Category Archives: Basketball

The Voice

518430594340A few weeks ago while visiting my hometown I got to attend the “Winterfest” basketball game at my former high school. The bright lights of the gym, the sound of the buzzer, and the chanting crowds all brought back vivid memories of when I myself played on our high school basketball team in that very same gym. It was strange to realize that it was ten years ago, but the realization of the time passed was not able to erase the wonderful memories. I looked over at the bench and there was a new coach—a dear friend and teammate whom I played with for many years. But sitting next to her was my own basketball coach, the one who mentored me and taught me to play the game.

The game was exciting, with packed bleachers and yelling fans. The screams of the fans competed with blasting music and the whole building was erupting with energy and noise. It was mid game and as my dad and I watched intently as the girls played, I noticed something. “Get back on defense!” my former coach yelled. Amidst the noise and chaos his was the only voice I heard. Yes, it had been ten years since I played on his team, but something in my mind and ears was attuned to listen to and hear his voice only. While on the team, I had trained myself to block out the yells, suggestions, and voices of the crowd and to focus on hearing the instruction of my coach.

518430514500On my way home from the game I reflected on this. How could it be that after all these years I could still clearly hear the voice of my coach? How was I able to discipline and train my mind and heart to do this? But more importantly, I began to ask myself, what voice do I listen to now? Although each of us have distinctly different lives and struggles, there is one thing we all have in common—chaos, noise, competing voices steering us between right and wrong. But is there a Voice that sticks out in the crowd? Have I trained my mind and heart to hear the most important Voice, the Voice of our Father in heaven? He is the best coach of all, guiding and leading us through each twist and turn in this life. But are we listening?

Sweet Victory

What an incredible basketball season it has been. We started off the season getting slaughtered by a couple of teams. My girls worked hard in practice though, and as we developed our game we began to come back and win against some tough teams.The season here is just practice for the annual end of the season tournament between a coalition of International schools from across the country.

It was the first year our school had hosted the tournament for basketball, and all eyes were on us. We had sadly lost the last couple of games as well as a practice tournament we had participated in. My girls were tired and discouraged, but tough! Teams traveled from all over Southeast Asia, and we played 2 days of round robin play followed by a day of playoffs (8 games in 3 days…everyone was tired). We were excited going into the tournament but were unable to deliver, coming out of the round robin play with a record of 1-4 ranked 6th out of 6. We would play the 3rd ranked team in the elimination round on Sunday and the winner would advance to the semi-finals.

My assistant coaches and I had made a deal with the girls that if they made it to the Final we would wear our most formal black dresses. We hung our dresses in the locker room on Sunday as motivation, but I can honestly say neither of us expected to have to wear them. We came into the elimination round tired and struggling to wake up. We trailed the whole game, but somehow with 4 minutes to go in the 4th quarter my girls found some energy, put on a full court press, and proceeded to win the game by 6. Miraculously, our 6th ranked team was going to the semi-finals!

We had only an hour of rest before the semi-finals began. We were slotted to play the favorited team to win the whole tournament. With a couple of really tall girls and highly skilled posts, we were no match for these giants. We had lost by 10 or so to this team the day before. With no fear, my girls went out and played the game of their lives. Sinking 3s, making steals, playing together and boxing out like they had never done before, they once again walked away with a strong but close victory. We were going to the finals. I would have to get into my dress.

It was a comeback story and my girls were determined to see it to the end. The team we were playing in the finals had beat us by 12 the day before, but my girls wanted revenge. It was a close game and we tied it up several times, but we just couldn’t manage to grab onto the lead. But this was a home game, and the desire and courage was high. With the fans cheering loudly, my girls went into the 4th quarter, once again put on a strong press, and walked away with a win by 6.

The verse that has been on my heart these weeks is Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

What a joy it was to walk through this road of suffering, endurance, character and finally hope with these phenomenal, hard working, determined girls!

coaches in our black dresses:

Here’s the photo album.

Watch a video of the final minutes:

The Nit-Grit

I like to keep my email updates short, so here is a more nitty-gritty, in depth (and long!) update on all that’s been going on here. Thanks for being interested! I know it’s been a while since I sent an update, but the past month (or so) has been full and wonderful.

Here are the topics:


Teaching has come to a close for the semester as this week and next are final exams, and after that the students will go on Christmas break. My final project for the semester was a “Change the World” project. My students had to pick a cause or problem in their community that they care about, present on it, and come up with a creative and new approach to try to solve it. They then had to create some kind of advertisement to publicize their cause. Here they are with some of their advertisements. Some of my favorites include a creative video one student made to persuade people to not be so addicted to their Blackberrys, and a hand fan another student made to persuade people to use less energy. I was so proud of them!

language learning

I have been investing a LOT of my time and energy into language learning since I got here. I have really appreciated my language teacher as she pushes me hard and really motivates me to work hard and learn it well. We have also become quite close friends (here’s a funny photo of us)! I began Unit 4 a couple of weeks ago and well enter into Unit 5 after I return from Christmas break (usually there are a total of 6 units with an optional 3 more for further study). It has been so freeing to be able to speak more and more, I know many of you have prayed for this and I am so grateful! I am far from fluent but am making a lot of progress.

cultural learning

Wow there’s a lot to learn about this culture! Just when I feel I might have a handle on things, something will happen and I’ll realize, “Wow, I’ve got a long way to go!” Someone once told me, “If at the end of 2 years you have a pretty decent handle on the language and culture, I’d consider that a great success.” I think I underestimated how great the learning curve would be on this one, but I am in for the ride and enjoying every twist, turn and bump along the way.


If you’ve kept up with my blog you know I’ve started coaching high school girls basketball at the local International School. This has been a blast! Most of the girls are Korean, with a few Americans and one African. It has been wonderful to pour into them and disciple them, and furthermore I am able to do it in English, which is a nice break! We started out a little rough but had our first win last week, and I am so proud of the progress the girls have made. Sorry the photos are a little blurry, but be sure to check them out!


I had a most wonderful Thanksgiving with my team here. Although the actual day came and went without much notice, we celebrated the Saturday after. It truly felt like Thanksgiving; we cooked all morning, ate around 2pm, then played some soccer outside before eating Pumpkin Pie for dessert. Somehow rice made it on the table, but nobody ate it! When we went around and shared things we were thankful for, I was overflowing. Looking back on the past year, there is so much to be grateful for.

what God has been teaching me

Wait, wait, wait. That’s what God keeps saying. I’ve been so anxious to get this language and culture under my belt! But God has been faithful in teaching me what it means to wait on his timing, his good and perfect timing. You’d think I would have learned about trusting his timing with the whole visa process. The truth is, any kind of growth takes time. This will likely be a continual life lesson.

what’s next

December is a full month! We are having some national leaders get together for encouragement, worship, and training in a couple of weeks, so we are busily preparing. We will also have some short term guests associated with our organization from North America come. Additionally, I will be taking another trip to a different island to visit another school and site. And this is all before Christmas! I am looking forward to a month full of ministry, followed by some time to rest and celebrate the birth of our Lord.

prayer requests

Many of you all have been faithfully praying. Thank you! Here are some prayer requests for this month:

  • Health – I have been sick several times this month as have many of my teammates. Please pray for protection for germs and amoebas and all the other things that swim around here!
  • December events – please pray for all of the ministry anticipated this month (as described above).
  • Language – many of you have prayed for this, thank you! Please continue to pray for my language and culture learning.
  • My students – please pray they would implement some of the things they have learned this semester and that God would continue to work in and stir them.
  • My community – please pray for the people I interact with on a daily basis, that I would be able to minister to and encourage them.

Thank you! Much love sent to you from Asia.

First Win

My highschool girls basketball team grabbed their first win yesterday. I was so proud of how selflessly and together they played!

At one point I wanted a timeout, so I started yelling “Timeout! Timeout!” to the ref. No response. Then I had an epiphany: surely the referee doesn’t speak English! Rookie mistake.

There have been some differences in International basketball from American basketball. Yesterday I called for a timeout and did what I perceive to be the normal “timeout” hand signal. I later learned that the hand signal I used is for technical fouls only, and if the coaches use it, sometimes the referees think you are saying they should call a technical, and they call you on a technical! Whoa I gotta be careful with that one (especially since I promised my girls that if I ever got a technical foul I’d run the whole next practice)!


A Dream Come True

Ok, a small dream. But a dream nonetheless.

This week I accepted the position of highschool girls basketball coach at the local international school. I’m so excited for this opportunity to invest in and disciple girls who speak the same language as I, all while doing something that I love! Brings me back to the good ole days…


Jonny was a rambunctious, high energy 5th grader on my 5th and 6th grade boys basketball team this past summer in Camden, NJ. It was a hot summer day, and I had considered practice to be mostly unsuccessful as I had broken up several fights and felt that not much had been accomplished. I finally conceded to allowing them to scrimmage for the rest of the practice. I began splitting up the teams, Tyric on team one, Jonny on team two. Immediately, Jonny reacted.

“Why you always put me on a butt team?? Man this is butt, my team is butt. You cheatin!” While this kind of response wasn’t unheard of, I was a bit taken aback.

“Jonny,” I said, “I haven’t put anyone else on your team yet. You’re calling yourself butt!”

“Whatever,” Jonny responded, “You’re gonna give me a butt team anyways.”

For a moment, I was discouraged. No matter what I did, Jonny was not going to be content. He didn’t trust me as his coach to put him on a team that would grow him and support him. I really did want to do what was best for him, but he wasn’t even open to it.

I do this to God a lot. I think I know what is best for me, and I don’t allow Him to work and put people in my life that will grow and support me. I get angry or disappointed when things don’t go the way I want them to, and I don’t even give God a chance to be faithful. I try to pawn my poor results off on God, when the reality is that many times my poor results came from my unwillingness to allow my Coach to put other able people on my team.

Sometimes I forget that this Christian life is a team effort. What God has called me to do is so far beyond my own life (a vapor), and it is just a part of what He is doing globally, amongst Christians all over the world. Am I going to trust Him as my Coach to do what is best for His kingdom, not just for myself?

Right now, God has called me to full time ministry in Southeast Asia, but I need teammates! Bringing His good news is not an individual responsibility, rather it is something that I believe the Church is called to do as a community. As I continue this journey, would you consider how you can join? Many of you have already pledged your support, whether it be financially or in prayer, and I cannot tell you how encouraged and grateful I am.

Right now, my biggest need is church connections. Would your church be open to hearing my vision for Southeast Asia? Would you be willing to send me your church’s information?

By the end of the summer, Jonny had really come around. Our team had won the championship, and had learned a lot about the value of teammates and working together. Someone would make a comment to me, and Jonny would look at them and say with a giant smile on his face, “Coach Faith? Yeeeeah. That’s my coach!” Amidst my successes and failures as a coach, Jonny had grown to trust me. I hope and pray that I continue to grow in trusting my Coach, who NEVER fails.