Student overcomes physical illness, glorifies God

By Isabel Palos, Contributing Writer

Many people realize their calling early on in life.

Often, people will receive a calling from a defining moment in their life through getting to experience something for the first time.

This could even occur in the form of God giving a clear answer to a calling.

Yet, some people simply do not experience this clear-cut answer of where they should go.

Hanna Joines, a junior special education and early childhood education major, said she never received a clear direction from the Lord on where she was called to work or go to college.

“The Lord helped me realize that I can serve Him in any field, but this one focuses on loving the people society deems the ‘least of these,’ and it seems as though that is an important part of Christ’s ministry in the gospels,” Joines said.

“I still am not one hundred percent sure what I want my career to be in the long-run, but I know that college is preparing me and giving met the tools I will need to love these people well and help them see their own value.”

Joines chose to study special education and early childhood because she believes everyone is worth being treated with respect and love.

“I have seen children and people with disabilities looked down and left out too often,” Joines said. “I want to show Christ’s love to these people and let them know that the things that make them different make them even more valuable. We can all learn so much from one another because everyone is gifted in different ways.”

Although Joines is passionate about what she loves, this does not mean she is not presented with challenges.

“The biggest challenge in pursuing my major is definitely the in-field experiences in some of the schools I have observed in,” Joines said. “This was disheartening, but did not necessarily make me rethink my decision. I know that the Lord will equip me for wherever He calls me.”

While Joines is not necessarily certain on what her calling is, she knows the Lord will grow her through the challenges she is presented within her field of study.

“There are many things in education that will be difficult,” Joines said. “It will be hard to discern how to teach certain children, how to interact with parents, and it will be hard to go every day for eight hours,” she said. “However, I think that the Lord will give me so many opportunities to make Him known, and He will use the difficulty to sanctify me and bring me closer to Himself.”

Even though education is something Joines is passionate about, it is not the only thing that peaks her interest.

Joines occasionally sings and just recently performed at Battle of the Bands.

While music is not something she pursues educationally, it has helped Joines in other aspects of life.

“I sing throughout the majority of the day because I think it is such a great tool to bring glory to God, and it helps my heart to rejoice in Him,” Joines said. “It helps transfer what I learn in God’s word from my head to my soul. Worship music is also one of the things that helped me through a difficult time of sickness and loneliness in my life.”

In high school, Joines had to be homeschooled due to lethargy and chronic pain. In this season, she did not know quite what was making her feel this way.

“I found out that I had been living with Lyme Disease my entire life without knowing,” Joines said. “During the illness and treatment, I was home ninety percent of the time and I slept a lot. I struggled with depression because I couldn’t do the same things as everyone else. I struggled to read or even watch TV sometimes because I had bad headaches,” she said.

“For some reason though, music didn’t [give me headaches]. God used music to draw me closer to Himself and make me depend more on Him instead of myself.”

Although Joines does not know where the Lord is calling her yet, she said it will involve her sharing Him with others.

“[My calling] will involve me serving in a local church and seeking Him in whatever it may be,” Joines said.

Joines hopes to pursue music in a greater capacity eventually.

“I used to lead worship at my home church, and I want to start doing that again,” Joines said. “I also recently began writing some worship songs

Editorial: Art and science should not be opposed

By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

I wish my homework was that easy.

This sentence probably sounds familiar to a lot of fine arts majors because of the common assumption that studying the arts is easier than studying fields like math or science.

However, assuming that STEM is harder than the arts does a disservice to both areas of study.

“The question is like asking if a symphony is more beautiful than a painting,” dean of the college of science and mathematics and professor of chemistry Dr. Chris Jones said.

Yet, cultural comparisons between arts and sciences appear quite early in life.

“In many ways K-12 students are told STEM is hard and only a select few can really do anything with it right now or in life,” Jones said. “However, in the arts you are told to practice the arts to see if you have talent.”

Helping young students appreciate and desire to practice early for STEM fields would improve their perception of these studies.

“People look at you weird if you say you work math problems for fun,” Jones said.

It’s important to ensure that students are encouraged to explore their all their interests and talents, not just the ones stereotypes encourage them to like.

“This is particularly expressed to women, that women are not good at math,” Jones said. “Which is completely not true. We have four of our five math professors are female and they are really good with math.”

Rather students should look at what they have been called to do and what they enjoy as better indicators.

“If God is calling you to be a worship minister then you might not need to be a biology major, so you defi nitely need to do that,” Jones said. “If God’s calling you to be a biology major but you’re still not sure if you’ve got the talents, you have to trust God […] God will provide all the resources to prepare you for what he’s called you to do.”

Students do not have to already know everything about STEM fields to succeed.

“You don’t have to have a math brain,” senior mathematics major and theatre minor Kelsi Guleserian said. “I think everyone has the capacity to learn math just by being human.”

But studying STEM is certainly a major commitment and takes a lot of effort.

“The average science student at OBU will spend more than 1,000 hours in lab,” Jones said. “They normally work hundreds of word problems each semester.”

A large segment of students who come in studying STEM do not graduate with STEM degrees. According to a 2013 study by the National Center for Educational Statistics, “a total of 48 percent of bachelor’s degree students and 69 percent of associates degree students who entered STEM fields between 2003 and 2009 had left these fields by spring 2009.”

Viewing math and science as fun can help students weather these difficulties.

“While many of the science assignments I described may bring feelings of terror to those in the arts, they shouldn’t,” Jones said. “Some comparable terror might be felt if someone from the arts described their assignments to a STEM major.”

Although theatre students might spend a week working on breathing and relaxation in class, a few weeks later those same students are performing monologues in class.

They recite at least a full minute’s worth of words, memorized precisely down to the punctuation, in a setting where shuffling your feet too much or poor use of your breathing can affect your grade.

Theatre students can spend as many as 25 hours per week working on theatre productions, on top of their usual homework load.

Arts students may throw out numerous sketches of a single painting idea, before finally finding one that strikes the right chord.

They strive to recognize famous paintings and memorize details about famous artists for their art history courses.

Music majors labor over aural skills – required classes that teach and test students’ abilities to recognize, identify and replicate musical pitches using only their hearing.

Multiple semesters of difficult music theory classes can keep music majors up late studying, just as easily as lab reports can keep a science major awake.

Some of the belief that arts majors are easy may result from the public only seeing the results of the creative process, rather than the process itself.

“[I]t’s like ‘oh yeah that was really cool’ but they don’t think about what goes into that,” Guleserian said “[…] It’s not always easy. It’s physically demanding; it’s emotionally demanding.”

While common opinion may pit arts and STEM against one another, arguing that STEM is harder, the truth is that neither field is easy.

“All college degrees should be challenging,” Jones said. “They are designed to teach you things you do not know or have definitely not mastered.”

Many of the skills used in the sciences are used in the arts and vice versa.

“I see this all the time. And we use like practical math in theatre, measuring angles or measuring things a lot for stagecraft.” Guleserian said.

Both fields need creative thinking about solutions – an area that the arts emphasize heavily.

“It’s easier to problem solve after doing all these theatre things,” she said.

While majors that emphasize creativity may be perceived as easier, all areas of study, including both the arts and sciences, have their difficulties and joys.

“Math isn’t always hard, and theatre isn’t always easy, in fact usually not,” Guleserian said. “And I think you have to have a heart for both of them in order to study them.”

For students who choose to do what they love and what God is calling them to, however, the benefits of their chosen field, outweigh the costs.

Patience, faith needed to hear God’s calling

By Mya Hudgins, Contributing Writer  (Courtesy photo/Mya Hudgins)

Growing up, children often daydream about what they want to do when they “grow up.” Some kids wanted to be doctors, teachers or even the President of United States.

My dream seemed to always be a bit different from the others around me. My first goal was an astronaut and then a veterinarian. In third grade, we had to do this craft where we made this paper person and dressed them up in clothes that represented what we wanted to be in the future.

At this point in life, my dream was to be a garbage woman. I saw the position as highly respected and everyone seemed to like them. Perhaps the main reason I wanted this job so badly was so I could ride on the back of the truck. I wouldn’t have to buckle up or worry about getting in and out of the car. I kept that dream alive for a long time; unfortunately, I never realized that particular goal. As you grow older you start to learn about other occupations, and this new information changes how you see the world and your place in it.

At the age of 11, I found my true calling half way across the world during my first mission trip. We went to Peru for a week, and I worked in the orphanages with a local pastor. This mission trip changed my life in ways I didn’t quite understand at the time.

As an eleven-year-old, it was really hard to wrap my brain around all these people who had nothing and lived in shacks with dirt floors and one bed. These orphans had no one to love on them, and I just couldn’t understand why no one cared about them. Leaving the country and its people broke my heart; I wanted to stay and help, but I had to return to my own life and responsibilities. Once I got back home, I decided that I wanted to go on another mission trip that summer.

I signed up with an organization called Awestar, and I went to Panama for fourteen days. We stayed in the city for some of the time and traveled to more rural places occasionally. At one point, we took a canoe ride out to the jungle for a couple of days, and it was there, I heard something I have never heard so clearly before in my life.

I heard the Lord tell me that I would devote the rest of my life to mission work. This was such a huge commitment and calling that the magnitude of it frightened me; I didn’t know what pursuing mission work would involve or how it would manifest in my life in other areas.

From that point on my passion was serving and helping others, and I knew that would have a profound impact on me—and require my dedication and perseverance.

Fast forward eight years, and the Lord has continued to show His blessings as he has called me all over the place. That passion for helping others brought me to my major in college.

I am working on completing a degree in news and information, or journalism. Before being accepted to OBU, I wasn’t sure how I would apply my calling to my education. I just knew I wanted to tell stories and I wanted to serve. Those two goals work together rather well, and I am learning to make documentaries. My goal is to travel abroad, telling stories of different tribal groups, cultures or people groups and use media as a platform to share the Gospel. These documentaries or short videos would record the needs of different cultures, both physically and spiritually—this information would then be used by different churches in America so they could see where a need is and how their aid is applied.

So far, just taking photos or video has opened doors for me. One of the best ways to get into a closed country or a certain tribe is to bring a camera along—taking those photos show these people they are important, their stories are worth being heard and they are loved by people who may have never met them. The camera symbolizes the connection we all have to one another, and my commitment to them in particular.

Often times I would bring out the camera to take one picture and all of a sudden, I would be taking photos of everyone in the area. Seeing that always brings joy to my heart, and I know it’s the calling the Lord has placed on my heart.

I know I am lucky to have heard God’s voice so clearly, to know my calling early on and have my commitment confirmed over and over again. I know many pray for discernment and wisdom, and they try many paths listening for that clear Voice.

Maybe you’ve changed your major a couple of times, are still seeking a focus or maybe even you’ve decided on a major but don’t really know how you are going to use it. Don’t let that journey discourage you. Don’t be overcome with the worry and uncertainty. The Lord has a plan for your life; you may not know what it is yet, but when you remain faithful to His timing, He will reveal it.

We live in a world that offers instant communication, immediate news and worldwide access. We want things quickly, and we want resolution instantly. However, we have to learn to be patient and trust that Christ will take care of our needs and wants in His timing.

We have to learn to let go of our need for complete control. Craig Groescel, founder and senior pastor of Life Church, once said something that really resonated with me.

“Stop trying so hard and just trust more,” he said.

I think this is a statement everyone should live by, or at least try to. When you trust Christ, He won’t lead you astray—if your intent and heart is rooted in Him, the details will work themselves out.

Matthew 6:25-27 also advises us to trust in His vision and not waste time worrying.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life; what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life worth more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Verses 33 and 34 then tell us where we can place our focus instead of worrying.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Obviously, we all need to make plans and prepare for the future as much as we can, but we should not feel panicked if we don’t see the entire picture just yet. He sees it, and He knows it will be revealed to you when it needs to be.