His tears flowed. This refugee just couldn’t help it. You would have wept, too.

He’d been a successful businessman. Then his home and business were bombed. He and his family are now displaced, skimping to survive in their own country.

But that’s not why he burst into tears.

His young adult son is mentally challenged.
Just like you would, he paid for the best care and training so his son could live a full life. But he couldn’t buy him dignity.

You know the heartache of trying to comfort a loved one suffering soul pain. You taste a new level of grief. You’re helpless to “fix it” or make it go away.

Preparing strings to become candlewicks.

Preparing strings to become candlewicks.


Then darkness closes in.
That’s where this dad was, but even that did not bring him to tears.
He was astonished to hear through the grapevine that a candle factory was opening, putting the mentally challenged to work. With the conflict still raging and with missiles exploding in their neighborhood, he thought it was just a rumor.

But shells or no shells, he was determined to go check it out.

He brought his challenged son to the introductory meeting for an interview. Seats were quickly filling up. He snagged a plastic chair and pulled his son onto another.

The founding visionary started describing the plan. “Candle sales will be enough to buy more materials, pay the supervisors, and pay all the challenged workers. Plus profits will feed mentally challenged orphans,” he added with a grin.

What? Had this father heard right? He raised his hand.

Dipping strings in wax.

Dipping strings in wax.

“Do you mean my challenged son will be paid? You are not asking me to pay you to take care of him here, like all other shelters?”

The visionary smiled, “Of course, we will pay your son. We need him to do his part for this project to succeed.”

That’s when this father burst into tears – tears of joy!

A spark flickered to flame
, and dispelled the darkness. This man’s son was publicly recognized as human. His dignity redeemed as a valued
contributor.

You, too, are a valued contributor. That flame shines because you care. Your support strengthens local visionaries in hard places to enable the poor to thrive.

But this is not just one man’s challenged son. Redemptive dignity has a multiplier effect. Because everyone should have a chance to be a contributor.

This challenged young man is one of thirty earning wages at that candle workshop. The profits from their labor will feed seventeen mentally challenged orphans. And they are part of a nationwide network exceeding 1500 volunteers contributing to community with the mentally challenged, their families, and their friends.

Completed candles.

Completed candles.

St. Paul expressed it this way: “The parts which do not look beautiful have a deeper beauty in the work they do, while the parts which look beautiful may not be at all essential to life…! 

“…But God has harmonized the whole body by giving importance of function to the parts which lack apparent importance, that the body should work together as a whole with all the members in sympathetic relationship with one another…”

“…So it happens that if one member suffers all the other members suffer with it, and if one member is honored all the members share a common joy.”

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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.”