Hardin-Simmons University

REST IN PEACE JESSE C. FLETCHER

Fletcher headshot

DR. JESSE C. FLETCHER April 9, 1931-June 14, 2018

 

By DR. KRISTINA CAMPOS DAVIS
Director of Communications, Hardin-Simmons University

On June 14, the Hardin-Simmons University family lost one of its most distinguished and well-loved members, former President Dr. Jesse C. Fletcher, who died at age 87.

A memorial service celebrating Dr. Fletcher’s life will be held in the main sanctuary at First Baptist Church at 2 p.m. Monday, June 18 at First Baptist Church. 1333 N. Third St. For family and friends who will be unable to attend, a live stream link will be made available prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the university to the Dr. Jesse C. Fletcher scholarship.

Enough cannot be said about the impact Dr. Fletcher had on the campus and in the Baptist community. HSU is the university it is today because of Dr. Fletcher’s work. Dr. Fletcher not only built up Hardin-Simmons but also ministered to the presidents that followed in his footsteps.

President Eric Bruntmyer says, From the first day I met Dr. Fletcher, his prayers and encouragement poured down on me. As an older and wiser brother, Dr. Fletcher’s humility and kindness modeled how a follower of Christ lives.”

“Dr. Jess Fletcher is one of my all-time heroes and a very special friend.,” says former President Lanny Hall. “He was a remarkable individual who excelled in so many fields – ministry, higher education, art, golf, scholarship – the list goes on and on. He had a brilliant mind, was a gifted author and possessed the ability to relate to all types of people. He will long be remembered for his distinguished service as President, Chancellor, and President-Emeritus of Hardin-Simmons University.”

Former President Craig Turner says, “Jess Fletcher was a friend and a mentor who always had a smile and a warm greeting whenever we met—invariably addressing me with “Hello, Mr. President.”  Even today—while I mourn his passing—to think of Jess makes me smile. What a remarkable legacy he created, full of a wide variety of accomplishments and brimming over with wonderful memories for those who were privileged to know him. Personally, I admired him, I respected him, and I loved him.”

Dr. Jesse Conrad Fletcher was born on April 9, 1931, in San Antonio to Jesse N. Fletcher and Ruby Arnold Fletcher. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1948, where he was senior class vice president, managing editor of the newspaper, a member of the National Honor Society and played on the golf team.

 Dr. Fletcher then attended Texas A&M University, where he distinguished himself as a lieutenant colonel in the Corps of Cadets, an honor student and twice lettered with the golf team. He was ordained as a minister by Manor Baptist Church of San Antonio during his senior year at Texas A& M University.

Upon graduation, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves. Dr. Fletcher then enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned both his master’s of divinity degree and his doctorate of philosophy degree. His post-graduate work included terms at the Chaplain’s School at Fort Slocum, New York, the Institute of Religion at the Texas Medical Center in Houston and the University of Richmond.

In 1953, he was introduced to Dorothy Jordan on a blind date. He proposed after that single date, and they were married in February 1954. They were happily married until her death in 2013.

During his seminary years, Dr. Fletcher served as the pastor of Wellborn Baptist Church from 1953-1955, and Kopperl Baptist Church from 1955-1957.

In 1960, Dr. Fletcher began his career with the Southern Baptist Convention, working for the Foreign Mission Board. He occupied several administrative positions before his resignation in 1975 as the director of the mission support division. During this time, he traveled extensively through many of the countries where Southern Baptist missionaries were spreading the gospel.

In 1975, Dr. Fletcher began as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tennessee. He held that position until 1977 when he accepted the position as the 12th president of Hardin-Simmons University. Dr. Fletcher served as president of HSU from 1977 until 1991, as chancellor from 1991 to 2001, and he has been president emeritus since 2001.

During his 14 years as president at Hardin-Simmons, Dr. Fletcher established and raised the funds to endow schools in education, theology, and nursing. He also made significant changes to the campus; including adding seven new facilities, making numerous renovations to existing buildings, significantly increasing faculty salaries, and quadrupling the university’s endowment. He also led the institution into the NCAA’s Division III athletic programs including football in 1989. During his years as chancellor and president emeritus, Fletcher held a professorship in the Logsdon School of Theology, aided development efforts, and represented the University in numerous academic and community roles.

Beyond his work at Hardin-Simmons, Dr. Fletcher was a key force in organizing the NCAA Division I Trans America Athletic Conference (now the Atlantic Sun Conference). He was also a staple in the community of Abilene; serving as president and campaign director of Abilene’s United Way’s annual campaign, chairman of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, founding director of the Community Foundation of Abilene, vice chair of the Military Affairs Committee, twice the interim director of the Grace Museum, first president of the Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing and chair of the Abilene Psychiatric Center. He was honored as Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2002.

Dr. Fletcher was also a prolific writer, publishing eleven books, including Bill Wallace of China, the official sesquicentennial history of the SBC, The Southern Baptist Convention, and his family and personal biography, “Flashes of Light.”

In 1997, Dr. Fletcher began painting landscapes at the studio of celebrated local artist Evelyn Niblo. His paintings have been shown in Abilene at the Grace Museum, the Center for Contemporary Arts, St. John’s School and American State Bank. His work has also been exhibited in the Breckenridge Fine Arts Museum in Breckenridge, Texas. Many of his vibrant representations of land are in the hands of corporate and private collectors.

 

Dr. Fletcher was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dorothy. He is survived by two children; his son, Scott and his family of Rockport, Maine, and daughter Melissa Fletcher Dupree and her family of Abilene, TX. He is also survived by five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

CALLED TO BE STEWARDS OF CREATION

RickSunrise

A sunrise is captured at just the right moment by Rick Hammer, who believes we are all called to be stewards of creation.

 

(Editor’s Note: Rick Hammer is a professor of biology at Hardin-Simmons University and an environmental action coordinator for the Abilene area of the Texas Interfaith Power & Light organization. He believes that we are called to be stewards of creation. April marked the 400th consecutive month with above average temperatures on Earth–not a cause for celebration.)

By RICK HAMMER

Earth just celebrated a milestone: April 2018 marks the 400th consecutive month with above average temperatures. At first blush, we might want to say that this climate science fact is nothing to write home about. However, in all seriousness, when this earth climate milestone is viewed within the larger context of ongoing climate change, conveying the message loud and clear—if not shouting—that our planet and home is in a state of unprecedented global change, that should be an urgent priority.

RickHammer

Rick Hammer

The scientific evidence is indisputable that planet earth is getting hotter. Global temperatures have risen 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit since the late nineteenth century, with most of that warming occurring during the last 35 years, along with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. The rate of warming observed over this short time period of just three decades is unprecedented, and likely exceeds any rates that have occurred over the last several thousand years. What is the explanation?  Scientists have determined, from a wide array of scientific data, that human modification of the atmosphere is to blame. Specifically, the amount of CO2, or carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere has increased dramatically since the late 1800’s and the rise of industrialism.

The detrimental effects of this unnatural rate of warming have become all too common in recent years. Worrisome symptoms of a warming planet include: warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, decreased snow cover, sea level rise, declining arctic sea ice, and ocean acidification. These symptoms are almost certainly the result of human-induced climate change. NASA has an excellent web page on Global Climate Change where you can read in more detail about all of these symptoms and the evidence behind them.

For most of us, the foregoing litany of evidence of anthropogenic—that is, human-induced—climate change, is old news. Just this week NASA’s new administrator made the statement that he believed climate change is real and is being caused by human actions.

So, where do we go from here? What should be our course of action? Should we or can we do anything to at least slowdown that rate of warming of our planet? Do we humans, faithful Christians or otherwise, have any responsibilities in addressing this problem? Well, let me speak for myself and my faith tradition. As a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, and as a botanist and ecologist trained with a Ph.D., I think it is helpful for us to remember that we—the human race—have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), the Imago Dei.

Properly understood, being the image bearers of God assigns humanity a unique role as God’s kingly representatives in creation, that is, planet earth. We are to be stewards and caretakers. And ultimately, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, reveals a God who binds himself to all of His creation. We cannot then deny the goodness of the physical world. Bottom line is that we are called to be stewards of this good creation of God. We are obliged to act, as ordained image bearers of God, both from theological reflection and the objectively informed scientific evidence that God has in effect revealed to us, directly on the dimensions of the climate change problem.

Personally, I am motivated to act, now. I want to be part of the solution and have been drawn to climate change advocacy. I volunteer as the environmental action coordinator for the Abilene area for the faith-based Texas Interfaith Power & Light organization. It’s a small contribution, but small contributions from all of us can add up.

Finally, just this week I received an invitation from the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), a worldwide grassroots climate advocacy group that seeks to build a non-partisan advocacy coalition to address the climate change problem, to attend their upcoming conference in Washington D.C. as the Texas Congressional District 11 representative. Attendance and participation in the training workshops would equip me to serve as God’s image bearer and representative. I believe God is calling me to be involved in this way. We are all called. How is God calling you to be His representative on this warming earth? It’s worth our sincere prayer and reflection. Please remember me in yours.

Rick Hammer is a professor of biology at Hardin-Simmons University and an environmental action coordinator for the Abilene area of the Texas Interfaith Power & Light organization.

 

HSU HONORS PHIL CHRISTOPHER

Phil Christopher hooded

Dr. Phil Christopher is hooded after receiving an honorary doctorate from Hardin-Simmons University on May 12. Photo courtesy Hardin-Simmons

(Article courtesy of Dr. Kristina Campos Davis, Director of Communications, Hardin-Simmons University.)

Dr. Phil Christopher, pastor of Abilene’s First Baptist Church, was honored with an honorary doctorate degree May 12 during graduation ceremonies at Hardin-Simmons University. Christopher was cited for his influence in the lives of thousands of people during his 40 years of ministry.
Christopher has been senior pastor at First Baptist Church since 1995. Since 2000,
he also has served as adjunct professor at HSU, teaching Ethical Decision Making for Leaders in the Doctorate of Leadership program, along with several courses at Logsdon Seminary. His wife, Dr. Mary Christopher, is a professor of educational studies in the Irvin School of Education at Hardin-Simmons. Her responsibilities include director of the Doctorate in Leadership program and program director of the Master of Education in Gifted Education.

The awarding of the honorary doctorate to Phil Christopher came during commencement exercises as more than 200 graduates received their diplomas for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Dr. Bob Ellis, Dean of HSU’s Logsdon Seminary, characterized Christopher as
possessing spiritual creativity, saying “he is able to get to this place of listening for the leading of the Spirit along with a wonderful openness to doing things creatively. Rather than rushing off to do everything in a conventional way, he’s open to fresh approaches to worship and serving Christ in and through the church.”

Christopher grew up in San Antonio, earning his high school diploma from Texas
Military Institute, a private institution now known as TMI Episcopal. In 1972, Christopher earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology at Baylor University, followed by a master of divinity degree in 1975 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1986, he earned the doctor of ministry degree from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

In 2014, United Way of Abilene recognized Christopher as Volunteer of the Year. His community involvement also includes serving as vice chair of the Abilene Association of Congregations and sitting on the board of Noah Project, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. He previously chaired the board of Abilene’s Eunice Chambless Hospitality House, sat on the board of trustees for Hendrick Medical Center and chaired the Baptist General Convention of Texas Ministerial Ethics Committee.
Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, said, “Phil is
a leader of both strength and gentle heart. He has been a colleague who brings out the best in his co-workers by encouraging new depths of faith and commitment to Christ. Phil has been the steward of God’s love as he has accompanied church members across the many seasons of life, celebrating, grieving, and praying for well being and peace.”
In January 2018, Phil and Mary Christopher celebrated 42 years of marriage. They have two adult children. A son, Jeremy and his wife, Caroline, live in Nashville. A daughter, Natalie and her husband Andrew Abrameit, live in Victoria. They have one child, Mary Catherine, 1 year old.

 

“AS KINGFISHERS CATCH FIRE”

By LARRY FINK

(Editor’s Note: Larry Fink is a professor of English at Hardin-Simmons University. He brings insight into the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins in this explication of “As Kingfishers Catch Fire.”)

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.


I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Larry Fink bw

Larry Fink

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1884-1889) was one of the best British poets of
the Victorian era. (Others: Alfred Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Mathew Arnold.) He published very little in his lifetime—somewhat like America’s great 19th-century poet, Emily Dickinson. In both cases, their styles were so innovative that readers and potential publishers didn’t know how to respond to them.

In addition to being a poet and a priest, Hopkins was something of a philosopher of aesthetics; he developed influential ideas about beauty—its nature, origin, and purpose—ideas compatible with, and closely related to, his faith. To explain his ideas, he coined several words that are still in use by critics of art and literature. He believed that everything God makes is unique, one of a kind—not just every kind of tree, but each tree of the same species, each leaf on each tree. For Hopkins, this uniqueness is perceptible by people. He called this quality inscape, and it permeates the whole creature. Depending upon the nature of the thing—stone, bird, person—its inscape is expressed in different ways. As simple or as complex as the being is, Hopkins calls its expression of its inscape selving. A rock selves simply by being that rock, with its weight, size, shape, color, etc. People selve—reveal their uniqueness, including their inner natures—by their actions.

Of course, their outsides are also unique, a glorious fact for Hopkins. A third term he coined is instress. Like selve”, instress is a verb. It is the act of perceiving something’s inscape. To perceive someone or something’s inscape usually requires the intense use of the senses and the imagination, consciously or unconsciously. For Hopkins, the experience of instress can yield not only the appreciation of uniqueness, but a revelation of a particular facet of the creator, a bit like how looking at different works of art by the same artist reveals his or her different sides. Of a walk home from fishing on a fall day in north Wales, he writes,

“. . . I lift up heart, eyes,

Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour . . .”

— from “Hurrahing in Harvest”

That is, he attempts to harvest a vision or an insight about Christ from a deliberate and intense act of concentration on the clouds and sky. By example, Hopkins encourages the reader to use his senses, to look at and listen closely to the creation.

Now, with that background. Let’s look at “As Kingfishers Catch Fire.” The first eight lines offer examples of animals and objects selving, expressing their inscapes. The rest of the poem describes the more complex selving of humans, especially those indwelt by Christ. Line one identifies what a particular bird and insect have in common.

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;

The poet is referring to the fact that when we see these two animals, they are usually illuminated by the same kind of light—flickering light from below—sunlight reflecting off the surface of water—like light from a fire or flame. To paraphrase the line, kingfishers catch the light the same way dragonflies doMost of us have seen dragonflies hovering above water or landing on the tips of our fishing rods. Birders know that the kingfisher perches above rivers and lakes, dives headfirst into water, and emerges with a fish in its beak. This is how it makes its living. This is how we are likely to see these creatures expressing their uniqueness (selving), with flickering light illuminating them from below.

The next three lines provide auditory examples of selving: a stone rolling over the edge of a well, a string being plucked on a harp or other stringed instrument, and a bell ringing—each making a sound different from every other stone, string, or bell in the world.

As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s

Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

These simple objects are similar in that they express their uniqueness by emitting their unique sounds when tumbled, tucked, or swung. Notice, Hopkins uses the archaic word “tucked” instead of “plucked.” He frequently uses older words or words that have multiple meanings, two reasons why Hopkins is a challenging poet.

Lines four-six are the easiest of the poem; he’s just explaining selving:

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

In the concluding lines, he describes how the being living in a Christian—Christ—selves through the actions of the believer:

I say móre: the just man justices;

Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;

 
 Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —

Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Note how Hopkins turns “justice” into a verb, a small matter for someone who invents his own words. The word “plays” has at least two meanings. First, play as in, amuses himself: Christ taking joy in acting through different believers. Second, He plays—or acts out various roles—“To the Father through the features of men’s faces.” Thus, entertaining or, more likely, glorifying the Father.

Understanding the poem and the ideas it affirms is alone satisfying, even inspiring: the grandeur and dignity granted to each creature by the quality of uniqueness, the possibility of glimpsing a fresh vision of the Creator through looking and listening, the thought of the Son joyfully glorifying the Father through the actions of His followers. But to fully experience the impact of the poem, we must read it aloud. Let your ears hear all the rhyme, but also the alliteration: “kingfishers catch”, “dragonflies draw”, “rim in roundy, “tucked string tells”, “speaks and spells”, “goings graces”, “Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes”, “Father through the features of men’s faces”. Or, try saying this three times fast: “like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s / Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;”—all monosyllabic words with some internal rhyme thrown in for fun: “hung”, “swung”, “tongue’.

Now, memorize it. Carry it around in your head a while. Recite it aloud like a prayer. See if you don’t start looking more closely at birds and bugs, listening to stones and bells and tucked strings. See if you can keep from seeing Christ playing in working arms and loving eyes to the glory of the Father.

Larry E. Fink is professor of English at Hardin-Simmons University

A PUBLIC CONFESSION

(Editor’s Note: Meredith Stone, director of ministry guidance and instructor of Christian ministry and scripture at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon School of Theology, was guest speaker for an April 4 presentation at First Central Presbyterian Church. She was introduced by Jacob Snowden, the church’s director of Christian education. Following is his “confession,” which served as an introduction.)

By JACOB SNOWDEN

I have a confession to make: women, in seminary and elsewhere, are asked to study men in a way that men are not often asked to study women.

JacobSnowden

Jacob Snowden

A distinct pleasure of my role at First Central Presbyterian Church is to invite and introduce engaging speakers to our Wednesday Night “Supper Studies.” Many of the speakers are friends of mine from hanging around Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons, and McMurry universities. On April 4, I had the opportunity to introduce Dr. Meredith Stone of Logsdon School of Theology. If you don’t know Meredith, then you should. Dr. Stone is homegrown in some ways. She graduated from the Logsdon School of Theology before going on to receive her PhD in biblical interpretation from Brite Divinity at TCU.

She now serves as director of ministry guidance at Logsdon and teaches there as well. As a gifted Baptist preacher, she served as the Women in Ministry specialist for Texas Baptists. As a gifted writer, she serves on the board of directors for the Baptist Standard, a Baptist newspaper, and she also served the Baptist World Alliance’s Commission for Christian Ethics.

When I prepared to introduce Dr. Stone, I was just putting the final punctuation on a sentence about how Meredith had been a marvelous mentor and role model to so many women at Logsdon when a wave of guilt hit me. I was writing only a partial truth. I had not invited Dr. Stone to First Central because she is an example to women; she also is an example to me! Meredith’s work and accomplishments are not only a service to women; they are a service to the whole church and to God’s work in the world. Meredith is a role model for me and for any minister—male or female—who has been called to do something that kicks at the goads of the status quo.

I came to a realization when writing Dr. Stone’s introduction about half truths and double standards. Women are given innumerable male role models. In seminary, women are required to read lots of male writers, hear male preachers, consider the leadership styles of men, and that’s not to mention the stories that have to be considered in scripture about men—Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, the Apostles, Paul, and John. Women, in seminary and elsewhere, are asked to study men in a way that men are not often asked to study women when we know that the world would be a much better place if they did.  

People like Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Ella Baker, Sojourner Truth; women preachers who were martyred like Mary Dyer and Anne Hutchinson; Marie Curie, Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, Malala Yousafzai, and Aung San Suu Kyi have made considerable marks on the world; what a shame for boys not to know women can be such great role models and for girls not to know the histories of some of the great women who have gone before them. This is really my penance for almost saying that Meredith was a role model for women and not for me.

Thanks for hearing my confession.

JESS TURNS UGLY HISTORY INTO POETRY

Jess 109 cprd

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess was guest speaker for the Lawrence Clayton Poets and Writers Speaker Series April 6 at Hardin-Simmons University. Photos courtesy of Larry Fink

By LORETTA FULTON

A Pulitzer Prize winning poet didn’t experience the discrimination against African-Americans that his parents did and can only imagine what freed slaves experienced at the end of the Civil War.

But what an imagination. Tyehimba Jess, who won the Pulitzer for poetry in 2017, was guest speaker April 6 for the Lawrence Clayton Poets and Writers Speaker Series, presented by the McIntyre-West Endowment of the Hardin-Simmons University Academic Foundation. More appropriately, he was guest artist, performer, and “preacher,” as several people said they felt like they had been to church after hearing him.

Jess would appreciate that comment because he said his poetry has a spiritual theme and the voices of people he wrote about came from spiritual, blues, and gospel music.

“That is where the American soundtrack comes from,” he said.

Tyehimba Jess recites his poetry at Hardin-Simmons University for the Lawrence Clayton Poets & Writers Speaker Series. At bottom right, he visits with HSU Assistant Professor of Theology Kelvin Kelley. Photos courtesy of Larry Fink

During the days of slavery, families would gather in their cabins and sing. Music was a gift from God that no one could take away. And, their voice was the only thing they owned, Jess said. Everything else, including family members, was owned by the slave owner. But not their music.

“It was the only real literature they owned,” Jess said.

Jess, a Detroit native, lives in New York, where he is an associate professor of English at the College of Staten Island, which is part of the City University of New York system. His award-winning collection is titled, “Olio,” which means a hodge-podge collection. But it also refers to the middle part of a minstrel show, which is the setting for many of the historical figures that Jess brought to life in Olio.

White people wearing blackface demeaned blacks through their cartoonish, oafish portrayals. Some all-black groups also performed under the direction of white people.
After slaves were freed, some of them continued to perform because they could make money that way,  and Jess sympathetically portrayed them in his poetry.

While the minstrel shows lampooned black people, Jess sought to develop their character through his ingenious poetry. He used the “weapon” of his words to defend the people who were demeaned.

“Poetry is the martial art of literature,” Jess said. “You’re doing the most with the least.”

Besides the beauty of the words in Jess’ Olio poems, the unusual style of some of them creates an added dimension. Some are written in a form called crown of sonnets. The sonnets are linked to each other by repeating the final line of one as the first line of the next. The last line of the last poem is the same as the first line of the first poem, creating a circle or “crown.”

Hearing Jess perform those was magical. He accelerated, decelerated, raised and lower his voice as he read, almost singing the lines. His performance created spontaneous applause from the large gathering of students, faculty and community guests who almost filled the multipurpose room of the Johnson Building during Jess’ evening presentation.

Jess earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and a master of fine arts degree from New York University. He got the first degree in a field that he believed would pay the bills, unlike poetry.

“I went without paying bills for a long time,” he said.

The poet in Jess went dormant while he earned his bachelor’s degree, but it awoke again. Humanity is the better for that reawakening. His poetry adds a face and a soul to the people who were dehumanized in their time. Thankfully, Jess realized he wasn’t cut out for public policy. Instead, after earning that degree, he realized exactly what he was.

“I am an artist,” he said, “and that’s what I’m going to live for.”

 

 

 

 

 

HSU TEAM TAKES SKILLS, LOVE TO PERU

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Jennifer Eames is the founding director of the physician assistant program at Hardin-Simmons University. She and a group of students spent spring break on a mission trip to Peru. Eames sent the following report from the trip. Photos were posted on Facebook by team members.)
By JENNIFER EAMES
A team of students from the Hardin-Simmons University physician assistant program spent four and a half days at at clinic in Peru over spring break, seeing more than 700 people.
JenniferEames

Jennifer Eames

The team, consisting of 15 students, five health care providers, and a Hardin-Simmons staff member,  partnered with Buckner International, well-known world wide for its work with families, children, and orphans. Buckner International is planning to build a Family Hope Center in the community where the Hardin-Simmons team served, outside Cusco, Peru.

This week we were able to treat patients, pray with families, provide glasses to over 300 people, perform procedures, distribute donated toothbrushes, and provide health education programs.
Patients were all weighed, had blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate taken. They then were given the opportunity to be evaluated for glasses and wait to be seen by either a physician assistant or physician in the education room.
The education area reviewed topics like skin care, hand washing, oral health, reproductive health, and the dangers of alcohol and tobacco use. There were great questions by the patients, who seemed very engaged in the education talks. Each adult also had a glucose level taken before seeing a provider.
HSU’s PA program carried over 20 large suitcases of donated medicines, hygiene items, glasses, and equipment from local and regional church groups, individuals, Global Samaritan Resources, Hendrick Medical Center, The Lions Club, and Dr. Rocky McAdam’s office. We were able to leave the few unused items with local providers for later use. The most requested treatments included multivitamins and anti-parasite medicines, as clean water is not available in the community where we worked.
The team has been covered in prayer by many around the world for months and have truly been fortunate to have both beautiful weather and great health. The group had one last activity, a trip to Machu Picchu before returning on March 18. We are so honored to have had this opportunity to share the love of Christ with people in South America. We have all been blessed by spending time with the vibrant people of Peru and are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the healing profession.