Monday, June 26, 2017

UPDATE - Week of June 19

Post Baptism Hugs in the Jordan River
It has been a relatively quiet week here at the Winston-Salem Fellows. Part of that is due to it being summer, part being that my very talkative daughter was at camp, and part being that the Fellows are moving on to bigger and brighter things. 

Here is an Update on the Inaugural Class

Alex Loy

Alex has taken a job in Nashville with a company called Houzz Interior Design Ideas. It is an app that helps you design your home with furnishings, accessories, lighting and remodels created by local contractors and designers. It is a fast growing company that started in San Francisco. Nashville is their newly created eastern headquarters, so there is lots of growth potential as they move into a new market.

Camille Stogner
Camille continues to love her work at Salemtowne. This summer she will apply to the nursing program at WSSU with the hope to earn her degree and work in geriatrics.

Campbell Anderson

Campbell is returning from vacation with his family as he awaits to hear back from a few job opportunities. He is eager to put his energy and commitment to work. His desire is to stay in Winston-Salem long term, which thrills his Fellows Director. 

Christina Sandstedt
Christina is currently doing environmental research in the Black Hills of South Dakota with a team from Wheaton College. In the fall, she will be returning to Winston-Salem to work as a consultant with Pilot Environmental, Inc. as she awaits to hear from the Coast Guard' s Officer Candidate School. 

Dakota Lee
Dakota has received an offer to work at PENTA Facial Plastic Surgery. However, it will not begin until August, so he is currently free agenting while he lives with his host family who is refusing to let him move out. 

Jessica Kok
Jessica is currently on holiday in England as she prepares to return to work at Senior Services. Before leaving town, Jessica and Julia Lovett moved in with a third roommate into a house in West Salem. 

Julia Lovett
Julia is looking forward to having her new roommate return from England. She continues to work at Crosby Scholars and is excited about growing community across race and culture and investing more in the city of Winston-Salem.  

Rahel Tafese

Rahel is moving east to Durham to enter a Masters in Hospital Administration program at Duke University before she enters medical school the following year. 

Reese Schaffner
 Reese is in job hunting mode. Last week, he received an offer, but he is also in the running for a few other opportunities. In the meantime, he is painting interiors and exteriors of houses, and has suddenly discovered that his skills are high in demand.

Sean Henderson
Sean has stayed on with Fleet Feet Sports. He had a phone interview with a potential employer last week that went FANTASTIC in the words of that potential employer. So we shall see. Sean has a passion for coaching and education, so if things do not work out, this year he will likely get his teaching certification. His long term goal is to take my job, which I'm fine with.

Will Troxler
 Will will be entering Wake Forest Masters Program in Management in a few weeks. Currently, he is working in Black Mountain at Camp Timberlake. We are excited to have both Will and his girlfriend Mary Page here next year.


Things are coming together as well for our incoming class. One story. Our Fellow, Grace Mezzy, seen here:

I cannot wait for her to get here! Seriously. She rivals me in her positivity, and if there was a way I could hire her to work for the Fellows, I would. Unfortunately, for me, Grace is gifted in a myriad of ways, particularly in the world of design.

I contacted my friends at Salem Sports about her. They were intrigued, and as it turned out, they were in need of a designer. After a phone conversation, I sent Kim Ickes Grace's resume as well as some other pertinent information. Grace interviewed the next day, and now my wait is over. Salem Sports wants her to come in early!

As of this morning, about half of our Fellows are spoken for employment-wise. we are following some promising leads on the rest. But if you or your company are interested in a talented, hungry, male or female of outstanding character, contact me TODAY!

Eli loves being a Host Family kid

I had a great exit interview with Lucho and Liz Soto this week. They were one of our host families last year. A young couple with no children, they were not the people I imagined when I first thought about host families, but they were open to it and we didn't have a ton of options!

As it turned out, the experience went beyond their best hopes. "We lucked out on Alex." They told me. Lucho really appreciated our pre-training and they both felt well-prepared as they headed into the year. Woo-Hoo!

Being a Host Family is another way to support the Fellows. If you are interested, whether you are a couple with young children, old children, no children, or maybe you are single - we would love to talk to you about being a Host Family. Contact me TODAY!


Thank you Fellows community for all your support. I had a couple take Lia and I out to lunch last week because they wanted to tell us that they would like to increase their financial support of the Fellows! WOW!

We need it!

We need lots of help. If you know me, that comes as no surprise! Ha!

Shout outs to Fil Anderson, Stephen Edwards, Caroline Bell, Julia Lovett, Fred and Belinda Jorgenson, Mike Campbell and the team at Habitat for Humanity, Dan Powell and Theo, Chuck Spong, Paul and Jennifer Briggs, Shannon Rainey, Petey Crowder, Liz and Lucho Soto, Garrick Throckmorton, Rich Garrison, Gardner Barrier, Crick and Kim Watkins, Tripp Sanders, Joe Peele, Brett and Emily Anderson, Blair and Katie Whitworth, Barnes and Elizabeth Harris, Steve and Sarah Kearns, Dave and Christina Anderson, and others. A great week.

- Pray for the Fellows
- Ask the Lord how He might want you to play a part this year.
- Let me know what He tell you!

Thanks all. Keep spreading the love.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Update Week of June 12

This week has been a bunch of organizing and planning. As seen above, I have been updating our website. In the next few weeks, I'll be posting updates on the Class of 2016-17 page as well as adding in a Class of 2017-18 page!

I have also added in a What Sets Us Apart. Check it out and explore!

Turning the page

I took a big step this week and erased the whiteboard.


For those of you who wonder what a Fellows Director does in the summer - that's quite a visual!

Fortunately, I am not alone in getting it done. We have got a great program committee and lots of friends. But don't be surprised if you get a call from me!

The Truth

David, Noah, and Ned left to right
I had a lot of fun getting interviewed by two great guys, Noah and Davis, at Stu Epperson Jr.'s Truth Network Radio Station.

I don't think it has been broadcasted yet. I'll let you know!

Thanks Stu for the radio time!

(He won't want me to tell you this story but last week Stu was in the Dollar Tree and saw they were selling Bibles. He got so fired up about a Priceless Book being sold for a dollar - he bought all of them. And then gave them away! Ha! Love that man.)

Recruitment Update

As sad as I am to see our inaugural class move on, I am excited about this new class coming in. Right now, we are awaiting to hear back from what we hope is our eleventh Fellow. We will take one more - so if you know anybody - please get them in contact with me.

Program Update

We have had some great developments, curriculum-wise. Dr. Jack Wilkerson and Dr. Clay Cooke have both re-upped for this year. We are also looking to add in Nigel Alston (for Leadership), Joe Moore (for Spiritual Formation), and Rob Alexander (for Theology of Work). See Bios Here

We are also re-committing to the Center for Creative Leadership after making some enhancements that we are very excited about. And just today, I learned that Fil Anderson is interested in teaching as well! Oh man! This year is going to be incredible!

The Triple

We had a triple birthday party on Saturday, celebrating Sean Henderson, Dakota Lee and Julia Lovett, all June birthdays.

Somehow I was permitted to share the couch with the birthday people. What an honor!

On the Home front

Grace, Georgia, Anna Rose and Olivia

Anna Rose is in heaven this week, also known as Camp Cheerio, with some of her best friends. Back at home, it is very quiet. Ha!

Lia and I continue to do well. We had one of our new Fellows babysit for us Saturday night. Extremely excited that Natalie Bayer is here and already settling in. 

For me, I had the chance to meet with some great people. Shout outs to Stu Epperson Jr., Sam Best, Dakota Lee, Jonathan Murfee, the good people at CCL, Dodd Drake, Mike Gatton, Nigel Alston, the good people at the Center for a Creative Economy, Natalie Bayer, Robbie Mills, and David Jorgenson. This week is shaping up the same way. Very thankful. 

Ways to help

- Pray for Fellows old and new, the Director and his family, and all the volunteers and contributors.
- Financial Support. Go to  or send a check to WS Fellows 851 W. 5th St. WSNC 27101
- Contact us about hosting a Fellow or providing a spot for Round Table or volunteering to Mentor or provide an experience or service opportunity, etc.
- Set up a time to meet to learn more


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

UPDATE Weeks of May 29 and June 5


The Inaugural Class of the Winston-Salem Fellows spent the last three days of the program up in the mountains where it all began. 

It was a sweet time of reflection and closure. The theme was to End Well - with each other, with the director, and with Jesus - not that any of these relationships are ending. The goal was to mark the milestone, to say the things that needed being said, and to celebrate all that had been accomplished. 

There was fun to be had as well. 

Dave Dave - future fellow
Allegheny Jubilee
 We went dancing Tuesday night at the Allegheny Jubilee. So much fun. The highlight was coming up on stage and singing "Wagon Wheel" for all the locals. There is a video out there somewhere...

Tubing down the New River
Wednesday we went tubing, living out the metaphor of letting the long, wide river of grace lead you on the journey.

We tried on Quilt Aprons
Doughton Park
We ended our last Advance on top of Bluff Mountain after a morning of worship and tears of joy. 

Sean has remained his amazing self
Sarabeth honorary Fellow
That evening we celebrated our honorary Fellow, Sarabeth Abbey, at her bridal shower!

Friday and Saturday, we helped each other move out and move in to our new homes!


We have had a great last month!

The Year 2 Class of the Winston-Salem Fellows is coming together better than could be imagined. 

We are now up to ten commitments, with an eleventh just around the corner. There are a few more that we are in dialogue with, but we would ask your help in filling our last one or two slots. We are now maxed out on gals, but if you know of a guy, now is the time to connect us!

Ways to help!

Spread the word that we have 1 or 2 spaces available. 
Contact me if you are interested in Hosting a Fellow next year.
Contact me if you are interested in Mentoring a Fellow next year.
Contact me if you are interested in Employing a Fellow next year.


Last week, the Erickson fam took a needed vacation down south with Lia's side of the family.  

The fam
Chacala means Shrimp-land. We did not know that before we arrived, but it certainly helped explain why we had shrimp at almost every meal!

The whole Simpson family

After stacking rocks, we did some yoga moves

We discovered ancient pertoglyphs, like Corn-Man

The cousins, some of them

A-Ro paddleboarded

Anna Rose and Evy by the pool

My beautiful girl is turning into a beautiful young lady

Like her mom

Dave Dave took the lead on our jungle hike

He drank fruity non-alcoholic beverages by the pool

Learned to conquer the waves

Daddy did some kayaking 

He climbed statues

Took the Hobie Cat for spin

And wore teal

I need to update you on where all the Fellows are going! (8.5 of the 11 are staying in Winston!)

I need to start introducing you to the class of 2018.

Today, I have a meeting to discuss how to recruit more minority Fellows. Then, I'm getting interviewed for Truth FM.

Meanwhile, the Program Committee is at work lining up jobs, churches, host families and mentors for next year.

Lots to keep me busy. Lots to be thankful for.

Including you all!

Thanks for your partnership. Here is one more way to get involved.

Donating! Checks to Winston-Salem Fellows

Our address is 851 W. 5th Street. WSNC 27101
Or online at

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

UPDATE Week of May 29

Ending Well with Shannon Rainey and Beth Hilliard
It has been near a month since we sent y'all a normal weekly Update. This one won't be normal either, but it hopefully will provide you a few highlights from our last few weeks back in Winston-Salem and a look ahead to next year!


Actually, let's begin with that.

Patrick McCarthy, call of 2017 Wake Forest, Class of 2018 WS Fellow

Tucker Bartholomew, class of 2017 Wake Forest, class of 2018 WS Fellows
We want to also celebrate the arrival of four new Fellows:

Natalie Bayer, Graduate of UNC Chapel Hill

Grace Mezzy, Graduate of Virginia Tech

Sarah Wilkins, also a Graduate of Virginia Tech

and Ashley Trewhella, a Graduate of Clemson University
Last night, Chad Brown, Kim Ickes and I interviewed another candidate, and things are looking positive there as well! Next year is looking bright!

HELP WANTED! WE HAVE SPACE FOR TWO MORE MEN. At this moment, we are in conversations with four men, but none have quite yet pulled the trigger. So if you know a guy who would benefit from the Fellows experience. NOW IS THE TIME. Please point them to the website and get them in contact with me. 


Front Porching It at the Paynters
Thank you Rob and Becky for grilling out some burgers for us for our first Round Table post Holy Land. 

Back Porching It at the Glenns
And Thank You! Locke and Anne Glenn for chopping up some Chicken for us for our final Round Table of the year. 

We celebrated Rahel's birthday

In Celebration, Round Table spilled over to 6th and Vine on Tuesday


We continued our string of amazing Leader Lunches with....

Max Floyd, former catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, Director of Wake Forest Recreation Department, and author of a new book The River Narrows (highly recommended).

About the prettiest day of the year in one of the prettiest places on earth
Sylvia Oberle, former City Editor for the Winston-Salem Journal, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, and current Special Project Director for the Pro Humanitate Institute. (She told us she failed at retirement.) But it is clear she has gotten a 4.0 in Life!

Sylvia and Fellows
Mark Nicholson, missionary to Tibet, Founder and CEO of NOMAD Farms, and Executive Director of Passion Life Ministries.

The Mark Nicholson
Examining NOMAD's Chicken Production
And kittens

Will Troxler is eyeing them kittens
We also visited the Shepherd Center and did a sweaty work project...thanks Drea Parker and Sam McKormick for the lunch!

Ten Pallets of Books Later

And the "Forrest Gump" of Winston-Salem." Former CIA, 40 year partner at Womble Carlysle, and outdoor specialist, Linwood Davis

Linwood Davis has let his roots grow deep where he was planted
And finishing up the year with a special luncheon with Coach Bill McClain at Hidden Treasures Event Center.

Could not have asked for a better end to a week

A perfect evening on the Geer Farm
We celebrated Graduation on May 20th, a bit early, as we still had two more weeks. But it was the best day we could find. Friends and family came into town. Host families, mentors, employers, board members, and churches were all represented. Even my folks came to town! (Really they came for Dave Dave's baptism. Graduation was just gravy.)

So thankful

Not sure if I can quite put into words what these people mean to me
Reflecting back on this year, I have cried on more than one occasion.

THANK YOU for joining me on this journey...

I was telling Kim Ickes last night: we are no longer a team; we are family.

And quite possibly the sweetest gift has been how this Fellows Family has blessed mine.


In about an hour we are leaving for the mountains to spend the last three days of the program together.

the lake is stocked
tested and approved by the Williams family
my little fish
Dave Dave's big fish
The goal of this last "Advance" is to "End Well," with each other and with the Lord, not that any of these relationships are close to ending. Sometimes it's important to mark the moment, and that is what we plan to do.

The following week the Ericksons will be taking a well-earned vacation!

Please pray for the Fellows. Some are looking for jobs, or at least, longer term options. In two weeks, I'll update you on this. However, if right now you are interested in talking to one of these Fellows about employment, feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch.

Thank you again.

So grateful...

Lecture Topic at the Fellows National Conference.

Late night with the Fellows on the Mall

A friendly face at Rotary last week!

Native American Day at Summit

Little Feet