In December 2003 as Pastor Gary was walking down the snowy streets of Seventh Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA before daybreak on his way to work. He quickly made his way through the winter air and noticed the beautiful lights of the city buildings and a few people walking near him. As he continued on his journey down Seventh Avenue, he had a picture flash in his mind of hurting people who resided in the same city he went to day after day. The picture was so clear of people struggling in their everyday life that it almost seemed tangible for him to reach out and touch someone. Within the hurt and despair that was envisioned a dream rose up a from Gary that one day he and his wife would someday reach out to the hurting people of Pittsburgh and help pick up the broken pieces in people’s lives.
After this dream, Gary and Amanda started to get a sense of real issues that were all around them and started to get involved in various community outreaches in Pittsburgh. They started to volunteer at the Salvation Army and Light of Life ministries to feed the hungry. Gary would volunteer at Miller Elementary School, a Pittsburgh public school, and help children with their school work. He even started taking bags of groceries to a homeless man whom he would see daily under the bridge just to help him out. These acts of random kindness were neither for self-gratification nor for others to notice, but it was something that they couldn’t keep from doing.
For most it would have seemed logical to continue to volunteer and reach out in any of the unique ways the Brougher’s were doing, but a short time after that December morning, Gary and Amanda felt a strong desire and pull to go to Seminary in Tulsa, OK to get further educated and trained for what would lay ahead in their future. This decision was not easy as they loved the city of Pittsburgh and established close relationships with friends, and had their immediate family nearby. Nevertheless, they moved forward in the transition in 2005.
Their experience in Tulsa has been very enriching and personally challenging in many ways as their faith has been stretched and reestablished. The last five years has gone by quickly, but the dream of reaching out to the people of Pittsburgh seems to be more alive in them than ever before.
The commission to start the Pittsburgh Dream Center was conceived when Gary and a life-long friend decided to go on a short-term mission trip to the Los Angeles Dream Center in early May 2010. What they experienced on their mission trip was life changing as they witnessed a place where groups of people were continuously going into the inner city streets and touching the lives of homeless people, drug addicts, prostitute, and people from all different walks of life. While this might not have seemed too profound to some a whole new understanding of what it means to reach out and make a difference in a hurting world was birthed in them.
On the plane, flying back from Los Angeles to Tulsa, Gary saw how the past picture of touching lives in Pittsburgh and the steps he and his family took in going to Oklahoma made sense for their future. It was clear that God was calling them to go back home and build a Dream Center that would reach out to troubled areas of the city and make a difference in every person’s life that they will come in contact with. Gary started seeing the Dream Center as a 24×7 church that is always reaching out and building up, a place where people can learn to dream or dream again. Now their dream to reach the city they love has become a reality.