Archive for July, 2011

Education major, Melanie Catteau, spends summer in China

by   |  07.19.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

Day 3 in Beijing

After we finished testing, we went out to lunch without Ms. Talley and Dr. Stewart. We felt so accomplished after we got exactly what we attempted to order. We then went back to the school and got our classroom assignments! Although Prentice and I are not team teaching, we both have a classroom of 6-8 graders. I have the intermediate students and he has the advanced. Our classes are going to be project-based and writing intensive. So far, I have 4 students, one of which I tested. We spent the afternoon setting up our classrooms. I got my whole bulletin board up (our “Poet Tree,” haha, get it?) and the furniture arranged.

July 2, 2011

Purple Bamboo Garden and Summer Palace

Today we visited a botanical garden called either the Purple or Black Bamboo Garden. It was absolutely beautiful. It was so green and full of people. There were people playing badmitten, cards, doing Tai Chi, singing, and playing music.

July 6, 2011

Yesterday was the second day of school! Amazingly, it went even better than the first. I was nervous about yesterday. It was the first day of real teaching. I was scared I’d have to keep Shine in for recess for talking and I was scared I wouldn’t be able to get Tom to talk. However, yesterday went really well. It was the first day to follow the hopefully permanent schedule and I even got some actual teaching in. The boys do really well with the schedule written up on the board and they make sure we stay on track.

Yesterday, we were able to make a Frayer model and a Venn diagram as a class. Hopefully they’ll be able to do it more independently next time since they’ve seen it modeled once. We talked a lot about the definition of the holiday to help them pick a holiday to research (I knew it was going to be hard if they decided to start researching April Fool’s Day) and then used the Venn diagram to compare and contrast Reaping Day (a holiday from The Hunger Games) and Christmas (a holiday we are all familiar with).

We also did an art project yesterday! I took the picture on the first day of school (they just loved that) and printed it out for them to put on a piece of black cardstock. I told them they had to have three pictures/object cut-outs that tell me something about themselves. Of course, some of the boys drew things like a robotic arm attached to their body to show me they like robots but I had one kid, Jung Ho, draw a picture of a boy kicking a soccer ball into a goal. AMAZING. This kid is an artist.

My favorite part of the day is reading The Hunger Games. I’ve just been reading a chapter to them every day and I love the discussion that comes after it. It’s so encouraging to hear their insightful questions after watching them fidget for twenty minutes out of the corner of my eye. I can see that they’re really comprehending and enjoying the book! I try to stretch the book into as much of my day as I can. They do homework about the book, they respond to the book, they use a holiday out of the book in the Venn diagram. I love reading their thoughts about the book and seeing that they are remembering things we didn’t discuss as a class.

July 9, 2011

Today was amazing. We got to sleep in a little bit (I never thought I’d be excited about sleeping until 7:30) and get Starbucks before getting on the bus to go to the Great Wall. The Great Wall was incredible. It was miraculously clear day in Beijing and the Great Wall was beautiful. We got to hike up to the highest possible point (Allen, our tour guide, told us we hiked 4 kilometers) and then walk down and take toboggans (so fun!) to get to the bus. It was a difficult climb in the 95o weather. No one died, we only got a little sunburned, and only 1 girl threw up. Success.

Rebecca Dial studies abroad in Oxford, England

by   |  07.19.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

My trip to England has been a different and exciting experience so far. On our first full day in Oxford, we went to the weekly market in the morning and bought fresh fruit and vegetables and explored some of the city. Thursday was our first class and in the afternoon, went to the Natural History Museum of Oxford. There were many skeletons and casts of dinosaurs, mammals, and other animals. I also went into the Anthropology and Archaeology room in the museum, which was full of various cultural artifacts from all over the world. I particularly enjoyed it because it displayed the different cultures’ work right next to each other, which allowed me to more easily compare them. We also walked around the park in Oxford and saw the massive trees and plants that are much greener and more beautiful than the foliage in Texas. That night we saw the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two” at midnight. It was very cool seeing the movie at midnight in England with a bunch of British Harry Potter friends.

We had a free weekend this past weekend and all went together to Cardiff in Wales. On Friday, we went to Cardiff Castle and took a tour as well as walked around the grounds. The castle planning was incredibly intricate. The Bute family owned the castle and the rooms had different themes. Some were based on the languages they learned—Hebrew, Greek, and Latin were a few. One room was based on the gods behind the names of the days of the week. We also got to see the falconry at the castle. We got to see a baby barn owl being fed, which was an interesting experience since it eats day old chicks. Saturday we went to Caerphilly, a short while away from Cardiff, and saw the Caerphilly Castle, the second largest castle in England. It was rainy when we were there, but it made it a great English experience. Later in the day, we returned to Cardiff and went to Cardiff Bay, which was a pretty walk. For church on Sunday morning, we went to Llandaff Cathedral for worship service. The cathedral and surrounding area was gorgeous. There was also a World War I and II monument to those who had served. The train rides to and from Cardiff were the first I had been on, and were enjoyable.

This trip is different than others I have taken for a couple reasons. First, I am taking class with science related majors while usually I am with others of the same major. It is good to get new perspectives from people and I like hanging out with them. I have also had to take a lot more responsibility for planning my weekend and day trips, which is sometimes a little overwhelming but helpful in getting used to being on my own. The last part of the trip that has been different is the money conversion, which I have not had to do when traveling around the States.

Though I have not yet been here for a week, I am quite pleased to be here and am experiencing a great deal.

Kelsey Chrane spends weekend in Wales

by   |  07.18.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

This weekend was absolutely incredible! Possibly one of the best in my entire life! We left on Friday morning and headed to Cardiff, Wales on a train. Europe is has an amazing train system, which allows people to travel very quickly and easily cross-country. We had one transfer, but only traveled for about two hours and over 100 miles. Whenever we arrived at Cardiff, we checked into our hostel, The Bunkhouse, right downtown and then headed out to lunch. For lunch, I had traditional Welsh rarebit. Although it sounds very intimidating, it is actually just toast with cheese spread on it. It was tasty, and I enjoy trying new and different things. After lunch, we went to check out Cardiff Castle. It has been there for hundreds of years, and the city of Cardiff has literally grown up around the castle. The history that is around every corner here is absolutely incredible. I cannot even explain what it’s like to walk down the street and see castles, as well as views that belong on postcards. According to their website, “Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. During 2000 years of history, the Castle has been a Roman Garrison, a Norman stronghold and in Victorian times was transformed into a gothic fairytale fantasy.”

Saturday morning we got up early to make sure that we made it to our appointment at the horse farm on time. The sky looked a little stormy, and we were all a little bit concerned about how that was going to work out. We made it to our train and rode to Brigend, and then took a taxi to the Ogmore Farm Riding Center. There were castle ruins right on the land of the Ogmore Farm, and we could hardly wait to get a closer look. After spending some time exploring the ruins, we still ended up getting there a little bit early, but they let us wait in the tack room until it was time for us to go on our ride. The door was open, so we could see that it was continuing to rain. So we said a little prayer, and tried not to worry about it. We put on riding helmets and boots, and by the time we got ready, the sky had cleared and the day was looking very beautiful. We rode across rivers and through the Welsh countryside. The views were breath-taking and gorgeous. I absolutely felt like I was in a movie, forging streams, riding through the countryside, and enjoying the beautiful weather that God had provided us. We rode to the ocean, and Kaitlyn and I got to run our horses down the beach. It was unbelievable. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for my entire life, and I know that I will cherish these memories forever.

After we got back from our horseback ride we had lunch in a charming little cafe right by the farm. We then decided to walk to cliffs that were about three miles away, in Southerndown. We asked one of the workers how to get there, and had to make a pretty impressive climb to get there. However, once again, we walked through some amazingly beautiful countryside, that was right out of the movie PS I love you. After some assistance from some very helpful Welsh people, we made it to the cliffs. We went down onto the beach, as well as hiking up to the top of the cliffs. We also got to explore some more castle ruins, but these were even more special than the one before. Inside the ruins, there were incredible gardens. It was like we had stepped back in time into the Secret Garden. While working in Washington DC, I had the opportunity to watch the introductory video to the Capitol tour. In the opening scene of the movie, it shows a panoramic view of the coast of California (I believe). From the first moment I saw the view of the waves rolling in towards towering cliffs, I knew that I wanted to see something that beautiful in my lifetime. Incredibly enough, I was able to see a view like that less than two months after I realized that I wanted to. What an amazing blessing. After we finished exploring, we walked back to a nearby restaurant to call a cab that took us back to Bridgend and the train station. Before we left, we had dinner at a restaurant that served traditional Irish food.

The next day was our last day in Cardiff, which broke my heart. There has never been a more perfect weekend! We went to breakfast as a group and had a lovely meal of traditional Welsh food. After breakfast we walked to Llandaff Cathedral, the most famous cathedral in Cardiff. The parishioners were extremely welcoming and very kind to our group. According to their website “Llandaff Cathedral stands on one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain.  In the sixth century St Dyfrig founded a community close to the ford where the Roman road crossed the river Taff. Nothing remains of the original church but a Celtic Cross that stood nearby can still be seen near the door of the Chapter House.” After church we headed back to Oxford on the train. A great reminder that even perfect times cannot last forever, but I’m exciting to have more new and exciting experiences over the next several weeks!

Seth Bouchelle from Australia #2

by   |  07.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

For the last few weeks we have been helping to run a few Christian Camps. The first of these was Camp Orion, the objective of which is to reach out to and build relationships with unchurched youth from the Brisbane area. Orion was smaller this year than in past sessions, however the small size proved advantageous as it allowed us to really engage with the campers in a more personal setting. Our second camp, Camp Connect, was more focused on networking and encouraging youth from the churches around Australia. While Orion was primarily active team building activities and nightly opportunities to discuss life and faith outside of a “churchy” atmosphere, Connect consisted mainly of lectures and worship sessions, leaving little time for much personal interaction. Between camps we have spent the majority of our time with our friends from Camp Orion. Most days, after breakfast of course, consist of picking up one or more of our new friends and spending the day either at a local shopping center or in the homes of one of the church members. All of the nationals have proved to be incredibly hospitable: be it allowing us to sleep or eat in their homes, or utilize their space for activities with the local youth. Most afternoons and evenings are spent either with our host family, some of the older university students, or the lipscomb mission team whom we coordinated with to run camps.

The church here has given my partners and I many opportunities to speak publicly. Also, I was able to speak yesterday at Redland’s College as part of their Spiritual Emphasis Day. Our experiences with the church here have been educational, to say the least. Australia is a very laid back culture, but at the same time very reserved. There seem to be many people who would regard themselves as “seekers” and who wish to know Truth, but they are highly suspicious of Christendom. This, combined with the relatively small size of most congregations, results in an evangelism which is highly relational with a lesser emphasis on the programmatic. Most churches are not large enough to facilitate the enormous programs that would draw in a crowd, nor would they have the facilities to manage mass-visitation. They generally seem to focus on building relationships with those people they interact with on a daily basis, seeking to model the love of Christ in the hopes that their example might be seen and move a few to ask why they have the hope that they do.

Red Thread Movement continues on summer tour promoting awareness of sex trafficking. By Samantha Sutherland

by   |  07.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

At our second festival, Alive, it rained on and off, but, despite the muddy playground inside the merch tent, there were some upsides. When the downpours would come, masses would cram inside the merch tent to wait out the storm. There was a group of people crowded up next to our table so I offered them some reading material for the wait and they gladly accepted. Awareness spread.

We met some awesome people, some shared some really touching stories with us about pasts of sexual abuse.

We were also mentioned on RadioU’s morning show and by a speaker on one of the stages.

Dawn from Fireflight passed by our table and gave us a fist pump and Hello Somebody came by our table later and said that she came over to them and said, “I love the Red Thread Movement.” ha ha, we love her too. The Fireflight street team frequented our table and became good friends of ours, they had picked up their bracelets last year from Don’t Wake Aislin and were sporting the second edition Red Thread bracelets ha ha.

We ended up bringing in around $2,800 and almost selling out of bags! By the end of the week, the crowd was speckled with red bracelets and several youth groups joined the Red Thread forces. We also were excited to add To Every Cynic to Red Thread Music. They are a great group of guys on fire for what God has planned for them and a huge heart for the cause.

After leaving Alive Festival, Kelcie and I met up with Red Thread supporting members, Sound the Ruin and Harp and Lyre, in Urbana, IL and joined them for the last couple nights of their tour to Cornerstone.

This year at Cstone, Red Thread sponsored the Underground Stage. We set up the booth the second day of the festival and it was pretty slow-moving at first.However, there were a lot of supporting bands playing that I was able to finally meet and it was a blessing to get to know them all! We truly have an incredible group of supporters that stand behind us with everything they have. I can’t even describe their passion and kindness towards this cause! It was fun being able to hang out with them all week.

The last two days we saw a drastic change, and it served as proof that effective marketing can make all the difference. I spoke with some good folks at Frontgate media, who were organizing part of the festival, and they gave me some onstage time. I spoke on the mainstage after our buddies in Seabird played and before Blindside came on. We also had Gallen speak for us on the Underground before a few sets and, that night, we more than doubled our sales!

I asked to speak again the next night and they put me on mainstage before the headliner. I also spoke three times on the Underground and was allowed to go up before the Chariot, the big Encore show of the final night, when the tent was packed, and tell people a little about the situation in Nepal. God provided so faithfully and we pulled through with a strong ending. The final day we welcomed 5 new bands on the spot and I got to meet and watch many other supporting bands.

Afterwards, with our car overflowing with bags, we headed for Chicago where two friends departed and my brother and I hung out for a couple more days at a friend’s house. We met up with another friend we had met at the festival and he showed us around the headquarters for Jesus People USA, it was not at all what I expected. They have an incredible community there!

We started our first run on the Van’s Warped Tour the next week. It was so very different from what we were accustomed to at the Christian music festivals. A majority of the girls walked around in bras, literally, and most of the guys’ sported shirts with the f-word somewhere on it in bold letters. The reception was, as you can imagine, quite different for a cause there. We met up with our friends in the Got Your Back movement and their feelings of horror paralleled ours. We didn’t do nearly as well in sales and it was more difficult to talk to people about having compassion.

However, it hit me, when I was talking to a girl with an “I love sex” sticker on her shirt with her jean shorts rolled up and unzipped to reveal her swimsuit, that perhaps the horrors of sex trafficking is the perfect cause to introduce in this kind of setting. I watched as one girl read our flier and, with each sentence that described the graphic reality those girls face, her face creased in disgust and horror. A lot of these girls don’t realize that they are making themselves the objects of exploitation and are degrading themselves and their worth by giving in to the over-exposed image that society tells them is acceptable. Boys would come up to the table with offensively suggestive things written on their chest and would buy a t-shirt that says they are against sex trafficking. Something about it is terribly hypocritical. If anything, I think that the sex industry and the things that happen to these girls is a direct consequence of perverted love in our world today.

We did four days of Warped back to back. We would load in at 9:30 am and work until 6:30 pm when we would load up, eat our only meal of the day, and hit the road. We would drive all night to the next location and sleep a couple hours in the car if we arrived early and then go again. We definately began to question if the tour was worth it, but stayed surprisingly optimistic. Our next festival begins tomorrow in Minnesota. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces of some bands and non-profits we know and being in a Christian environment again. We join back up with Warped afterwards and I’m still working on booking some more festivals for us after that. I love being on the move, we have been so very blessed by the people we’ve met on the road and have found safe havens in each state we’ve gone to where people have opened their homes to us. Chicago has a particularly special place in my heart, our new friend there was incredible and he taught me how to skateboard which may become a new obsession ha ha.

God is good, and He never ceases to surprise me!

Emily Sumner on medical mission trip to Ecuador

by   |  07.14.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

This morning we got up, packed, and headed for the bus that would take us to Borbone where we would catch the canoes. We rode 3 hours on the canoes through the beautiful jungle. When we arrived at Kumanii we had to carry tons of heavy bags and boxes up about 100 stairs. We were all so hot and sweaty when we were done, but it was time to open a clinic for the surrounding villages. I worked triage, which entailed registering patients, finding out what their chief complaint was, and checking vital signs. It shocked me to see how many teenagers were already mothers several times over. Everyone got their eyes checked and got medicine for their physical ailments. Then they went to the charla where they sang church songs and heard about God. We worked until dark and saw about 100 patients! That night we had a wonderful dinner and got ready for bed in our bamboo floored and thatched roof cabins. I slept on the top bunk in my room and had to plug holes in the mosquito net with toilet paper. That night I was so tired, I slept really well.

This morning we got up bright and early for a devotional and breakfast. We then sorted everything needed for the clinic and loaded up the canoes. One of the ladies that was assigned to work in the pharmacy got sick so I was moved to the pharmacy. I spent the day filling orders and counting pills for the pharmacist to approve. I did not get to see the people today because of the set up, but I spent a lot of time becoming familiar with the different meds and their uses. When everyone in the village had been helped to our best ability, we packed everything up and headed back to camp by canoe. We relaxed and talked until dinner. Then we sang together and discussed the plan for tomorrow. Some of us stayed talking for awhile and one of our ladies ended up getting dehydrated. Katy, our ER Nurse, was thankfully still up and administered two bags of iv fluids to her. I was able to assist Katy by holding lights and things. It was neat to get to help After the lady was stable we all went to bed, but about 30 seconds after I walked in my cabin, I heard Katy screaming. I ran outside and saw Katy with half her right leg through the bamboo floor of the cabin porch. Her knee had gotten caught on the cross beam and her whole leg had gone numb. I also yelled for help and the men ripped the boards up and the doctor checked her leg. Thankfully, it was not broken, but it was badly cut and bruised. Poor Katy was on high powered pain killers for the rest of the trip! She was a trooper though and still worked incredibly hard. Tonight was certainly eventful which made it hard to sleep, but more days await!

Every day was full of hard work and helping out in any way that I could.  I fell in love with the children and my favorite part of the day was when I got to see them and spend time helping them. I did not want to leave Ecuador. I love everyone there and the work that is happening there is so amazing! So many people’s lives are being touched by the missionaries in Ecuador and it is an awesome and humbling thing to be a part of it all.  Thank you to everyone who supported me and prayed for this trip! God has truly blessed me with wonderful people who care about me and God’s work.

Honors student Christy Lewis describes summer internship with Dartmouth Medicine Magazine

by   |  07.14.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

As I begin to write my article on the over-diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (and yes, I had to look that term up before I could even begin going over the background research), I still can’t believe the enormous opportunity I have been afforded this summer. My internship at Dartmouth Medicine magazine is giving me a wonderful glimpse of what my dream career – science writing – could be like. These past two weeks I have been challenged to look past the jargon associated with medical research while maintaining an unwavering focus on the important information.

My time as an editorial intern in the magazine’s office has been a refreshing contrast to my role as a staff writer at ACU’s student newspaper the Optimist. Rather than the exciting pace induced by the ever-present deadlines of a twice weekly newspaper, the magazine editors have  happily allowed me to spend much of my first two weeks  researching my subjects and scheduling  interviews. While my newspaper articles were all reviewed before being published, every step of the writing process has been reviewed during my internship – from my letter of introduction to my interviewees, to my interview questions, to my article outline. Everything is checked to make sure my voice is in tune with Dartmouth Medicine’s voice.

I have also had the opportunity to get a taste of Dartmouth’s culture. My editor gave me a tour of Dartmouth hospital – a sprawling, sophisticated, shopping mall of a hospital with its own internal bank and gift shop. I was invited to attend a session of Dartmouth’s medical rounds, at which I learned of an instrument Dartmouth is developing to instantly and noninvasively test the oxygen levels in tumors to help doctors decide when to treat the cancer. It was a lot for me to swallow, too!

The town of Hanover, where Dartmouth is situated, is a charming, closely knit community with many “shoppes” and cafes that I am systematically patronizing. The only damper on the place is the weather. I imagined New England as cool in the summer, but I didn’t anticipate a week of drizzling 55 degree weather. There’s nothing like spending a June day watching children in their hoodies playing in the cold, wet grass under a cold, wet sky.

But the chilly state has many warm, welcoming people. I have been consistently humbled by the friendliness and kindness shown to me by the Dartmouth staff and church goers of New Hampshire. It is they that are making this internship worthwhile, and I look forward to spending another eight weeks getting to know them.

Joseph Austin in Caesera Philippi

by   |  07.11.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

One of my favorite sites out of the whole trip was Caesera Philippi where Peter confessed that Jesus was Christ.  Jesus was known for doing things a bit out of the ordinary and coming to Caesera Philippi was one of those things.  Originally, the place was called Paneas in honor of the Greek God Pan, whose shrine was located there, and the whole region was especially known for their pagan worship.  But, Jesus did not care what the region was known for or who was being worshipped.  For me this would be like my accounting professor taking me to a company meeting at what was say, Enron, to learn about some of their accounting standards.

One thing we do not give our savior enough credit for is how he faced temptation.  He faced temptation so well that we do not even realize He was being tempted.  Jesus took his disciples to this region that was wicked and evil and He asked His disciples in Matthew 16:13 “…Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  Peter answered in verse 16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

As we were sitting around doing our devotional at the foot of this cave where idols were for sure present, you got a sense of wonder at the grandeur of the rock around the cave.  The rock was massive, thick, and solid.  It made you feel very minute and inadequate standing next to the magnificent stone.  Right there, next to the cave where idols were worshipped and the last thing that was on people’s mind was God, Peter confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus told Peter in verse 18, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

For me, this site was one of my favorites of the whole trip because it showed me just how strong Jesus was and is today.  As I stood next to and looked into the cave where 2000 years ago others worshipped false gods, I got a feeling of darkness.  Jesus was there in the height of existence of pagan worship and He stood stronger than ever.  He was not shaken and knew that wherever He was and no matter how much evil surrounded Him, His father was with Him at all times.

There have been and will be times for me where I might be near or even in a place like Caesera Philippi where all I can see is a black abyss. But to know that nothing will conquer our Lord is comforting and powerful and also know that we serve a God who cannot be moved, that His rule wipes out all that is evil and wicked.  His love will prevail. Sometimes we need to realize and confess who Christ is and get rid of the blackness in our life.

Samantha Sutherland promotes Red Thread Movement at music venues over the summer

by   |  07.06.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

I am currently in Ohio, filling in some free time before our next festival. This summer, I decided to take a non-profit my roommate and I started (the Red Thread Movement) to different music venues, primarily festivals, to try and spread the word, educate people about trafficking, sell some merchandise and hopefully get some media attention to help us out with publicity.

Each festival/venue has a different feel and draws a different kind of crowd. It’s important to be able to adapt to fit the audience that you’re educating, so you can pick the key points you want to emphasize and you can put it in the most relatable terms for them. I love that every stop is so vastly different, we are able to interact with a huge range of people and it is interesting to see their passions and their hearts.

The first benefit show we were booked at was hosted at a bar where a local church met. We were there for 12 hours straight and noticed that there are very distinguishable differences in the crowds that hang there at different time slots. Everyone was incredibly nice, but the night crowd was something else to handle (for obvious reasons). With increased rowdiness came a surprising increase in passion as well. Earlier in the night, a woman got onstage to talk about the safe house she runs in Dallas and was, for the most part, ignored. I expected the same when it was my turn to take the stage but, when I started speaking, I was surprised to find everyone watching attentively in silence. It caught me off guard, especially when, as I was leaving the stage, they started chanting “Stop those traffickers” as random audience members were like “Hey guys, go buy one of these bracelets!” and “Yeah! They’re only 3 dollars!”

The next day we headed to Arkansas and then Tennessee. We talked to a few shop owners in Franklin who agreed to carry our bracelets.

This past week, we were at Ichthus Festival in Kentucky. The crowd appeared to be largely Jr. High kids and mainly youth groups. We had to make our spiel about Red Thread slightly more kid friendly. The first day was spent talking to hundreds upon hundreds of kids about who we are and where the proceeds go. By the last day, however, we had more people that would stop by for 10 or more minutes asking in-depth questions and desiring to educate themselves more on the issue. A couple people even pulled up a chair and sat with us awhile. I was excited that they had such difficult questions, because it meant that, not only were they being smart about who they donated money too, but that they actually were supporting our mission and not just trying to be trendy.

The second night of the festival, I had a phone interview with a radio in Austin. I did a radio interview with a friend while we were in Nashville, but this was my first live one. It was fun! The host was incredibly supportive and gave me plenty of time to explain our organization. I’m going to be meeting him at a festival later this summer and he said he would mention us every time he was onstage at the festival. Also, one of the speakers at Ichthus apparently mentioned us specifically while he was speaking, he must have come by the booth to talk to us earlier, but a lot of people claimed to have heard about us through him.

We were also lucky to have 5+ of our supporting bands there, along with 2 other bands that are friends but not official members. Aaron Gillespie, who played a benefit for us last semester, still sports his Red Thread. When I was meeting with Mikeschair, whom I’ve known since I was about 15, one of their wives was immensely interested in partnering to do some big outreach through their fans. She had researched a lot about us beforehand without even knowing that I would be coming by!

Brittany got some coverage on CNN earlier in the summer and it’s been cool to see the results of that publicity along with a few other articles that we’ve come across that have sent people our way.

A day in Bath, England. By Sarah Miller

by   |  07.05.11  |  Honors Student Achievements

Today after class, some of my peers and I went to Bath, England.  I have always been interested in Bath mainly because of Jane Austen.  I was raised watching Jane Austen adaptations and have always loved her work.  But recently I have become obsessed with Persuasion, and in Persuasion they take many trips to Bath.  Needless to say, I was very excited about the trip that was in front of me.  But, I had no idea just how amazing Bath was going to be.

After a few train rides, which were our first train rides ever, we arrived in Bath and stopped by the travel information center.  We had no idea what we were doing, or really what was in Bath.  We didn’t want to stay out too late because we had an hour and a half train ride back plus a thirty minute walk, so we decided we had time to see the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and stop by the Jane Austen center of course.  Once again, I underestimated just how amazing each of these cites would be.

The Roman Baths museum was absolutely incredible.  It wasn’t like museums back home, where they recreate history and you learn.  No, we were walking on the actual Roman Baths from long over two thousand years ago.  I was amazed by the history.  Of course it was absolutely beautiful, but I also learned a lot (mostly because in our admission they included those voice recorder listening devises that guide you through the exhibit).  I had no idea that these baths were heated by a natural spring.  They were natural HOT springs that the Romans would come to hang out with their friends.  It was a lot like a country club we would have now, but cooler of course.  It was like a country club, because it wasn’t just a place to sit in the water, they also had a temple on the grounds and room to walk around.  During the tour they talked about some of the Romans sleeping in the temple over night because they believed that by doing that the gods would speak to them thought dreams.  They would spend the night then go and get their dreams interpreted.  Also they would write curses directed at other people to the gods for really dumb things, like taking their coat.  Finally, I was amazed again by the pluming system they had.  They would use gravity to circulate the water around to the different baths.  They were ingenious.  Anyway, I would love to go back and learn even more.

After the Roman Baths we went to Bath Abbey, which was right next door.  It was the most beautiful church, and it is still alive and active.   Yes it was one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, but what really struck me is how it is still a church.  I guess it makes complete sense, but I was surprised when I saw the board with the new elders on it right next to the tombs of members of the church from hundreds of years ago.   It is hard to put this into words, other than absolutely beautiful.

After all this we stopped by the Jane Austin centre, but it was closing down so we didn’t get to go on a tour.  However, we did make friends with the greater outside, dressed like Mr. Darsey, and he was the most entertaining person I have ever met.  So, after dinner we got on the train and headed back to Oxford.  It was an incredible day in Bath, England and I hope I have time to go back to see the other three fourths I didn’t get to experience.  Bath is full of history and beauty that I never expected.  I could spend multiple days there and hope someday I can.