The Power of Collective Wonder
As we reflected on our first 10 years of ministry in 2022, we asked friends to share how the WOW! community has impacted their spiritual journeys. May their stories give you hope and courage to pursue the wonders God desires for your life. Whether you find yourself seeking new perspectives or somewhere along the path of holy restoration, you are invited to engage more deeply with God and our WOW! community. Our ministry is made possible through the collective generosity of many individuals. Thank you for making room for wonder with us!
STORIES OF WONDER
Refresh Silent Retreat
It was a blessing to just allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in our time of silence and also hear other people’s experiences. Silence and solitude refresh my soul and help me re-center myself to the next steps God has for me in this year. – Attendee
I see WOW! seminars as a process in my faith journey. They are a revelation from the Lord that comes through like moonlight through the pines. In this year of chaos, hurricanes, and suffering of all magnitudes, we take solace and comfort in knowing that God still speaks to us and is eager for us to do the same. – Ted H.
Soul Care Cohort
I am really grateful for the experience in this Soul Care Cohort. It has given me plenty of tools to help myself and others become more aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in our faith journeys. – Ajung S.
Refresh Silent Retreat
I was blessed by many things, among them the reflection at the very beginning (the passage that focused on Mary seeing the resurrected Jesus), having the company of a community to engage in the silent retreat, and having the time of silence and solitude with God. That was a much needed break from life and God has used it to draw me close to him once again. – Amy C.
It was great to quiet down and take time out of my very busy day to just BE. – Jasmine F.
What do you do if you’re a minister and nothing seems to be working out for you with regard to ministry? You seek help. I saw that WOW! had a discernment ministry and sought their help. My wife and I met with a group led by May Chin. During the course of our sessions, the group patiently listened, prayed, and helped identify a couple of reasons for my frustration at that time. They encouraged me to pursue what was in my heart, though at the time it did not seem like a real possibility. Now, two years later, I am about to venture into one of the ministries on my “wish list.” I will be going overseas to teach and encourage believers in the very country that God has laid on my heart for many years. – John L.
Refresh Silent Retreat
Honestly, I have nothing to compare it to. I guess it would’ve been nice to be out at a retreat center away from the city, but part of the worthy challenge was carving out a place of peace within one’s home during the covid-19 season. – Jonathan N.
Soul Care Cohort
This experience will help you see you are not alone in your walk with God of doing for Him vs. being with Him. It is a treasure which will enamor you back to a childlike faith and rekindle joy on having an expectant heart perspective of God! – Milly A.
It was very helpful to have different ways to pray. It was given in a simple way to follow and practice again. To be still and breathe, a great way to center myself and get into prayer. To not be rushed but intentional to prioritize that time. – Rachel G.
In this season of unimaginable change, the Holy Spirit is blowing…on purpose, in a direction. The power of “spiritual direction” was experienced by me through WOW! and I was changed in almost unimaginable ways. What a joy to humbly listen to the voice of God—heard and spoken through others. – Cindy C.
LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR, MOTHER, NEW YORK
My name is Carmen Wong and I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NYC. I am also a mother of 2 boys, a kindergartner and an 8 month old baby. Currently, I work full time in a faith-based community health center in Staten Island and started my own private practice part-time. I have not always been a counselor. WOW! Discernment ministry helped me in making that life-altering event in 2012-2013. After teaching in NYCDOE for 2 years, and serving in youth ministry for 5 years, I felt a nudge from God to go back to school for counseling. Knowing what that would entail, new fears and doubts emerged. My mind tunneled in my flaws, my limitations and the what-ifs. However, my trusted friends and the discerners of WOW! were my lamp posts that guided me out of that darkness during the 9 month discerning process. They asked deep questions to help me reflect about the road map at that point in my life. They reminded me of my gifts and the skills God had equipped me from teaching and serving in youth ministry. They reassured that God’s grace is like “walking in a big field and not on a tight rope”. They prayed with me. They never rushed me nor did they pressure me to take any immediate action but gave me just enough of a push to take the leap of faith to enroll in grad school. With God’s confirmation, I was able to persevere through the papers and exams in grad school, the internship, more training to obtain my hours, and lastly, the completion of the exam to be licensed.
TEACHER, MOTHER, WIFE, NEW YORK
My name is Jessica and I’ve got a wacky 1 year old Jocelyn and an awesome partner Vinny. We live on Roosevelt Island and started attending a church in the neighborhood called Mosaic this summer. I’m currently a teacher working in the west village with 8th graders and finding my way through the work/mom world. I’m so grateful to God for what He has done through WOW. Especially in the last 5 years, WOW has helped shape my vision of marriage and leadership that joins in God’s work. Receiving teachings from women, as well as learning about women and men partnering together from WOW has nourished me and broadened my understanding of God’s heart and good purposes. From learning how to study scripture from Anna Lee-Winans or understanding what marriage can look like from Drew Hyun, to being cared for And prayed over on Zoom by Christians I don’t even know, I can see how WOW has discipled me and helped me draw near to God. The church I attend is led by a female pastor, and as this is a new experience for me, I’m so grateful for the affirmation of God’s calling for women. Looking back on my time with WOW, it’s clear to me that God was laying a foundation to be amazed by how He works through women and men as leaders and partners together. And I will always feel such fondness and tenderness for the leaders of WOW, who welcomed and discipled me and my family with such love and humility. I hope we can be people of faith like them.
WOW! BOARD MEMBER, FOUNDER: HOPING GREATLY, NEW YORK
Hello all, my name is Miluska E. Silencio and I’m a WOW! Board member. My journey didn’t start there but back in 2017 as I discerned my next after a huge burn out season and thought God would approve what I expected to be my journey in higher education administration. He closed doors to it yet through WOW! I learned to listen to Him, and trust His leading beyond my unmet expectation. I ran from my calling but couldn’t hide as I attended a seminar in WOW! where a dear sister who I never met gave me a prophetic word of my pastoral calling. I wrestled with it but knew it was Divine as we were encouraged in the seminar to trust God beyond our concrete plans. I have leaned into the Word received from that day along with learning from my Soul Care Cohort and contemplative times the challenge of being with God helping our doing for God. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the lessons learned in WOW! and continual support from the staff in my various transitions these past years. Due to their prayers and empowerment, I’ve built the stamina to continue in ministry as a licensed Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) clergy on the road to ordination and advocate for immigration reform as a 1st generation Latina DACA Dreamer via my platform to encourage others called Hoping Greatly, Regional NYC Representative in Passion 2 Plant and working as a Communications Coordinator at the Hispanic Theological Initiative.
PH.D CANDIDATE: HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK
I am a doctoral student, completing a PhD in Health Policy and Management here in NYC. When I arrived in NYC in 2019, I was weary of religion. I didn’t know where I fit into Christianity as a woman. I was tired of fighting for my place, and I was tired of trying to find a reason to stay. Knowing all of this, my friend Krystin introduced me to WOW! and invited me to join a silent retreat. It was exactly what I needed – I experienced peace, and I saw women who were truly free and looked like Jesus. Since then, I joined the mentoring program, which has strengthened my faith and established peace in my life. My time with WOW! allowed me to identify the ways in which I can look like Jesus, and be perfectly free, too. I’m looking forward to many more years with WOW!
erika dayle siu
PUBLIC POLICY SPECIALIST, CHICAGO
My name is Erika Siu, and I am a public policy specialist. WOW! was a gathering of candlelights for me. When I joined in my singular light, my calling as a woman, in whom my Creator is fully pleased, erupted in a flame of encouragement and hope. With every step, through the early Board meetings where we imagined a future for WOW! and set out its goals and objectives, to the meetings and retreats, where God’s palpable presence never fails, I am so grateful for this group. And because of the women of this group, with whom I have been able to journey over the past decade, I have been so blessed and enriched. WOW! to me is a home, where I can fully be and grow into all that I am destined to become.
CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER TEACHER, MINISTER, NEW JERSEY
WOW! gives a platform for many women, including myself to contribute to spiritual formation work they offer. For me leading contemplative reflections with their board and also the overall WOW! community of friends has been meaningful for my own passions to serve God. As we explore together, going beyond our training and skills, we help one another thrive. God is using WOW! to see the value of women in serving in God’s Kingdom and not competing with men. Women are partners and co-heirs alongside men to steward what God has given us. I love the fellowship with the WOW! Team; As we pray and share life and ministry together weekly, we experience God speaking energy and life into us. It is a reflection of Christ Jesus’ love, the Holy Spirit’s healing and empowerment to be God’s children.
“I first joined WOW!’s Bible study when I was a fresh grad from seminary. I hadn’t realized how hard it would be as a female minister, though somebody already told me so. It was a great preparation before I started serving as a minister at church. Throughout the years, the WOW! team connects to me and brings me in to the programs that benefit my soul and ministries. I really appreciate all the check-ins, prayers, support and friendship.”
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