Athletes in the Community: How Kerry Phillips handles nursing, chaplaincy, and soccer.

Kerry Phillips, a sophomore women’s soccer player, is a glowing ball of energy with a smile for everybody and a joke always on the tip of her tongue. When she isn’t busy with her sport, she can be found studying and serving her community in a couple of ways.

First, Phillips is a nursing major, which is an incredible amount of work in addition to being a student-athlete. When asked how she handles all the work that both of these things require, she speaks about how it’s “all about balance.” She says that this kind of lifestyle has been “ingrained in [her] from a young age” as she has always been a student-athlete.

She spoke about how, when she’s not focusing on her game and the gym, she’s focused on her homework. “You just have to get it done,” Phillips said. Nursing is an incredibly hard major, but Phillips seems adept at being able to handle the workload. It helps that she has a passion for it!

Phillips is also passionate about her sport, despite the injuries she’s faced this semester. Her knee was injured twice, resulting in the need for a brace. Phillips jokes that she became a goalie because she didn’t want to run (despite loving to run in her personal time).

On top of this, Phillips is also a student chaplain. When asked why she would want to add more work into her already busy schedule, Phillips spoke about how she felt God had called her to serve her community.

She described how last year she had felt led to begin a Bible study on her soccer team despite her feelings of inadequacy. Becoming a chaplain seemed like the next logical step. Phillips spoke about how the community at Eastern is one of her favorite things about Eastern. “The people here are just different,” she said.

She loves the faith that the people at Eastern exhibit. It seems to her that people at Eastern feel more genuine in the pursuit of Jesus.

Pursuing Jesus is Phillips’ ultimate goal. When asked how she always seems so positive, despite the reality that as humans we all deal with sadness, she told a story about a parable she had read about, about how, in certain cultures, when pottery is broken it is mended with gold, and thus becomes a thing of beauty reflecting the sun.

“I’m just a broken vessel, man. I want to reflect God,” Phillips said, connecting the parable to her life and her own struggles with mental health. This is why she is so passionate about being a student chaplain and her Bible studies.

Reflecting Jesus is a daily challenge and spending time in the Word is one of the best ways to support this goal. Phillips also mentioned how she loves that Eastern’s campus has so many opportunities for communal Bible study and worship.

Phillips’ academic career also reflects this desire as she is double minoring in Biblical Studies and Christian Thought. She jokes that this is because her father wanted her to double major in something but with nursing that’s nearly impossible.

However, she finds that this may come in handy for her career as a nurse in that she could spread the gospel with her patients as best she knows how. She is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a “huddle” leader and “it’s important to [her] to help these kids grow in the Word because [she] didn’t have that growing up in high school.”

This is demonstrative of Phillips’ glowing personality and passion for Jesus. Phillips also says that her double minor is the result of her ever-growing desire to learn about the Bible and its history.

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