Legacy 2019: A Year Worth Celebrating

Wonder Voyage Legacy was birthed from daring to ask the “What if?” questions.

  • What if we could comb through our massive network of non-profits around the globe to find the most stable and long-term leadership teams?
  • What if we work with those ministries to help them dream about their goals and pray about their vision?
  • What if we connected investors with those visions?
  • What if we did this without getting a paycheck? Absolutely no overhead. 100% of donations going straight to the projects.

Five years ago those were ambitious questions. Today… this is Legacy.

Starting small

My husband and I had Executive Director Shawn Small and Operations Manager Cheryl Small over for dinner a few years ago, and the evening included sharing these “What ifs?” that had been brewing in my soul. My thought was forming a non-profit to help connect donors with projects. I wanted to leave a legacy that was bigger than anything Brent and I could do alone. That’s when Shawn asked if I’d considered doing that within Wonder Voyage. The board had created a fund several years prior that was designed with a similar idea in mind; it just didn’t have a leader. It was called Legacy.

In the following months, we formed a group of Wonder Voyage leaders who brainstormed the locations our teams consistently travel and our partner ministries within each of those regions. We were looking for a unique combination of massive needs and quality leadership with a dynamic vision.

In the first year, Legacy built a chicken coop and raised garden beds for Mandy’s Farm in Albuquerque. Then we dug berms for Navajo Nation to keep their homes from flooding when it rained. We moved on to a house in the Dominican Republic and then the award-winning Acres of Diamonds film.

But this, we believed, was just the beginning of what Legacy could be. We were meeting a lot of needs, but we weren’t really rallying large investors.

Thinking bigger: Legacy Belize

Projects in Belize have been consistent since Legacy’s inception. Two churches, Whitehouse First Assembly and Cornerstone, have felt a draw to the Belmopan area, and Legacy partnered with them to invest heavily in this region.

We started with the YWAM campus where we built student housing for some of the boys who attended the soccer camp, and then we were connected with pastors in the small Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout.

In this poor community, elementary students often didn’t attend class because there was no incentive and no accountability. Michael Fleming met with a pastor in the community who believed that if they could feed the kids, they’d come to school. The solution: Legacy funded the construction, and WFA and Cornerstone built a kitchen thereby feeding both the students’ minds and bodies.

The next problem was the high school kids. Teens had to trek two hours (one hour by foot and one hour by bus) each way to get to a campus, so most simply didn’t go to class. The same local leaders started construction on a high school campus within Spanish Lookout. They built until they ran out of funds. Stopped. Prayed. Waited. And then built more when more funds came in.

They were completely stalled on the final projects, which included bathroom construction, plumbing, a complete septic system, a computer lab, computers, networking, and software. They needed $43,000 to finish the project and open the school. It was here that we believed it was time to kick Legacy up a notch.

The Legacy investment team is born.

This year Legacy established a team of investors with this school as our maiden project. Each core team member donated, and each was allowed to bring one additional person onto the core team. WFA and Cornerstone were also invited to donate to the cause and the core team matched their donation.

Beyond the financial gift, each of these investors is traveling to Belize in January to get their hands on the project, have a true Wonder Voyage pilgrimage experience, and then brainstorm options for the next major Legacy project.

Once complete, the school will open to students next year.

The future of Legacy

This is just the beginning. With this project as our foundation, Wonder Voyage Legacy will continue to look for regions and non-profits that meet our criteria around the globe as those “What if?” dreams become a beautiful reality.

Jamie has been involved with Wonder Voyage for over 15 years. Her passion is connecting givers with worthwhile project as our Legacy Director.

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