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Lady Flames Return from Israel

August 14, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Lady Flames had the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River.

The Lady Flames had the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River.

The Liberty women's basketball team, coaching staff and support staff returned from a memorable trip to Israel on Sunday, after originally departing Lynchburg on July 30.

During their time in the Holy Land, the Lady Flames had the opportunity to visit many historic places, including the Jordan River, Dead Sea, Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Garden Tomb, Western Wall.

Liberty also played several games while in Israel, including a pair of matchups with the Israel National Team.

In the Players' Words
Each of the Liberty players wrote a blog post about their experiences in Israel, which are all accessible on the Liberty Women's Basketball Blog. Below are a few highlights from each blog entry.

"God is so good. He has blessed me so much by allowing me to be a part of the amazing Liberty women's basketball team, allowing me to go to Israel, and allowing me to be baptized for the first time in the Jordan River. I have never been baptized because I have prayed since I was little that I would be blessed enough to be baptized overseas and today God answered that prayer."
Jordan Peters

"All I can say is that I have felt nothing but peace, love, and compassion in Israel, and it's only been a few days."
Lizzie Moore

"When reading God's Word it can be hard to picture what times were like and the layout of the land and also the culture, but after two days of seeing where Jesus lived, the Bible has come to life and I have a clearer image of what times were like in His day."
Emily Lytle

"Today was an amazing day (as are all the days we will be here)! I feel like my team and I are learning so much as it pertains to the Bible and its history."
Kierra Johnson-Graham

"The [camel] ride itself is very similar to that of a horseback ride in that it is not smooth but very bumpy. I'm not sure how fast camels are able to go, but our ride was very slow and that was probably for the best."
Keyen Green

"After the Mount of Olives, we then walked down the road that Jesus took during Palm Sunday to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was my favorite part of the day because we got to go in a sit by the olive trees. While there I just mediated and prayed in awe of being where Jesus was 2,000 years ago."
Ashtyn Baker

"The Garden of Gethsemane is located at the bottom of the Mount of Olives, so after we stopped there and spoke of what happened the night of Jesus' arrest, we split up and spent some time in the garden. Many of us sat near or under olive trees and just reflected on what Jesus had done for us. ... Sitting there, I was completely overwhelmed by Christ's love and grace."
Bridgette Rettstatt

"August 6th, also known as the best day of year! Well according to me, Brooke. Today is my 21st birthday!! The fact that I woke up in the middle of Jerusalem is absolutely mind blowing. What an honor it is to be in the same area that Jesus himself was."
Brooke Basinger

"Today we ventured to Yad Vashem which is the largest Holocaust museum in the world! It was both chilling and breathtaking."
Amy West

"This trip to Israel has been amazing, prosperous, and so fulfilling. We have really exerted ourselves culturally to try new foods, physically by hiking mountains and walking through deserts, and spiritually by growing in our relationship with God while on this journey."
KK Barbour

"In the short amount of time we have been in Israel, we have grown physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally as a team. This trip is the beginning of what will be an exciting season of Liberty Women's Basketball."
Melat Sissay

"But as I stared at the ground, which is empty, and walked out the door [of the tomb], which had no stone in front of it, and then looked up and saw the beauty of this garden my heart worshipped. Guys, Jesus did not stay dead. HE ROSE! After that we all came back together, we sat down and shared communion. As a body of liberated sons and daughters of the King, we came together and sang praise to the Lord."
Tatyana Crowder

"Once the plane landed and we drove to our first hotel, it started to hit me. Jesus walked here. This is His chosen land with His chosen people. As the trip went on, I began to understand the significance of each spot and tie together what happened in what location."
Ria Gulley

"As we observed, Israel has a diverse society when it comes to religious background which shapes and affects the life style. Cultural differences became apparent from the way they communicate to the way they dress. To me, that's what made this trip very special. Despite the fact that we were parched outside, I really enjoyed walking around the streets of Israel and learning about their culture."
Melis Ucar

"It's one thing to hear the Bible, but to see it come to life was life-changing. If you ever have the option to tour Israel take it in a heartbeat and I promise you won't regret it. You will leave a different person, as I did!"
Mya McMillian

On the Court
The Israel trip served as the first opportunity for Coach Monica Wright and players Ria Gulley, Emily Lytle, Amy West, Mya McMillian, Lizzie Moore, Jordan Peters and Melat Sissay to be part of the Liberty squad in a competitive setting.

Early on in the trip, the Lady Flames conducted a clinic at Shnilar Court in Nazareth. The interactions between Liberty and the women from Nazareth inspired the head of the sport department for Nazareth, Dr. Raji S. Srouji, to state, "The new international language can be sport and music so we can create more love and understanding and sharing. We have to do as much as we can to create this kind of leaders and leaderships."

Two days later, the Lady Flames practiced at a kibbutz in En Gedi. A kibbutz is a type of settlement which is unique to Israel. A collective community, traditionally based on agriculture, the first kibbutz was called Deganya and was founded by pioneers in 1910. Today, many of Israel's kibbutzim are privatized, however still maintain their communal roots as places with strong community cooperation and activities.

August 7 - Scrimmage
Hapoel/Asa Pisgat Zeev men's club (joined by Coach Alexis Sherard)
Location: Jerusalem
Starting Five: Ashtyn Baker, Tatyana Crowder, Bridgette Rettstatt, KK Barbour, Keyen Green
Quarter 1 Score: Men's Club 30, Liberty 11
Halftime Score: Men's Club 44, Liberty 36
Quarter 3 Score: Men's Club 69, Liberty 50
Final Score: Men's Club 89, Liberty 67

August 9 - Game
Israel National Team
Location: Petah Tikvah (near Tel Aviv)
Starting Five: Ashtyn Baker, Tatyana Crowder, Bridgette Rettstatt, KK Barbour, Keyen Green
Quarter 1 Score: Liberty 19, Israel 14
Halftime Score: Liberty 38, Israel 25
Quarter 3 Score: Liberty 56, Israel 39
Final Score: Liberty 69, Israel 55

August 10 - Game
Israel National Team
Location: Petah Tikvah (near Tel Aviv)
Starting Five: Ashtyn Baker, Tatyana Crowder, Bridgette Rettstatt, KK Barbour, Keyen Green
Quarter 1 Score: Liberty 27, Israel 20
Halftime Score: Israel 41, Liberty 40
Quarter 3 Score: Liberty 63, Israel 46
Final Score: Liberty 81, Israel 56