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!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

UPDATE Week of July 3

Yep. That's a kangaroo - she did NOT get to keep it, thank goodness

Anna Rose is 11!

How did that happen?

Fellows Update

I am increasingly getting excited about this upcoming year. Our eleventh Fellow is officially official. Welcome JP!

We have a twelfth Fellow that is hopefully coming online this week. All in all, we are in great position for another great year!



What is a Host Family?

Host Families make room in their home, life and heart to welcome a stranger to become a valued member of the household, so that both the family and the fellow bless one another as they experience the love of God in community. 

The Fellow is more than a guest and something quite different from an exchange student; though at times your family’s culture might seem foreign to your Fellow! You will provide more than a warm bed and a hot meal and something different than parenting. 

Fellows are young adults who are ready to launch out on their own, but are choosing for a year to enter a unique living situation for the purpose of growing in wisdom. By God’s grace, deep relationships will grow between your Fellow and the members of your family as you work at living together in peace and loving each other through all the joys and trials the year will bring. 

We have had host families with young children
We have had empty nesters
We have had young couples without children. You name it!

Please let me know if you would like more information about hosting a Fellow this year. You won't regret it!


We are responsible to help each Fellow get a job this fall. We are looking for opportunities in health (like Scribe positions), Occupational Therapy, Business, Banking, Finance, Non-Profit, Church, etc. 

If you or your company or organization is interested in learning more about our Vocational Partnerships - please let me know. 

Fellows are getting scooped up by the day!

Celebrating Grace

Reese, Julia, David and Jessica
 We had the chance to celebrate Grace Hilliard (John and Beth Hilliard's daughter) on Sunday (my little girl's birthday as well). Grace is now one. She was pretty cautious with the cake. But she eventually figured it out!

Beth, as you know, is a vital player in our Fellows Program. Thanks Beth, for letting us celebrate with you!

More Summer Fun

Anna Rose and Cousin Evy accompanied Rich Simpson down the Upper Arlington Parade Group. Rich is chairing the Centennial Committee for Upper Arlington - that's big time!

Two hours and Twenty Minutes of Parade...

This guy has been in all 100 Upper Arlington Parades I think

Anna Rose took a couple friends to Zootastic for her birthday

She got to hold kangaroos, lemurs, bobcats, honey bears and etc.
That's a lemur

Yesterday we dropped her off at camp for two weeks. We miss her already!

The kids "washed" my car this week.


I was thanking the Lord this morning during my morning prayers that I get to do this. What a life. 

Thanks to all of you who have helped make this happen. 

Please pray for us. 
- Pray for Fellows old and new
- Pray for Host Families and Jobs
- Pray for Churches
- Pray for Fundraising

Here is the give link:
Or send in donations by snail mail
851 W. 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Please contact me if you have any questions or ideas for our Fellows!

thank you!

Keep sharing the story and spreading the love!