Senseless Roots – A Gardener’s Journey to Discovering “Good”

ImageIf you’re like me, there’s something incredible about literally getting dirt underneath your fingernails. It’s a sign of commitment, care, and loyalty to a fragile piece of land which requires the tenderness of a gardner to protect it from the weeds that threaten it.

When I first moved in to my house, the garden was a disaster – choked out by weeds and thistles, the soil hard as clay. Yet, over time, I have been gently coaxing the earth to come up, clearing the debris, and uprooting ominous weeds. During these months, the garden has become a place of quiet rest, solitude, and belonging. Daily, God, the Good Gardener, speaks to me in my pulling and plucking reminding me of the condition of all human souls. Of my own soul. It takes time and effort to care for a garden and in a few weeks simply due to poor weather or long absence, all of that can be completely wiped away.

Yet, today, this garden metaphor went a bit further for me. Have you ever had an experience where God just kept repeating Himself over and over just to make sure He was clearly understood? Well, that’s what happened today! Early this morning, before the core members (people with developmental disabilities) I assist were even up, I ventured out into my garden. As I began turning the soil, I noticed that there were many thick roots in the ground, and yet, they did not seem too connected to any tree. This was a weird phenomenon to me. I asked a co-worker and avid gardener about it and he explained to me that the tree was actually a weed – sending out shoots all across the lawn during the summer months. As I reflected on this, I thought about how roots that don’t come from godliness poison rather than heal us.

Later that day, I attended that L’Arche Assistants Bible Study and we read Galatians 5(  In this passage, Paul explains that we have two options – going the world’s way and giving into addictions, sexual gratification, and bitterness or choosing the way of Christ – a path of peace, acceptance, love, and joy. Paul writes that in the former experience, we are destroying and devouring one another like savage animals on the verge of killing.1 In the latter example, if we succeed in love and service, we have managed to keep the entirety of the law.2

Now this is pretty crazy stuff! Paul was a high leading Pharisaic Official. He was all about rules, laws, and dos and don’ts. His former self was legalistic and about never being good enough. But, Jesus radically altered his life to the point that he’s now saying to simply be showing kindness and unconditional love to another is enough. No more is required of us. Here’s Paul, this well revered scholar, making it simple enough to keep the law that it’s basically idiot proof.

But now, let’s take this further. Having the works, but not the relationship does no good either. Roots without a source are useless. In the garden, there were many long and tough roots, but once pulled out, some of them led to nowhere. Doing “good deeds” without being firmly and solidly rooted in a relationship just yields to smug self-righteousness.

The Prophet Isaiah used some pretty strong language here. He said our best efforts at being good enough are the equivalent of filthy rags.3 Which have no use other than for us to stare at them in disgust and promptly throw away. We all sin and fall short of God’s standards for our lives.4 We all miss the mark when it comes to loving others and showing kindness to those who are different from us. Yet, how quick we are to try to “make up” for those downturns by being “good”, We bargain with God and ourselves, “yes, I did that, BUT look what I’ve done since to make up for it.” Hopping a curb and totalling your fender and then giving your car an expensive car wash doesn’t deal with the problem, but that’s what we try to do. Failing math but getting an A in geography class doesn’t balance out the fact that the “F” still glares at us from the report card.

Plants are very smart. Weeds sometimes put down acidic roots poisoning the ground so desirable plants can’t grow up. When we allow worldly ideals, temptations, and sinful gratifications to take root in our lives, we poison the good earth that God has given us. It doesn’t matter, then, if we attempt to plant the peppers of a good youth ministry program or the tomatoes of a new Christian counselling center – if the acidic roots are still there, nothing good can grow up from that ground. Instead, we need to uproot the bad weeds to make room for the good seeds. Then, we allow Christ to be the Good Gardener and to rule over our lives.





The Hour of Sunlight By: Jen Marlowe and Sami Al Jundi (An Exploratory Book Review)

ImageAre you a Zionist or a Pro-Palestinian?” The answer to that question is never easy. I’ve been in Christian settings where being very pro-Israel was perhaps the highest form of loyalty to Christ and I’ve been in situations where making the oppression of Palestinians known was a form of Christian commitment and peace activism. And yet, if you were to ask me which side of the fence I fall under, I’d have to admit that I am still searching, teasing out possibilities, and trying to find the balance.

What I love about Al Jundi’s story is that he urges for more than just side picking. He encourages dialogue, commitment to non-violent activism, and a vision of a peaceful future for our children.

Sami Al-Jundi is a Palestinian man who shares his story as one who was arrested defending his rights, spent years in various prisions where he matured and grew in his political ideology, and later became an activist for an organization encouraging dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian children known as “Seeds of Peace.”

Al Jundi’s is a gripping tale of how youthful idealism can go dangerously wrong and how ignorance can wreck havoc in a society.

What I like about this book is that it provides a backdrop, one way of interpreting the crisis in the Middle East, as told in the personal story of one man and his family. It ushers in the daring possibility to courageously hope and persevere. Yet, it does not serve as justification for violent actions against a seemingly “giant” enemy. Rather, a healthy responsibility is taken on behalf of the unfortunate circumstances created and furthered by one side with a genuine request for the other side to accept that same level of responsibility.

Gripping, personal, and honest. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.






Why I’m Going to Wear Purple on May 2nd and Why You Should Too

Image Deborah-Ruth Ferber has served as an intern at a Christian Pregnancy Resource Center doing peer counseling for young women who found themselves in crisis pregnancy situations often who had a history of assault, abuse, or rape.  Deborah remains passionate about supporting young single mothers, about letting the truth be known that silence is the greatest enemy of our time, and of helping the church to become more open to talking with their youth about what healthy Christian sexuality looks like in general.  

Every year hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are violated in the most intimate of ways.  Of those hundreds of thousands, the majority of them are told to keep quiet about their stories and to silently struggle through the long lasting effects of the violence perpetrated on them because others around them are too afraid to help them speak out against injustice.  To the thousands around the world who do fight for women’s rights, justice, and a safer world – I want to send out a heartfelt thanks.  You’re friendship to these precious women is so valued, your prayers are amazing, and just giving them a listening ear is really doing a huge act of service and kindness.  This May 2nd, I’m taking a stand and voicing out to the world that sexual violence is NEVER okay.  That women should have equal rights to men, and that offenders who abuse must take responsibility for their actions.  Please join me in this countercultural struggle to show your support to the hundreds of thousands of women worldwide who will go to bed tonight scared for their lives. 

The statistics are shocking. Did you know that each year close to 238,000 people will be assaulted? That a rape occurs every two minutes in America? That 1 in 4 women will be sexually violated in their lifetime? That’s one too many. Therefore, it is entirely conceivable that each one of us reading this blog posting may know several individuals who have faced exploitation and manipulation and for those of us in ministerial leadership positions, it is entirely feasible that several members whom we minister to within our parishes have also experienced this type of graphic violence.

We live in a society that seeks sexual gratification, that commodifies bodies, and that practices victim blaming. Many in our country are simply unaware of the long lasting traumatic effects sexual abuse can leave on a person. Women often live in fear and intense shame, men who have been abused often live with guilt that they weren’t “masculine” enough to prevent this from happening. After the abuse, many continue to struggle for years with questions of their own sexuality and orientation, wrestle with whether or not they could have prevented it in some way, and continue to deal with a negative self-concept of themselves and their own bodies.

Sexual trauma is one of the most horrific experiences any individual can go through akin to losing a loved one or being diagnosed with a terminal illness, and yet our churches all too often are not equipped with the resources or the knowledge of how to deal with such a loss. Sexual abuse is one issue that victims and friends of victims are taught to keep quiet about and unfortunately that silence is the greatest enemy to healing. That silence is part of the reason that cycles of violence and abuse continue.

That’s why on May 2nd I’m wearing purple. I’m wearing purple to symbolize the physical and emotional bruises that sexual assault creates. I’m wearing purple to signify that I’m standing in solidarity with every woman who has suffered loss. I’m wearing purple in protest of the unhealthy views on human sexuality that are portrayed in the media. Please join me in this movement. Your commitment to wear purple displays your understanding that offenders must take responsibility and victims must be provided with the resources they need to heal and trust again. It’s never to early or too late to start changing our cultural mindsets, refusing to participate in activities which do not promote healthy Christian sexuality and to start talking about the uncomfortable. It’s never too early to start wearing purple.

For a Christian perspective on sexual abuse check out:

These statistics were taken from:



The Disaster of Repressed Sexuality – The Danger of Not Having the Sex-Talk and How Churches Can Begin to Encourage Their Young Adults to Liberate Their Sexuality

ImageThe following article was writing as part of the Living Liberation! blog series put on by the Wild Goose Festival’s blog tour. The Wild Goose Festival is a gathering at the intersection of justice, spirituality, music and the arts. Happening June 26-29 outside of Asheville in Hot Springs, NC. You can get more information and tickets here: 

I grew up in fairly ecumenical settings. For the first few years of my life I attended Anglican and Lutheran congregations and then later attended a Baptist (BCOQ) church before finally finding my place among the Mennonites at 14 years old. After high school, I also attended Tyndale University College and currently am a seminary student at this institution, which is one of the biggest Christian liberal arts universities in Canada. So, it’s safe to say that for the majority of my life I have known a lot of Christians, been influenced by Christian thought, and had my entire worldview shaped by the church. This, of course, has been mostly a good thing. Through church I have learned the principles of service, discipleship, and social justice. Church is the reason that I have taken an interest in issues of marginalization and in the beauty (and unfortunately all too often, destruction) of our world – creation, humanity, and salvation.

Growing up there were a variety of topics which I explored in my Sunday school, youth group, and later small group times. These topics centered primarily on pacifism, immigration reform, and Dietrich Bonheoffer. Yet, there was one topic that was sadly either misrepresented or left out all together – that of human sexuality.

You see, growing up, sexuality was a topic that was rarely explored, rarely discussed, and rarely acknowledged. The general sense that I got as a teenager and young adult was that sex was dirty, gross, and something to be ashamed of. That is, until you got married. Once you got married it automatically became something beautiful, worshipful to the Creator, and an emotionally binding experience which brought two hearts and two souls together. Yet, this created a huge problem. How do you go from years of thinking of sex as something God frowns on to thinking of it as one of the best gifts God gave to His creation?

Now, let me backtrack here for just a moment. Every church that I have ever been a part of would say that sex IS a beautiful thing as long as it is within the rightful parameters of marriage. Therefore, it is not a sin to want to be sexual, but it is a sin to practice it before making a commitment. For a long time, this has been my viewpoint, and in many ways it still is. But, there are unfortunately some loop holes with this argument.

First, there is the whole debate about what the difference is between attraction and lust. Many Evangelicals would argue that it becomes lust when you start thinking sexual thoughts. These same individuals believe that it is entirely possible to think about love and marriage without ever being tempted to have sex and if you do think about sex (even with your committed partner) you must repent right away. To me, this is unrealistic. Almost all humans have a need and desire for closeness, companionship, and intimacy with another person. For many, the physical intimacy they crave goes beyond simply having a hug or a hand on the shoulder by a best friend. Many, need to take this further and this was God’s design. God created sex and He made it to be a beautiful thing. Therefore, there should be no shame in thinking sexual thoughts towards a lover; repressing it only leads to feeling guilty and sinful. NOW, don’t get me wrong. As Christians, we have a certain level of responsibility. While we might not be able to stop thinking sexual thoughts about a lover, we can willingly choose not to engage in those thoughts or how far we want to take those thoughts. This is a personal decision and one to be discussed with a partner – fully respectful of the other partner’s limits. However, to say that you will date someone for one or two years and never think fantasies… well, I think that is just very unrealistic.

Second, there is unfortunately a lot of gender imbalance when it comes to liberating Christian sexuality in the church. Even amongst Christian groups it is thought that many men do not have the power or the ability to control their desires, but Christian women are taught to either be asexual or to repress their sexuality altogether. Some examples I have noted in my studies on Christian human sexuality and through my internship work at a pregnancy center include:

1)      Women are taught to dress modestly so that they do not tempt a brother to fall into sinful temptation, whereas men are rarely, if ever, taught to dress or act a certain way. That’s why it right away becomes a big deal if a woman’s shirt is too short, but it’s never a big deal when guy’s boxers are showing. That’s because it is thought that women will tempt men, but somehow women are above sexual temptation and thus will not begin fantasying regardless of how a man acts or dresses.

2)      Unfortunately all too often when a women becomes pregnant outside of marriage she is the one who is looked down on rather than the man. Many Christians have this viewpoint that it is entirely the woman’s job to make and keep the boundaries and therefore even when the man becomes sexually aggressive towards her she still needs to be able to control herself. This is a wrongful responsibility to place on a woman. I do agree that women should learn to be more assertive and also are responsible (outside of assault) if they become pregnant, but I also believe that the man needs to respect her, not pressure her, and take responsibility to become a Godly father even if he is young. The parents of both the man and the woman should also work with the young couple rather than shunning them, and help them to develop skills to be effective and loving parents. Churches should not shame or dishonour a young unmarried couple, but rather should extend the love of Christ to them and help disciple both the couple and the child. Pastors and youth leaders should also be prepared and equipped to provide referrals to other resources for teenagers and unmarried young adults such as local pregnancy centers, Christian counseling agencies, and adoption agencies (if requested).

3)      Every year thousands of women are raped, assaulted, violated, and sexually manipulated. Unfortunately, our culture in general still plays the victim blaming game. This is never right or fair. A woman who has been abused has suffered a traumatic loss. From a psychological point of view, going through assault is the equivalent of losing a loved one or being diagnosed with a terminal illness. The victim is never to blame. Yes, in some rare cases there might have been ways to avoid the situation, but women never deserve to have their bodies manipulated.

When it comes to liberating Christian sexuality, there is no one-size fits all type of answer. Human sexuality is one of the most complex issues that Christians and non-Christians alike face. Nevertheless, I would like to offer you a few short suggestions for how churches can begin to encourage their teenagers and young adults to feel sexual liberation rather than to feel like repressed sexual beings:

1)      We need to begin to start dialoguing. In my studies I have found that many young adults cannot name a single married couple who they know personally who are good examples to them of what healthy romantic relationships look like. A few more can name a TV or other media example of healthy sexuality, but even then those numbers are few. Rather than to blush at questions, churches and in particular youth and young life pastors need to step up and take the plate when it comes to answering the hard stuff. Church should be the one place where no one feels judged based on their sexual past, where no question should seem silly or should be dodged, and where open and honest discussions are facilitated. We do our youth a huge disservice when we don’t even scratch the surface about sex and instead leave them to figure it out from the world’s point of view.

2)      We need to get outside the myth of what a “good little church girl” acts and looks like. Many Christians tend to believe that they are somehow “above” society. That we don’t look like, act like, or otherwise feel tempted by the same things as the rest of the world does. One time I was at a Tyndale chapel and the guest speaker mentioned something profound. He said, “If I were to give you each a blank sheet of paper and told you to write every sexual thing you have ever done on it, some of you would have nothing and others of you would have the whole page filled up and need more paper. DON’T EVER ASSUME that just because you go to a Christian school that people here haven’t done sexual things.” He has a point. As pastors and church leaders, we can’t assume that people in our youth group aren’t like that. We need to know that whether we are dealing with secular or Christian youth they have the exact same struggles.

3)      We need to learn what God says and how God feels about healthy sexuality. The “purity” culture is one example of how many evangelicals feel Christian youth should respond to sexuality and it has had its place. However, it is not a cure-all and also has its downfalls. [1] Our world, unfortunately has completed twisted, warped, and destroyed what healthy sexuality looks like. The media exploits women, teaches men that they have to act a certain way to truly be masculine, and makes it feel that preteens who don’t have an interest in boys have something wrong with them. As a church we need to take a stand against these false claims and be counter-cultural. Our world is riddled with pornography and addictive behaviours, with the abuse of women, and with over-sexualized music, films, and advertisements.

It completely breaks God’s heart when one of the best gifts He has given us is used to shame, hurt, or dishonour another. God has so much more planned for us than this! He wants sex to be an intimate and loving expression between two people meant to build up and honour the marriage bed. He wants it to be sacred – not scary.

There is a temptation in our society to view the sex trade and sex trafficking as something that happens far away from us – in other countries. We view prostitution as an issue only in inner cities and rough neighbourhoods. But when we do that, we forget that there is so much exploitation happening right in front of us. Parents, I would urge you to take a look at the books, movies, and television shows your children are consuming. Become aware of the lies our culture is placing in their young minds and talk with them about what healthy sexuality looks like.

Both men and women need to be discipled by the church and by their parents to understand how to properly respect and treat the other gender. There should be absolutely no tolerance for using sex as a weapon – to violate, exploit, or manipulate. There should be absolutely no tolerance for using sex to receive favours, money, or drugs. That’s not what sex is about! That’s completely ruining what God had in mind!

Sexual liberation can only happen once we begin to be open and honest with ourselves and with our youth. It can only happen once we decide to take a stand against society’s viewpoints and instead choose God’s viewpoints. It’s not an easy road. Many times we will fall, but when that happens we need to pick ourselves up and entrust ourselves solely to relying on Christ. Only then, can God’s reign of peace and justice take place in our lives and in the fullness of our humanity!

For some great sermon material on this topic check on Benjamin Nolot’s sermons from IHOPKC’s OneThing 2013 Conference:



[1] While I may not agree with everything in this blog post, this author raises some very interesting points about the evangelical purity culture and starts a good discussion basis as to whether the purity culture is ultimately helpful or hurtful to its young adults:


ZweibachandPeace Looking For Guest Bloggers

 ImagePart of what makes the blogging world so fun is being able to have a host of other opinions and viewpoints shared.  When this happens, it makes the discussions flow much more naturally and easily, and provides some great insight to some incredibly important topics.

For the next few weeks, I’d like to invite you to share your thoughts on ZweibachandPeace.  Is there a burning issue you’ve always wanted to address but simply needed a platform for?  Is there a great idea you have but were never sure where to put it?  Here’s your chance.

Here’s how it works: you write the blog (or send me a pitch).  Articles should be between 500-1500 words (not more than that).  You also choose a picture (if applicable; if you can’t find one, I will Google one for you).  You then email it to:  I will do a quick look through and some minor editing changes.  I’ll check the feel of the article and make sure it lines up with basic Christian doctrine.  I’m open to people from all different denominational lines contributing, but I just have to make sure that even if it’s not from an Anabaptist angle, that what is said in it glorifies God and will edify the church in some way.  Once I have found the blog to be satisfactory and something that would look great on ZweibachandPeace I will send you an email letting you know when it will be published.  From there I will publish it on my blog with your name and a short bio of who you are.

Please make sure you send a short 2 or 3 line bio of who you are (where you go to school or where you’ve graduated from and with what degree, occupation, denominational background, crazy facts… you know, all that fun stuff) and also include a link to your own personal blog (if applicable).  This way I can make sure that you get the credit and that we re-route people back to where they can read more.  If you don’t have a blog, but have been published elsewhere, please also include that and I can link to some of your articles.  Alternatively, if you feel comfortable with it and want to keep the conversation going, you can also send me your email (NOT mandatory!).

Please be aware that ZweibachandPeace will NOT offer any remuneration and your work will be solely your own opinion (not necessarily shared by the owner of ZweibachandPeace).  Being a guest blogger is simply a way to have your voice heard by a wider readership.  By choosing to post on ZweibachandPeace you are releasing your work to this blog while being fully aware that your work will be reached by over 15,000 readers worldwide.  Rest assured, I will moderate all comments so that only ones which will encourage, edify, and challenge you (in a good way) will be included.

Need some help thinking of a topic?  Here are some suggestions of some blogs I’d be interested in seeing:

– Sexuality (Reclaiming or living into our sexuality as Christians; the purity culture or lackthereof; parenting and Spirituality)

– Blogs about youth and/or children’s ministry and what you’d love to see more of or less of

– An exploration of some great theologians and thinkers (like Karl Barth, Madame Guyon, Menno Simons, Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

– Short book or film reviews

– Christian music reviews

– How Christian education has changed your life

– A topic of your choice (please send the pitch first in this case)


I look forward to hearing from you! 

One Year at Zweibach and Peace

ImageOne year ago I was procrastinating from my final papers and on a lark decided to start up my very own blog. I’m so glad I did. For me, ZweibachandPeace has been way more than just a place to share my thoughts, it’s also been the key to networking and meeting many new friends, being introduced to a host of other great bloggers, and a way to start some pretty great discussions. Had it not been for ZweibachandPeace there would still be many theological and ethical topics I probably would never have touched.

Today, Zweibachandpeace has a readership of well over 15,000, has been featured on several other blogs including Mennonite World Review, and has formed partnerships with the Mennonerds, the BibleGateway Blogging Grid, and PeaceNext. Articles written for State of Formation and Anabaptist Disability Network Services have also been posted here.

Every week, readers from around the world join ZweibachandPeace to explore some hot button theological topics. I’ve had readers from as close as my own house to as far away as Zimbabwe, Egypt (shout out to my big brother, Gamal!), and Sweden. I’m blessed by everyone’s support and pray that it in some way these blogs have become an encouragement to you.

Looking ahead to the next year at ZweibachandPeace, I’d love to hear from you. What would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? What topics have I not covered this year that you’d love to explore?

Currently, I’m also opening up ZweibachandPeace to people who are interested in being a guest blogger. If there’s a topic you’d like to share on my blog please email me at: I’ll do a scan on the article to make sure that it fits relatively within my theological viewpoints and then publish it under your name (please note, I’m okay with you having different theological viewpoints than I do, however, I just want to make sure that what you share will be Biblical sound and of benefit to my readers).

To leave off, I’d like to share with you your top 5 favourite blog posts of the year:

1)      10 Things Every Introvert Should Know About Their Garden Variety Extrovert – 2,927 Views

2)      Discerning a Call to Christian Celibacy – 1,123 Views

3)      Making All Things New – A New Year’s Day Devotional – 824 Views

4)      Learning Spirituality Through Watching Life of Pi – 655 Views

5)      Re-Thinking Hospitality – 458 Views

Thanks again for another amazing year and I look forward to flying with you from 2014-2015!

L’Arche Daybreak’s Walk for Hope 2014

Hey, Everyone!  I have been part of a very wonderful and loving family since July 2013.  In the past 9 months L’Arche has shown me great love, support and friendship; and has made me a more confident and creative person.  This has given me wonderful opportunities for self-discovery and exploring what my gifts are.

The L’Arche community is a non-profit organization, which relies heavily on donations to support its mission of caring for its core members (adults with developmental disabilities) and their assistants.  Donations over $10 will be issued a tax receipt, but no gift is too small to be a big help!

P.S.)  My personal goal is to raise over $100.  I know many of my supporters are students — but, if 10 people are able to each give $10, my goal will have been reached and more importantly, the lives of the 4 core members I live with will be touched by your generosity.

If you are interesed in sponsoring or would like more informaion, please follow these links or E-mail me at:

If you are interested in sponsoring or would like more information please follow these links or email me at:

To View my personal Page:

To make a donation online:!SolicitationID)&LangPref=en-CA

For more information:


Why I Chose to Graduate from Tyndale 3 Times


Deborah-Ruth Ferber graduated with a Certificate in Christian Studies (2010) and a Bachelor’s of Religious Education (2012).  She anticipates receiving her MDiv: Pastoral Studies in May 2016.

It’s mid-April and as I look out of my room window at L’Arche I notice the flowers are just starting to bud. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at L’Arche for an entire year. It’s even harder to believe that 2 years ago I graduated from Tyndale with my Bachelor’s of Religious Education (BRE).

To me, Tyndale has been one incredible journey after the other. It all started at frosh week when I made some of the best friends of my life who traveled with me throughout the rest of my academic career, and when I first became aware of how amazing this community was and still is. At Tyndale, I have been able to truly be myself, to develop as a leader, and to develop spiritually and relationally.

When I first started Tyndale I was a bit unsure of myself. I only had the intention of staying for a year, but after getting used to living in residence, exploring Toronto, and late nights laughing in the Kat [student lounge] I knew that this place was special. There was something that bonded me to this place and to this unique experience. Tyndale is an opportunity unlike any other. At Tyndale people are genuine in their walk with Christ. They serve Him wholeheartedly and aren’t afraid to be counter cultural. Tyndale is also so unique in that the student population is so diverse. We have many different ethnicities, many different backgrounds, and many different Theological viewpoints, and yet we can all co-exist with each other.

I chose to stay at Tyndale because I realized that although God planted me here, my spiritual journey did not just stop with planting. God also had to develop the roots that I needed to thrive in ministry which He has done through some really incredible classes, mentorship with students and faculty, and through Spiritual direction and Tyndale’s counseling services. More than that, God brought about restoration in my life and healing through accountability partners and natural free-flowing community. I’ve noticed that at Tyndale community is organic – we just let it happen naturally, it isn’t forced. That’s why whether we’re playing a friendly (or not so friendly) game of intramural hockey, having board game’s night, hanging in the dorm, or studying our brains out the night before the final exam, we can still take time for fellowship, prayer, and renewal. At Tyndale I noticed this intense prayer culture that I’ve never been able to experience since. At Tyndale when you ask someone to pray for you, they’ll actually do it! Right on the spot and they’ll follow up with you afterwards to check-in and make sure you’re doing okay. Tyndale also has a huge heart for missions and for locally and globally serving. Every decision at Tyndale is prayed over a hundred fold by students, staff, and faculty, each decision truly being entrusted into the Lord’s hands.

After I graduated with my BRE in 2012 I went to a small seminary in the States. Although the experience did have some advantages and I grew and learned a lot there, my heart always remained with Tyndale. Tyndale is one of these environments where someone can hardly know you and yet you still feel so comfortable sharing with them. Tyndale is this environment where everyone cares about you and wants the best for your life. Tyndale has always affirmed me in my future ministry and vocational goals. So I knew that Tyndale was where I needed to come back to.

This year I’ve been serving at L’Arche Daybreak (an intentional Christian community in Richmond Hill). I truly believe that had it not been for Tyndale I wouldn’t have stumbled upon L’Arche. The sense of community and love I’ve received from the core members (residents with developmental disabilities) and my ability to give and receive that love is a direct response to the acceptance I felt at Tyndale. My ability to show initiative and my ability to be supportive of my community is a direct response to first becoming aware of what community is through my 3 years at Tyndale.

I know that God is calling me back to Tyndale starting this summer and that makes me very excited! I can’t wait to once again be part of the student atmosphere and to take advantage of all the great things Tyndale has to offer. Thank you, Tyndale for being the school that you are and for shaping me to be the person that I am!

Tyndale has been an incredible time in my life, but as you are likely aware, the cost of tuition at any institution these days can be a bit hit. Tyndale’s costs of tuition are significantly higher than other schools because we are a private Christian school and do not receive money from the government. Even so, I think the benefits of Tyndale sort of even out. I mean, they give you free Spiritual direction, career counseling, personal counseling, tutoring, and have a great writing center so that’s tons of free stuff right there. And as Sheila, the director of the counseling wing at Tyndale likes to ask Frosh, “Who doesn’t like free stuff?” To help offset the cost of my tuition for the next 2 years at Tyndale, I’m asking that you please vote for me to win a financial aid award. All you have to do is just click this link and then click under my name and it will register your vote: I’ve also included a short bio underneath this blog so that you can have a better idea of who I am and why being considered for the financial aid award would really help me! Cheers!


Name: Deborah (AKA: The only panda to ever roam Tyndale)

Age: 23

Hometown: Windsor, Ontario (but a Torontonian at heart)

Program at Tyndale: MDiv Pastoral Studies (2016)

Previous Tyndale Education: Certificate in Christian Studies (2010), BRE (2012)

Favourite Things to Do In Toronto: The nature trails!

Name Your Three Favourite Things About Your Undergrad Experience: Hands-down, it’s got start with One Chapels on Sunday night (a great time for prayer, praise and fellowship), also I really enjoyed all night prayer and air bandz (that’s when the wild side of me came out and everyone thought I was some crazy hipster)

Which professor(s) really shaped and influenced your time at Tyndale: Dr. Daniel Wong is a professor who really influenced me to stay at Tyndale because of his love and enthusiasm not only for the school but for ministry in general. His classes were always very informative and fun and he really took an interest in my personal and academic development. Also Professor Bryan Dixon was another great professor who brought out my love and aptitude for teaching and always made his classes interactive.

Which Professors Are You Most Looking Forward To Having in Sem and Why: Arthur Paul Boers and Arnold Neufeld-Fast. I’m a Mennonite. Enough said.

Name a Really Cool Experience You Had With Tyndale Friends: A bunch of my Tyndale friends always showed up to my church whenever I was preaching. One time we even had 17 show up. That’s was crazy cool! Also, there was the time they threw me a surprise 20th birthday party. I almost had a heart attack in the kat.

What Are Your Future Ministry and Vocational Goals? I really want to get into hospital chaplaincy and eventually serve in a hospice setting. Also, I’m hoping to eventually get my ThM and PhD and teach full time after getting some life experiences.

In What Ways Did You Serve During Your Time at Tyndale? At Tyndale I served in a variety of ways. I was a Douloi Christou (intro to university) leader in 2010 and a leader and coordinator in 2011 (overseeing 16 other leaders). I also was a co-leader and co-founder of the Tyndale drama club and produced and co-directed a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream in 2011 raising over a grand for missions, the following year I was lead actor in Theria a student written and produced play also raising money and awareness for missions. Additionally, I helped start up a women’s prayer group on our dorm, played intramural floor hockey, served on the chapel team (drama and food prep), and was involved in a few other committees here and there. In 2012 I also had a part time student job working with the Development office as a Student Donor Steward Team Leader and also worked with Meal Exchange as a Campus Food Strategist for Tyndale. Both of those employment opportunities were more than just jobs to me, they were truly a way of ministering and giving back to the community and I was so happy to serve Tyndale in those ways.  Finally, I also showed initiative at Tyndale through helping to coordinate a play at a local nursing home, organizing a student sandwich run in downtown Toronto for the homeless population, and through getting the ball rolling for a social justice movement.

What Were You Involved In Outside Of Tyndale During Your Years as a Student: Each year I volunteered in a variety of capacities to gain experience. I volunteered at Cummer Lodge (long-term care), teaching ESL, at a pregnancy center, and at local churches. I also stayed really involved in my own church and developed preaching and teaching skills there.

What Are You Doing Right Now: Until the end of August 2015, I am living amongst adults with developmental disabilities and loving it! I’m also doing some freelance writing and blogging.  Check my publications page to see some of what I’ve written.  In the next few months there will be more links up there including a recent interview I did with the Toronto Sun on L’Arche as an intentional Christian community.

Why Winning the Award Would Help: I really want to stay committed and dedicated to Tyndale as an academic institution and as a community of faith. Winning this award would provide me with the opportunity to do just that and to free me up to spend more time serving in ministry while studying full time.