Monday, April 24, 2017

UPDATE Week of April 17

Julia Lovett has been officially adopted by the city

To steal a Roald Dahlism The Fellows continued to do a whiz bang job while I was away, and they continued to perform at whiz bang levels now that Ned has returned to the helm.

Susan Scott, Christina's host mother, hosted us on Monday night. (Susan's pictured here in the back with Christina's grandparents who came to town to visit.) Dinner was wonderful, with a special shout out to Stan who came to cook and hang out.

Welcome to Winston-Salem Christina's Grandparents!
A few days later, I was walking down fourth street and literally got a shout out from him from across the street! Ha! I love Winston-Salem.

Wednesday we had a fantastic Leader Lunch with Mike Ford at Wake Forest. In addition to sharing his story, Mike shared some insights on the significance of the twenties. He left us with some reading assignments and a list of key questions that are now thumb nailed to my wall.

Mike in action
I can't speak highly enough about Mike. The man embodies what the Fellows is all about. I'd be happy if I grew up to be half the man Mr. Ford is.

The man shines bright. There is no denying
Wednesday afternoon, the female Fellows were greeted by Grace Hilliard, daughter of Beth Hilliard who has been doing a fabulous job leading them this year.

Grace always steals the show
Then, we had an impromptu meeting about Israel at the Quiet Pint. I received no resistance from the Fellows.

That night, the Whitworths bailed me out and hosted a Fellows candidate coming into town to interview. Rereading her application, I saw on the last page that she was allergic to cats and dogs - so I scrambled. The Whitworths only have Friar Tuck the guinea pig. She interviewed in the morning, then we had another candidate drive into town Thursday night to stay with us. She interviewed in the morning after attending class.

Summit shout out!
Afterward, I gave out t-shirts from Summit School! Jeff Turner had given them to me after our Leader Lunch a few weeks back, and I finally got around to handing them out (I needed to do it when we could get a picture!) Thanks Ashley for taking the pic, by the way!

Thanks Summit! T-shirts is the Fellows love language (and mine!)

That afternoon, The Fellows headed to East Winston to help GIDE host an event called "Running From Crime"

More free t-shirts!!!
There was somewhere between 100 and 200 kids.

We were in charge of games.

Here is me explaining things from a top a sewer manhole

Reese running tug-of-war
 There was a bit of managed chaos...

The winners of the water balloon toss

Ned doing some kind of rendition of the Hokey Pokey

The Fellows with the one and only Mr. Bill McClain

I'd do anything for this man

Christina showing off her hoop skills


I will be here next week!
I will be looking out over Nazareth next week!

 I can hardly believe it. At this time next week, I will NOT be writing an Update. I will be standing on the precipice looking over Nazareth with eleven of my favorite people in the whole world! Twelve, thirteen and fourteen when you add Hunter, Laurie, and Haley Lambeth!!!

We will be going on adventures such as hiking the Jesus Trail, swimming in the Sea of Galilee, and climbing the Arbel Cliffs.

We will be visiting the sites where Jesus spoke, healed, and saved the world.

We will be supporting Young Life, encouraging leaders, and then to top it all off...We will be doing the Program and Work Crew for a brand new Young Life Capernaum Camp (Young Life for Special Needs) in Israel...where Capernaum actually is!!!

We will be hanging out with friends like this young man

And this young Lia though...insert sad face emoji

Thank you to all of you who have financially supported us. We are nearly to our goal. However, we continue to fundraise - the need of course is great.

So please think about how you want to contribute to this incredible, once in a life time opportunity!

give to

or mail checks to Winston-Salem Fellows

851 W. 5th Street
WSNC 27101

of if you want me to pick checks up from your door or swipe your credit card - just call or text or email!!!

Recruitment Update

We continue to receive applications by the day. Praise the Lord!!! We now have seven females we are in process with. Two interviewed last week, and we have three more this week. 

The team and I have enjoyed chatting with each of them, and I'm optimistic that the four we are looking for to fill our female quota will be among these folks. 

It is nerve wracking because all of these Fellows are great and have options.

We continue to pray hard for Antonius who should be giving us a yay or nay this week. Please join us in praying this guy onto the team, as well as for Shuhui, Ashley, Mary, Kristen, Natalie, Grace, and Susannah! Come on Jesus!


Enjoying the sunshine and refreshment at The Porch

Dave Dave (aka Bear Paw) and I headed up to Camp Hanes for Adventure Guides

Bear Paw's first archery experience - and he gets a bullseye!

Christina and a special visit from two of her favorite people
Please Pray for us as we finish up details for our trip...

There is so much amazing stuff going on I forgot to mention that before we head out for Israel, we are heading up to Washington D.C. to join the rest of Fellows Nation for the National Fellows Conference April 28-30!

A sunrise run might be in store.
What a ride!

Thanks for joining us. Hi Ho Here We Go!

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.