YS Cares | Overwhelmed – The Wright Family

David Fraze
February 7th, 2019

It was one of those NYWC Moments that Youth Specialties is famous for providing.   A youth minister is found to be in critical need and YS mobilizes the youth ministry world into blessing the life of the one in need.  As a result, all are inspired by witnessing the family of God at work.  Yes, the set-up can be as predictable as a Hallmark Christmas Movie, but the story of need and resulting meeting of that need is never predictable and always inspiring.  So is the story of the Wright Family’s journey through fire, displacement and a ministry opportunity they could never have imagined.

Do you need a refresher of the need facing Ryan Wright and his family? Listen in as they give us a peak into their world via their 2018 Christmas Letter:

We are overwhelmed. Since November 8, 2018, we have been overwhelmed by the wake of devastation from the Camp Fire. The wildfire consumed our home, and pretty much the entire town of Paradise. We are overwhelmed with how many of our friends and family who have lost their homes, and find themselves in the same situation we are in. We have been overwhelmed by dear friends and family both near and far that have been reaching out to us with love, encouragement, prayer and support. It’s been humbling to be on the receiving end of people’s kindness, some people whom we have never met, and it has comforted our family, and reminded us often that we are not alone in these difficult days. We’ve also been overwhelmed by ongoing evidence that God is carrying us through this season, and showing himself faithful in our lives.

Our kids have been troopers through this disaster. They have shown a lot of grace, understanding and the best of their character. Jackson continues to play basketball for Paradise High School and will attend the temporary location of PHS at the Chico Airport to finish his 11th grade year. Gracie is continuing her 6th grade year at Achieve Charter Middle School where her social and emotional needs have been fulfilled with friends and the amazing staff (oh, middle school, bless you!). We are so grateful that our kids have seen first-hand how God has taken care of our every need. We acknowledge how God’s provisions and timing are perfect.

Achieve Charter School, where Jessica teaches 2nd grade, has been established at Life Church in Chico. This generous and kind church, along with many charter school supporters and educational communities, have provided the resources for school to carry on as normal as possible. Second graders, students, teachers and staff at Achieve Charter School are resilient and have brought and overwhelming amount of comfort and joy to this situation.

Ministry at Paradise Alliance Church has changed during the past 8 weeks. While the church building survived the fire, serving the community has proven complicated because the town is uninhabitable, the people are scattered throughout Northern California and the needs are far greater than our resources. As the High School Pastor, Ryan’s role has expanded to help meet the needs of people in the community. Generous donations and support from all over the country have allowed the church to continue doing ministry. After the first of the year Paradise Alliance will have its own services at the Chico Neighborhood campus.

Currently our family is renting a house until March 31st. We are looking for another rental in Chico so we can stay close to our schools, friends and family. There are so many unknowns and unanswered questions, but as of now, our hope is to someday rebuild.  For now, The Wright family will continue to rest assured that we are in good hands when we are in God’s hands. We want to thank you for being a part of this journey with us. God has used you in incredible ways to help meet the needs of our family, and also allow us to love others well. We are overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed. What an incredible, inspiring word used by the Wright’s in explaining their hardship, challenge and ministry opportunity in the midst of the Paradise rebuild from the Camp Fire.   Now, as Paul Harvey would say (If you do not know Paul Harvey, you are not an old youth minister yet), here is the rest of the story.

After the call for help was made at NYWC, the YS/NYWC and partnering communities of organization and youth ministers raised A LOT of money for Ryan, Jessica, Jackson and Grace Wright.  At the writing of this blog, the total amount given through Venmo and Square Cash @YScares, is $15,211.55.  Other than the cash, the Wright family has received:

  • A lifetime DYM Gold Membership
  • 1-Year of Orange Curriculum
  • $250.00 Visa Gift Card
  • An all-expense paid trip to NYWC 2019 in Tampa

And, after the NYWC 2018 Exhibitors heard the Wright Family story, the following was received:

  • 9Square provided a donation
  • The Wade Center donated $800.00 towards a mission trip for the youth of Paradise Alliance Church.
  • 52 Threads gave 50 free t-shirts to the Paradise Alliance Church youth ministry

At the writing of this blog, the list of Exhibitor donations continues to grow. 

Overwhelmed.  It is easy to see why the Wright’s chose this word in their Christmas Letter.  We look forward to hearing more of the stories that will rise out of the ashes of Paradise Alliance Church and the ministry of Ryan, Jessica and their family.   For now, keep this family, and all of those impacted by the California fires, in your prayers.   And thank you for joining @YScares in making a huge difference in the life of a fellow youth worker.  Heaven alone knows the impact.

David Fraze

David Fraze is an advisor and professor at Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, TX. David also contributes as an editor at Youth Specialties, a coach at the National Youth Workers Association, and is a sought after speaker and advisor with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.