From a young age, Eric Cone has had a passion for adventure and travel. In fact, his first trip out of the country took him to India to serve in orphanages; it was there he remembers ‘coming to life’ and sensing that the Lord was calling him to go and minister to the nations. Now, after serving with WinShape for 14 years, Eric is being launched into that calling.
In 2005, Eric was introduced to WinShape Wilderness (now called WinShape Teams). As an organization that uses the platform of adventure as a means to transform lives, WinShape felt like a natural fit for him.
“I just remember he had long hair at that point, and he loved being outdoors all the time, he had a ton of energy, he really cared about people a lot,” recalls Russ Sarratt, Senior Director of Leadership at WinShape Teams. “I think (WinShape) Wilderness was an opportunity for him to kind of bring all of those aspects into one place.”
A few years into his career at WinShape, Eric met his wife Anna Lauren. Soon after they were married they began their travel adventures, taking at least two international trips a year.
“I was always in the process of thinking, ‘Could I live here?’” says Anna Lauren. “It was a when and where is the Lord going to call us.”
Fast forward over a decade later when Eric received a call from Tammy Preston, the same person who hired him at WinShape in 2005. She wanted to know if he would be interested in joining the organization where she was working, Blue Sky Global – a ministry partner of WinShape Teams located in Kenya.
“It’s like a WinShape in Kenya,” describes Eric.
After prayerful consideration, Eric and Anna Lauren decided to say yes to the opportunity and pursue the calling that had been in their hearts all along.
Beginning in 2020, Eric will serve as the Country Director for Blue Sky Global.
As Eric’s 14-year tenure with WinShape comes to a close, Russ Sarratt says that his story is a great example of what he wants for everyone at WinShape.
“The idea is that we’re still investing in him up until his very last day, and he’s still investing in us, and that’s what we want for all of our employees at WinShape,” says Russ.
“We want it to be a place where they feel safe, where they feel cared for, where they feel invested in, and where they can pursue their dreams.”
Eric’s colleagues are excited for him too and are thrilled to see a lifelong dream of his come to fruition.
“This is definitely an adventure that Eric’s been thinking about for a really long time,” says Zach Harter, Assistant Director of Leader Development. “As soon as he told me, I just nodded with affirmation in a way of almost saying ‘of course you are.’”
Knowing that most organizations would have immediately let an employee go once they got wind of them considering a different opportunity, Eric is grateful for the support and affirmation that WinShape has shown him in this time of transition. WinShape’s commitment to not just develop their employees but help launch them into what the Lord is calling them to next is what gave Eric the confidence to take a step forward.
As he continues to take those steps forward in this new journey, Eric says that he will be taking pieces from his WinShape story with him.
“There’s been a lot of growing and maturing that’s happened here, discovering of passions…it’s not just a place to work,” says Eric.
“It’s a place to minister, it’s a place to do life with folks, and some of my best friendships are here.”