Month: March 2019

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Royals split series at Smokies Challenge

KNOXVILLE – The Johnson University Royals played in a series against Alice Lloyd College and Hiwassee College at the Tennessee Smokies Stadium in Kodak, March 12 and 13.

The Royals won their Tuesday game against Alice Lloyd College 4-1.

In Wednesday’s 3 p.m. game, the Royals fell to the Hiwassee Tigers 6-12.

Johnson’s Royals play a double-header against Piedmont University in Winston-Salem, N.C., March 16. The first game will start at 11 a.m. with the second game following.

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Royals basketball team ranked 3rd in nation, highest in JU history

KNOXVILLE Johnson University’s men’s basketball team finished this season earning the title of 3rd in the nation the highest title in Johnson history at the National Christian College Athletic Association DII Men’s Basketball National Championship in Greenville, SC, March 7-9.

The Royals played their first championship game against the #6 team, Trinity Baptist College, winning 76-60, on March 7.

On March 8, the team lost to the #2 team, Grace Christian University, 75-51.

The Royals played their final game of the season, March 9, against Maranatha Baptist University, to compete for third place. They succeeded in winning, beating MBU 101-86.

At an awards banquet earlier in the week, various members of the team were recipients of awards. Taylor Gilpin was awarded the Pete Maravich Award. Coby Jones was named one of the 1st Team All Americans. Seniors Taylor Gilpin, Kenton Gullion, and Brandon Toro were recipients of the Scholar-Athlete award. Gavin Grubb earned all-tournament honors, as well.

During the week of the championship, the team completed a community service project at a local food bank.

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Lady Royals finish 6th in nation at NCCAA DII Women’s Basketball National Championship

The Lady Royals brought home the title of 6th in the nation after competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association DII Women’s Basketball National Championship at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.

The team, consisting of only six players, headed to Greenville after appearing on Channel 10 News for a short interview on March 4.

On Thursday, the Lady Royals played the 3rd ranked team in the nation, Randall University, and lost 66-67 on a shot made by their opponent with 7 seconds left on the clock.

They played again Friday morning against the host team, BJU, and lost 69-57. This final game left them ranked 6th in the nation.

“This week proved we could compete with the best…,” JU Women’s Basketball Head Coach Amy James said. “I truly believe everyone that had not seen these ladies play thought we had made it to the National Tournament by mistake, however, when we were finished playing both games we had everyone in the gym shaking their heads and saying, ‘I have never seen 6 players compete like they did’.”

At the National Championship awards banquet, Keisha McIntyre, Michaela Keele, and Taylor Thurman received Scholar-Athlete awards.

During their time at national championship week, the team completed a community service project of designing and illustrating placemats for the local Children’s Hospital.

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Volunteering in a refugee camp

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The life jacket grave yard found on the island of Lesvos in Greece.

Moria no good. It’s one of the first things that refugees learn to say…and they are right.

Volunteering in a refugee camp in Greece is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done. There is so much pain, sorrow, turmoil, and frustration shoved into a space the size of a Super Walmart. Somewhere between 5 and 7 thousand refugees breathe these emotions in on a daily basis. The darkness is crippling. Why is this happening? How did it come to this? 

There are so many questions to ask when you stare into the face of Moria, a camp of chaos and heartbreak. I can remember my first day there as I looked into the eyes of these displaced people: men, women, and children, and wondered what their stories were. What had they fled? How long had they been in Moria? Were they there alone? What happens when they leave? Will they get to leave? Will they be sent back? Story is such a powerful thing. They are not static characters. They are constantly developing and proving their desperation to be dynamic. Their fearful journey in a lifeboat across waters that have marked themselves as a liquid grave yard is a testament to their determination. 

The watery passage from Turkey to the island of Lesvos is less than 10 miles. Most of the refugees in camp told me that it took them four hours to cross. The rafts they come in have a capacity of 18. Yet, most boats hold over 30-40 refugees coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, the Republic of Congo, etc. This journey is not easy, but those who make it to Greece have a new monster to face once they arrive. It is out of the frying pan and into the fire so to speak.

Was the decision to flee their countries the right one? Are the conditions in Moria any better than the wars and oppression that pushed them out? It is a devastating question, but I am not sure it can be answered, nor do I think it is the right one. Getting caught up in the hopelessness of Moria is easy to do. The crisis continues and there is no way I can fix it. It will continue because the war in the Middle East continues as ISIS, Asad, Turks, and many others continue to fuel the beast of despair that ravages their world. Yet, I did not go to Moria to work with refugees to simply become listless under its heaviness.

The NGO I worked under in camp is called EuroRelief. So many things amaze me about the work this organization does. As I partnered with them during a span of a little more than a week, I quickly realized how needed they are. EuroRelief provides for the needs of refugees during their stay in Moria. They house, clothe, take census, guard, provide heat, distribute blankets and diapers, answer questions, and overall attempt to bring order to a camp characterized by disorder. While we worked, we wore bright orange EuroRelief vests. I quickly realized that this marker signified something throughout all of camp. There were so many times that refugees stopped me and said things like: “Moria no good, but EuroRelief good”. And I think that’s why they do it. Even though these full time workers and volunteers know that the work they do in camp is simply a bandaid, it is better than leaving an open wound.

EuroRelief is run by a bunch of 20 year olds from different countries and different denominations. It is a clear picture of the Kingdom coming together and putting aside differences for the sake of injustice. Going on this trip is very different from other mission trips. It’s not about bringing the gospel to people, but BEING the gospel. A major theme both in the Old and New Testament surrounds caring for the poor and the outcasts, and that is what EuroRelief lives into. It is also some of the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually taxing work that I have ever experienced. Volunteering in Moria is hard. 

I’ve been back in the U.S. for a little more than 7 weeks now and it is still hard. I see the images of children in rain-soaked flip flops. I remember the feel of the cold that creeps its way into the very essence of camp as wind and rain sting the faces of these displaced people. The rain symbolizes tears as these displaced people bravely continue the life of flight that they have embarked on. I still see the families smushed together in make-shift tents, and devastated faces of new arrivals haunted by their past. Yet, I also remember the kindness of these people who brought me hot tea to drink when I was out in the cold. They invited me into their tents and attempted to get to know me through broken English and non-verbal hand gestures. In a camp that tries to break you, love is still found. Kindness is still found. The volunteers and the refugees contribute to this restless culture of hope and hopelessness, but they somehow choose to give hope the upper hand. Through all of this, I see Jesus spreading light in the most unlikely of places. As John 1:5 says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” I choose to believe this.

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Spring Retreat 2019 to take place mid-April

2019-spring-retreat-design_-(002).pngJUTN- Johnson University will hold its annual spring retreat April 12-14. The event is geared toward high school youth.

The event consists of a weekend full of messages, worship, and fellowship. The theme for this year’s retreat is NEVER ALONE.

As stated on the Johnson University website, those planning the weekend’s festivities  “hope to provide a fun weekend with thought-provoking messages and a time to learn more about who they are in relation to each other.” The idea of the retreat is to provide high-schoolers an opportunity to grow their relationship with God in the midst of others who are like-minded and passionate for Christ.

Those who plan to attend must register for the event. The cost for those who register by March 22 is $40 per person. Those who register after March 22 will pay $55 per person. The registration fee covers a t-shirt, on-campus housing, and all on-campus meals (these include Friday dinner; Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and Sunday breakfast).

For the registration and liability forms and/or more information click here.

 

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Taylor Gilpin recipient of 2019 DII Men’s Basketball Pete Maravich Award

Gilpin during a game against Kentucky Christian University during the 2017-2018 season.

The NCCAA has named Johnson University senior, Taylor Gilpin, the recipient of the Pete Maravich Memorial Award for Division II Men’s Basketball.

Gilpin, a guard from Bloomington, In., has helped the men’s basketball team on and off the court. As captain for two years, Gilpin has led the team with an average of 17.35 points and 4.01 rebounds per game. This season, he became Johnson’s all-time leading scorer record with over 2,300 career points. In 2018, he helped the Royals finish 4th at the NCCAA National Tournament and was awarded 1st Team All-Regional and 1st Team All-American honors.

Off the court, Gilpin has been a Resident Assistant for three years and has served with various organizations, while also helping JU connect with local elementary schools. He is a Business Administration major with a GPA of 3.56, which has led him to be a recognized as a NCCAA Scholar-Athlete in both 2018 and 2019.

“Taylor is a tremendous example of faith lived out in everyday life,” Head Coach Brandon Perry said. “He has set a culture of high character and academics for our team while maintaining a high level of basketball skill.”

According to the NCCAA website, “The purpose of this award is to recognize the outstanding NCCAA student-athlete in Men’s Basketball and highlights excellence in competition, skill, academics, and Christian service during his career. ‘Pistol Pete’ Maravich was known for his ball handling, shooting abilities, and creative passing. He was an NBA All-Star, named one of NBA’s 50 greatest players, and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987. He came to know Christ later in his life and spent the last years of his life pointing people to Christ. This award is sponsored by Mr. Gary Beck, manager of the Gary Beck Foundation and a former NCCAA All-American student-athlete from Greenville University, IL.”
 

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Dare to See suicide prevention event returning to Knoxville

KNOXVILLE The 2nd Annual Dare to See suicide prevention event, presented by Punk Talks, Johnson University, and Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, will be held March 8 in Knoxville.

The event will feature music by various artists, such as Abbs Kern – a Chattanooga Indie singer-songwriter, Benjamin Donaldson – a Knoxville singer-songwriter, Shayla McDaniel – a Knoxville Jazz singer-songwriter, and Night Colors – a Knoxville Indie-Pop duo. In addition, there will also be artwork in order to reflect on suicide prevention through conversation and creative arts.

The conversation will be led by TSPN, which is a statewide organization responsible for implementing the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention as defined by the 2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

“Performing at ‘Dare to See’ is very important to me because I believe it’s a way to use our music to start a conversation,” The Knoxville duo, Night Colors, said. “Mental health is dark and a constant theme throughout my writing, and it’s so amazing to be able to use that in healthy light to hopefully have an impact on people’s lives.”

The event was successful in its first event, reaching around 100 people last year. Olivia Martin, an event coordinator, has been involved since the beginning. She said the idea came about from some local high school suicides, as well as the TV show, “Thirteen Reasons Why”.

“Kind of the whole thing with the event is music, there’s conversation we have speakers that come in and kind of give a little conversation about what we can do in those really hard moments,” Martin said. “Also, we wanted to have resources from different organizations.”

Resources will be provided by TSPN, Johnson University Counseling Center, Punk Talks, and more.

The event is free, however, a $5 donation is suggested to benefit TSPN and Punk Talks.

Dare to See will be held at the Jackson Terminal, 203 W Jackson Ave., Knoxville.

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Civil unrest breaks out in Haiti

While millions of Americans slept peacefully in their beds on the night of Feb. 7, about 700 miles off the coast of Florida violent protests broke out in Haiti. For a month now, protestors have clashed with police forces.

At the heart of the conflict is the issue of corruption and money embezzlement within the Haitian government. In 2010, Haiti was rocked by enormous earthquakes that caused millions of dollars worth of damage to structures across the island.

In an effort to help Haiti rebuild, Venezuela gave them a loan. However, politicians have embezzled about $2 billion of it, according to VICE news. One activist from Haiti told a reporter that the protestors are asking ”where is my money actually, not yours, where is my money, because I am paying you to do this,” also according to VICE news.

The protestors are calling on President Jovenel Moïse to resign due to the fact that he received money from the loan before becoming president. He received the money in order to rebuild a road that was destroyed, but no work was ever done on it. He has said he will not resign which has only angered the protestors further.

Since the protest broke out, a multitude of protestors and police alike have been injured and some have even died. Mothers stand over their dead sons and grieve while others wait beside them in line for basic needs such as food, water and gasoline.

Sophomore Alison Tomamichel went on a mission trip to Haiti a few years ago. She said that there is something about it that stands out from anywhere else she had ever been.

“I’m not sure whether it’s the delicious food, the wonderful people, the beautiful landscapes, or the peoples intense faith in Christ,” Tomamichel said. “The people I have met in Haiti are some of the most kind, genuine, faith-filled, joyful, & hopeful individuals I have ever met.”

When asked about the current protests Tomamichel said she feels bad for Haiti.“The people and the country of Haiti have not had it easy, now or ever,” Tomamichel said. “My heart aches for them in this current crisis.”

Dr. Jerome Prinston was born in Haiti and ended up spending 20 years on the island as a missionary. Even now he tries to return to Haiti once or twice a year. As a result of that, he has many friends and family who are living on the island and are living through the protests. At the time this story is being written, he hasn’t planned a trip back to the island due to the protests. He says the situation currently plaguing the island is extremely sad and depressing.

“The people are still coming out of the last natural disaster,” Prinston said. “But this time it is a problem that has been fabricated by the government, which is very disappointing.”

Prinston says that Christians who want to help the nation can do so in many ways but the main way would be supporting missionaries that they trust there. This can be done not only through economic support, but also through prayer and encouragement. Talking to the missionaries and seeing what their needs are is one of the best ways Christians in the U.S. can help.

“It’s a very sad situation,” Prinston said. “He’s a church planter and he has a school and for the past two weeks he hasn’t been able to go to his office and get any work done because of what’s going on in the streets. It weighs a lot on my mind to know that the people are suffering and that there is something that could be done but it’s not happening.”

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Royals Recap: first week of tennis includes 1st win and ARC home opener

womens

Photo By Johnson University Athletic Department

The Royals had an exciting week of tennis picking up their first win of the season as well as playing their first home match on the newly built ARC tennis courts.
The Royals opened up their first week of the first season traveling to Asheville, North Carolina to play Warren Wilson College. The Royals came out firing early scoring a couple of quick points with awin at the second position by Danielle Keehner and Madi Buchanan and the third position by Iris Loveday and Emily Allen, both by a score of 8-0. The Royals would have to fight for the final doubles point as Annalise McDonald and Hannah Hamm pulled away late to win 8-5.

The Royals continued their run on the singles court with Buchanan, Olive Anderson, and Allen took down their opponents without dropping a game. At the two spot, Keehner got down early but ended the match by winning 12 straight games to put her opponent away. The final win for the Royals was freshman Loveday picking up her first college singles win by a score of 6-2, 6-4.

On Saturday, the Royals were back in action but this time on the Johnson ARC tennis courts against Wittenberg College. In the first women’s tennis match ever played on Johnson’s campus, the Royals welcomed many fans for a good day of tennis. The pair of Buchanan and Keehner used the energy of the crowd and the new courts to play a handful of inspired points in big moments. Trading blows all the way to a tie-breaker, the pair both earned and fought off match points. In the end, the pair from Wittenberg were able to pull out the win.

Momentum would stay with Wittenberg throughout the beginning of singles. After falling in the first set 2-6, sophomore Olive Anderson would storm back in the 2nd set to blitz her opponent 6-0. Tied at a set apiece, Anderson and her opponent would trade shots and points in a 10-point tiebreak with neither player ever leading by more than 2 points. Both facing match points and earning match points, Anderson fought hard to the very end losing by a final count of 12-10. Though the Royals did not pick up any wins against Wittenberg, the Royals definitely held their own for their first match on their own courts.

Coach Hale explained the ups and downs of the week after the match saying, “Starting off the spring with a win is a great boost of confidence. We all played very well and everyone was able to get up early and execute our game plan. I was also very proud of how we fought on Saturday, though we lost some really tight heartbreakers, we fought to the very end and really embraced playing on campus with the support everyone behind us. This week has definitely laid the foundation for us to have a good season.”

The Royals return to the ARC on March 14th against Ferrum College.

 

Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

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Royals Recap: Men’s Tennis picks up win and then begins play at ARC

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Photo courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

The Royals had an exciting week of tennis picking up their first win of the spring season as well as playing their first home match on the newly built ARC tennis courts.

After ending the fall season with a win against cross-town rival Maryville College, the Royals looked to get continue the momentum against Warren WIlson. The Royals got out to an early lead in the first tier but fell behind in the second. Using an aggressive playing style the tandem of Stephen Damon and Michael Rhodenbaugh put away their opponents on the top tier 8-2.

Taking a 2-1 lead into singles, the Royals easily rolled in three of the five matches. At the number one spot, Carson Byington jumped out to a quick first set lead 6-0 and continued to roll 6-2 in the second set. Two Royals also got their very first college win as Malachi Carr and Camden Rusch did not drop a game at the three spot and five spot, respectively. The Royals capped off the day with two highly competitive matches with Rhodenbaugh at the 2 spot and Riley Reinhardt at the 4. Rhodenbaugh was able to stage a comeback in the first set and squeak out a 7-5 win while Reinhardt would fall in a back and forth set, 6-4. In the end, Rhodenbaugh was able to put away his opponent while Reinhardt dropped the second in similar back and forth fashion.

On Saturday, the Royals were back in action but this time on the Johnson ARC tennis courts against Wittenberg College. The Royals inaugural home match started off rough as the Wittenberg Tigers got off to quick starts on all three doubles courts with the only pair that was able to take a game was the pair of Dalton Sauer and Caleb Weaver. Despite fighting hard, the Royals would eventually be swept by a score of 9-0.

Coach Hale explained the ups and downs of the week after the match saying, “Starting off the spring with a win is a great boost of confidence. We all played very well and everyone was able to get up early and execute our game plan. I was also very proud of how we fought on Saturday, we fought to the very end and really embraced playing on campus with the support everyone behind us. This week has definitely laid the foundation for us to have a good season.”

The Royals return to the ARC on March 14th against Ferrum College.

 

Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com