Student finds strength through testimony

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

Junior forensic psychology major Brooke Goodale is a hardworking student, a confident friend and steadfast believer in Jesus Christ.

Her life, testimony and friends all reflect this to be true of her.

Although Goodale’s testimony is what some people might call a ‘typical Christian testimony,’ it holds no less power in her life and still has a lot of meaning to her today.

“When I was a toddler, I asked Jesus into my heart several times because I knew it was the right thing to do and I loved learning about God at church every week,” Goodale said. “However, it wasn’t until I was nine years old that I understood the reality of Salvation and ‘officially’ prayed the prayer and became a Believer. I was confident that it was real this time and I would be going to Heaven.”

The person that had the most effect on Goodale when she finally chose to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior was her grandmother.

They were very close while she was growing up and she helped lead her in the right direction.

“My grandmother was the one who guided me through the prayer of Salvation and helped me fully grasp the significance of following Jesus,” Goodale said. “Even though I knew I was ready to take that step; I was still unsure how to go about becoming an official follower of Christ. My grandmother walked me through the prayer, and I repeated each line after her. I felt so much comfort in my heart when the prayer was finished.”

Now that she’s at OBU, her faith is able to flourish even more in the environment she’s been placed. Goodale said she feels that OBU has aided to the growth of her faith and her walk with God and has allowed her to become bolder in her faith than she might have been.

“My relationship with God at OBU is a lot easier to interact with because this campus is such a safe and welcoming space for Christianity and its believers,” Goodale said. “This was not the case when I was attending public school prior to college. It is so freeing to be able to talk about your beliefs and know that others around you want to build you up in Christ as well.”

Her friends can also see this in her day-to-day life around campus, in classes and the clubs in which she participates.

They see her boldness to speak out against wrongdoings and her ability to love others as well.

“I see Christ in Brooke’s life because no matter what someone has done or who they identify as, Brook tries to understand them and love them as Christ loves,” sophomore Psychology major Kaitlyn Patterson said. “She never backs down from the truth and asks the hard question to further her faith and other’s faith.”

Not only that, but she pushes people to be themselves and to live out their lives unapologetically.

It has had quite the impact on people close to her and has pushed people closer to Christ as well.

“Brooke has helped me realize that my job as a Christ follower is not to change people,” Patterson said. “I am called to love them where they are at to show them Christ. She also helped me to learn to love myself.”

Social clubs encourage community in Christ

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

Although the female social clubs may have different events and philanthropies that make them unique in each of their own ways, there is something that unites them all: faith. Each of the social clubs aim to bring their members closer together as sisters in Christ, and to raise one another up, to encourage each other and to have a place to turn when times get tough.

Through these clubs, many friends have been brought together that otherwise may not have met. This is one of the most special aspects of social clubs and something that many of the girls cherish.

“Kappa’s, to me, is a huge support system,” junior Kappa Phi Beta member Isabel Palos said. “I’ve met girls from all different types of classifications, majors, and every person possesses a unique set of interests. It’s a really beautiful thing to see how the Lord has brought this sisterhood together.”

The girls also are a major support system for one another, as they are each other’s ‘sisters’ in the context of being in a social club. From praying for one another to coffee runs, to even just helping out with some homework, there is no shortage of love that is given to each girl in each social club.

“Honestly, fellowship and doing life together is a huge part of the Christian walk that isn’t focused on,” junior Pi Sigma Phi member Jillian Walker said. “The girls in Pi Sigma Phi played a part in helping me find a church when I was church hopping. They helped me get connected and feel a part of church instead of just attending.”

Another thing that social clubs do in their faith aspect? They have different ways that they encourage the group, such as prayer groups, prayer retreats, and devotions that they do in their club meetings. They help each other in their good times and bad, and they share their prayer requests and praises as well.

“I’ve had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life lately,” junior Theta Sigma Chi member Taylor Boyd said. “And every time I would come to them with something, they never fail to let me know they love me and are praying for me.”

Not only that, but these social clubs are open to every girl on campus, and they do their best to make sure that every girl feels like she has a place and is free to share what’s on her heart with her fellow sisters in Christ. Social clubs are a growing opportunity to grow stronger in both their friendships and their faith.

“I personally find it hard to get into those conversations on my own,” junior Theta Sigma Chi member Sierra Davis said. “But Theta’s is a safe place where Christ-centered conversations just flourish – and you feel safe in sharing your insecurities or questions concerning your spiritual life and journey.”

Professor makes faith a priority

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

When students think of larger campuses that aren’t associated with words like Baptist or Christian, they usually think of more secular or logical ideas about teaching subjects like math or science.

That isn’t the case here at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Due to the Christian roots in OBU’s founding, teachers are able to intermingle faith into the subject they are teaching.

“You’re freer to discuss the religious aspects related to science,” Dr. Yates, Associate Professor of Science, said. “As opposed to restrictions that you find in public schools. And it seems that students are more open to that as well, coming to a Christian university; in which they expect that the [religion] will be tied… that’s part of our goal. To tie it to our curriculum.”

At OBU, students often encounter the gospel – and teachable moments in their faith – even outside of chapel or the classes that are strictly about religion. This is especially true for professors such as Dr. Yates, who encourages his students to pursue their faith even in the field of science.

“Dr. Yates helps us to recognize the ordering of God’s creation and the perfection of God’s work even down to the smallest microorganism,” Anna Harmon, a junior biochemistry major, said. “With every new topic, he taught us to recognize how incredible and purposeful God is in everything that He does. The Genesis account has never been truer than when I was taking classes with Dr. Yates.”

Dr. Yates’ positive attitude and encouraging spirit to lead students on in their studies and in their faith has affected both his students and him equally.

By having this opportunity to bring glory to God, through a subject that many students normally struggled with, he has guided students to see the world of science in a different light.

“I’ve had students that, after a class, will email me and say, ‘You know, I have never thought about it like that,’” Dr. Yates said. “I’ve seen lights come on in student’s eyes and in their mind, and in their behavior. They become interested in the topic because you can tie it into one’s religious beliefs.”

Because of Dr. Yates and the large impact faith plays into his life and into his student’s lives, it becomes very apparent in his teaching, no matter what the subject matter be. “When [Dr. Yates] discussed how UV-radiation can control microbial growth – to non-science people, it may not mean anything except dead microbes,” Har-mon said. “But to me through the teaching of Dr. Yates (and other science professors), I recognize that God had a plan in mind when he was designing microbes and UV-light.”

Even though science and math may seem less interesting and not as applicable to non-math and science majors, there’s always something you can get out of it when it comes to the professors at OBU.

By mixing in faith with these subjects, students can connect and understand the subject matter more.

“It’s a good opportunity to have, to be able to teach science and within that realm of science to discuss religion as well,” Dr. Yates said. “Which, in the public school, you typically cannot do to a very high degree.”

Noonday providing bread of life

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

The semester is getting into full swing and that means free lunches for students, every Wednesday at noon.

This gathering, also known as Noonday, is a favorite of students because of the free food aspect, as well as the camaraderie.

Director of Spiritual Life Clay Philips is one of the leaders behind Noonday and also encourages students to join in the event.

“Noonday is a unique event on campus where students get to enjoy each other’s company over a meal, while also engaging with faculty and staff who share their experiences and wisdom from walking with Christ,” Philips said.

Every week, a different church comes to serve food for the students, whether that be a pizza they got from Little Caesar’s or a meal they made themselves and brought to give to the students.

“It’s a great way to see what churches are in the Shawnee area,” Jadelin Calmes, a junior family science and community service major, said. “Every week there is a different church that is eager to serve the OBU community, and that is so encouraging. These people that I’ve never met want to make food and serve to a bunch of college students. And that’s amazing to me.”

It is especially helpful for any freshman on campus who are still searching for a church community to get to know and grow with.

This gathering can be a possible solution for those still church hopping this Spring semester.

“It’s difficult to know where to start looking for a church to go to,” Calmes said. “And so having different churches come every week is really nice.”

The churches and leaders at Noonday are also usually in charge of sharing and connecting with the students as well.

Each week the churches or leaders usually have some sort of piece of wisdom or information to share with the students while they are eating their meal.

“We usually hear a devotional or a testimony from a staff or faculty member,” Philips said.

Calmes sees each week as unique.

“On that note, no week is ever the same though,” she said. “So students are always able to come every week if they please, and glean something new each time. Sometimes it’s a Bible lesson, and sometimes it’s a testimony, and sometimes various camps come to talk about Falls Creek or any other camp as well.”

Whether students are looking for a good campus activity to get involved with or to grab a quick, easy, and free meal, Noonday is the perfect place to go. It provides believers of OBU with a place to fellowship with friends and to grow and foster a new community of friendships for them.

“[At Noonday] we want to provide a fun, loving environment where people are able to hear the Gospel proclaimed,” Philips said.

Men’s ministry provides a place to grow

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

This semester, Men’s Ministry is starting back up for the male students of OBU. 

Clay Philips, who is also the Director of Student Ministry, is one of the leaders of this organization, which leads men to grow in their walk with Christ and to fellowship with one another.  

We gather together men to learn from older men what following Christ looks like for men in our current context,” Philips said. We hope to promote the virtues of the Christian life by applying them directly to the life experienced by men in the context of our city and university. 

Not only are the men trying to grow and learn from other older and much wiser men, but they’re also trying to learn and glean information from one another.  

One junior ministry major at OBU, Victor Van Herreweghe, is also a leader at the Men’s Ministry, and approached Clay about this particular ministry 

“Victor came to me with a burden to see men growing in their faith as men and I agreed with him that it is a needed exercise to look specifically at how to grow as a man in Christ.” Philips said.  

Men’s Ministry is easy for any male student to get involved with, and students are highly encouraged to join in anytime. The meetings are weekly, and not at a busy time in the day so that more students are able to attend.  

We meet every Monday at 8 pm in upstairs GC,” Philips said. “This is the only time we gather now but as we plan for next year we will incorporate more elements into the ministry.” 

Philips also used to be involved in Men’s Ministry back when he was a student at OBU and was transformed by the experience during that period of his life, as he interacted and grew closer to other students involved.  

“My favorite memory of Men’s Ministry is when I went through Journey as a student, which was the name of Men’s Ministry back then,” Philips said. “We kicked off the semester with a retreat which is where I met Dr. Bandy. I had been praying for direction on where to go on a mission trip and we decided to take a trip to the Amazon jungle together. The relationship with Dr. Bandy and others I formed on that trip were life-changing.” 


Canterbury a time for reflection, rest

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor

Every other Thursday at The Ritz in downtown Shawnee, students gather together to worship. However, the event isn’t just for the students of OBU, the Shawnee community is invited to this bi-weekly gathering.  

“Every Canterbury different students lead worship, making it a varied, special event,” Emily Wall, a junior who is part of the Canterbury team, said. “No Canterbury is ever the same, so it is a joyful, genuine atmosphere of worship. I love that it is off campus because it feels like a very intentional gathering of believers; there is no chapel credit, there is not campus recognition, but it is a coming together of students who want to worship our God.” 

Although Canterbury isn’t exclusively for OBU students, it does cater to the particular audience of college students. When the semester begins to hit hard, students can take a step back to refocus their minds during this event.  

“Canterbury is a ministry that was created with the sole purpose of establishing a time for students to get away and have an intimate time of worship,” Noah Graves, a sophomore also on the Canterbury team, said. “In the midst of classes, clubs, sports, relationships, and much more, it seems easy to get stressed or overwhelmed; therefore, Canterbury takes you off-campus to which you can remember the grace of our Creator and to give Him glory.” 

Canterbury also has special, fun events for the attendees, to help draw in more students to the community. Whether it be for a holiday or just prayer for the nations, there is no shortage to what is offered at Canterbury.  

“This Valentine’s Day, there is a Canterbury, so come celebrate the best kind of love, the eternal kind from Christ, with us this Valentine’s Day,” Wall said. “Closer to summer, we will do a commissioning Canterbury for those who are serving the Lord internationally or in different ministries this summer. You can see our Canterbury schedule on the OBU calendar if you want to look ahead at the dates this semester.” 

One of the most unique aspects about Canterbury is that it is led by the students of OBU. Through this, students can become more connected to the school and to the community that is created through the event.  

“There is a team who prays through and asks different students to lead worship sets,” Wall said. “Typically, sophomores/juniors lead in the fall and freshmen/seniors lead in the spring. If a freshman is interested in leading, he or she can email Emily Wall or Caleb Newton to at least get that communication started.” 

What it boils down to is that Canterbury is simply a gathering of Christ-lovers who want to give praise and worship to God in any way possible. By simply coming to one of the gatherings or getting more involved with the Canterbury team, one can help this initiative move forward.  

“Canterbury hopes to accomplish the same goal every time… give praise and honor unto the Lord,” Graves said.” In the future, we would love to see an impact this event has on the community of Shawnee, especially since it is located in one of the highest-poverty-rated areas in all of Oklahoma.” 

Students have access to advising site

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Features Editor

This week is registration for J-term classes and Spring. For the seniors, graduate students, juniors and sophomores, enrollment is already open. But, for the freshmen students, enrollment will open Friday, November 9 at 7:00 am.

With enrollment finally here, there are many things that students need to know that they may be unaware of regarding advising sessions and enrollment.

One thing students may not know is that the advising tool Degree Works is available for students to explore their degree plan, classes they need to take and classes they have already taken on their own.

This is the same service which professors use during advising meetings. Teri Walker, from the academic center, commented on the new involvement with the old software.

“I think we went live with it in 2005 or 2006,” Walker said, “and now it’s web-based. The only people who used to be able to use it [were] the faculty, and you couldn’t access it on a website, and now that’s what’s happening. It’s improved itself.”

A common misconception is that Degree Works can be used as a tool for enrollment. This is false according to an outline from Degree Works.

“Degree Works is not a substitution for consultation with an academic advisor,” the outline said. “Students will still need to see an academic advisor in order to receive access to register for classes.”

Students still need to meet with their advisors because they have to obtain their personalized pin numbers in order to enroll in their classes.

Students also have their own fair share of tips and tricks from years past for enrolling in the right courses and planning out your schedule.

“I would always make up my own schedule with what I wanted/needed to take according to my degree plan,” senior Ben Dingus said, “that way all my advisor had to do was make sure it would work and keep me on track.

“You should look at your degree plans and know what you have to take ahead of time.”

Degree Works is also constantly changing with your schedule as you add and drop classes. It’s able to keep up with your current schedule and much more.

“It’s live data,” Walker said. “If [a student] came in here today and dropped a class, then it would show up the next day.

“The system updates every night… if you logged in on Degree Works tomorrow, that class would no longer be in your Degree Works. Or, say if [a stu-dent] pre-register[s] for 16 hours [this] week, it will bring those classes up onto your Degree Works as well.”

If students don’t know how to locate their Degree Works, students should either contact their advisor or search the link:

“The first person [students] need to contact if they see something wonky in their Degree Works is their advisor,” Walker said. “It’s just smoother than every student in the world coming in with their changes.

Rohr builds linguistic foundation for students

By Jonathan Soder, Features Editor

As a young woman, assistant professor of English and TESOL Jessica Rohr developed a curiosity about the way her brain worked to use two language systems.

Growing up in Brazil as a child of missionary parents, Rohr learned to speak, think and operate in both English and Portuguese. As an undergraduate at Baptist Bible College, Rohr discovered a passion for the field of linguistics while studying under linguistics professor Dr. Greg Christopher.

Linguistics is the study of language and its building blocks – sound rules, structures and meaning. More than just the vehicle which carried Rohr to OBU after her Ph.D., linguistics is also the ever-present structure Rohr sees under all of society’s interactions. In her TESOL specific classes, linguistics has practical applications for all of Rohr’s students.

“I want to teach my students, who are going to become language teachers themselves, to understand their own language well enough to be able to convey it to their students in a way that makes sense,” Rohr said.

“If you want to teach English, then you definitely want to know how English works on all levels, from its smallest sounds to how we actually use it in society, so that you can teach your students not just what the ‘rules’ are, but why and how those rules work.”

On the other side of the coin, linguistics plays an equally important role in literature classes.

“If you are studying medieval literature, for instance, it might help you to know something of the history of how old English changed and developed into the English we would recognize today,” Rohr said. “A class in historical linguistics could tell you that.”

One well-established theory of literary criticism is called structuralism, and it relies directly upon linguistics to analyze the structure of an author’s language and conveyance of meaning within the work.

“A structuralist view of literary text would start by asking what are the most basic units, the ‘atoms,’ of a text,” author Mary Klages writes in her book “Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed.”

“Well, a literary text, like any other kind of written text, is made of language, so a structuralist analysis of literature would start with a structural examination of language itself.”

One author that Rohr said she enjoys specifically because of his linguistic creativity is Salman Rushdie. In particular, she mentioned his book “Luka and the Fire of Life.”

“It has some of that really neat lyrical language…” Rohr said. “He’s a fascinating writer from that perspective, and that’s actually one of the things I appreciate most… I love stories, and I like stories that are well-told. I like stories that transmit the good, the true and the beautiful – all of those things that we value – but I also really appreciate an interesting voice.”

Linguistic analysis doesn’t only apply to English. As Rohr said, her interest in linguistics stemmed from a broader interest in how her mind worked in two languages. Dr. Charles Swadley, an associate professor of English and Spanish, also utilizes linguistic practices for both languages.

“I took [the linguistics class] over 10 to 12 years ago…” Swadley said. “I really like it. It’s really fun, and it’s helped me teach grammar better.”

Under the umbrella of linguistics are many sub-disciplines including phonology (the study of the sounds in a language), semantics (the study of meaning within language) and syntax (the study of a language’s structure). In a world where elements of language are constantly shifting, Rohr has learned tactics to keep up with linguistic trends and changes.

“I work with the people who are on the cutting edge of language,” Rohr said. “So, the people who are on the cutting edge of language are young people. The people who change the language are people ages 24 and younger. They are the ones who are constantly innovating with language. They’re making new words and using new words.

“This new generation of students is doing even cooler things with language because they’re basically reinventing the written system through what we do with text.”

Underneath this, Rohr said, there are constants. Not every aspect of language can be changed. Grammar, syntax and other structural elements tend to remain static. However, the ever-changing vernacular landscape gives a vibrancy to language which Rohr sees through linguistics.

“Studying linguistics affects the way you see the world,” Rohr said. “It helps you to see language as a living entity that’s constantly changing, and to approach everyday language questions with excitement and curiosity.”

One faulty perception of many Americans that Rohr points to is the idea that there is only one right way to use the English language.

Instead, she says there are languages specific to each community a person is a part of. For example, there is a specific vernacular one uses at home with family and another one used at school. School English or academic English is that flavor which is hailed as the “proper” form of English.

“The way that my colleagues here in the English department and I like to think about it is, when you come to be a writing class, we’re not asking you to stop being yourself and only speak this way,” Rohr said.

“We’re just saying, ‘Hey look, this thing that we’re all working on, this academic thing that we all have to know how to speak, is kind of like another language that we’re all taking on. We’re all taking this one so that we can communicate in the same way.’ But that language that you speak at home, that’s good, too.”

This diverse use of the English language is more than a topic for Ph.D. study or classroom talk for Dr. Rohr. It also informs her faith.

“By studying language, I get to appreciate the amazing creativity and diversity of the mind of God, and His graciousness in designing our minds to connect with Him in and through language,” Rohr said.

Engage Week brings students together

By Ashton Smith, Assistant Features Editor

Part of OBU’s mission as a university is to engage in a diverse world. In turn, students are encouraged to go out and “engage,” and it all starts right here on Bison Hill.

This past week was Engage Week on campus, which is a week where students are able to connect with different clubs and student-led organizations.

The ultimate goal is for students to become more connected to campus as well as the Shawnee community.

Melissa Stroud, the assistant dean of students in the community and leadership engagement, is one of the driving forces behind this week.

“The idea is that incoming students are introduced to multiple opportunities to be involved on campus and in the community during Welcome Week and in particular at Un Cuerpo,” Stroud said. “However, we encourage them to keep their mind open and seek more information about those things that they are interested in.”

Un Cuerpo is meant to let incoming students see what’s available on campus, so that as they become immersed in OBU, they have a better idea what they might be interested in.

Engage Week is the follow up to that.

“During the following three weeks the hope is for the students to meet more people, talk about these opportunities and begin to feel drawn towards committing to just one or two,” Stroud said. “By having intentional conversations with the clubs at their tables, students are able to have conversations with the leaders about why they are interested in the club and what they can do to become involved in it,” she said.

“The true purpose of joining a club or organization is to help students determine where they can connect with others better.

“A large percentage of our student body is very active and involved and others have a more challenging time finding their place,” Stroud said. “It is my desire for students to look for ways in their lives to serve others, whether that is in the church, a local ministry, through their field of study, Res Life or on an athletic team — there are so many ways to impact our sphere of influence for good.”

But, if students don’t see an area where they can fit in or want to see an area of improvement or change in the clubs and organizations, they should continue to strike up conversations with students and faculty around campus.

“Clubs on campus are a built-in avenue for serving,” Stroud said. “If a student is unable to see how their passions, interests and gifting fits, then I’d love to sit and talk it through one-on-one with them.”

By continuing to grow and extend OBU’s reach in the diversity of their organizations, students will be better equipped to reach students who have similar passions.

For more information, visit OBU’s website, Under the Student Organizations, Club Sports or Intramural Sports tab, students can view all of the possible options for potential clubs.

Blue Zones Project continues to better Shawnee

Ashton Smith, Assistant Features Editor

Blue Zones are areas in the world where people are known to live longer. An organization known as the Blue Zone Project is working towards increasing the Blue Zone areas all over the world, and part of that has started here in Shawnee, Okla.
“The Blue Zones Project encourages changes in our community that lead to healthier options,” according to the Blue Zones website. “From our worksites and schools, to our restaurants and grocery stores – the small changes contribute to huge benefits for all of us: lowered healthcare costs, improved productivity, and ultimately, a higher quality of life.”
By changing these aspects of our lives, we leave room for healthier habits to take root.
On the Healthways website, the author goes all the way back to tell the readers who invented the Blue Zones and how they came about.
“Blue Zones Project was born out of National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner’s eight-year examination of communities across the globe where people were happily living the longest. A team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists uncovered nine common characteristics that help identify a path for up to 12 extra years of life, regardless of geographic location.
Since then, 42 communities have joined, 1,685 organizations are participating, 165,028 pledges have been taken and over 2,250,000 lives have been impacted because of this national project. One of the 42 participating communities is here in Pottawattamie county. The organizations website for Pottawattamie county is full of different ways to get involved in the project, such as their page full of serving opportunities and workshops that are being held around the area.
Along with that, there is a tab on their website about the different local organizations in Shawnee that are committed to operating on Blue Zone premises. Different places to eat, shop, go to church and go to school are located on this page so people in the area can find them easily.
On the main Blue Zones website, the secrets to living a better, healthier and longer life are there for all to see and read about. It has what the Blue Zone Project calls the Power 9®.
“[We can] improve where we live, work, learn, and play, we make it easier to get up and move, eat healthy, make new friends, find a reason for being—and live longer, better,” according to the website.
By providing the community access to materials that detail these nine health improvements, the Blue Zones can spread to new areas of the globe and promote health and happiness to more people.