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Jennifer Goff – My Summer Journey

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Jennifer Goff is a senior family studies major from Austin, TX.

This summer I went to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a program called Focus Leadership Institute. Focus Leadership Institute exists as a ministry of Focus on the Family that strives to train and equip future leaders with the skills and abilities needed to lead others.

As part of my time at the Institute, I worked at Boundless, an online community that discusses issues such as marriage, family, finances, conflict, and career choices among 20-30 year olds. I had the opportunity to write blog posts, participate in online podcasts, and meet rather interesting authors who shared their thoughts about the books that they wrote on those very topics. I was really encouraged to see that much of what I had studied as a part of my family studies major mattered to people with real needs.

The first three weeks I also sat through a Christian Worldview class led by Dr. Del Tackett, author and founder of the Truth Project. In this class, I learned how to systematically defend and explain my Christian worldview in regards to church, family, work, government, man, and God. One of my biggest takeaways was discovering that both “sacred” and “secular” vocations are important to the Lord. You do not technically have to be a minister or a missionary or a pastor in order to do God’s work. Everyone is called to be a minister in whichever profession they find themselves in. Being a stay-at-home mom can be an incredible ministry opportunity if that is what God is calling a woman to do.

After this three week intensive, my FLI group had the opportunity to visit DC during the week of the 4th of July. There my group of friends and I got to see how a cohesive Christian worldview plays out in the political realm. My favorite memory though was walking through the monuments and the Arlington cemetery. I was delighted when, on the plane home at the end of the summer, I saw the new Captain America movie and recognized all the monuments!

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Halfway through the week, we met with wealthy Focus on the Family donors who supported the ministry and toured many places with them, including the National Archives, the Newseum, and the Capital Building. It was neat to make so many amazing connections.

While I was there, I also nearly ran into three of my friends from Howard Payne: Glorianna Stolle, who was working with her dad at International Justice Mission; Katie Bonner, who was interning at the capitol; and Jake Aschmutat, an HPU grad who is now studying at law school.

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I heard speakers from various political platforms tell of the great need to impact the next generation and raise up Christian leaders. The political atmosphere can be dry for Christ, but just looking at where God positioned my friends from both Focus Leadership Institute and from Howard Payne during the nation’s 4th really encouraged me. God is already raising up Christ-like leaders and I get to be one of them.

The second class I took when we got back from D.C. was a Christian Leadership and Identity course, taught by Dr. Robert and Elena Thomason. In this class I took a personality assessment and strengths finder test. On the personality assessment, I was classified as an INFP. This meant that I had at least a moderate bent towards being introverted, am highly intuitive, think through things mostly on a feelings basis, and can be rather disorganized. I learned that although I may not get things done in an orderly fashion, that’s okay. It was encouraging to discover too, that most people who have the same personality type as me may take roundabout and adventurous ways to get things done- including making a career choice. That was great news for me since I am graduating and still have very little idea about my future plans.

My strengths, I learned, were adaptability, ideation, input, communication, and positivity. When I read about my strengths I learned how I could leverage them into a career that I could be really successful at and co-labor with other Christians to further the Kingdom of God- whether that was through a secular or sacred vocation.

As a whole though, the most important thing I learned about was the concept of community. I thought I had a good concept of what it meant to be a part of a healthy and thriving community, but what I learned at FLI healed some very broken ideas I had. While it was hard to grow close to people in such short amount of time, FLI challenged me to be open and vulnerable. In that vulnerability, I learned that I am free to be exactly who I am in Christ.

I’m great at what I do because I’m me, even though I’m not always sure what it is I need to be doing or where exactly I am going. FLI was an opportunity to begin understanding that about myself. I know graduating in December from Howard Payne may not change the fact that I’m only just beginning to find my own path.

The world just keeps getting bigger and it is so fun knowing adventures are just up ahead. I know I’m on a journey and God is definitely not through with me yet.

Kerrie Ford – Traveling the World Through Model United Nations

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Kerrie Ford, from Houston, Texas, graduated in spring 2014. She was a political science major and a student in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy. She is continuing her studies by working toward a master’s degree in international relations at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.

For more information on the Model United Nations program at HPU visit http://www.hputx.edu/mun.

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Joining Model United Nations is truly one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Through MUN I have been provided the opportunity to travel the world while developing skills in public speaking and diplomacy. During my time in MUN I have been to conferences in London, Chicago, Istanbul, Stockholm, and Rome in addition to the conferences that we host here at Howard Payne. Not only does MUN provide the opportunity to travel to all of these amazing places, but through my travels I have had the opportunity to network and create friendships with students around the world.

When we travel to conferences, while the ultimate purpose is to succeed in our committees, we are always given time to explore the city in which the conference is held. This past spring while in Rome our group was able to take a day with which we visited the Colosseum and other Roman ruins, visited the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, and were able to experience the beauty of Rome and its culture before the conference even started.

While we are given time to explore our surroundings, once the conference begins the team gets down to business. Especially this past year, the team has shown great success! While in Stockholm, my partner, Erik, and I won best delegation for our position as Argentina in the Security Council. While in Rome our delegation participated among 1,500 students from around the world, where we represented the Russian Federation in six different counsels. At Rome we performed even better than in Stockholm bringing home six total awards among twelve of us that participated in the conference. My partner and I participated in the Security Council where we were both able to come away with an award from one of Europe’s largest conferences.

Overall, Model UN has been one of the best experiences of my life. Through various conferences I have made friends from around the world, and have gained valuable experience in international relations and diplomacy while learning about the United Nations and how it works.

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HPU’s Dr. Rick Beelby inducted into WBU’s Athletic Hall of Honor

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Rick Beelby WBU for webBROWNWOOD – October 8, 2014 – Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, was recently inducted into Wayland Baptist University’s Athletic Hall of Honor. Dr. Beelby coached track and field at WBU from 1988 to 2001.

A news release issued by WBU quoted Dr. Beelby as saying the development of character is the most essential element for participating in athletics.

“I like what athletics can do for young men and women,” he said. “It gives them a purpose and a direction and an opportunity to set goals and achieve those goals if they use discipline and honest effort. I was probably attracted to that aspect of (coaching) as much as anything.”

The news release listed Dr. Beelby’s accomplishments at WBU, including training 30 women and six men National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national champions, guiding the men’s and women’s track and field teams to NAIA indoor national championships and three times being named the NAIA National Coach of the Year.

Dr. Graham Hatcher, department chair and professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, said HPU also celebrates Dr. Beelby’s recognition by WBU.

“Since coming to HPU, Dr. Beelby has provided exemplary leadership across campus and in developing an instructional program that is noted statewide,” said Dr. Hatcher. “But most important is his Christian commitment and inspirational mentorship to hundreds of students.”

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Photo cutline: Dr. Rick Beelby, associate professor of exercise and sport science at Howard Payne University, was recently inducted into Wayland Baptist University’s Athletic Hall of Honor. He is pictured on the HPU campus.

Let Your Light Shine for Jesus

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12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.   Philippians 2:12-17 (NKJV)

In the middle of this passage of Scripture where the Apostle Paul is admonishing believers to live out their lives in a perverse world in a way that honors our Lord, He gives us this challenge to let our lights shine for the entire world to see.

Sometimes we Christians forget that the world is always watching, and they are very quick to recognize when we are not living up to the standards that the Word of God sets for us. None of us are perfect, but all believers in Jesus Christ should always be striving to be that beacon of light that will show the way out of darkness into the light to someone else.

I had three recent experiences that reminded me of our responsibility to be light in a dark world. I live in a small town in East Texas. Several weeks ago I was in our local grocery store. I engaged in conversation with a young man that I knew casually from attendance at Church. After finishing our conversation, I started to walk away and he stopped me and said that he had something he wanted to say to me. He quoted Philippians 2:15, then he said to me, “I just wanted you to know that your light burns brightly in this community.” I had no idea this young man was watching the life of this old preacher.

We recently took a trip overseas. The flight home was a long one that came after a 3 hour delay. I needed assistance after getting off the plane because of recent back surgery. The airline had not provided sufficient help for all of those who needed assistance. This caused me a great deal of agitation and I reflected it in my harsh words. As I reflected on that event later, I was embarrassed and glad that no one asked me if I was a Christian. I let my guard down and let Satan have the victory that day. I certainly did not let my light shine for my Lord.

Recently the Church where I am pastor was having an after Church Bar-B-Que dinner. It was catered by a local business in our small town. I went in a few weeks before the event and ordered the meal from the owner, and then I called her once more just to confirm everything. When she delivered the meal, she told one of our men that she was very impressed with their pastor. She then told him that she and her husband had not been in Church in 20 years, but were going to attend our Church. I have no idea what it was that impressed her so, but the point is that the world is always watching. The Lord can take the smallest things we do and shine light on the darkness, if we are willing to let our light shine for Him.

You are God’s light in this dark world.

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The devotional this week is provided by Rev. James L. Goforth, Sr.  Rev. Goforth received his Bachelor of Arts from Howard Payne University in 1961 and his Master of Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1967.  Then in November of 1960 he was ordained to the ministry and served as pastor in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio.  Later he served as an appointed missionary with NAMB from 1992 – 2004, as a DOM in New York State.  He is now retired back in Texas and currently serves as pastor of Camp Ground Baptist Church in Alto, Texas.

Christy Hazelwood – Studying at Salzburg College

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Christy Hazelwood and her husband, Matthew, are seniors in HPU’s music program. Christy, from Fredericksburg, Texas, is majoring in Music Education. Matthew, who is from Corsicana, is majoring in Church Music and Worship. They spent the Spring semester at Salzburg College in Austria. For more information on this program visit www.salzburgcollege.com.

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Attending Salzburg College has been a fantastic experience! From the moment I met our group, I knew that I had made the right decision to study abroad. Everyone has been warm and welcoming. My husband and I have been staying with host parents this semester and they are, to say the least, awesome. We have our own little flat, which they provided us, and they cook the most delicious meals. I am now a huge fan of Austrian Cuisine. As for the classes and music lessons I have attended, I could not be more pleased. The professors are well educated and great at what they do. The college has also provided us with plenty of outdoor excursions and field trips, so that the students really get to experience Austria. Last but not least, I have loved getting to travel Europe on my spring break. I have visited France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and England. Because of my experiences here in Austria I have a better appreciation for the world around me. If you get the chance to go, please go! This is an experience that you will never forget!

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Sit, Walk, Stand

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Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  Ephesians 6:11

I hate prep work!  Whether it’s painting a room, trying out a new recipe, or getting ready for a conference in a new state, I would rather just get to the meat of things. Sometimes I get the cart before the horse, and I wonder why things didn’t work out.

We can do this in our Christian walk as well.  We rush in to “help” someone or offer advice or try to stand against evil, but we haven’t done the prep work.  We get things out of order.  I know I do!  I would rather get to the battle than to sit and listen to the Commander and learn His ways.

Watchman Nee, a Chinese theologian, has a book out about Ephesians called Sit, Walk, Stand.  It is an excellent resource that teaches us that we must sit at the Savior’s feet through prayer and Bible reading if we are to be successful at walking each day in His way.  Then we must walk consistently in purity and holiness if we want to be victorious in the battles of life.

Sit: “But God, being rich in mercy…raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”Ephesians 2:4-6  This is our position as born again believers saved through the blood of Jesus.  It is not only our inheritance and forever promise, but it can be a reality of today.  We can come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).  Here, at Jesus’ feet and in the presence of God we can have our minds transformed (Romans 12:2) and our spirits strengthened.  I like to visualize myself dancing before God’s throne or worshipping with uplifted hands before Him or walking with Jesus in a garden. This helps me to sit with my Savior and Lord and prepares my heart to read and hear from Him. I enter His presence with praise and thanksgiving and then I sit with Him in prayer.  Sitting allows us to know the mind of Christ.  It empowers us to be able to walk.

Walk: “Therefore I…implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…” (Ephesians 4:1).  Once we have sat at the feet of Jesus learning His ways, then we are empowered to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2) and to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1).  If you are not able to resist temptation, then go sit some more.  If your walk is up and down then go and sit some more.  If your works are not producing fruit, make sure that they are in line with God’s will and not your own. God is gracious and compassionate and picks us up when we fall (Psalm 37::23-24), but as we mature in our faith through Bible study and prayer, we should be walking without the faltering steps of a toddler.

Stand: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). If you want to be able to fight against Satan, then make sure your armor is in place.  Have you spent hours sitting with Jesus? Are you believing His word and His will by faith?  Are you standing on the truth?  Are you girded about with His righteousness?  When we have sat and practiced walking, then we are able to stand firm. God is calling us to spiritual warfare.  He is expecting that His children are ready for the battle.  Our sword is the Word of God.  Is your sword sharp?

For victorious Christian living we must sit, then walk, then stand.  Are you ready for battle?

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The devotional this week is provided by Dara Halydier.  Dara Halydier attended HPU in 1985 and now lives Early, Texas with her husband Tracy who graduated from HPU in 1986. They have five grown sons and run Abiding Truth Ministry which consists of writing curriculum, teaching at women’s retreats and speaking at homeschool conferences.  Dara has written Practical Proverbs for Older Students which is aimed at upper high school to college age students.

Courtney Beene – Surfing in California

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Courtney Beene is a senior education major from Red Oak, Texas. This summer, she traveled with the exercise and sport science department to learn how to surf in California.

As a young student, you dream about getting out into the world and experiencing anything and everything you possibly can. Here at Howard Payne University, students are blessed to have such an opportunity. Students have a variety of different activities from backpacking in the wilderness to skiing the slopes in Colorado – all offered right here at HPU.

beene blog 1What seems to be one of the most successful classes offered here would be the surfing class taught by Dr. Rick Beelby. This class not only allows students the opportunity to travel to the beaches of California but also offers an insight into a completely different way of life. On this trip, the students will drive to Encinitas, California, to camp out only approximately 100 yards off the beach at a surf camp called the Eli Howard Surf School. This camping experience is unlike any other. While we stay in tents, the tents are located in an enclosed area that provides a different experience than that of the typical camping tradition. This camp is equipped with an outdoor living area, a kitchen, showers, fun outdoor games, a Ping-Pong table, and a campfire area. Crazy, right?! Greg and Emily run this camp, as well as live there, and their primary focus is finding a way for students to come and get a one-of-a-kind experience. They believe that students should play an active role in the planning of the week, so they encourage students to help plan out the week’s activities. Students ride bikes as transportation to most of the activities. This is very different than driving a car around everywhere. After all of the extra time gets squared away, students have an allotted time to surf every day. During these times, the students get into their wet suits and are taught how to surf. They are educated about all that goes into the sport by not only Greg and Emily, but by an entire team of surfers. These instructors actually go out into the water and teach students one-on-one how to surf the proper way.

Despite what most people think, surfing is easy to pick up at a beginner’s level and can be done within the first hour or so during the first session of the week. The waves here on San Elijo Beach are perfect not only for beginners, but also experienced surfers. The waves can range anywhere from 1 to 6 feet and provide the perfect opportunity for surfing. Surfers normally stay out on the water for about 2 hours (by that point, you are exhausted) and when they are done, they simply ride a wave right up on the beautiful sand beach and step off. The feeling when a surfer is able to ride a wave and step off onto the beach is one of pure magic. Those moments are rare, but when experienced can change your life and your perception of the sport forever.

Aside from surfing, the trip holds so much more! When the students finish surfing for the day, they are allowed to get out and experience the culture of Encinitas for themselves. In California, it is not out of the ordinary for everyone to be walking around downtown. On the trip, students meet a variety of new people. On this most recent trip, students had the opportunity to go and serve the community by helping feed the homeless and sharing their own personal testimonies. This had never been done before so students and professors had no idea what was in store for them at a small park downtown. This experience bonded the students and faculty of HPU even more so to the area by investing such personal relationships with people from the area. Although that was a new experience, I hope that it is carried out again in the future.

beene blog 2Another fun activity would be the trip that students get to completely plan themselves. The class will research throughout the semester to see what looks like fun and then they will plan out an entire day devoted to that activity. This year, we chose kayaking. Kayaking on the sea is no simple task. It is an activity where you really find out who you work in sync with and who you do not. During this leg of the trip, students were paired up, hopped into a boat, and began paddling out to sea. Once out past the area where the waves break, students sat peacefully and gazed out on the open sea. The water, although not perfectly clear, does offer a degree of visibility. This is the best part because it is where students are able to sit back and admire the beauty of a new world underneath them. Once everyone made it out past the waves, we paddled to a cave and jumped out of our kayaks and entered the water. Being able to swim in the ocean is an extremely different experience than that of a pool or river. We were swimming side by side with seals and watching as the state fish, the Garibaldi, swam beneath us. The funniest thing about the little orange fish is that when they get scared, they begin to blow bubbles! This was another first for the trip and proved to be a great experience!

The surfing trip to California is one of the best trips offered at HPU. This trip is packed full of activities that students themselves plan. The way this trip is designed, students get a chance to develop leadership skills by planning and acting on what they have decided should be done. With students planning a majority of the trip, each year it is completely different. Students learn because they have a chance to experience everything for themselves. This experiential learning is a major part of what draws students in because it is unlike any other. Just about every classroom a student will walk in, the professor has designed just about every detail. Here, Dr. Beelby believes students are more likely to learn and develop at a much higher rate if given the chance to not only plan, but experience their planning in full effect. Students come to class with the campsite pre-booked but nothing else. Students plan and execute meals, activities, and extra trips. This is very unique in the sense that HPU has taken the student and made them the professor. Overall, this is an opportunity that should be experienced once in everyone’s lifetime. Students will always remember this unique experience and carry it with them into their future endeavors.

I Am Amazed

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In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1: 1

It is amazing to see how far technology has advanced since Thomas A. Edison invented the electric light.  His discovery was exciting.  Through the years, each new invention has brought excitement and this excitement will continue as new technology is discovered.  In the Sunday Comics, Chad Carpenter’s TUNDRA showed a cartoon strip that caught my eye. It had two human characters standing on a plain with no vegetation.  On the distant horizon you could see the mountains and a beautiful blue sky.  One of the characters threw a rock and hit the head of the other character as he said, “Hey!” . . .  “History’s First Use Of Wireless Technology.”

The creation story in the book of Genesis tells us God created the world from a mass of nothingness without form, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  His creation did not need technology, even Wireless Technology.  God didn’t use any type of tools or equipment for His work. He just spoke, and it was so.

“Let there be light” and it was so.
“Let there be firmament” and it was so.
“Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry
            land appear.”
and it was so.

Throughout the creation days, each time God spoke “Let there be”  . . . it was so.  His omnipotent power through the spoken word was sufficient.  That was the only thing He needed.  Each time I see a sunrise or sunset, the moon, the stars, the trees, the wildflowers, the crops growing, the babbling brook, or the distant mountain landscape, I breath a thank you to God for His power in the creation of our beautiful world.

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The devotional this week is provided by Raymond Tharp ’54.  Sixty years ago my wife, Dixie Stoneman ’54, and I graduated from Howard Payne University. That graduation launched us into a journey of service that we could never have envisioned.
I continued my education with Master Degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Baylor University.  My career has included Director of Guidance and Placement at Central Texas College, public school counselor, teacher, and pastor.
Dixie received her Master Degree from Baylor University.  She retired after 35 years of teaching.
We have enjoyed traveling to a number of countries.  Among these are Great Britain, Israel, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Canada, and Mexico.  One of our great experiences was teaching English in Estonia.  They had gained their independence from Russia three years earlier.  This program was sponsored by a joint effort of IMB and Texas Baptist.  It was a great experience for us.
We have had an incredible journey.  We thank God for the many blessings He has provided us in our journey.  Thank you Howard Payne University for our launching.

The Righteous—Like Palm Trees and Cedars of Lebanon

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12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” 
Psalm 92:12-15 (NIV)

We lived in Lebanon for almost thirty years. We saw plenty of palm trees down near the coast and often made picnic trips to the cedars way up in Mount Lebanon. In what ways are the Righteous like palm trees and cedars?

Palm trees come in various kinds and bear various fruits. We enjoy both coconuts and dates from palm trees. The Righteous bear the fruit of the Spirit. They also enjoy telling others about the Lord Jesus and what he means to them and how they can come to know Him, too.  Thus producing the fruit of another Christian.

The Cedars of Lebanon are huge trees and very old. Some of them have died and people have counted over 2,000 rings, meaning they were there when Jesus lived a few miles to the south in Israel.

Both the palm tree and the cedar are very hardy trees. They can withstand a lot of storms. Both have strong root systems. The palm bends with the wind and survives in deserts. The cedar lives best above 6,000 feet above sea level where winter storms blow hard and leave deep snow in freezing weather.

The Righteous are like that. They exhibit flexibility and withstand the storms of life because their deep roots are set in God and His promises. They have learned to trust the Father’s wisdom and care.

They bear fruit even in “old age” and they stay “fresh and green.” Have you known people like that? Have they blessed your life? Are you becoming a person like that who is or will be a blessing to others?

Heavenly Father, grant me grace to bless others like a fruitful palm tree and like the refuge formed by a strong cedar of Lebanon. Thank you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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The devotional this week is by David King.  He and his wife, Claudie Maxine King, graduated from HPC in 1952 and were awarded honorary doctorates in 1988.
They served as IMB missionaries from 1959 to 1989 in Beirut, Lebanon at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. David also did leadership training during summers in two countries in N. Africa over eight years.
Since retirement they have helped start a new church in New Jersey (1990) and taught at East Texas Baptist University from 1991 to 1996. He has also written S.S. materials for adults over ten years and Open Windows for three years. They are very involved in First Baptist Church of Marshall 1991 to the present.

Catherine Mullaney – NCCFI Nationals with SSB!

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Catherine Mullaney is a recent graduate from Boylston, MA. She was an English major and a member of the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy.

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The Howard Payne University Speech and Debate Team – Student Speaker Bureau – is a group of students from all majors and disciplines at HPU who compete at intercollegiate speech and debate tournaments, host our own high school UIL speech and debate workshops, adjudicate elementary, middle and high school UIL tournaments, and emcee HPU and area public events. We are members of the National Christian College Forensics Association (NCCFA), the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA), the American Forensics Association (AFA), the National Forensics Association (NFA), and the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA). The team also competes in World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) tournaments and the International Public Debate Association (IPDA). For more information on this program contact Dr. Julie Welker.

This spring, the Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) speech and debate team traveled to California to compete in the invitational tournament for the National Christian College Forensics Association (NCCFI). The team spent the first half of Spring Break at California Baptist University competing in a wide variety of events from two forms of debate to speeches ranging from prepared persuasive presentations to impromptu or limited preparation events. We also had an amazing time traveling to Disneyland together and sleeping on each other’s shoulders on plane rides.

Benjamin Palmer, my fellow team captain, and I led discussions during preparation time for NPDA (parliamentary) debate rounds. Each school team only gets 15 minutes to prepare for debating each topic presented to the debaters, whose sides have already been chosen for them by tournament officials. Debate prep is an exhilarating time filled with Google searches, frantic scribbling of notes, and occasional jokes about funding policy proposals with government cheese.

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These times of preparation, and the debate rounds that follow, have been one of the most educational experiences of my time at Howard Payne. Not only do we learn about history and philosophy, we are able to apply these facts and concepts to events happening in the world today.

Many members of the team also competed in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) style debate, an individual event that SSB has never competed in before. Andres Zambrano, a freshman on the team this year, advanced to the bronze medal round. Jaclyn Bonner, also a

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freshman, was named national novice informative speaking champion. Adam Jones, sophomore, received the third place award in extemporaneous speaking. Each of these nationally ranked students exemplifies the excellence that we strive for as a team.

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After the successful tournament, the team headed to Disneyland for a day to wind down and spend time together following the last event of the year. We stood in many lines together, ate overpriced food, and met a cast of characters I can only imagine were actually exuberant actors sweating inside costumes with gigantic heads. Our experience at Disneyland is indicative of many times we’ve shared together as a team – fun, memorable, and incredibly exhausting. SSB has been an amazing blessing to me during my time at HPU; without

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the guidance and support of Dr. Julie Welker and Professor Kim Bryant none of our successes or good times had on trips would have been possible. This team is a family and no matter how often it changes its makeup we remain close and have fun while working tirelessly to bring awards back to school and represent Howard Payne well. I’ll never forget the amazing experiences I have had as a member of SSB, including this unforgettable trip to California!

Photo cutlines, from top: Catherine Mullaney with teammate Marcos Corley.

Catherine, right, with Dr. Julie Welker and Kim Bryant.

Team picture outside the convention center where final rounds were held.

Team picture at dinner.

Marcos Corley inside a teacup at Disneyland.

Members of the SSB at the park entrance.