Several members of the Restoration community spend part of the summer traveling with an organization called Wonder Voyage. Brittany Golden, Justin McGee, and Michael Flickinger have led over 100 trips combined, guiding people through spiritually formative practices that allow them to meet God in new ways. We asked Michael to tell us more about what it is like to lead others on a pilgrimage with Wonder Voyage.
Describe what you do with Wonder Voyage.
I lead pilgrimages for an ecumenical Christian organization in the summers. A pilgrimage is an intentional journey taken as a spiritually formative practice so I lead pilgrims through spiritual disciplines and service projects in destinations all around the world.
We serve mostly youth from churches around the United Staes and we travel all over North America, Central America, South America, Europe, and Africa. When I’m out on the road, I’m part spiritual director, part tour guide, part accountant, part caterer, etc.
I took a pilgrimage with Wonder Voyage when I was eighteen. About five years later, I volunteered to help with some trips and I eventually moved down to Dallas from Minnesota in order to work for the organization full time. I’ve lead anywhere from 1 to 6 trips every summer since 2006. I think that I’ve lead or been part of about 60 trips so far.
My first pilgrimage was deeply formative for me, both in my faith and the way I thought about the world. I hope our participants encounter the Holy Spirit and experience something similarly formative.
In recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to North Ireland to serve with some organizations focused on peace and reconciliation (174Trust in Belfast, and the Corrymeela community on the northern coast). I am always exhilarated by seeing Christians in other countries and in different cultures working towards the restoration of all things, especially when it looks different from what I’m used to.
What are some spiritual practices of pilgrimage that anyone can apply in their life?
Pilgrimage is only partly about the travel. I think it’s more about intentionally disrupting our routines (which we do through travel) and taking time to listen for God’s voice. To that end, we practice lots of disciplines that everyone can do at home: silence, sabbath, Lectio Divina, and the Daily Office.
How can Restoration pray for you and for others who are involved in leading trips?
My biggest prayer for my trips is that the people I travel with encounter God. After that, most of my prayers are for Amy and our kids, as I know that it’s hard for them when I’m away. I also think that those of us who lead trips could always use energy and wisdom.
Take a look at the Wonder Voyage’s Instagram to see more from their trips and keep all of Restoration’s Wonder Voyage leaders in prayer this summer as they travel.