African Outreach: Surpassing barriers to share love through a different language
Jan27

African Outreach: Surpassing barriers to share love through a different language

Students often spend part of Christmas break on mission trips or a weekend helping out with local relief efforts, but sophomore Christian studies major Eli Jackson spent an entire semester in East Africa with the International Mission Board Hands-On program. “You can go over there, and you’re the big missionary. You’re the head honcho … that’s what you think while you’re over here,” Jackson said. “But once you get over there (and) stay more than two weeks, you realize that you’re just some weird white guy that can’t speak the language trying to help these people out. And God shows you how much you’re worth and how much you have to depend on Him.” When he first heard of the program from an older gentleman in his hometown church, he was thinking of taking a short trip. “I wasn’t expecting to go for four and half months. I was thinking more like Christmas or summer,” Jackson said. “But (I) looked at it, thought about it, prayed about it. I’m not going to graduate on time anyways, so I might as well go on to Africa for a while.” Jackson’s sister Kelci, a senior at Belton High School said, “It was kind of exciting, bitter sweet I mean,” when her brother decided to go. “It would be really cool to know somebody who’s been to Africa, and he’s serving God in a foreign country and telling … people about Him.” But the work Jackson undertook thousands of miles from the university last semester proved to be far from an easy break from school. He learned more about his faith in the villages of Africa than from the classroom setting. “There’s a lot more than the school stuff has. Just the small things of daily life … are bigger within,” part  of putting faith into action. “The first two weeks were nice,” Jackson said. He had a spiritual high after gathering for orientation with other Christians at a resort on the beach. After three weeks in language school learning as much Swahili as he could, Jackson and his team members began their mission. “I was drilling and refurbishing water wells,” he said. “You get excited about the whole culture .… At first you’re excited, then you hate it (and) then you get used to it.” He worked on the mission field for months, so the experience was different from any other trips he had taken before with his youth group. “It was a lot different because two weeks you don’t get it all. You (just) get the excitement, ” Jackson said.  “You don’t get the day-to-day frustrations, the small things that all...

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Obama presidential inauguration speech
Jan20

Obama presidential inauguration speech

President Barack Hussein Obama made his inaugural speech today, beginning his first term as U.S. president. The two videos below contain his entire speech....

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Blog: Immigration
Jan20

Blog: Immigration

Two Bells staffers and I, along with our adviser, Vicky Kendig, just returned last week from the border city, Laredo, Texas. When we arrived in the city of Laredo, a population of about 220,000, it was clear we entered a culture different from that of many other Texas cities. Even Police Chief Carlos Maldonado likened Laredo to an island, since there are virtually no other large United States cities within a 200-mile radius. Only the winding Rio Grande separates the city from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a place virtually cohesive with its United States counterpart by culture. After meandering through downtown Laredo (in our van) with only a couple of quick stops to snap pictures, we headed to a small park on the riverfront. Two bridges grant legal passage from one country to another, creating much hustle and bustle. A constant flow of people crossed the bridge carrying cardboard boxes, shopping bags and rolling suitcases behind them – full of the day’s purchases or personal belongings. Hundreds of people crossed the Rio Grande on the bridge after going through the United States checkpoint. A mother walked through downtown with children following close behind. One child wore a backpack decorated with Dora the Explorer and carried a plastic sack from Church’s Chicken, perhaps the family’s dinner. Seeing the various shops that carried everything from Nike sneakers to party favors to candles for rosaries made the Hispanic culture unmistakable. We talked with a border patrolman about his daily routine on the Rio Grande. He shared a trend in trickery used by undocumented immigrants who make it across the river, unknowingly being detected. One time they apprehended a mother and two daughters who had run for about 10 yards as fast as they could and then stopped in the middle of park, pretending they’d come there to play and had been there a while. Others try to blend in with Laredo families as they have barbecue on the park grounds. Hearing these stories put the process of legalization in a different light. Countless times I’ve heard it asked (and we even asked ourselves while there), “Why do undocumented immigrants take the risk of the river crossing, of being caught and of deportation? Why not just come the legal way?” It turns out, the legal way is a long way – taking nearly seven years after paperwork and a series of tests. Looking from “our side of the river,” to the other, Mexico is noticeably different economically. Even with all our media hay day cries of the “economic crisis” in America seeing the dusty roads and homes made of scrap metal in Mexico, where...

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Ask a Student: What are your plans for Christmas break?

Students share their plans for the much-anticipated Christmas...

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A Crusader Christmas

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Season offers several service opportunities

Verses like, “We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year,” ring out among people during the holidays, but what if instead of simply wishing another would have a good time, people would make sure needs were met? As winter approaches, students have the opportunity to serve and share what they have with others through many different venues. A group of 30 students and eight adults will head to southeast Texas for another Hurricane Ike relief effort, Jan. 1-7. The trip, offered through the Baptist Student Ministry, is partnering with Nehemiah’s Division and locals for the reconstruction of the area. “Last time we did ‘mudout,’ where we actually tear things out, and now we are going to put things back in the house,” said Tommy Wilson, one of the student leaders for the trip. The team hopes to rebuild not only destroyed property but the hearts of those mourning their losses. Wilson said the mission trip will benefit the victims of Hurricane Ike by meeting needs and by investing in their lives. “We are kind of hoping to come back to the same contacts we had last time to show them we are not just a one show kind of thing — that we are in it for the long haul, and ultimately that is how Christ is,” he said. “He doesn’t just save us and throw us to the four winds and says, ‘Figure it out. You’re in a relationship with me,’ he says, ‘I want to walk beside you to the completion.’” In addition to affected residents, Wilson hopes the trip will aid in shaping missional lifestyles for participates. “I want them to see service is much more than being a preacher or necessarily going on a mission trip where you go around evangelizing one on one. The biggest way we can do missions is to evangelize with our lifestyles and with the gifts and talents God has given us,” he said. Although some have missed the ability to attend this trip, Wilson hopes they will understand missions are more than one time and one place. He said, “Doing missions is not something you do. It is a lifestyle you live. I hope people understand that whether they are working on someone’s house wherever, they have the opportunity to live missional.” As the team prepares to load up, another chance to participate in the Hurricane Ike relief is available. Cleanup efforts will be made in Galveston during spring break. Wilson said to contact the BSM for more information. If people still want to help, supplies for the trip are needed and can be left at...

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