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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Holy Land Day 6- Young Life Camp Day 1

Guest Contributor: Julia Lovett

The Fellows geared up on Sunday morning to welcome families from Jericho and Zababdeh to Young Life Camp at the Murad Hotel. Young Life works with children and adults with disabilities in Palestine and for two days the Fellows had the privilege and joy of spending time with these folks.

Their buses were greeted with enthusiasm by Ned and Dakota rocking paint suits and obnoxious afros. By the end of the camp the initial look of fear on some kids' faces would be replaced by smiles and laughter.

After welcoming the families with some dancing and silly games on the field and enjoying a delicious lunch (hummus always included), we kicked off camp with the first Club. The kids were very engaged in the games and skits ran by Fellows and Palestinian Young Life leaders.
Ned and Dakota as Abu and Achoo teaching the children to YEET!
Alex and Julia as the character Baba ganoush getting
ready for a run

Yousef, the Young Life Director in Palestine, sharing a message
with campers

One of my favorite parts of the camp was free time. After campers and their mom's settled into their rooms at the hotel, we took over the pool and had a blast swimming, dancing and playing!


  I loved watching Ned, Camille, Reese, Sean and Christina jump in and fully embrace each of the kids. From playing catch to coaxing kids into the pool until they felt confident, it was a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of.

We all refueled with a top-notch cook out filled with salads, hummus, pita bread, and loads of grilled hotdogs and lamb kabobs. This feast was then followed by the second Club of the day. The games had the campers laughing and everyone became more and more engaged as the night wore on.
Reese, the Penguin, introducing more games to Abu

Before this leader's entire head and face was covered
in shaving cream
Mothers' of campers observing it all

Another highlight of the day was the dance party that followed Yousef's talk. Glow sticks, loud arabic music and lots of jumping up and down-- what could be better?!
Fellows, Young Life leaders and staff, campers and their mothers.
                        What a crew!                         
Dakota and a camper taking a dance break

The first day of the camp was impactful to say the least. Being in community with these families and the local Young Life leaders was a beautiful reminder that the gospel turns the values of the world on its head. The gospel has the ability to bring people together across abilities, ethnicities, religions and nationalities. Witnessing this happen was personally my favorite part of our journey to the Holy Land.
Young Life Palestine for life. 

Dakota loves YL Palestine!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Holy Land Day 5

Guest Contributor Jessica Kok

Much like the many layers of conflict in the Holy Land, Jerusalem is layers built upon layers of city. It has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The walls of the old city mark what was once the city of David—now a World Heritage Site. 

For Islamic, Jewish, and Christian traditions, the city of Jerusalem holds much spiritual significance, and the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the international community  treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, Israel has a stronger claim to sovereignty over West Jerusalem. Jerusalem also houses some Israeli institutions such as the Hebrew University and the Israel Museum. 

Mount of Olives

The major sites on our itinerary included the Temple Mount with its Western Wall, Stations of the Cross, Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For us, it was a day filled with rich history and stories, but also a day of coming to terms with the importance of place and wrestling with moments of spiritual high or doubt.

Something that stuck with many of us: Jerusalem was a center of commerce and activity before Jesus’s time, and has never stopped being just that--right up to today! So as we walked about the hectic bazaars, saw the old gates nestled beneath the modern ones, and the magnificent temples and mosques built above the ruins, we took in the remnants of humanity's creativity in the rarest of forms.

The Garden of Gethsemane is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives. This is
where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion.
Courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
A glimpse of the crowds at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Reese and Ned acted as our guards, regulating the entrance to a cave where you can peer through a tiny hole in the door and see the birthplace of Jesus.

Mint lemonade at a restaurant tucked into the busy streets of Jerusalem!

Church of all Nations / Basilica of the Agony
When asked, the fellows might give you a variety of highlights from this roller-coaster day: drinking the best mint lemonade in the world; singing the doxology in the depths of a 2000 year old cistern; bartering for “Jesus sandals” with 50 shekels; and getting yelled at by some intense shop owners. Personally, I will never forget following Rahel back to this little shop, tucked into a nook of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s courtyard, where an old Ethiopian woman was selling small trinkets. Though I couldn’t understand a word as they carried on a conversation in Amharic, I could see the old woman’s eye’s twinkle and her face glow as Rahel gently engaged with the items in her shop as she talked. People from all nations, backgrounds, and walks of life come to the Holy Land, and we definitely experienced that here!

Outside the Old City stands the Garden Tomb, where many believe Jesus's burial and resurrection took place.
The guide at the Garden Tomb pointing out a possibility for the site of Jesus' crucifixion, on the edge of this rock that overlooked the road leading past Jerusalem. 
Rahel and Christina exploring Jerusalem
Overhead view of the Western Wall--pictures aren't allowed up close.
Because we were in Jerusalem on a Saturday, West Jerusalem was completely shut down for the Jewish Sabbath. As we made our way towards the Western Wall, the contrast was palpable between the ever-bustling markets to the quiet, clean streets of the Jewish quarter. At the Western Wall, the men and women are separated. We approached the rows of chairs, and some us wrote our prayers and stuck them into the cracks of the wall—the closest you can come to the Temple's Holy of Holies.

We came back to the Murad hotel for dinner, and rested up for our first day of camp the next day. Though it was our last full day of touring and we were beginning to feel the travel catching up with us, we met with the Palestinian Young Life leaders and made final preparations for Camp.