Jesus – A Son of God

December 5, 2011
Jesus Cendejas

Jesus Cendejas, a sophomore at Morningside College

Jesus sat on his bed, guitar in hand, and strummed away. He began playing guitar only last year after being approached to join the Morningside College campus ministry worship band. Having wanted to learn to play guitar for quite a while, he quickly said yes and was loaned a guitar by fellow student, Jackie Lincoln. Playing guitar allows him to praise the man who shares his name and reflect on a life that likely wouldn’t be as it is now, had he not strayed from the previous path. Jesus Cendejas is a noticeably different man now than he was even five years ago.

Growing up in a broken household can impact children for the rest of their lives, particularly in negative ways. Whether the broken household is caused by drugs, alcohol, abuse, divorce, or combination of these and others, instability at home can have dire effects on children of all ages. For one Morningside student, this life isn’t just a story one hears on the news. It’s a life that he has lived. Luckily for him and those he has come in contact with over the past few years, Jesus Cendejas has found a new meaning in life and is living through God.

In 1992, Jesus Adrian Cendejas was born in Santa Ana, California to Carina and Jesus, but moved to Mexico before turning one year old when his grandmother suffered a stroke and needed care at home. For the next four years, Jesus grew up in Mexico, being raised with common religious beliefs, superstitions, and traditions of Mexican culture. After growing up with these Mexican cultural ideals and even attending kindergarten, Jesus and his father moved back to their former home in Santa Ana in time for first grade. Soon after, his mother moved back to rejoin them. Here he struggled as he knew Spanish but was in an English speaking school environment. As would become evident over the course of his life, Jesus Cendejas overcame this challenge and eventually became fully bilingual. Unfortunately though, this language barrier wouldn’t be his biggest obstacle to overcome.

Throughout his childhood years, Jesus’ father spent time in and out of jail for various misdemeanors and felonies including drug and alcohol issues. Not having his father around much took its toll on young Jesus, as he didn’t have that father-figure around to support him. Even when he was around, Jesus recalled his interactions with his father usually revolving around the drug use of his father. “When I would be with my father, he’d usually be engaged in drug use or simply around paraphernalia. The most vivid memories I have would probably be the 2AM drug deals he brought me on. I was so young, I didn’t know what was going on.” Although he initially did very well in school, being surrounded by this behavior all the time eventually took its toll on Jesus.

By the time he reached middle school, Jesus now recognizes that he began following in the path of his father, beginning to take part in the same activities. He simply didn’t know what not to do, a major byproduct of growing up in a broken household. Whether directly or indirectly involved, Jesus’ life revolved around drinking, partying, gangs, and drug deals. Jesus saw it all. “It got to the point where I was just numb to life. I was that kid your mom didn’t ever want you to hang around with. It got so bad that at one point, I wasn’t even allowed in some classrooms anymore. I went from the top to the bottom academically during this time.” As a seventh grader, Jesus became a bad influence to others. “People would look up to me. Well, down, because I’m short,” he chuckled. “My friends began doing what I was doing, and many of them came from similar households as mine.” While many 12 year old boys were playing organized sports for the first time, becoming attracted to women, and playing video games, Jesus and his friends were involved in these dangerous activities.

The tides began to change for Jesus soon after they began changing for his father. While in jail, his father began reading the Bible to pass the time. As a result, he would attend church services in jail. Not just his Catholic services, but any and all religious services that were available. It was at this time, that Jesus says his father saw the light of God. When his father was finally released, though, he was deported back to Mexico. During this time, his contact with his son was very limited. When his father came back to America, young Jesus noticed his father was a changed man. “He was clean. He didn’t use drugs anymore, didn’t use alcohol anymore, he was just a different man and for the better. And he did it without rehab. I see it now, but didn’t at the time. God truly changed his life.

His father eventually moved back to Santa Ana while Jesus was in 8th grade, and Jesus wanted to spend time with him. He began attending church services with his father, not to participate or find God, but to simply spend time with him. “I would even doze off in church, but I was with my dad.” During this time, Jesus says he was doing better in school, but was still directionless in life, still taking part in his previous activities. However, one day while at church with his father, Jesus recalled an interesting feeling within him. “All of a sudden I felt something tugging at my heart, something overcame me. I tried to fight it off, but couldn’t. It was as if someone was telling me, ‘I can fix your broken life.’ So I said, ‘OK. If you are real, change me. I’m miserable and hate my life.’ So this is where it all began.”

It didn’t all happen overnight for Jesus, but he was slowly progressing away from the life of his past. The same kids he influenced in negative ways earlier were now being influenced by Jesus to attend church and Bible studies with him. Even during this time, Jesus was leading somewhat of a parallel life. He lived his church life, but still lived the “life of the Greasers,” as he put it. “But I felt that Jesus was protecting me. While my friends were out doing their normal things and getting put in bad situations, I felt that God was keeping me away. Violence was a predominant thing at the parties I attended in the past, and I just felt that God was working in me to keep me safe and out of harm’s way.”

By Jesus’ junior year of high school, he had decided enough was enough. “I told myself, ‘this is it. I’ve seen what you’ve done for me; you deserve the first place in my heart.’ So I forgave others, asked for forgiveness, and wanted to honor God in the best way I could. My junior year went extremely well, but by my senior year, things started falling into place.” At this time, Jesus finally had his life on a relatively stable track, but his academics had yet to catch up. He was told that a 5th year of high school would be necessary to even think about getting into a good college. “But I persevered and said, I’ve come this far. Why not try? God has pulled me through harder times, let his will be done.” And try is exactly what Jesus did. In a short period of time, Jesus went from needing to return a 5th year to even think about college, to being accepted by nearly a dozen schools across the country, giving all the credit to “his Heavenly Father.”

While in college, Jesus has taken a very active role in campus ministries, attending Oasis weekly, and learning guitar to play in the worship band, Inside Out. Alyssa Filipek saw potential in Jesus, and offered to teach him guitar. “He had an eagerness to learn guitar and this humble approach to applying himself in life. By working with him in the worship band and being friends with him, I’ve noticed this natural leadership about him. He has a natural influence about him.” Cendejas has become extremely involved in mission projects offered by the school. These trips have taken him to flood-ravaged Cedar Rapids, and a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico in the past 18 months, but he finds great enjoyment in these mission trips. “They allow me to truly work as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. I’m just doing my part serving as Jesus Christ did,” Jesus said while wearing his “Jesus Christ is Life” shirt. He has found inspiration in God and is now doing all he can to live for Him.

After having a less-than-stellar childhood, Jesus has found God as a way to overcome the demons of his past. He witnessed the power of God help his dad, and he has lived through this transformation as well. Being the only son of his father, he looks up to who he has become, thanks to God. It is almost ironic that a man with the name of Jesus could be so impacted by both his father and God, but that is the truth.  One can believe whatever they’d like, but for Jesus and his father, they have witnessed His power and are believers because of it. Jesus is not only the son of Jesus, but one of God as well.

Good evening, I’m Brian Williams with NBC Nightly N…FIRE!

November 29, 2011

News Comment for December 1

Approximately two hours before I posted this, the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams aired with a little more drama than usual.

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Before finishing his first sentence, Williams was interrupted by a fire alarm in the studio. While this was definitely an interesting twist to the otherwise normal newscast, the results of this fire alarm sent social media users in a frenzy. In fact, I found about this story on Twitter, not because I was actually watching the news. (Of course, because I’m a college kid. We always get our news from the internet anyway right?)

I don’t know for sure if Brian Williams or Night News became a trending topic of Twitter, but for all the tweets and retweets I saw, it wouldn’t surprise me. To me, there are several interesting things about this incidents that stand out. The first thing is that this story about the news was a big deal, especially in the online world. Second, Brian Williams handled the annoyance like a pro, and Twitter users especially took notice. Once the links to the video spread, more people caught it and many commented on the poise that Williams showed.

Here are some of the comments from people on Twitter:

  • “Brian Williams handled that like a pro.”
  • “The Show Must Go On Award” to Brian Williams.”
  • “In all seriousness, Brian Williams is a pro. He handled it ridiculously well throughout the entire broadcast.”
  • “Neither rain nor snow nor studio fire alarm will keep Brian Williams from delivering the NBC Nightly News. Alarm 0 BW 1.”
  • “Brian Williams anchoring NBC Nightly News while the building’s fire alarm is going off during the broadcast. A true pro.”
  • “Brian Williams showed tremendous poise as fire alarm interrupted newscast.”
  • This fire alarm won’t stop. Brian Williams has a lot of trust in whoever is telling him there’s no fire… The news must go on!”
  • Brian Williams a consummate professional. Nightly News broadcast with a fire alarm test going off in the background. Not missing a beat.”
  • “The only person I get my News from…Brian Williams! Calm under pressure!!”
  • “I love Brian Willimas even more post fire alarm newscast”

And of course there are always people having fun with the news, by adding their own analysis:

  • “Brian Williams is now going to strangle the fire alarm guy.”
  • “Twitterers lauding Brian Williams for doing news during fire alarm. Pffft! Let’s see him do a day-long InDesign seminar w/a jackhammer below.”
  • “FACT: Fire don’t scare Brian Williams. In fact, fire is scared of Brian Williams.”

It turned out to be an ill-timed test of the fire alarms, but Brian Williams showed poise and his experience in making sure the news went on. Judging by all the tweets, this performance under pressure by Williams impressed a lot of people. This very video should be a lesson for all broadcasters in poise and control, two things necessary to be successful in the news industry.

Anybody agree that tomorrow night’s ratings for Nightly News will be just a tad higher from people checking if the fire alarm was fixed?

The key to making the news? Apparently getting married “oddly.”

November 17, 2011

News Comment for November 17

Judging by these three news stories, there is no “right” time to get married, and apparently having an out-of-the-ordinary wedding is a golden ticket to getting in the news.

In this story, the scene was set in a Lewiston Rehabilitation Center, a non-typical place for a wedding for sure. The Maine couple met each other in their 60s at church and just tied the knot at the ripe old age of 87 and 88. Paul Walker is currently rehabilitating from injuray and Ann Thayer says the couple have “beautiful years” ahead of them.

Story number two for this week is about a Muslim couple that married at the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protest after meeting there several weeks ago. Both are currently students looking for work or further education.

The last interesting wedding story for this week is about a couple that met while running a marathon and tied the knot in the exact same way. Raymond Donaldson and Mary Martin got married in the middle the New York Marathon a couple weeks ago, with the help of a fellow marathon runner who happened to be a minister. Not to be outdone, another runner proposed to his girlfriend during this marathon.

In reading these three articles, I have come to the understanding that taking part in a very unique wedding could get someone in the news. However, will it get to the point that there are so many unique weddings that it no longer constitutes as”news?”

Broadcast News Stories – Final Project

November 10, 2011

My final project – Broadcast news stories


Even Santa Claus almost lost his job.

November 8, 2011

News comment for November 10

It’s no secret that people all across the country are feeling the pinch of the economy. Families, businesses, and governments are all facing budget shortfalls as the economy struggles to recover. However, Suffock County, New York’s decision to penny-pinch almost left children Santa-less this Christmas season.

In an effort to save $660 of their $2.7 billion dollar county budget, county executives decided to scrap Mr. Kringle from their plans for the first time in ten years.

A supporter of this idea said, “How do you justify that expenditure when a health centre is losing money?”

An opponent of the cut said, “Do we really have to hold Santa Claus hostage to balance the budget?”

Another exclaimed, “I mean, $600? Give me a break. There comes a point where you go overboard in terms of penny-pinching.”

I tend to agree with the opponents of this proposed cut from the budget. With an almost 3 billion dollar budget, a mere 660 dollars won’t even make a dent on a dent.

You can read more about this article here.

Luckily for Suffolk county kids, a New York politician has decided to foot the bill for David McKell, the man underneath the Santa suit. Whether this was out of kindness or a smooth political move, I’ll leave that up to you.

Broadcast News Stories – First Draft

November 5, 2011

I’m Nick Brincks reporting for Morningside News.


Members of the community were in tears and students covered in mud, but this was all a part of Morningside College’s annual service day, Into the Streets. On Wednesday, October 5th, a record number of Morningside students went into the streets to help those in need. Organized by Omicron Delta Kappa, Morningside’s leadership honor society, Into the Streets is an annual day of service for Morningsiders. The previous record for participation was set last year with 600, but this year’s 800 set the bar even higher.

With the recent flooding devastation, over 400 of the students worked on flood cleanup at Riv-R-Land Estates in the Dakota Dunes. Other areas serviced by Morningside students were the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, Crossroads Homeless Shelter, the Food Bank of Siouxland, and the Northern Hills Retirement Community, just to name a few.

One of the event’s coordinators, Jackie Lincoln says she received high praise from members of the community about the efforts of Morningside students.

Jackie Lincoln talking about Into the Streets

Another successful year of Into the Streets is in the books, and once again, Morningside College students make a difference in the Siouxland Community.

Morningside College gave back to the community, and now the community is giving back to Morningside.


The Siouxland Economic Development board recently awarded a $5000 grant to the Morningside College Entrepreneurship Education Center.

Entrepreneurship is a key ingredient to the future, and the Siouxland Economic Development agrees.

Located in the Lincoln Center on the Morningside College campus, the Entrepreneurship Education Center supports student involvement in starting businesses, attending business conferences, and participating in fundraisers and charity events.

Pam Mickelson, business professor at Morningside and director of the Entrepreneurship Education Center, explains why this grant is special.

Pam Mickelson talking about $5000 grant

The grant will be used to relocate the Entrepreneurship Center into a larger space by renovating two existing rooms. The new room will provide more space for meetings, research and planning, and will also double as a seminar classroom.


It’s almost as if Bob Barker or Drew Carey made a campus visit, as many Morningsiders may have heard this.

Come on down!

Over 80 students packed into the Yockey Room Tuesday night (Nov 1) for their chance at Contestant’s Row. Morningside College held their own version of the Price is Right, to help students learn about credit cards. Morningside career counselor Stacie Hays discusses the idea behind the event.

Stacie Hays discussing credit cards

The event was a collaboration among Career Services, the Business Office, Res Life, and Sodexo. Morningside freshman, Michelle Draper, used her credit card knowledge to bring home the grand prize, a brand new 32” flat screen television. And the best part was she didn’t even have to put it on a credit card.

I’m Nick Brincks, reporting for Morningside News.

Mock Broadcast News Story

November 3, 2011

Mock Broadcast News Story

Modern-day News: Not “pushing the envelope”

November 3, 2011

Additional news comment for November 3

I was watching Conan last night, and realized something I recently heard is true. Current-day media is all too similar. With consolidation of news companies nationwide, it seems that creative journalism is becoming less common, especially in TV news.

On tonight’s episode, Conan O’Brien will be officiating a same-sex marriage for one of his staff members. The show is being produced in New York City this week, and New York state is one of the states where same-sex marriage is legal. This video clip shows how “similar” the news is all around the country.

A Texas Judge is Under Fire for Beating Daughter

November 3, 2011

News Comment – November 3

A new viral video is bringing up the debate about discipline vs. abuse. A video posted by a Texas girl reveals her father, a Texas Family Law judge, beating her with a belt over a dozen times for illegally downloading content from the internet.

In the video secretly captured by his daughter, judge William Adams is shown whipping and screaming at his daughter, and his wife even takes part in the beating.

In this article by the Associated Press, Hillary Adams explains what’s going on in the video, and what her motive was behind posting it, nearly seven years after the video was recorded. “He’s supposed to be a judge who exercises fit judgment,” she said.

In less than a week of being available on Youtube, the video has amassed over 2 million views, and the judge has received threatening calls and messages because of it.

The most incredible thing about this story is that this man, who’s duty is to exercise good judgment, is the abuser in a sickening story. Another piece of info that makes this story amazing, is that the daughter suffers from a form of cerebral palsy.

There is a line between discipline and abuse, and one would think that a judge would be able to avoid crossing this line better than most. Taking into consideration that his daughter was handicapped, I don’t see how this judge shouldn’t get “the book” thrown at him in this instance.

Goodbye Dan Wheldon

October 17, 2011

News Comment for October 20

Over the weekend, the motorsports world lost one of its own. Dan Wheldon, 33, was racing in the IRL for only the 3rd time this year. He was a 2 time Indy 500 champion, including this year’s event, and the 2005 series champion.

A horrific 15-car accident on lap 11 of the final race of the IRL season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway left several cars careening through the air, one of which was the #77 of Dan Wheldon. After it was apparent that Wheldon was seriously injured, he was life-flighted to a nearby hospital and the race was red-flagged for track repairs.

For nearly 2 hours, drivers, teams, fans and viewers all waited to hear an update on Wheldon, praying that it would be good news. As the minutes passed by and no news was available, it became apparent that the news would not be good.

After a 45 minute meeting with the drivers, series CEO Randy Bernard made the announcement that we were all afraid of. “IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injury.”

He went on to say the race, hardly 5% complete at the time, would not be finished. Instead, the 19 cars that made it through the accident would complete a 5 lap tribute to their fallen competitor and friend. Teams lined pit road as the cars circled the track, around the scoring pylon which showed only one number in the first position, the #77.

As the five laps concluded, cars returned to pit road and ABC signed off for the final time this season. Under tragic circumstances, lead announcer Marty Reid ended the broadcast in a way that brought not only me to tears, but I’m sure many other viewers as well.

Marty Reid’s “Goodbye Dan Wheldon”

Goodbye Dan Wheldon, you will be missed by your family, friends, competitors, teammates, and us fans.

This incident has left a major hole in the Indy Racing, but it has impacted motorsports in general. Does a fatal accident affect the way drivers race? Here’s an article about that.