Bill and Linda Dickson, “Knowledgeable Servants”
Sierra College, Memoir Class, June 2016
By Bob Waymire
I first met Bill Dickson in 1981 while in the Research and Strategy Dept., of OC International, when Bill visited and asked, “Is there any role for techies in world missions today?” My immediate response was “Yes, absolutely! Let’s step into my parlor.” This led to a pivotal meeting with Bill and a few of his techy friends that next weekend in Menlo Park, California. They rose to the challenge to put legs to the vision of a computerized mapping system to serve Global Missions. This led directly to the launching of Global Mapping Project, which became GMI. After Bill and Linda were married they joined us in Pasadena.
It was in the Dickson garage in Palo Alto in early 1982 that I first saw the initial programming/graphics that were the forerunners of the “GMI Globe” prototype mapping system. He had some close cohorts that were involved, including Pete Holzmann (long time friend, co-worker, programming expert, and on the original GMI Board). All were some of Silicon Valley’s finest.
Bill from that time to the present has been the main ‘technical guru’ of the GMI staff, the implications of which are tremendous and varied. His technical expertise is matched or exceeded only by his servant’s heart and his capacity for accomplishing complex tasks. One thing that surely made Bill smile was when, because of my role at GMI, many people thought I was some kind of technical guru myself. Well…Bill tried to “educate” me on several occasions, but he finally had to give up, which took a load off both of us. I’ve been forever thankful for Bills’ seemingly infinite affinity for detail.
Bill was both technical and contract liaison with our “partner” ESRI, the cartographic giant. Eventually ESRI’s ArcView mapping system became GMI’s “contribution” to the world missions community.
Bill and Linda came to GMI self-supported. Believe me that was significant in those early days when the best supported were under-supported. The Dickson’s helped rescue needy GMI on more than one occasion. (This was not widely known.)
One of the profound privileges for me as the Founder of GMI was to see how ‘The Lord of the Harvest’ provided capable and unique individual team members that were key foundation stones upon which GMI has been built…and now continues in innovative expansion under the leadership of Jon Hirst. Bill and Linda Dickson and many since those earliest days were all “sent to the Kingdom for such a time as this”, and every one a capable and unique servant of their Lord.
In this current era during the transition after the ‘surprising’ exodus of Mike O’Rear, and before and including the arrival of Jon Hirst, Bill, in a very wise and sensitive manner, led all of GMI and friends through this very difficult time. Bill’s willingness to take on the leadership role during the transition epitomized his ‘faithful servanthood’ that has been an example for all, both inside and outside of GMI.
Whatever they do, and wherever they go, the team of Bill and Linda Dickson will provide an enriching environment and experience that will glorify their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My life has been significantly enriched for having known and served with them,
Bob Waymire, GMI Founder (emeritus) [Note: penned over a year ago in response to H.S. unction?!]