“…Eight…nine…ten.”

I whispered, counting bullet holes inside her living room. We sat by the window in a tiny, dark apartment overlooking the alley demarcating two warring factions.  My first field visits as a Dreams InDeed board member were a lot to absorb.

Our hostess, a rumpled woman in her fifties, asked me in broken English, “You from America?” Her translated response to my affirmative reply was unforgettable. “Your people suffer in America. I feel with you. I stand with you.”

Words of comfort and hope from an Arab Lebanese woman to me, an African American man.

She has suffered, as a woman and a minority. Some insults to humanity transcend culture. Yet, despite her tough situation, the light within her prompts her to volunteer with local kids – and to stand with me.

But who will stand with her?

As a trauma psychologist, I’m no stranger to hard places. Yet, each Dreams InDeed context that I visited seemed uniquely hard. First, neighborhoods scarred by sectarian revenge cycles. Next, the pungent, stinging aroma of a garbage city. Then, a bleak, apocalyptic landscape where children work twelve hours a day.

The abuse and ostracism of the vulnerable I witnessed cannot be overstated. I was pained for those who must endure these indignities.

How can one witness such great suffering and yet hold on to hope?

By getting a glimpse into hard places through the eyes of those we call “dreamers.”They are the ones standing with ordinary folks like my new friend. Yes, I gained deeper understanding of how dark places can be, but I also recognized a brighter day is coming.

In that sniper zone, a dreamer stands alongside my new empathetic friend. He mobilizes teams of “enemies” who together are renovating that entire bullet riddled alley, highrise by highrise.

That bleak child labor apocalypse is now illuminated by the captivating colors of another dreamer’s schoolhouse. Her rooms are as much a refuge as the way to pry loose the grip of poverty on young lives. 

And in yet another war-convulsed country, I discovered how the formerly estranged and ostracized mentally challenged are now gainfully employed and celebrated in relationship. They and their friends and families are now redefining that old stigma as new strength. 

I discovered the answer to my question, “Who will stand with her?” “These dreamers will!” 

My new question is, “But who will stand with these dreamers?” The answer is, “I must!”

That’s why I’ve volunteered to serve as Dreams InDeed’s board chair. This is a critical and exciting time for us. Our co-founders David and Janice have engaged in hard places for over thirty years now. The board has decided it’s high time to leverage that invaluable experience.

Janice and David will continue to strengthen local equippers and exemplary dreamer cases. However, they’re now refocusing on sharing our field-proven approach with others. We believe collaborating with values-aligned networks beyond ours will multiply impact for our shared vision: “a light in every hard place in our generation.”

Just as my new friend needs a dreamer to stand with her, we need you to stand with us.

“Who will stand with our dreamers?

Rick Williamson, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors
Dreams InDeed International

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Dreams InDeed
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We’ve got some great news to share from the Haskells!  

 However, before we jump into that, allow us to introduce ourselves as the chairs of the US and Swiss boards of directors for Dreams InDeed. 

I am
Rick Williamson, US board chair.  As a clinical psychologist, I specialize in trauma recovery and strengthening individuals and communities against stress impact. I prepare humanitarians and responders worldwide to serve effectively in harm’s way.  Over my fifteen years in this field, I’ve recognized the essential role of those special persons in every community who embrace and build up their most affected neighbors. 

I serve with Dreams InDeed not only because we engage in the world’s hard places, but we also aim to strengthen the “insider” for the truly transformative impact that the world so desperately needs. I am honored to serve along with each of you in support of the Dreams InDeed mission.

And, I am
Joe Campbell, Swiss board chair.  As a mediator in civil and political disputes, I contributed to peaceful resolution of the troubles in my home country of Northern Ireland, leading to the Good Friday Agreement.  I also mediated in Nepal alongside politicians, community activists, and church leaders in the search for a just and lasting peace. In both, I supported Dreamers and have often been a Dreamer myself. 

 

I know what it means to be affirmed and encouraged by outsiders who make it their business to be informed enablers.  That sensitive participation fosters hope amidst despair.  It is my honour to join in the crucial work of Dreams InDeed.  Together with you, I will do all I can to nurture sparks of hope into lights of joy.

Now, here is the news we just received from David and Janice in the Middle East:

 

Dear Rick and Joe, 

 

Thank you for your faithful and effective servant leadership as our US and Swiss board chairs.  We were challenged by the wisdom and faith of both boards setting such ambitious goals this year.  As our fiscal year gets underway now in July, we’re excited that strategic doors of opportunity are swinging open on every aim we agreed together!  

 

Goal: equip exemplary dreamer cases in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and East Africa.  Progress: despite escalating violence, dreamers are persevering with six initiatives among the hardest countries of the worldwide Fragile States Index.  This year, we’ll sustain both Dreams InDeed’s unprecedented regional registration and our continuing Jordan residency to strengthen these dreamers, guided by Janice.

 

Goal: research parable communications to engage closed minds via both word and deed.  Progress: The University of Oxford has approved David for doctoral field research on The Pedagogy of Parable.  To develop this Dreams InDeed training curriculum, David will shuttle between research in Oxford and case work on the ground in the Middle East.

 

Goal: research publishable Middle East cases on the transformation of pluralist conflict.  Progress: an exemplary Lebanese visionary has volunteered his civil society, public service, and business networks for rigorous field research.  Plus two Oxford professors, experts in values education and intercultural dialogue, will supervise the fieldwork.  

 

Goal: engage next-generation prospects to serve dreamers in hard places worldwide.  Progress: Kellogg College, with Oxford’s greatest number and diversity of international graduate students, has granted David membership.  Adjacent to Kellogg, Dreams InDeed has secured an operating base in Oxford for us to host and befriend global candidates.

 

Goal: expand our thought leader networks for aligned advisors and European board members.  Progress: upon review of David’s Pedagogy of Parable research proposal, six professors immediately volunteered their expertise in international development, political science, public policy, economics, leadership science, and character cultivation.

 

 

On behalf of the boards of directors of Dreams InDeed, we thank you again for journeying with us on our mission to strengthen dreamers in hard places so the poor thrive as God intended. We look forward to your continuing participation as we accelerate toward our shared vision: “a light in every hard place in our generation.”