Guide Spotlight: Cheryl Small
Shawn and Cheryl are like the mom and dad of the Wonder Voyage community. And like all good moms, there is more to Cheryl than meets the eye. She not only makes sure the office looks good on paper, but she also cares for the needs of the individuals within the organization.
Cheryl’s official title is Operations Manager. In that role, she makes sure Wonder Voyage is operating smoothly and according to best standards and practices. But Cheryl also leads the prayer team. This special group of ladies prays for the needs of clients and Guides year-round and each trip throughout the summer. With Cheryl at the helm, the prayer team acts as the heartbeat for the Wonder Voyage community.
“I know, that if anyone needed someone, people of this community would be there.”
In addition to these two roles, Cheryl also helps with some of the pilgrimages. In April, she joined an adult pilgrimage to Italy.
“My first visit to Italy was so enlightening and transformative that I didn’t want to return in fear that it would ruin my first experience. But as I enjoyed walking the cobblestoned streets, eating real Italian food, and staying in the most beautiful parts of Assisi and Florence; I found new sacred places.”
During her visit, Cheryl had two encounters with wonder.
“One was in the home of an Italian family, who invited our team for lunch on their farm. We were strangers, yet they gave us all they had. They opened their home to us as if we were family. We toured their olives trees, learned about the legacy of this family, and were served a feast cooked and served by their hands. Even with the barrier of language, nothing was misunderstood. How extravagant was their care for us!”
After leaving the farm, the team traveled to La Verna on Mount Penna, where St. Francis received the stigmata.
“Sister Angela was our guide through this sanctuary. As she spoke of St. Francis and his life and death there on the mount, tears began to stream down my face. She shared his obstacles and perseverance in his faith, and many private prayers on my heart were being answered. I never uttered the words of those prayers to anyone, yet as she spoke, it was as if she was extracting them from my heart. Later, I went to thank her for being with us, but I just began to sob. She grabbed and embraced me while I sobbed, unable to speak. She quietly prayed in my ear and spoke gentle words of wisdom that, once again, brought confirmation to those prayers. I had an unbelievable experience of wonder on that holy mountain that continues to grow in me still.”
“Nothing significant happened for me with the Lord for the first eight days of this voyage, and then the last two days, God showered me with his presence in a way I’ve never known.”
Whether she’s sending a gift basket of encouragement, calling families to check-in while a spouse is on pilgrimage, or opening her home for a holiday feast, Cheryl’s unique blend of motherly love, Godly servanthood, and organizational prowess makes her a unique asset to the Wonder Voyage community. She is the oil that keeps this machine running smoothly.