Interview with Exile’s Co-CEO Matthew Williams
“My heart breaks when I see the hope and joy that was stripped away from them.”
– Matthew Williams, Exile International Co-CEO
Matthew was recently chosen to have his story featured as a distinguished alumnus of Dallas Theological Seminary. Matthew received his master’s in counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary with an emphasis in trauma care, and we are thrilled to share his story with you. Matthew’s training at DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) has informed, helped structure, and ensure the efficacy of Exile’s trauma healing and counseling programs on the ground in Congo and Uganda.
Matthew has a heart for healing the wounds of trauma and working with survivors of war. He has worked with trauma survivors in the US, as well as countries such as Indonesia and Bali. In addition, he has led trauma care trainings at the United Nations in DR Congo and various NGOs in East Africa.
In this captivating interview, we see the journeys of Matthew and Baraka, two men whose paths intersect because of unspeakable trauma and see the redemption that is possible on the other side of it. Survivors like Baraka are not only healing, they are now empowered leaders for peace and impacting their communities and their countries.
Matthew recalls being in Uganda for the first time and feeling compelled to do something to help child survivors of war, “I wanted to do something about it. But […] I didn’t have those tools yet… [DTS] was a place to gain those tools, to sharpen the passion, and to see the restoration that I really felt God wanted for these [individuals] that had been plagued by war. My time at DTS really helped shaped where Exile International is today.
In 2017, Matthew first visited northern Uganda. It was then that he felt compelled to do more than observe.
“I wanted to do something about it. But I didn’t have those tools yet… [DTS] was a place to gain those tools, to sharpen the passion, and to see the restoration that I really felt God wanted for these [individuals] that had been plagued by war. My time at DTS really helped shaped where Exile International is today.”
100,000 children – like Baraka – have been forced to be child soldiers.
“There are parts of my childhood that I have missed because I was forced to be a child soldier. They forced me to fight and kill until one day, killing was no longer a problem for me.” – Baraka
Matthew recalls, “I remember the time that Baraka told me about killing for the very first time. And he shared about the internal shift and change that happened [within him] that day.We are so grateful to see that [now], not only is he doing okay, he’s actually thriving.”
“I was a very sad young man, but […] I started to feel a little bit of joy, a little bit of life. [Exile International] helped me regain myself […] I live to tell others in the same position about my story and how God helped. I have seen some of them changing their lives. That created a joy in my life that I [had never] experienced before.” – Baraka
Matthew reflects about the ripple of effects that his training at DTS has had, “It’s not just me that was impacted by my time at DTS, but it’s over 4,000 children that Exile International has had the privilege of serving that are impacted by that. And it’s a part of our legacy.”
bring good news to the poor | heal the brokenhearted | proclaim freedom to the captives | Isaiah 61:1