Getting in the practice: Terri uses her voice

May 19, 2023 | Sports Friends Africa, Sports Friends South Sudan

Terri is a brilliant coach. You could say she grew up with sports right from the womb. Her mother played softball and was a strong athlete. That’s where Terri learned to love sports: in the family. 

As a young adult, she injured her knee. She tore some ligaments playing volleyball and it hasn’t been the same since. But the passion for sports was still ever present.

She carried that love of sports throughout her life and now spends her time coaching and discipling people through SIM’s sports ministry, Sports Friends. Like hitting a tennis ball right on the racket’s sweet spot, I guess you could say that with this role, Terri is in her sweet spot.

Through the years, God has brought her to many different fields. Most recently, God whispered to her to go to South Sudan. Though not knowing exactly what awaited her on the other end, she hopped on a plane and went for a short visit. She quickly developed a nickname in the community. 

“Kura, kura!” The children called out. It’s the Arabic word for “ball.” It was an invitation for her to play.

She went back in a second time to start her journey in language learning. I asked her what she enjoyed about her time. 

“I liked to get together with ladies at the bookstore and sing songs. Sometimes we played volleyball and other times I taught them English.” 

They sang Arabic songs. It’s an easy way to get your mind into a new language. She sang with the group by following along in the songbook. 

Terri understands the concept of practice makes perfect.

And we all love songs. We belt them out in the car when the windows are rolled up. Or sing along to the Bluetooth speakers in the shower. We look forward to the refrain when it nears. And it often doesn’t take much to get people singing. With a few words from the first verse, you could persuade a whole group to join in. Kind of like the word “kura,” might be enough to entice Terri to get the ball rolling. 

Past injuries and age will slowly affect how much she can do on the court. 

“I know there is coming a day when I won’t be able to… but I’ll use my voice.”

She’s using it now to commit words of a song in that foreign language to memory. 

Her body will wear out but she’ll have something to say. She’ll always have something to say. And she’s getting in the practice right now.