Friday, April 21, 2017


We just got back from a family mission trip (highly recommend family mission trips), and for my next three installments of the brand spanking new Everyday Exiles I’ll be sharing with you a few of the God Moments we experienced along the way.

Jenny wasn’t going on the trip, but she saw the sign for donations at the back of the church and pulled my wife aside one Sunday after the service to ask if we had any interest in wheelchairs. Interest? Were we interested in figuring out the logistics, paying the fees, and lugging wheelchairs through the airport? No. Lia gave a half-hearted “I guess so,” which Jenny took as a “Yes.”

The next week, three wheelchairs show up at the back of church. We put stuff on them so we didn’t have to lug the other donations like children’s formula and bar soap to the room we did our packing in. My kids used the wheelchairs to race each other back and forth down the hall while we packed the other donations. We made jokes about how we could put fake casts on Dave Dave and Anna Rose and role them through security.

The thing is the mission we were serving had its own wheelchair manufacturing business! There were dozens of wheelchairs already there. What was the point in bringing three more?

We took them anyway. TSA gave us some odd looks as we able-bodied folks pushed them through security. The agents gave us some odd looks when we asked them to gate check the wheelchairs all the way to Santo Domingo. I was somewhat amazed to find them there when we arrived. We almost forgot them to tell the truth. They hadn’t come through on the baggage carousel. In my broken Spanish I asked this young woman wearing blue who looked at me funny before she spoke into her walky talky that I was sure didn’t work. She pointed to a door that led to a dingy back room.

My children were delighted. They raced each other through customs. The hotel staff lugged them to our hotel room where the wheelchairs stayed until Tuesday when we finally remembered to bring them to the mission. They told us to throw them in the physical therapy room because they weren’t sure where to put them.

I went off to the construction site. Lia went to work in the clinic. A little while later, the mission’s physical therapist (a beautiful Dominican named Yuvelis (you-vail-iece)) came into the clinic crying. Lia was concerned. This woman has had hardships in the past. Lia has helped her in the past. Lia was prepared for the next sad story.

Yuvelis said (in Spanish), “I have this patient who is in desperate need of a very certain type of wheelchair. I have looked all over the Dominican Republic and have found nothing. I have looked on the Internet, but the cost was impossible. Then, I walk into the clinic this morning, and there it is!”

She told Lia, “For you, bringing this wheelchair is a small thing. But for this family, this wheelchair will change their lives.”

This wheelchair we almost didn’t bring.

This wheelchair that we made jokes about and raced through customs.

This wheelchair that will now provide the support Eliezer needs to live, that will provide his mother the ability to push him instead of carry him.

This wheelchair that God knew this family needed, that God brought to them through a rag tag bunch of unknowing Americanos.

Monday, April 17, 2017

UPDATE week of April 10

...installment by guest author, Jessica Kok (current Fellow)

If you run into a fellow in the next couple of weeks and they look like they're about to start dancing around the room with excitement...there's a good chance it's not because they're already on the second cup of coffee for the day, or because they've suddenly created a five year plan. We leave for the Fellows National Conference and Israel in 2 WEEKS!

Holy Week was a chance to really invest in the moment. First, we buckled down and worked. Many of us spent afternoons and evenings occupying coffee shops to work and write. Then, we rested. Over the weekend, some spent time with family, and others took care of pets for families that were away. The weather was beautiful and God is good.

During the absence of our director, I noticed two things: 1) A lot can happen in a year. Each of the fellows have grown a lot personally, professionally, and spiritually over the course of this year. 2) A lot can happen in a week, especially one that starts off looking empty. 

Monday night, we took over the Erickson household, played games, and made a lot of quiche with their abundance of fresh eggs. The 18 that we needed barely made a dent.  

When the Ericksons are out of town, their house becomes Fellows central. 

How to caption this picture?
Campbell, Dakota, and Will with golf clubs, khaki shorts,
and matching hats brought back by Dakota.
A shot of the boys thanking Christina for capturing this great moment.

On Wednesday, we were given the gift of listening to Chris Perry share his story with us. Chris is a mentor and leader, as well as an entrepreneur and a wildly interesting person to get to know. While he is used to sharing his story, his Wednesday leader lunch talk was uniquely crafted for our group. He even offered to give a copy of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell to anyone who came and asked for it! Thank you for the time and thought put into this lunch, Chris!

Chris setting up Chapter 1 of his 5: The David and Goliath metaphor.
This is what the menu looks like at Forsyth County Club when the fellows come for lunch.
Thank you Chris and FCC for taking such good care of us!
Sean got teased a bit for ordering two entrees,
but he looks pretty happy with his decision.
Will, Campbell, and Christina finding some free time to shoot hoops.
It was also Holy week, so many set aside the time to attend Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. 

A true testament to the endurance of the Erickson family: Just hours after arriving home
a day later than expected from the DR, Lia led us through some creative egg decorating. 

As if we didn't already know Christina had the most school pride... As an Easter gift from her mom, she now has an official
Wheaton College license plate frame to prove it! Nice Easter dress, Christina ;)

Fellows Fun Fact (FFF): Christina's work takes her to sites all across the state of North Carolina!
She has probably raked up the most miles of all the fellows this year.

Recruiting Update...from Ned

We are up to five Fellows for next year, with the addition of Tucker Bartholomew, an upcoming Wake Forest Graduate.

I just learned this morning that the invitation we extended to Antonius Gunawan on April 3 never reached him! Good Lord. Please pray that the technology demons don't get there way and Antonius accepts. We want this guy!

This week we have two more interviews and another interview the following week. We may try to squeeze in one more before we head out of town for our Mission Trip.

Keep praying y'all.

Financial Snapshot

We are about $1,000 away from reaching out Israel Goal, and for our overall 2017 budget (our fiscal year ends July 31) we are about $12k away.

So if you are looking for somewhere to cash in your Tax Refunds, the Fellows is your place!

Give online by sending donations to (you can also set up monthly giving this way as well)

Or send a donation by mail to

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

We can't pull off this mission without your generous support. Thank you!

Where's Ned?

Ned and the family traveled with a group down to Mission Emanuel for the week.

Lia was busy in the clinic
Anna Rose was on paint patrol

Dave Dave played street soccer and carried buckets
I worked on the construction team

Mostly, I provided comic relief
I was El Gordo with my magical shrinking machine

El Gordo and El Gordito
Aro was El Gordito on Day two

There is an amazing story concerning this wheelchair

I'll be sending a mid-week blog about it

We visited our friend Julia in the Leprosorium

Lia held her namesake at Quita Suenos

I flirted with Florinda at the Leprosorium

Anna Rose got to see her friend Ara

And on Sunday we were able to spend Easter serving food with H.O.P.E.
 Could not have asked for a better spring break.

Looking Forward

Monday: Program Committee Lunch and Round Table at Susan Scott's
Tuesday: Advancement Team Breakfast, Coffee with Joe Moore and Elder Meeting
Wednesday: Coffee with Garrick Throckmorton, Leader Lunch with Mike Ford, Guy time/Girl Time, GIDE, and an interviewee coming into town to spend the night!
Thursday: Interview with Shuhui from UVA and another interviewee coming into town to spend the night.
Friday: Interview with Ashley from Clemson, class at Wake, Running From Crime Event at GIDE, and Young Life Palooza as well as proctoring Speech and Debate!

Full week!

Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, April 10, 2017

UPDATE Week of April 3

Hello and happy Monday! Before you start reading this in Ned's voice, you should know that this week's update is not brought to you by the fearless fellows director we all know and love, but by me, his "favorite" inaugural fellow (we're all his favorite). This is Jessica, and I'll be filling you in on the past week while Ned is in the DR with his family.

Sean captured this great photo of a double rainbow on Monday.
On Monday, we all gathered at Redeemer Pres for round table, and made some delicious soup in their kitchen. They happened to be setting up for a Greek themed meal at the time, so we also got to enjoy some festive decor! Ned shared more details about our upcoming trip to DC for the National Conference and our big trip to Israel. It's starting to feel real, and we are beyond excited for this gift that has been given to us.

Wednesday, a top-notch panel of 7th graders at Summit School hosted our leader lunch. During our dialogue, they shared where they would like to go to college and what they want to do, and the fellows shared what they wanted to be in 7th grade. Not only did they ask all the right questions, but they also answered our questions so well that they should have been recorded!

The 7th graders impressing us with their ideas.
No trip to Summit School is complete without a visit to David's class!
Ned may not play favorites, but I'm pretty sure Dave Dave's favorite fellow is Camille!
It should probably be noted that we ate very well at Summit. Who knew cafeteria food could taste so good? After eating and saying goodbye to the kids, we got to meet with a panel of educators at Summit, who shared their stories with us. This was probably the largest leader lunch group we've had so far!

The whole gang at our Summit leader lunch.
After lunch on Wednesday, we drove to the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, where we gave our final presentations. Over the semester, we have been working on group projects for the mentoring group that we volunteer with on Wednedays, called G.I.D.E. The projects involved forming a mentor training plan, creating volunteer outreach strategies, and updating and streamlining social media platforms.

Putting together some last minute visuals.

Christina, Alex, and Rahel presenting on how to engage with
potential mentors at a college volunteer fair.
On Friday, we had our last class on faith and culture with Clay Cooke. It was filled with great insight and provoking questions. Afterwards, Clay, his wife, and their new baby girl had us over for a pizza farewell party. We can't thank Clay enough for his wisdom and hospitality... All we can say is, what a guy!

Thanks Clay!!

Some snapshots from our weekend:

Christina reading scripture at River Oaks on Sunday morning

Sean's seat for the National Championship at the Dean Dome. UNC wins!!
To celebrate the UNC win, Sean ran all the way from Dean Dome to Henderson/Franklin St.

The Food Truck Festival was insane!

Jessica and Christina hanging out with Alex and the Sunshine crew on Saturday.

Reese doing some bouldering at Pilot Mountain.
Not pictured: Reese's sister, who came to visit this weekend! 
The fellows made great use of their weekend. A few of us got to see some short films at River Run, others had a look at an intentional community in Durham called Rutba, and Dakota experienced the Masters golf tournament!

This continues to be a time of discernment for each of the fellows. Again, please do keep us in your prayers as we go through the process of research, interviews, and transitions.


I'm just going to copy in what Ned has already said, because why mess with a good thing? And it's true... we are thankful for so many of you who have been financially supporting us this year! 

For those of you who have had intentions to support us or were waiting for tax refunds to come around, please consider this opportunity to contribute. We are a small, lean nonprofit so a little bit can go a long way. Thanks!

Send Checks to Winston-Salem Fellows

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

or give online at


  • Lots of pet and house sitting for the fellows over Easter weekend, as we continue to raise funds for our Israel Trip.
  • Round Table at Ned's House while he's away. We're thinking quiche. 
  • Leader Lunch with Chris Perry, my host dad. We're all looking forward to this!
  • Business as usual... working, volunteering, and praying.
  • Thinking about packing for Israel!

Monday, April 03, 2017

UPDATE Week of March 27

It is hard to believe that we have two months until the inaugural class of the Winston-Salem Fellows graduates! 

How many college grads does it take to complete Zion's chemistry homework? Answer: more than four!
We have just a few things to complete before it's all said and done, like: a final presentation at the Center for Creative Leadership; a three week seminar with Rob Alexander, author of Gospel-Centered Life at Work; the Fellows National Conference in Washington DC; and a mission trip to Israel. Just a few...ha!


Provost Rogan Kersh
On Monday, I attended a lecture given by the Provost of Wake Forest University, Rogan Kersh, entitled: "Millennials, Continued: How to Engage and Retain This Amazing, Complex Generation." I had heard "Part 1" last year and did not want to miss Part 2.

We discussed my notes at Round Table that night at Chris and Virginia Perry's. Chris and Virginia are two of my favorite Round Table hosts; they not only join us for dinner, but they also lead us in discussion. This week Chris asked us to each share our favorite Bible Character and Why. Great question. Thanks guys!

The Millennials discussion was equally fabulous. A great night.

Jade and Jessie Costen and friends
Our Leader Lunch this week was with Jade and Jessie Costen, the owner/operators of the Chik-fil-A at Thruway Shopping Center. They did an amazing job both in sharing their journey and in giving us practical nuggets (pardon the pun) about life and career. Believe it or not Jade didn't grow up dreaming of owning a Chik-fil-A (spoiler alert - Jade can't cook!) - but he has found himself in a place where he can lead and make a difference. And that's what Jade does great. Thanks guys!

We double-dipped (pardon the pun) and received an insider's tour of Inmar with Trena Sides (who runs the place - sorry David Mounts, but it's true! ha!).

Trena sharing her insider knowledge
Thank you Inmar for hosting Leader Lunch!

From there we headed to G.I.D.E. and their brand new headquarters at the 14th Street Recreation Center.

Rahel is a role model in more ways than one
We tutored, played outside, enjoying the spectacular weather, and received a history-laden tour of the Rec. Center including the boxing ring which holds the sweat of most of the professional boxers that have come through this city.

I told you Rahel is a role model in more ways than one!
On Friday, we held classes with Dr. Clay Cooke; I had an interview with another candidate for next year; and the Fellows worked on their projects.

The Weekend included: 

Lia in her Go Go Boots

Licking our chops at Project Pearl's Dog Jog
David and his friend Margaret taking the lead

Julia taking her family to Divine Llama
Several of our Fellows Taking in Movies over the Weekend

Going to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with local talent like Professor Jed Macosko


We continue to talk to great potential Fellows. On Friday, we interviewed a fantastic man, Antonius Gunawan and will be interviewing another young man this week. 

I also had two very promising phone conversations and should be getting their applications in any day now. 

On Tuesday, I will be attending Athletes in Action at Wake Forest and speaking to the Career Service Department at Elon University. We continue to work our channels at Winston-Salem State University and will be circling back with some of our contacts from the fall. All in all, we are in good shape. 

However, none of this happens without prayer...and the more pray-ers the better!


Fundraising for Israel is coming along. We have eclipsed $10,000 which means we need about $1,000 a week to come in to reach our goal. So now is the time, friends!

The overall Fellows Budget is coming along as well. We will need about $15,000 to come in to complete our August to August fiscal year. Sorry to repeat myself - but now is the time, friends!

To donate: send checks to

Winston-Salem Fellows
851 W. 5th Street
WSNC 27104

Or donate online HERE

THANK YOU for being part of the team!


Monday: Exec Team Meeting at 12:15pm, Round Table at the Gobble House followed by a viewing of the National Championship.

Tuesday: Presentation at Elon University, joining Athletes in Action at Wake Forest University

Wednesday: Leader Lunch with the Staff at Summit School! Presentations at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Friday: our Final Class with Dr. Clay Cooke with luncheon to follow. Interview with Tucker Bartholomew.

Sunday: Mission Trip to Mission Emanuel!

Am I seeing things or is this llama smiling?