City Character – Women on Wednesdays
Story by Megan Whitehead | Jun 26, 2017
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer
Women of faith come together for support and bible study.
Their Vision: We desire for the heart of every woman to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ in order that she may be a godly influence in her home, her church, her community, and her world to the glory of God.
Their Mission: Our mission is to equip women with the truth of God that they may be free to become more and more in every way like Jesus Christ.
Their Focus: Our focus is to love God, to love others, and to make disciples.
Jefferson City is a community full of big and little churches, all comprised of dedicated and faithful churchgoers. Regardless of denomination, churchgoers all lean on their church community for support in good times and in bad. But what if you need a little extra time, a little extra strength?
This is where Donna Kay Nicklas and Helen Fisher saw a need for Women on Wednesdays.
WOW is an interdenominational bible study group for women held on Wednesday mornings. “We come together to learn and to laugh a lot, to hug and love on each other a lot, to shed a few tears sometimes, which gives us more opportunity to love on each other,” says Donna Kay. “Our purpose is to equip women with the truth of God so they can know God.”
After being part of an international Evangelical parachurch organization, Stonecroft Ministries, Donna Kay and Helen longed for more than the monthly brunches and bible studies they’d experienced. “We thought having a weekly bible study was the thing to do,” says Donna Kay. “We just kept being led in that direction.”
Helen and Donna Kay have a calling as teachers. Before WOW even began, Helen taught what she learned about faith to several women, including Donna Kay, who considers Helen a mentor. Before that, Helen learned from her own mentor, a woman from Birmingham whom she brought to Mid-Missouri a few times to do some teaching. “When she came home from the Philippines as a missionary,” says Helen, “she was in such bad physical, mental, and emotional shape, the doctor told her she was dying and there was nothing they could do.” Dr. Henry Brandt, an author, teacher, and counselor, flew out to see her and helped bring her back into spiritual health, which brought her back into physical health.
“[Her story] is one of those things you have to really be ready to hear,” says Helen. “After 15 years, I thought, ‘Nobody wants to hear this.’”
However, after speaking to Donna Kay over her kitchen table, Helen knew she could use her knowledge to help again. “I said, ‘You know, Donna Kay, if you want to, I can share some things with you,’ and through that, we have been wonderfully transformed. . . . I remember the day the teachings clicked for Donna Kay. She was on the phone with someone who happened to know how to push her buttons almost within 10 seconds. We both knew that. Sure enough, it wasn’t far into the conversation that the button was pushed. But she got off the phone and said, ‘OK, I’m going to take responsibility for what’s in me and not her,’ and she went to God.”
“I was at peace,” says Donna Kay. “I share this story often because it was one of those ‘a-ha’ moments. I knew God had done something because I had never responded that way before, and I had never had that kind of peace.”
Shortly after, in 2008, Donna Kay and Helen began to teach to the community. They wanted to share what they had been taught, which is now the base knowledge for the women of WOW. “I told Helen, ‘Okay, you have this in your head and now I’m getting it, now we need to teach this to larger groups,’” says Donna Kay. “Then, in the spring of 2009, we had probably about 40 or 50 women who came together for Helen to teach. During the summer, we began preparing for what is now WOW.”
“It’s not weird teachings,” Donna Kay laughs. “Basically, it’s all biblical, it’s all scriptural, it’s just truth. It’s ridiculously easy, and it’s ridiculously hard. It is identifying the fact that we are sinners and not being resistant to that. Then it’s identifying those sins.”
The easy: figuring out why you are angry, sad, etc. The hard: taking personal responsibility for those feelings rather than placing blame. This is what the ladies call Living Life Live, and that’s what’s taught at WOW.
“This is one of the most amazing things I have ever been involved with, and I think Helen would say the same,” says Donna Kay. “One of the things we knew we wanted to do when we started WOW was make sure every woman felt welcomed and that they belonged.
“There was one woman who started coming in who had lost her husband not long before,” Donna Kay continues. “She had no smile on her face. It didn’t take long to realize that she wasn’t a hugger. She’s been coming for at least four years, and last year I noticed a big difference in her. She came in and started smiling and receiving hugs. Those are the types of things we’ve seen. We want women to feel valued, important, and loved.”
A few weeks ago, I attended a WOW session and was blown away. Nearly 200 women showed up, each (including myself) receiving a hug when they walked through the door. After breakfast and plenty of time for chatting and catching up, we were all led to the chapel to enjoy a skit and hear Tracie Matthews-Ferrier speak about her experience with her faith. Her words detailing how God took her baggage and freed her to become a better person were emotional and inspiring. Everyone in attendance was enraptured.
This engagement was due in part to Tracie’s incredible story and public speaking ability, but also to the camaraderie felt between every woman there. Being in a room with hundreds of women who, despite leading totally different lives, all share the same faith in God was breathtaking.
WOW holds two yearly sessions of 10 classes ranging from Living Life Live to Books of the Bible studies. Their next session begins with an open house on August 30 and classes beginning September 6. If you are interested in joining, contact Donna Kay at 573-619-1485 or Helen at 573-353-7224.