

Three children took part in a recent chapel celebration of black history month, reciting the 50 states with each capital and prominent figures of African-American history in rhyme. Other performers included a mother-daughter duet of “Because of Who You Are,” a solo performance of “Amazing Grace” and a rave-dance/light show by junior Christian ministry major Ryan Brack. Sophomore elementary education major Emily Phillips enjoyed the children’s routine and the way the school used chapel as a tool to inform. “The child performers were awesome. It was amazing how much they knew and how much they could remember,” she said. “I think that black history chapel is a great way to celebrate black history month.” Phillips embraces the recognition of African-American leaders as a chance to enhance the country’s rich culture. She said, “Black history is important to me because I think we should celebrate and learn about all the different cultures in our country.” Sophomore elementary education major Sarah Wooten thinks the importance of black history month lies in biblical principles. “I think it is important for people to celebrate the freedom God has given all of us. Equality is a vital part of American society, and now everyone is given the same opportunities as the next person,” she said. “I think our school did a good job at celebrating black history. The chapel was informing and enjoyable.” Gospel Fest, Feb. 16, was another event bringing attention to black history month. It showcased nine acts, including five solo performances and four group collaborations. Director of Student Relations & Community Service Dr. George Harrison and senior Christian ministry major Brandon Blackshear introduced the performers. Shelton Theater was filled with people from across the central Texas area. The audience was enthusiastic about the performers, standing, clapping and swaying with the music. Some moments in the evening left audience members crying. Sophomore biology major Viktoria Meadows thought the two events could have been combined into one to attract a larger crowd and make the celebration bigger. “I think that if the school would have combined black history chapel and Gospel Fest, the turnout to the event could turn it into something as popular as Spring Revival,” she said. “It would be nice to enjoy some gospel and learn more about black history in a larger celebration rather than within the confines of...

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New Act stirs up controversy
Feb24

New Act stirs up controversy

Only a few years after Former President George W. Bush tried to give states the right to take control of abortion issues, Congress is once again dealing with the sticky subject. This time, they could decide to keep it at the federal level which will have a national effect. The Freedom of Choice Act would overturn state laws prohibiting or inhibiting abortion. Pro-life and pro-choice activists have rallied, but most of the support and arguments are taking place online, as is the case with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of Central Texas CEO, Pam Smallwood, said, “Of course we’re supportive of the act because we do believe it does protect the right of a woman making her own decisions … about how she proceeds with her pregnancy, and we believe strongly that that’s a decision between a woman and her doctor.” She said that if people would take the decision to be a parent more seriously, there would be fewer problems in the world. Whether the public is in support of this bill is a matter of opinion. Smallwood said, “Clearly the majority of the country believes as we do, that these are decisions that don’t need to be made by the legislature …. These are not political decisions; these are personal decisions.” Some conservative organizations disagree, not only with the issue of the act, but also with the claim that women are fine physically and emotionally after an abortion. “What we’re finding at our centers is the total opposite of what they’re claiming,” said Hope Pregnancy Centers Inc. Executive Director Karen Wistrand. “We see a lot of women who have had abortions who have had so many difficulties after their abortions.” These issues include miscarriages, trouble becoming pregnant and the future guilt. “Our desire is … to tell the truth about prenatal development and the life of the baby while it’s in the womb,” Wistrand said. “We also want to offer them spiritual encouragement … and a nonjudgmental environment.” Hope Pregnancy Centers Inc. say they do not take political stands. They have limited resources, offering counseling and testing. Wistrand said, “If (FOCA) passes, we’re going to need more help here.” Last year, Hope Pregnancy Center Inc. in Killeen had 88 women change their minds against abortions, 1,003 women participate in parenting classes and 112 women become Christians. Wistrand said most of the staff are volunteer counselors. They have talked with women of all ages. Some of their visitors had abortions 20 years ago, but are still facing grief. “They can’t find healing because they’re pushing down the grief, but it does eventually come up,” Wistrand said. “The Lord came...

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Illegal narcotics threaten America
Feb24

Illegal narcotics threaten America

The situation, heightened threat The Interstate 35 corridor is like a river that is inundated with drug trafficking, and at its mouth is the city of Laredo, Texas. Its tributaries reach out to hub cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas where shipments then are made nationwide. Authorities recently found more than four tons of marijuana  in a school bus just four miles outside the Laredo city limits. The abandoned bus, labeled with the United Independent School District’s initials, is a shocking device used to traffic illegal drugs. The bus was stripped of its seats and had secret compartments in both the floor and ceiling that stored the 9,216 pounds of marijuana. The origins of the bus are unknown, as are the criminals involved. Along with drug trafficking comes turf wars among Mexican drug cartels as they fight for control of the IH-35 corridor. Julian Aguilar, a reporter for The Laredo Morning Times, said that Laredo “is the busiest port … so you have a lot of trucks (and) a lot of rail going by. There’s so much dope that gets smuggled through here.” He said the Border Patrol reported seizure of more narcotics in 2008 than the previous year, and Aguilar asks, “Does that mean … more is getting by? This is a very lucrative corridor.” Agents becoming drug escorts The Border Patrol is facing problems from within and without as its own agents’ illegal activities are coming to light. The FBI arrested Laredo Border Patrol agent, Leonel Morales, in December. He was indicted on a charge of accepting bribes for allowing drugs to pass through U.S. security checkpoints. As a drug escort, he received upwards of $9,000 in bribes. Eric Macias, a U.S. Border Patrol agent for the El Paso sector, was arrested last month for similar crimes. Macias was paid nearly $39,000 over a one-year period in which he granted the passage of illegal drugs. He even checked the license plate of a car believed to be following one of those he let pass. Reporters in the crosshairs Media coverage of the drug lords in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, just on the other side of the border from Laredo, has been silenced to a degree by the onslaught of attacks by drug gangs. “If media do report on crime, they don’t mention the name of the drug cartel,” Aguilar said. “Even if they know, they won’t.” He says it’s a form of self-censorship to protect themselves, particularly after a newsroom was burned to the ground by grenades in 2006. Dolores Guadalupe Garcia Escamilla, a radio host for Estereo in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, was shot nine times in...

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Crusader policeman tells of deployment
Feb24

Crusader policeman tells of deployment

As a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, former campus policeman, Stephen Mosley, is doing exactly what he dreamt of, helping in the military. “Serving my country is something I always wanted to do,” Mosley said. “Serving in the armed forces is not for everyone, but there is a connection that those who do, have that you don’t see anywhere else.” Assigned to the 320th PSYOPS, or Psychological Operations Company, out of Portland, Ore., Mosley was deployed to Iraq in 2008 to do face-to-face communication with civilians, gather information and pass along messages to officials from targeted communities. “I find out what the locals need, like water or power,” he said. “I try and get a feel for what they are thinking and how they feel about the local government, and if they support it or not.” While in Iraq, Mosley ran into Maj. Byron Duke, an executive officer whose twin sons, Denton and Dextor Duke, play football for UMHB. “(It) was one of those ‘It’s a Small World’ occasions,” Mosley said. “We were talking about where we were from, and one thing led to another. Now we talk about Cru football when we are together, and we even give each other the Cru hand sign when we pass on the base and during briefings we both attend.” Freshman Denton Duke said he hadn’t expected his father to tell him he was working with a Crusader employee. “It was so random and a big surprise,” Duke said. The student is encouraged by his father and those who work in the service. “It means a lot to me,” he said. Duke is more than ready to see his father when he comes home to Granbury, Texas, in a few months. “We are close,” Duke said. “We are all looking forward to when he gets back. It’s been hard on our mom, too.” Maj. Duke will be back to the states soon. He is a reminder of home for Mosley , and what he has to look forward to when he returns. Mosley originally joined the Army as an armor crew member of operating tanks in 1995. He then transferred to the reserves in 2001, becoming a military policeman. The MP unit was shut down, so Mosley transferred to the PSYOPS operations where he currently serves. Overseas, Mosley loves experiencing other cultures and talking to different people groups. “I actually enjoy what I do and where I am,” he said. “I get to try new foods and customs. I do miss my wife and son, but I am by no means suffering. I really enjoy serving and will continue to...

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Video of the Week – Feb 9-15

Cute...

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Journey to the Promised Land
Feb10

Journey to the Promised Land

It was probably not the legacy he hoped to leave. Pointing to a collapsed pillar in the ruins of the ancient city of Beit She’an in Israel, guide Hanna Kessler told the sad story of a man who long ago became a permanent addition to the archaeological site. “When the archaeologists excavated this pillar, they found trapped under it the skeleton of a man’s arm and hand,” Kessler said. “Near his hand they found a pile of gold coins, which he was probably carrying in a bag.” Kessler explained the man was likely trying to escape with his life savings from the earthquake that destroyed the city in the year 749. “Probably he didn’t want to go back for the money, but his wife made him,” joked Kessler. “Then she twice remarried while he was stuck here.” Laughing along with her was this year’s group on the 2008 UMHB Holy Land Study Tour. Held each year from December to January, this year’s two-week visit to Israel and Jordan, from December 26 to January 11, was designed as an intensive tour of archaeological and Biblical sites in the two countries. Students can earn credit for a variety of courses in the College of Christian Studies, and in other colleges on a case-by-case basis, by attending the tour and completing additional requirements. Dr. Steven von Wyrick, professor of Christian studies, led the tour just as he has done each year since 1994, when he first came to the university. An experienced traveler who has lived in Israel before, Wyrick believes seeing the Holy Land first hand is of great value for anyone wishing to better understand the Bible. “You cannot understand the Bible apart from understanding the geography, topography, and archaeology of the region in which the Bible was produced,” Wyrick said. The tour group of 25 included 12 current UMHB students and one alumni, but it is also open to any non-UMHB affiliated persons who wish to go. Throughout their time in Israel, the group toured a dizzying array of sites mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. The first few days included a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and a visit to Capernaum, an ancient fishing village that was the location of much of Jesus’s ministry. “It was so exciting,” junior Christian ministry major David Kline said. “We stood in a synagogue built in the 300’s, and underneath it is the place where Jesus actually taught.” Other highlights included the ruins of Hazor, the first city destroyed by Joshua and the Israelites during their conquest of Canaan, and the imposing hill of Megiddo, surrounded by an expansive...

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