KW Stories -

God finds way for student with disability to stand for decision —

By Becca Haines

Created on 09/12/2019

Bryce Wright lives with spina bifida – a condition that has hindered his spinal cord development since birth. But he wasn’t going to let his wheelchair keep him from standing for Christ at MOVE in 2019.

Wright was a sophomore at Maize South High School in Wichita, Kansas, and loves Pathway Church. His best friend is a fellow classmate – Anders Kelly. The two connected at MOVE the previous year – noting their relationship got a jumpstart from inspiring speakers and heartfelt videos about showing kindness to others. Kelly said he suspected Wright was lonely before their friendship took off – seemingly isolated from many functions due to his wheelchair … Wright said his friend was right.

 

“I wasn’t as close to anyone before Anders,” Wright said. “It really meant something when he started showing up and we started to really trust each other.”

 

The friends started going to high school football games together, playing video games, sitting next to each other in church and participating more in youth group. Wright said a defining moment in this blossoming friendship happened last fall when their youth group wanted to conquer a corn maze together. Kelly and Wright found themselves not only lost, but stuck.

 

“The maze was muddy, and my wheelchair was getting stuck quite a bit,” Wright said. “The rest of the group made it out but Anders, me and two other people were very lost. We wanted to get out of there … so Anders picked me up out my wheelchair and carried me! It was a long ways, too. That really built our friendship because I felt like I could trust him.”

 

Wright and Kelly returned to MOVE in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they learned even more about each other – including personal struggles with sin. As that bond strengthened, they decided to form an alliance to face those battles together. At the end of the week when the MOVE team invited students to stand to declare their commitments to vocational ministry, among the 116 high school students were Kelly – who once again picked up Wright from his wheelchair, but this time so that they could stand together and answer God’s call on their lives.

 

“It was such an awesome moment,” Kelly said. “We had the idea that we were going to stand, but we didn’t know how it was going to work out. The moment came – they made the call – and I leaned down and said, ‘I’m going to just pick you up so people can see we mean this,’ and he hugged onto me. We cried and prayed – just thanking God for this week.”

 

MOVE Program Coordinator Caleb DeRoin got to know countless students from the 34-city tour last summer, but he said he distinctly remembers Wright and the specific moment when he looked up from the stage into the balcony and saw the silhouetted friends standing for their Savior.

 

“Throughout the week, I had seen Bryce confined to a wheelchair, but he always seemed to be having a phenomenal experience and expressed the best attitude and outlook,” DeRoin said. “That student was helped by another student to stand up to answer God’s call to vocational ministry. Emotion rushed over me and I had to leave the room. What a beautiful image of love, and what a beautiful image of Kingdom work above all else.”

 

Wright and Kelly said there’s no doubt that God brought them together and they have seen Him move so powerfully in their friendship that they’re willing to base their futures on it and boldly share their testimonies with others.

 

“I want to show people that no matter what condition you’re in, you can pursue whatever you want,” Wright said. “I’ve been called to share my story. I feel if there’s an obstacle, you shouldn’t let it stop you. I feel the Holy Spirit has led me to a new path for my life and there’s more steps I need to make in my faith – from people I hang out with and the things I do. Anders isn’t like a friend anymore – I would say we’re brothers. It’s beyond a friendship now.”