Community Update: Pandemic Impact And Travel Plans
This week I received an encouraging email from one of our Voyage Guides, Laurel, who is the rector of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Carmel Valley, California. Laurel wrote,
Last Saturday, as I arrived at St. Dunstan’s for Sunday service preparation, I saw a young man in our parking lot exercising. I waved a friendly hello from my car and he waved back.
On Sunday, after church, I saw the young man once again. I got in my car, backed out, and swung around near him. Putting down my window I said, “Hi there. How are you doing?” To which he replied, “I’m good, thanks! I’m just working out, I hope you don’t mind.“ I responded, “Not at all. I am Rev. Laurel!” He responded, “I’m Thomas. “And then he turned his head, looked at me intently, and said, “Were you our Voyage Guide in New Orleans two years ago?”
All of the sudden, I remembered that he was Thomas, from St. Mary’s the Virgin in San Francisco, and yes, I had led his Wonder Voyage pilgrimage. At the time, he was a lanky freshman, who was obsessed with exercising and could eat you out of house and home. I specifically recalled Thomas as spiritually inquisitive and fully engaged in the beauty and mystery of New Orleans. I said to him, “Oh my gosh, yes, Thomas! What in the world are you doing here in Carmel Valley?“
He told me he and his family were down for Memorial Day weekend. We both reveled in the wonder of meeting in this time and place. I told him that I was the new rector, and I asked him to say hello to David, his pastor, who is also a good friend of mine. I thought you’d enjoy this really cool story reminding us how, beyond the one week we spend with our teams on pilgrimage, the Holy Spirit confirms, in amazing ways, that what we do transforms lives.At Wonder Voyage, we have a mission fueling our fires of passion and directing all we do. We have survived the pandemic crisis, while untold other organizations like us did not, and our future shines bright. Tough going through these last 15 months is an understatement. We’ve dug deep as a community, emotionally, spiritually, and financially to keep the doors open. Even though 2022 will be abundant with voyages, we still are working within thin margins to keep the doors open. We’ve leaned into our tagline to keep us moving forward rather than shrinking away, panicking, or being overwhelmed by the hard facts of the pandemic: “WONDER CHANGES EVERYTHING!”
Laurel’s moment of wonder is one of the dozens we heard during the pandemic. These stories, often told by pilgrims from the last twenty years, reminded us how our call as doorkeepers of wonder has allowed us to witness countless moments of transformation in the lives of those who travel with us. This summer we are operating at 30% of what we normally do yet we are operating, innovating, creating, and rethinking all we do.
Our why is in place.
The how has opened to endless possibilities.
When is whenever you are ready to go.
Leading you on these adventures is our greatest joy. We look forward to holding the door to wonder open to you on your next journey with Wonder Voyage.
After a decade working in parish youth ministry Shawn started Wonder Voyage Missions. Over the last 15 years, WVM has led thousands of pilgrims to over forty countries. Shawn is a storyteller and an award winning filmmaker. He is an author who brings the gift of engaging narrative to our journeys. Shawn is dedicated to creating voyages that give people abundant opportunities to encounter God.