Saturday, December 22, 2018

Update: End of Term 1

Hey everyone,

I realize it’s been 2 months since I have updated my blog, and just wanted to bring you all up to speed to where I am now!

I am currently at my parent’s house, they were very kind to fly me home for the Christmas holidays! And seeing as I won’t be home again until October, it’ll be a good time catching up with family and friends.

The first term of the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) is now over, and has sped by quite quickly! At this point, we are almost done the entire New Testament; in January we’ll be finishing off the brunt of it with 1-3 John, the Gospel of John and Hebrews.

It’s been an interesting journey as I’ve started to gain a better understanding of the challenges the early church faced, and the reasons the epistles (letters in the New Testament) were written. As I read and study these books, it’s been very humbling to recognize the humanity of the early church. I find that in the Western Church, we often ‘glorify’ the people of the Bible and like to think of the early church as the perfect standard we should hold. Not so! The church in Corinth was divided, they still practiced immoral things from their past, they were sexually immoral, they were greedy, and didn’t look out for one another. The entire letter to the Galatians reprimands them from turning away so quickly from the things they had learned and binding themselves to the things of the earth. There were divisions between the rich and the poor, between the Jews and the Gentiles. There were many false teachers moving through the churches, teaching people that they had to be Jewish in order to be a Christian, or teaching other things contrary to what the Old Testament taught (and what Jesus clarified).

At the beginning of December, the base hosted “Winter Wonderland”, which is a Christmas “Open House” that is run yearly, and has many events, such as a Narnia experience, school choirs coming in to sing, multi-ethnic foods, games and crafts for children, amongst many other things. Myself and a group of others performed a signed song in British Sign Language (BSL). That was a unique challenge because my knowledge of BSL was very limited!

Performing the signed song

A few weekends ago, I was able to return back to the base I did my Discipleship Training School (DTS) at, and was able to reconnect with some good friends!

One of the girls from my DTS!

One of the guys from my DTS and one of my staff!

Some of us at the base-wide Christmas dinner

The whole SBS group at our Christmas party

9:30 pm on the last night of the term, some of us were still working hard to finish our assignments!

A nice picnic spot I found on one of my weekend bike rides!

Prayer Points:
- Wellness: I came home with a really bad cold, and would like to be able to enjoy Christmas!
- Finances: A few people in my class still need to raise money for the next 2 terms, pray that all financial requirements are covered!
- Rest: The school is very intense and we are all very drained right now - pray that we would be able to rest and relax, and be fully refreshed upon our return in January!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Update: October

Hey friends, just an update on what I’ve been doing this past month!

This place is very awake at night!

In my last update, I mentioned that we had studied the book of Philemon. Now, we have also studied Ephesians, Mark, Luke and Acts (in that order)! The staff were gradually increasing the amount of work we were required to do for each book as the weeks went by - so for Philemon, Ephesians and Mark, we weren’t officially graded, and we were given chunks of information that we otherwise would have to do. But for Luke, it was all on us to do all the work! Luke also happens to be the longest book in the New Testament!

Up to this point, we’ve been doing one book each week as we have been learning how to do the work we need to do, but now, we’ll be doing multiple books each week based on book length!

So - what am I actually doing?

I mentioned in my last blog post that we do 5 steps:
1. Pray
2. Read
3. Observe
4. Interpret
5. Apply

I’ll expand a bit more on the last 3 steps as that is where the bulk of the work comes in!  After we do an “out-loud” reading of the book, we go over it again and are looking for observations. How we mark our observations is by using a method of colour coding - using a different colour for different things. Some of the things we look for are ‘who’, ‘when’, ‘where’, contrast, correlation, figures of speech, etc.

Excerpt of what my colour-coding looks like for Luke

By colour-coding, we can easily see what’s in the text, and visualize relationships between people, places, things, etc more easily.

After we’ve observed the text, we need to make paragraph titles for every paragraph in the book using only words from that paragraph! We then group the paragraphs into segments (~ the same number as there are chapters, but could be more or less). Segments are groups of paragraphs that are similar in content (for example, in the Gospels it could be while Jesus is in one place). Then, segments are grouped into sections, which are groups of segments with a similar theme. After that, if the book is big enough, we might group sections into divisions, where there is a clear divide between two halves of the book! Each of these groupings gets its own title, and we generate a horizontal chart (as seen below):

After the Horizontal Chart is completed, we have to do Vertical Charts. What these are is that each segment turns into a vertical chart with the paragraphs listed, we put observations into it that we found during the observation stage, then we do builds. A build is an Observation, Interpretation and Wisdom from a certain number of the observations we found in the paragraphs. Depending on how large the segment is, the number of builds we have to do varies. At the end of the Vertical Chart, we have to write a segment summary based on the content of the segment, and the information gleaned from the builds. Below is an example of a Vertical Chart for Luke:

After the Vertical Charts are done, we move into the application phase, where we write both a personal application about the book (how has our worldview been challenged, what did we learn, etc) and and external application (how can the church body improve, etc).

And that’s it! It’s a lot of work, very time-consuming, but worth it all. I’ve been learning so much in this school, and my worldview has been slowly reshaped. We don’t necessarily do all the steps for every book, or we sometimes have different assignments instead. For example, for Acts, we didn’t have to do any Vertical Charts. However, we had to make a timeline for the entire New Testament (~10 BC - 100 AD), and draw maps for Paul’s 3 missionary journeys and his journey to Rome. For the maps, we also had to write a brief summary of his 4 journeys.

This timeline is on the classroom wall, it’s similar to what we had to do, but we needed to add a lot more detail!

This past weekend has been a long weekend for us, 3 days of not having to do homework! A typical week for us has us starting Monday morning, and finishing homework Saturday night. So having 3 days not to do homework was much needed!

Also, our class size has grown from 16 to 20, we had 4 more people from India all receive their visas, and they were all able to arrive without missing too much of the school!

Prayer Requests:
- For sleep and energy! Oftentimes during the week, I’m up until about midnight doing homework, then waking up just after 7 for breakfast. Prayer for more efficient time management is appreciated!
- Health - we’ve had a few of the trainees get sick, so prayers that everyone is well and healthy are also appreciated!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Week 1: I've Arrived!

Hey all,

Its been a week and a bit since my last update, so I thought I’d let you all know that I’ve arrived!

YWAM The King’s Lodge

I arrived on Thursday of last week, and both Thursday and Friday were full of orientation, training and information about the base. There are 16 of us in the SBS (School of Biblical Studies); 6 boys and 10 girls. There is also a Discipleship Training School (DTS) happening at the same time, they have 2 boys and 9 girls; 11 in all.

My SBS comprises of people from India, Samoa, Italy, Northern Ireland, England, the US, Canada, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and South Korea. We also have 7 staff members, and they’re from South Korea, Wales, Ukraine, the US, Canada and Tanzania. Truly an international school!

Our SBS staff team

On Saturday, both the DTS and the SBS went into Stratford-Upon-Avon for the day to explore and get to know each other a bit better. It was neat to see the places where Shakespeare lived and where he is currently buried!

Fun fact: Shakespeare’s body is in the church across the river

Lots of swans in Stratford!

We have spent the majority of this past week in the classroom learning the foundations of the school, walking through the book of Philemon together, and practicing what we’ve been learning.

Our classroom

Teaching time!

There are 3 main approaches when we study the Bible:

1. Subjective - Using the Bible’s content devotionally (individually or for others)
2. Deductive - Using the Bible’s content to prove/present an idea/theology
3. Inductive - Uses the Bible’s content to form an idea/theology

Throughout this school, we will be using the Inductive approach to see what the Bible ‘actually says’, but all 3 approaches are valuable in their own way!

The main “method” of inductive approach that we will be taking over the next 9 months has 5 steps:

1. Pray - by praying first, we recognize that we do our part, but that we need God to be present, and to do the rest
2. Read - each book will be read out loud to start, then a total of 5 times as we go through all the steps. We read differently depending on the various genres etc.
3. Observe - this is the stage where we are looking at the text, and trying to see what it actually says. This can be difficult because most of us tend to read and instantly jump to how this applies in our lives.
4. Interpret - we ask the question “what did this mean?” (not “what does this mean?”) We are a very different and removed culture than the people the Bible was originally written to! We need to interpret the text in relation to these ancient cultures, not in relation to our modern-day culture
5. Apply - Once we have gone through all the steps, we can then think about ourselves

I will explain more about what we’re doing in a later post, but for those of you that have made it this far, thanks for reading about what I’m up to!

Prayer Requests:
- There is one more trainee arriving for the SBS this week, their family just had their visas approved. Pray that they would settle in quickly, and be able to catch up on the material they’ve missed
- Rest: It’s very easy for me to stay up late and not get enough sleep. We also have had mounds of information heaped on us this week, which has been quite overwhelming. My class tends to shut down and go to our rooms after classes.
- Peace: my SBS experience has been vastly different than my DTS, and I’m realizing I came with a lot of expectations from DTS that haven’t been met. I thought because I was “going back to YWAM”, that things would be similar, but they aren’t!

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for rebuking, for correction, and for training in righteousness”

2 Timothy 3:16

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Update 4: Congrats and Goodbye

As I’m typing up this update, I am waiting to board my plane at the Toronto Pearson Airport. This has been a rollercoaster of a month!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that during the summer, I broke a finger, and earlier in September, I had my wisdom teeth out. I’ve been slowly recovering from both over the course of the month. The past few week have been trying for me as I’ve been dealing with roadblock after roadblock! I had to get both of my cochlear implants sent back for repair before I left as they weren’t working too optimally from a summer at camp! I was sent the replacements about a week ago, however, I quickly realized that the replacements weren’t working the way they should be, and I needed replacements for the replacements! Thankfully they came just a few days ago. I also needed to send my FM systems back to the manufacturer to be cleaned and checked (they also weren’t working well this past summer). They bounced around a bit, and finally were delivered yesterday… to London! There was a tight timeline to get them from London to Cookstown, but thankfully they arrived last night! In the end of it all, God worked through these situations to teach patience and to rely on Him for things to work out. (Check out the song “Tremble” by Mosaic MSC - definitely helped me get through this week!)

While there’s been some crazy stuff going on, there’s also been a lot of good too. I was able to go down to London 2 weekends ago and visit with some of my friends from Western and from my church down there! It was great to see them, as I haven’t been back to London since the end of April when I moved out.

Lunch in London with some of my classmates and friends

This past weekend, my Mom organized a “Congrats & Goodbye” party to celebrate the completion of my Master’s, and to see me off for England. It was a great time, and I’m so thankful for all my friends and family that were able to come see me off. I seem to move so often, and haven’t felt “at home” in a long time, so it was great to be reminded of the amazing support group I have behind me as I head off to England.

The aftermath of the party.. Realized I didn’t get pictures with anyone during the party!

Saying goodbye to home for the next few months

On Sunday, I was able to share with my home church a bit of what I’ve been up to and what I’ll be doing with YWAM these upcoming months. My interview was filmed, and is posted on YouTube if you want to watch:

My family is all over the place right now, as my Dad travels a bit for work, and both of my brothers are in university (one is on co-op and is living at home). However, I was able to see them all in the last 24 hours, which was great!

My brothers and I last night - Austin came home for a short time (and to eat my Mom’s “Thanksgiving dinner”!)

Brooke saying goodbye

My parents and I at the airport. My Dad drove out from Kingston to see me off!

Prayer Requests:
- Safety: It’s so weird when people say “Have a safe flight”, it’s not like we have any control over what happens! Thanks Austin for putting that thought in my mind haha. But I would appreciate prayers for safety as I make my journey back to England
- Finances: Thank you so much to everyone who has been helping support me up to this point! I still need to raise about another $2000 to cover the remainder of my fees.
- Rest: Jetlag isn’t fun, and listening is very auditorily fatiguing, prayers for rest and energy to be able to listen, understand and communicate with those around me are also appreciated.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Update 3: The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done

Alright guys - this blog is full of real-talk, just felt like I needed to share what’s been on my heart from this past summer.

As many of you know if you’ve been following my blog, I just recently finished my Master’s degree at the beginning of July (Woo!), and am heading back to YWAM (Youth With A Mission) at the end of September. What most of you may not know is what I’ve been doing in the time between. I knew I had about 2 ½ months between finishing my degree and heading off to England, and I didn’t have any plans for that time. After praying about it, I was approached by 2 people asking me if I wanted to volunteer at Intervarsity’s Ontario Pioneer Camp.

A bit about Pioneer: “Everything we do at Pioneer Camp is for the purpose of helping children and youth grow spiritually, mentally, socially and physically in a fun-filled and safe place of adventure and challenge. We invite campers to consider what the Bible has to say to them, about their relationship with God, and each other.”

I was fortunate to be a camper at Pioneer for 8 years. My Nana paid for me to go my first summer in 2002, and told me I could go every summer I wanted to! She unfortunately passed away that year, but my parents continued to send me for the rest of my childhood. I was able to be a camper for two years at Adventure Camp (ages 5-10), 4 years at Boy’s Camp (ages 11-15), and 2 years in 252 (a co-ed program for older teens that mixes work with being a camper).

Anyways, I said I’d pray about it, but inside was thinking I wouldn’t go. After all, I’m 25, I’m profoundly deaf, I just finished my Master’s degree, I never did the LIT (leaders in training) program, etc etc. However, God used my last placement for Audiology in strange ways. I spent 9 weeks in May-June up in Timmins on placement, and met a family at the church I was going to that had all grown up at Pioneer. The one guy was going on staff this summer as well, and he encouraged me to apply! I finally realized that I was resisting returning for a number of selfish reasons, and said “alright God, whatever you want, I’m ready”.

I applied and had a video interview with the Boy’s Camp Director (who was also my chalet/252 leader in 2008!) I voiced a few of my concerns, and I distinctly remember him bluntly (but kindly) telling me that those were silly, and that I shouldn’t be worried!

So, fast forward to finishing my placement, I was able to spend 3-4 days off to recover and catch my breath, then I was off to camp. I floated around a bit for a few days, covering for chalets whose leaders were on days off, etc, then it was time for me to co-lead. That was a hard first go, a number of my campers didn’t want to participate in activities, in discussions, etc. The co-leader and I also had a special-needs camper in our chalet who was amazing to work with. He was mostly nonverbal, but had many interests, one of them chiefly being swimming. I remember him fearlessly jumping off the high tower with pure joy on his face.

By the end of that week I was wiped, and was able to go home and spend some time with my family for 2 weeks. It was the first time I had had any significant break since Christmas holidays, and it was much needed! I returned to camp after that for another 4 weeks.  My new campers were great, but I had a special-needs camper who was high maintenance and full-support required. I definitely didn’t think I would be changing diapers this summer! When I was asked at the beginning of the week if I was ok with having a special-needs camper with all these needs, I (somewhat reluctantly) said yes. Before you go thinking this was forced on me, it wasn’t! God was nudging me to say yes when I was asked, and He was telling me that this was the summer I was to be stretched. My co-leader and I were grateful for having such great campers in our chalet that week, I don’t think we could’ve managed if the other campers were rough! Full support isn’t easy, especially when the camper has no interests and doesn’t connect with you in meaningful ways.  However, I was reminded time and time again that week that Jesus himself stooped to wash the disciples feet. After working a few days at a summer camp, you get an appreciation for how dirty and gross feet get! Jesus reminded me that we are called to be servants, and that includes metaphorically washing the feet of others. How beautiful it was to be a part of this camper’s life! He couldn’t perform basic hygienic care of himself, so I was called to help support and care for him in this way for the week. Sure, having him tickling your feet and pinching your toes in the middle of the night, or chasing after him when he decides to run out at 6 am wasn’t always fun in the moment, but now I can look back and laugh. These were what made him unique, and I will never forget his bouts of pure joy and happiness over some of the simplest things.

I had another special-needs camper my last two weeks of Boy’s Camp, however, he was more independent, which allowed for me to invest my time more into the other campers. I was able to have meaningful conversations and build memories with them.

My last week of the summer was helping to run a program called FUEL.  It’s a co-ed program designed for 14-17 year olds (high school aged) to help “fuel” them for the upcoming school year. I was challenged in many ways this week by now counselling campers that I had worked with earlier in the summer, as well as the campers dealing with rougher stuff than my previous campers.

So, I could choose to look back at the summer, and think of all the negatives that happened.  I broke my finger, and it was just over a week before it was discovered. I was left out of conversations both intentionally and unintentionally. Campfires were hopeless; I rarely knew what was being said. Conversations were also hopeless in the Dining Hall with all the background noise. I missed the staff pre-camp training week, and didn’t feel like I fit into the “boy’s club” for a while. It was hard, it was draining, and so many anxieties about being deaf came up.

But I choose to look at the positives.  I choose to see the impact, however little, I was able to make on my special-needs campers’ lives. I see past the masks of my other campers and see who they truly are: children of God made in His image. I choose to remember the small moments of joy and laughter. I choose to remember stargazing with my chalet, and hearing the exclaims of wonder as some saw shooting stars for the first time ever. I choose to remember playing Dizzy sailors at night on the ballpark. I choose to remember deer walking right past us deep in conversation on the beach at night. I choose to remember coming face to face with a racoon in bed. I choose to remember the times my campers trusted me enough to confide in me. I choose to remember my campers stepping out in faith and trying new things. I choose to remember the kindness of the other staff when my broken finger was discovered. I choose to remember the friendships I made. I choose to remember how tight the staff team felt during FUEl, and how we all grew closer in relationship with one another. I choose to remember all that God reminded me of and taught me this summer.

And honestly, at the end of the day, God used this summer to remind me of so many things, who I am in his eyes, and what my purpose was.

Now, having been home for almost two weeks, and having two weeks before I head off to England, I can look back and say with certainty that this summer was not a waste.  Sure, my classmates are mostly all working pretty decent jobs, but this was where I needed to be this summer. And it was a way for me to help prepare for going back to England.

In these last few days, there are a few things I need prayer for:
- Healing. I had my wisdom teeth out last Friday, so prayers for quick healing are appreciated! I also have a broken finger that’s mostly healed, however, I still can’t bend it at one joint.
- Visas. There are a few trainees that have visas that haven’t been approved yet for my SBS. Pray that they are approved quickly and that they can join us in England!
- Fees. I still need to raise about $4000 CAD for later fees in the school. Pray that they would be provided for in the upcoming months!
- Rest. I’ve been running around trying to get things done and meet up with friends before I leave, pray that I would be able to have a time of meaningful rest and recuperation before I head off to England!

If you’ve made it to the end, congrats! And thanks for bearing with me through all of this. As always, feel free to contact me if you want to chat!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Update 2:

Hey everyone!

I wanted to share with you all how you can support me financially on this new adventure God’s taking me on. I need to raise approximately $14 000 (CAD) to cover flights, lecture expenses, outreach expenses, etc. Please consider helping to support me!


You can donate online through CHIMP with a credit card:

If you click on “DONATE”, you can fill out your information and receive a tax-receipt for the donation.

2. Interac e-transfer

You can log into your bank account, select the e-Transfer option and enter as the recipient email. You will then need to send a second email with my name, my code (as seen below) and the answer to the security question you may have set up. You will receive a tax-receipt from YWAM Canada.

Alternatively, you can e-transfer me directly at, however, you won’t receive a tax-receipt using this method.

3. Cheque/Money Order

Please make your cheque or money order payable to "Youth With A Mission" and include a separate note with my name and identification code (as seen below). Mail to the address below:

Youth With A Mission
PO Box 57100 RPO East Hastings
Vancouver, BC V5K 5G6

More information about funding options are available on the YWAM Canada website:

Information you may need about me:

Name: Stephen Wright
Identification Code: WS20
Address: 2 Garibaldi Street, Cookstown, ON, Canada L0L 1L0
Base: YWAM The King’s Lodge
Position: SBS Trainee

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have comments, questions or concerns, I’d love to chat!

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Hey everyone - exciting announcement!

But first…

What have I been doing since my DTS (Discipleship Training School)?

I finished my DTS in June of 2016, after which I travelled Europe and visited friends and family for a few days.  I came back to Canada near the end of July 2016, and spent the remainder of the summer with my family and catching up with friends.  I packed up my stuff from where I was living in Guelph (Ontario), and moved it to London (Ontario). Since September 2016, I have been working on my Master’s degree in Audiology, and am currently finishing up my last placement in Timmins (Ontario).


I’m going back to YWAM (Youth With A Mission)!
More specifically, YWAM The Kings Lodge in Nuneaton, England.


Nuneaton is about halfway between London and Liverpool, about an hour and a half further north than YWAM Harpenden (the base I did my DTS at).

What am I doing?

I will be doing a secondary level school called the School of Biblical Studies (SBS). This is an intensive 9-month program where we read through each of the 66 books of the Bible 5 times.  We gain an understanding and knowledge of the historical and cultural context in which each book is written, and learn how to interpret the text for itself (let it speak for itself!). We also learn what each book meant for the people it was written to originally, as well as how we can apply it to our own lives and the society in which we live.

Afterwards, there is a 3-month outreach school that I am planning to do called the Titus Project.  Through this school, I will learn how to teach and transfer the skills I learned through the SBS to other people.  I will be at the main base for a few weeks learning how to teach/transfer these skills, then the majority of this school will be spent overseas in another country putting into practice what I learned.

Why am I doing this?

Statistics show that 90% of Christians will not read the whole Bible in their lifetimes. I find this to be incredibly sad. This is the collection of books we claim to base our entire lives off of, and if we haven’t read it all, how can we understand all that God has done in the past? My heart in doing the SBS is that I would both gain an increased understanding of who God is, and what his will is for me through studying his word, as well as gain the tools to help other people discover who God is and what his will is for them!

What about Audiology?

When I finish my SBS, I will most likely be returning to Canada and working. Audiology will just be on hold for a while!

How can you help?

There are a few things:
1) Prayer!  Right now, I need prayers that God will provide all the funds I need for my SBS. I will post more prayer requests in a future blog post.
2) Giving: I need to raise approximately $12 000 for all costs (flights, visa, school fees, outreach fees). I am in the process of setting up an account with YWAM Canada that people can donate to and receive charitable tax receipts. I will pass this information out when I have the account set up.