Monday, August 14, 2017

UPDATE August 14

I'm out of practice snapping pictures. We will have better pictures soon. Promise! 


We are sad to be losing Grace to her new host family. This week, while the girls were out, Grace, David, and I did something I have never done in Winston-Salem: play bocce ball in Reynolda Gardens. I looked at the rules and didn't see a rule against it!

Wow! Does this city deliver or what? Two weeks ago, we had hardly any host family commitments. OK. We had one! (Thank you Rob and Becky our early adopters). Today, we have a family for everyone, with a couple back-ups!

Thank you!

Peter Barnes

Jon and Holly Brower

Todd and Becca Chase

Clyde and Valerie Godwyn

John and Jeanne Lenham

Dave and Lisa Meyer

Rob and Becky Paynter

Terry and Jess Phipps

Jeff and Deanne Trollinger

Jim and Janice Weiss

Tripp and Patricia Wilson

What a line-up! If you see any of these folks - please thank them! 



Jessica Kok and I did some editing of the website this weekend and were able to add in a new page that we would love for you to check out.

If you haven't perused the website before, feel free to poke around. I'd love your help making it better. 

By the end of the month, I'll be editing our 2016-17 with a where are they now find of feel. Stay tuned!


We had a couple fun surprises this week. Ashley Trewhella came into town on Tuesday just for the evening. We went to Young Life Summer Stud then out to dinner and shut the restaurant down. So fun!

Sarah Wilkins stopped in on Thursday to do some blood work for her new job. She was able to have lunch with her Host Family Dave and Lisa. Then, she met me at Wake Forest where I was attending the Global Leadership Summit. She sat in on probably the best talk of the entire two day conference (Bryan Stevenson's. The man is the man.) I was also able to introduce her to basically the entire First Pres staff (which is where she will be attending). What a treat!

Then, I got this picture last night!

Abbey Sams and Sarah Wilkins when they first met!

Sarah was visiting friends at William and Mary, went to church, and somehow providentially ran into Abbey Sams at a young adult mixer! What!!!

This week. 

Abbey is coming to town for work orientation. Morgan might be coming in as well. Ashley is moving here early. And Grace and Natalie continue to kick butt in their summer positions. Exciting stuff. 


Another great week. If you measure it by the number of slots getting filled - it was a banner week. However, I battle the "slot-filling" mentality. Each "slot" is a person. A new relationship. An answered prayer. Each name I write is a story about to be written. And no one has arrived on that board without the activity of God. 

Other highlights: Backyard conversations with Tripp and Patricia Wilson on Monday. Summer Stud on Tuesday with special guests. A great board meeting Wednesday night. The Global Leadership Summit Thursday and Friday. The Annual Hope Spades Tournament on Saturday (we went undefeated, but gave our slot to some "lucky losers"). And watched Anna Rose win a champion ribbon at her first horse show!

But the BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT was celebrating Lia's 40th Birthday!


Not much to report. But here are two ways to give financially:

Mail Checks to

Winston-Salem Fellows
851 W. 5th St
Winston-Salem, NC 27104

Or go to


Pray as we orient our host families and employers. 
Pray for our Fellows who are having final interviews this week with employers. 
Pray for those Fellows already hired that there are no surprises (I'm done with surprises!)
Pray for good family time in our last week of summer!
Pray for Lia and I celebrating our 17th Wedding Anniversary on Saturday!
Pray for Fellows as they get ready to arrive next week. 
Pray for details coming together. 

Monday, August 07, 2017

UPDATE August 7

growing up so fast



Met with John Eanes this week to get to know him better before he brings on Patrick McCarthy this year. Both of these men are in for a treat.

Sarah Wilkins surprised me by coming into town for an interview with Tracy Farmer at Forsyth Endocrine Specialists. She got the job! She'll be coming in this week to do some blood work and begin the onboarding process.

Ashley Trewhella completed her first week of training at her new employer: Boosterthon. Sean Henderson, a graduate from last year's class now employed full-time with Boosterthon, called me to tell how great a job she's doing.

You thought that the beautiful sunlight that has graced us this last week was weather. No, I think it was Grace Mezzy's arrival. I think she brings sunshine wherever she goes. I checked in on her mid-week at Salem Sports to find her "crushing" some Adobe Illustrator.

J.D. Lehman's interview was amazing. Paul Williams and Aubrey Linville both met with him to give the survey of the land of commercial real estate. Campbell Anderson joined us for dinner and sold him. I used the tickets Tripp Wilson and I won at Trivia Night a few weeks ago to take them to the Dash game. Will Troxler gave him a bed to sleep in. I think if we can work out the job stuff, J.D. will be in. Pray!

We also had a great response to housing. Thank you Rob and Becky Paynter, Terry and Jess Phipps, John and Jeanne Lenham, Jeff and Deanne Trollinger, Jim and Janice Weiss, Clyde and Valerie Godwyn, Tripp and Patricia Wilson, and Christian and Katie Moretz for taking a step. Pray for these guys as they pray about it!


I just mentioned one. A job for J.D. Lehman. There is a good chance we can work an arrangement with Linville/Team and GemCap, but we will need your prayers for it to happen. 


Morgan Bonds is in a conversation with Habitat for Humanity. Pray that something can get finalized this week. Pray for my conversation with Mike Campbell today. 

A special THANK YOU to Fred Jorgenson who is helping us think through opportunities for J.P. Flynn. I'm having a conversation about him at 7:30 this morning with Richard Shore at Aladdin Travel. Hoping for a fit. Prayers are already being answered - an outstanding conversation with Richard this morning - could be a match.

Kate Donahoo is finalizing (we hope) discussions about her new role at Forsyth Country Day School. Pray all goes well. I think the biggest challenge is funding - so pray specifically for that. 

Natalie Bayer had a GREAT interview at ABC Child Development and has been asked back for a second interview. This will take place next week. All signs point to a positive outcome, but you never know until you go through the entire process. 

Caleb McKillop is waiting on word from Allegacy Credit Union. I think the powers that be were on vacation last week, so hopefully we can tie this up this week. Pray!

Tucker Bartholomew's job with the N.C. Bar Association which I was told was a done deal has recently not turned out to be a done deal. VERY Discouraging. In anticipation of this, we have been pivoting to other opportunities. Tucker talked to one over the weekend. I'm on a phone call at 9am with another. We would love something for Tucker in the realm of either Advocacy and Law or Sales and Marketing. The experience of thinking he had a job to the arrangement fizzling out has made Tucker question his call to the Fellows. We had a good but hard conversation on Saturday. Please pray for a positive outcome here for Tucker and the Fellows. Prayers are already being heard - A very promising conversation with NCS this morning - could be a match. 

Housing. We have several folks praying about hosting a Fellow. Some are closer to Yes than others. I say realistically we need three or four more folks to come out of the woodwork for me to feel safe. Pray!!!



Fellows Sarah Wilkins (left) and Grace Mezzy (center) joined us for dinner Friday night. Photo cred Jessica Kok (Fellows alumni)
We are gearing up for a great year. If this pre-dinner is any sign - these Fellows are going to fit right in.

Kevin Frack, our resident Historian is planning his History of Winston-Salem lecture and walking tour for us. Terrance Hawkins, our resident Black Historian is putting together his Freedom Ride for us. The Center For Creative Leadership just sent me their contract. Dr. Clay Cooke and Dr. Jack Wilkerson are working on their curriculum for the semester.

This week I'm updating the Handbook and sending that out.

Orientation is coming together. Thank you Mike and Julie Baughan for the use of your lake house. I've got several surprises up my sleeve, so just trust me when I say - orientation is going to be memorable.

One note: We will be having a welcome to Winston-Salem Bash for the Fellows on August 27th with Host Families, Board Members, Employers, Churches, Former Fellows, Donors, and if that describes you, expect to see an Evite this week!

We have a Board Meeting on Wednesday.

Lia has a very special birthday on Thursday.

I hope to attend a good portion of the Global Leadership Summit this Thursday and Friday.

We will have several Fellows in town week for a variety of reasons.

I need to do a better job at pictures.


My kids had an amazing time at Farm Camp at NOMAD Farms. Mark and Dana Nicholson are treasures to this community. So thankful for them and their mission.

Farmer Dave Dave

Farmer Anna Rose
Dana wrote me this morning: "Anna Rose - what a beauty of this earth! Tell her she is welcome to keep farming here in prep for having her own farm smeday. I tell you she should shadow Hailey - the Geer's oldest daughter is super-hardcore and she's doing her own dairy business you may know about Sunrise Creamery." So awesome.

Grace Mezzy had a great first week of work.

Lia and I were able to take the kids to the mountains - it was the first time it was just the four of us since July 8th!

Leaping A-Ro

Happy moments in the woods

Summer and Ice Cream - the best
Shout outs to John Eanes, Andrew Miller, Tim Gardner, the good people of Young Life Summer Stud, Holly Heath, Josh Benoit, Karver Bolton, Rob Alexander, Will Reeves, Tripp Sanders, Paul Williams, Aubrey Linville, Stuart Stogner, Shannon Rainey, Lea Metz, Zaneta Robinson, Shontell Robinson, Jenny Scholl, Clay and Bekah Cooke, Caroline and Brad Cox, Mike and Gayle Ford, Mark and Dana Nicholson, among others that made this week a great one.

WE HAVE STARTED IN OUR NEW FISCAL YEAR with $15k in the bank. A little behind where we like to be, but with tuition money coming in at the end of the month we should be ok.

This would be a great time to begin thinking about what you would like to contribute to the Fellows this year.

Mail can be sent to

WS Fellows
851 W. 5th Street
WSNC 27101

or giving on line is at

There is a monthly option on the web portal.

Thanks guys.

A little fun video for those of you who have made it to the end...

After two rounds of me obliterating my family in Water Balloon Thermo Nuclear War - they got their revenge

Monday, July 31, 2017

UPDATE for July 31

Taking time to smell the roses
Lia and I had a spectacular trip to France to celebrate our "10th" anniversary seven years late. We went with a Bike Tour Group called VBT. Highly recommend them.

Our guides Pierre and Michel (a dude) were straight out of the movies.

Pierre and Michel - about as French as French gets
I'll share some more photos at the end of this update.


As I sit here back in the office on July 31st, three and a half weeks before year two of the program starts, I can say we have a lot to be thankful for: 11 Great Fellows. 4 Great Church Partners. Most of our Jobs have or are about to come through...

Our greatest need is Host Families. This is a key part, obviously of the Fellows program and possibly the most rewarding.

Yesterday, Grace Mezzy, moved into our house for a few weeks. She is working at Salem Sports this year and they are so excited about her they have asked her to come early!

Unfortunately, Fellows rules state that the Ericksons cannot host a Fellow for the year, so we will have to satisfy ourselves with these few weeks. But I can tell you - our home is better for having her in it. What a blessing!

Welcome Grace!
We, the Fellows, want you to have that blessing. Obviously, it is a commitment to have someone live with you for the year, but we make it about as user-friendly as possible for you.

Fellows are adults, who love Jesus, and are coming in with thankful hearts, ready to help. They only need a bed and access to a bathroom. Our ask is that you welcome them into your home and have at least one meal a week each other.

If you are interested, please contact me asap. Or if you would like to talk to one of our host families from previous years, I'd be happy to connect you.

This is a HUGE NEED! This week - this is the best way to love the Fellows.

My number is (336) 413-4918 and my email is


Is not over! This week we are having likely our last interview for this class. His name is JD and many of you have been praying for him the last couple weeks. His interview is Thursday and Friday and if all goes well, he will be our 12th and final Fellow for the year.

Thanks for joining us in prayer!

JD played golf at the University of Louisville. 

Today is the last day of our fiscal year, and the good news is that we have money in the bank! Praise the Lord! A deep heartfelt thanks to all of you who have contributed this past year. The Fellows would not happen without your support. On top of that - you all gave out of your own compulsion which allowed me to focus on directing the Fellows. I have been working in and with non-profits for over twenty years now, and I have never had to focus less on raising money! That is credit to you! And it allows us to remain focused on the work.

Tomorrow, we start over with a new budget and a new goal of $50,000 to raise between now and July 31st of next year. Please pray about how and how much you feel led to contribute this year. Money is just one of the ways. And every bit counts.

As always, I am available for lunch or coffee or beverage of your choice...

Contributions can be made out to

Winston-Salem Fellows
851 W. 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Or given online at


Rahel is settling in at Duke and sent us this picture in honor of our weekly Round Tables!

Christina is sporting a North Carolina t-shirt at the North Dakota/South Dakota border. She will be returning to North Carolina at the end of the month.


This week were are honing in on host families, finalizing jobs, touching base with all our Fellows with last minute details, and program planning. Whew!

Lots to do. But also a goal is to connect, so again, please reach out. Would love to grab some time with you.

Thanks y'all for joining us on this wild ride!

Some from FRANCE...

The weather was unseasonably cold and wet - but as they say in Midnight in Paris - Paris is even more beautiful in the rain...

Leaning on the Eiffel Tower

Cycling through the vineyards of La Touraine

Orange mint tea in Tours

Sunflowers in Ouchamps. Sporting David and Lisa Meyer's bike shirt for their nonprofit

Thinking in the Rodin Museum

Picnic on the lawn of Chambord

Chateau where we stayed in Mont St. Louis

King for a day

More sunflowers

Snuck that one in on her

Thanks to Rich and Sue who watched the kids

Couldn't get enough biking I guess so Rich and I biked to the top of Pilot Mountain on Saturday

Monday, July 17, 2017

UPDAT Week of July 10

Covering up my third eye as Buccaneer Bob at Vacation Bible School
The real Buccaneer Bob had a family emergency and I was handed the script about thirty-five seconds before going on stage. I'll be honest, it was not my greatest performance. 

- Meet the Incoming Fellows
- Meet our newest Addition to the Board Family
- Get the latest, greatest news
- A Look Forward


Abbey Sams
Abbey Sams
Abbey Sams is from Williamsburg, Virginia. She graduated from Campbell University and for the last two years has been serving as the High School Assistant Youth Minister at her Church. She loves a strong cup of coffee and dogs, especially hers, Pippin, who will be living with her parents while she is a Fellow. 

Interesting fact: Abbey was one of the nightly news anchors for Campbell University! 

Ashley Trewhella

Ashley is from Columbia, SC and studied Psychology while she attended Clemson University, graduating this past May. She was on Student Staff with Young Life and in high school had a prestigious career as a cashier at Chik-Fil-A. Like many of our Fellows, she loves the outdoors. 

Fun fact: Ashley is our first redhead! Woo-Hoo!

Caleb McKillop

Caleb McKillop
Caleb McKillop is coming to us from Covenant College in Chattanooga, TN. He received a B.A. in International Studies and is currently working with the youth at New City Fellowship, a cool, multi-ethnic downtown church in Chattanooga where his father is one of the pastors. 

Interesting fact: Caleb spent his high school years in Jamaica. Yah mahn. 

Grace Mezzy

Grace Mezzy
 Grace grew up in Virginia Beach, but has been living lately in the mountains of Lynchburg. A graduate of Virginia Tech in Interior Design, she has been working at Rockbridge Young Life Camp and Barista-ing this last year. 

Interesting fact: Grace worked with one of my old Young Life guys - am I old or what?

Kate Donahoo

Kate Donahoo
Kate is our Texan. Growing up in The Woodlands near Houston, she went to Davidson on a Belk Scholarship (the Belk Scholarship). She graduated with a History Degree, and minored in Young Life and playing guitar and singing. 

Fun fact: Kate roomed with one of Winston-Salem's finest, Caroline Bell, daughter of Dudley and Julie. 

JP Flynn

JP Flynn
JP hails from Charlotte, NC. He didn't travel far for college, traveling just up the road to Davidson. He graduated with a Mathematics Degree, minoring in Chinese. 

Interesting tidbit: JP is whatever the level is just under Grand Master in Chess. 

Natalie Bayer

Natalie Bayer
Natalie is from Upper Arlington, OH. She just finished up a Exercise and Sports Science degree (minoring in Neuroscience and German) at UNC - Chapel Hill, hence the tar heel blue gown. Like most of our Fellows, she loves the outdoors. She also has a heart for the marginalized, choosing to work with International Students and children with disabilities in her time at Chapel Hill.  

Fun connection: Lia, my wife, is also from Upper Arlington!

Morgan Bonds

Morgan Bonds

Morgan is coming to us from Franklin, TN via University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She graduated with a Children and Family Studies Degree and worked as a Student Staff with Young Life. Alex Loy, our Fellow alumni worked with her and called her the greatest human being on earth, or something to that effect. 

Interesting fact: Morgan is a twin! 

Patrick McCarthy

Patrick McCarthy
Patrick is from Hendersonville, NC, but he has a Winston-Salem connection. He just graduated from Wake Forest University. Go Deacs! He double majored in Economics and Religion, which sort of sums him up in a way. 

Interesting fact: Patrick is road-tripping all across the Western United States this summer. So cool. 

Sarah Wilkins

Sarah Wilkins
Sarah comes to us from Apex, NC. This May she graduated from Virginia Tech with a Health and Exercise Science Degree. She, like Ashley, Kate, Grace, and Morgan were Young Life leaders! Sarah is also First Aid and CPR Trained and is getting her EMT Certification this summer. Not to be outdone by Patrick, she went to Europe for her post grad trip!

Fun Connection: Sarah is friends with Grace Mezzy's sister!

Tucker Bartholomew

Tucker Bartholomew
Tucker is from my hometown, Philadelphia, PA. Like me, he came down south for college. Unlike me, he went to Wake Forest University. He majored in Sociology and minored in Philosophy. He also is quite the musician. (Can anyone say Fellows band?) This summer he is working with a moving company called The Sultans of Schlep (What a band name!)

Interesting Trivia: Tucker's first name is Rudolph.

let me know if you are interesting in Hosting one of these Fellows this year!!!


The Winston-Salem Fellows wishes to welcome Benjamin Joseph Truman Geer to the family!

Benjamin Joseph Truman Geer
 Born 7-10-17. 7lb 15 oz. Thanking God for this miraculous gift. Congratulations Andy and Lora. We look forward to Benjamin Joseph joining us the WS Fellows Class of 2030. 


We are in negotiations with a fine young gentleman, JD Lehman, who is considering coming next year. We have some competition with job possibilities in Charleston and Charlotte, so we need to pray!

Jobs are coming together for Fellows. I am very thankful for all of our employers: new and old. 

Ashley Trewhella interviewed with Boosterthon this week. Dan, the Area Director texted me right afterward and said: "Just interviewed Ashley and offered her an job on the spot. She's fantastic!"

There are a few folks interviewing this week, including Caleb with Allegacy and JP with Inmar - so please keep them in your prayers!

Love Out Loud has indicated a strong desire to hire a Fellow as well - wow! What an opportunity. Of course, finances are the key. I know many of you who support the Fellows also support Chuck. Please let Chuck or me know if you are interested in helping fund this position. 9k would do it!  

Speaking of fundraising - we are looking toward two dates for you to put on your calendar. Sunday evening August 28th. We are going to invite all volunteers and donors to a Burger Bash Welcome for the Fellows! Then, Thursday, October 5th we are looking at holding a fundraising breakfast at River Birch Lodge.

This week, we helped out with Hope Church's VBS. 

Niki stole my heart
What a great four days! And exhausting!

Anna Rose celebrated her 11th birthday with new friends at camp
We received evidence that she finally took a shower!
I had lots of coffee with Virginia Perry, Michelle Schapira, Paul Allen, Chuck Spong, Shannon Rainey, Beth Hilliard, Gardner Barrier, Stephen Edwards, Rob Alexander, Josh Benoit, Charley Donohoe, and Griff Gatewood...and Tripp Wilson and I won Trivia Night at Old Nick's Pub!!!


Lia and I are finally taking our 10th Wedding Anniversary trip (this year will be our 17th anniversary!) Better late than never!!! We have been squirreling our money away and now finally it is finally here! This evening we will be flying to France for a few days in Paris and then a bike tour down the Loire Valley! WHAT!?!?!?!?

Ever since Lia studied abroad in France she has been wanting to do it. So here we go!

In some ways the trip has already begun since the kids are at camps or with grandparents. On Saturday night Lia and I took some friends to Bowman Gray for the Night of Destruction.

Here we are in tasteful redneck
Lia ran into one of her nurses just as we entered
Bowman Gray Night of Destruction

 This pretty much sums up my wife - she loves France and she loves watching race cars at the Madhouse.

What a woman
 Please Pray for safe travels. 
- for our children
- for the Fellows Board who is picking up the slack while I'm gone. 
- for people to volunteer to Host Fellows
- for these employers to see the amazing opportunity it would be to hire a Fellow
- for funds to cover our program needs
- for JD or whoever that 12th Fellow should be.

Thank you! Keeping spreading the love and sharing the story!!!