Wonder Moment: Saying Goodbye

Moments of wonder can happen anywhere at any time. This summer, one snuck up on our team from Georgia.

The moment was brief. Standing like a human Stonehenge, silently embracing one another, my team was as quiet as elves. A gentle wind accentuated the peacefulness of their surroundings in  Hellisgirdi Park.

The enchanted garden tucked away from the tourist fray, is sprinkled with lava formations clothed in moss. The smattering of small caves and a flowing fountain with a dog happily splashing in its shallows causes us to believe the rumors that elves and dwarves use this place as a portal from their world to ours. But in this moment, it is a memorial.

On their last night, the team came to the park to have a small, simple ceremony honoring their youth minister who had tragically passed away from health complications just weeks before the voyage.

Liz had worked with Wonder Voyage for years. She was one who freely gave of her infectious joy. My group, who included Liz’s teenager, said their goodbyes to Liz, sang songs, prayed, laughed, and cried.  A proper memorial for a woman who changed her world by freely giving herself to others.

These are the moments of wonder underlining all we do at Wonder Voyage. As tough as it was, the memorial was a goodbye Liz would have loved.

Some moments are life-affirming, some are life-changing, and some are simply reminders that life doesn’t have to be quite so complicated.

We are always on the lookout for moments of wonder. If you have a story you’d like to share, please let us know. They are a great encouragement to our Guides and to fellow pilgrims.

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.


  1. Avatar Debra Gillis on September 27, 2022 at 10:01 am

    When you share these stories you remind me to look at the people around me who may not see the wonder & gently bring them in!

    • Avatar Shawn on September 27, 2022 at 10:15 am

      Thanks Debra. Miss you.

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