Steve and Gill Bryant’s Prayer News October 2020

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Dear friends

Warm greetings on a blustery autumn day. It is time to send you an update once again.
Thank you to those who have been praying for us and even getting in touch to ask for news.

Derek Clive Bryant

This time we are starting with family news. In our last letter we explained that Steve’s parents had just moved into a care home. Sadly, Steve’s dad, Derek Clive Bryant, passed away (with Covid 19) on 23rd April, at the age of 85. Clive was a lovely man who followed Jesus for many years and was a strong supporter of WEC. The funeral had to be very small but it gave glory to God for his life. Steve’s mum Cynthia was unable to attend due to ill health and Covid restrictions. Due to the virus and the distance involved, we have not been able to visit her and this has been very difficult. Please remember Cynthia in your prayers, and pray that we will soon be able to visit.

The rest of the family are doing well. Michael and Bethany returned from Liberia in August
and we were able to see them before the current lockdown in Wales took effect. Bethany
has started her paediatrics training post and Michael continues with a mix of locums,
teaching and telephone triage. David is as busy as ever with garden work, easier now that
he has a car. Peter and Miriam moved house just before the lockdown and have been kept very busy with refurbishment as well as continuing their jobs from home.

Ministry has continued throughout the lockdown period, and we have been as busy as ever.
Last time we mentioned Bourofaye Christian School and Grace International School: both of
these schools closed for a while, but are now reopened (BCS on a very limited basis). In July and August we were able to run the MK Staff Training online instead of having a residential course based at our church. This involved nearly two weeks of two Zoom meetings (total
four hours) each day – we are thankful that it went smoothly and that the participants engaged really well with the course. It involved a lot of preparation for us beforehand as we adapted our style to suit the online context. Most of the new staff for BCS are now in place and others are seeking to join them in January or next summer. A home schooling teacher has just arrived in the Gambia, and another teacher will go to Chiang Mai next year.

Steve also gave some separate training to a couple who are heading for Chiang Mai to fill the role of long term dorm parents for Grace International School students living at the WEC boarding hostel. It is a wonderful answer to prayer to have this couple en route – please
pray for them and their children as they seek to overcome the hurdles involved. The team there would like to see them in place as soon as possible.

Back in June, Steve ran two days of online safeguarding training for WEC leaders across Europe. This was supposed to happen in the Netherlands but, like everything else, it was put online! We are grateful for the technology that enables us to continue with our work.Last week we were very blessed to be able to join in with the WEC UK conference, which took place via Zoom. It was very encouraging to engage with others in prayer, listening, sharing and seeing what God is doing both here in the UK and overseas, through the ministry of WEC. On one evening there was a one-hour event open to the public – this is still
available online on You Tube and we recommend it to you.

Currently WEC UK is running a Candidates’ Course for nine people who are joining as long term missionaries. This is wonderful to see in a time when it might be expected that there would be less interest in committing to world missions. Most of the people on the course
have a long term connection with WEC, through attending one of our missionary training colleges, or helping at summer camps and other activities. It is so good to see the long term effects of their involvement with us over time.

Did you know that worldwide, WEC has 1920 members from 67 nationalities, working in 90 countries? At the conference we learned of some encouraging global developments such as the current fast growth of the Church in France, through the united efforts of churches and mission agencies, and the individual experiences of many who are seeking to reach their neighbours here in the UK.

Some countries that received missionaries in the past are now starting to send their own workers. WEC is very much involved in this exciting development. Also we are now part of a global inter-missions group seeking to support missionary families from all senders, including the more recent ones. New sending countries face unique challenges, although there is huge potential for reaching the unreached with the Gospel. Please pray with us for effective partnership and good mutual understanding between old and new.

Covid 19 has affected all of us, although we did not want to make it
the central emphasis of this letter. We are thankful for so many
things – health and strength, God’s provision for our family, and the
opportunity to have two short breaks in August and September in
the Forest of Dean and the northern Cotswolds. Our allotment has
yielded large quantities of soft fruit, potatoes, onions and beans.
As we live on the edge of a small town, we have been able to enjoy
lots of country walks and Steve continues with running. Gill misses
her swimming sessions but Steve has recently returned to the gym.

Wild flowers

One summer day while out walking, Gill picked one of every wild flower she could see.

In this time of loss and change, it is good to remember this Bible verse from Isaiah.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

Blessings and prayers
Steve and Gill

Download printable version

Prayer letter – November 2019

Warm greetings to all of our friends. It’s time to share our news again, and we do want to thank you for your prayers and support over the last few months.

Imagine

Imagine living in a place where….

…earth tremors are commonplace, and you may often need to wear a mask to protect yourself from pollution………your daughter may be at risk from bride kidnap………the mountains are beautiful but your apartment is infested with cockroaches………your activities are under surveillance constantly and bureaucracy is an ongoing challenge.

Imagine living there not just for a week or a month, but long term, through all seasons, coping with sickness, ethnic uprisings and the ongoing stress of being a foreigner.

Recently we had the privilege of hosting a family who live in just such a situation. It was so good to have the opportunity to spend time with them doing some training, eating together, sharing and praying. It is crucial to pray for those who live and work in difficult places – it is costly to see areas like this reached with the Gospel.

Training and travel

Our MK Staff Training group

The last few months – as with the earlier part of the year – have been characterised by training and travel. At the end of July we ran the MK (Missionary Kids) Staff Training course at our church in Corsham. There were 8 participants from 8 different countries (well, two from Germany but one person from two cultures!). Most of them went to BCS in Senegal but one lady from a Swedish mission agency has gone to Ethiopia to
teach children at home in a remote area of the country. In addition we did one day of training with a local primary teacher, at the end of June – she is now serving in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In August we arranged for alternative training for a couple who applied very late to go to BCS. Thanks to some of our WEC colleagues, we were able to ensure that they got the input that they needed, as well as spending a day ourselves talking with them over Skype.

In September, both of us travelled to the USA to attend two conferences at a mission centre in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The first conference was a small gathering of people from all over the world, involved in supporting missionary families. Those who attended came from Korea, Brazil, Spain and India as well as the UK, USA and Australia. The vision for this gathering was to establish ways of working together globally to ensure that care for missionary kids is genuinely international. There are now many new sending countries, especially in parts of Africa and Asia that have traditionally received missionaries in the past. This is an exciting development, but there is a need for all of us to continue to work together to improve care for our families. The second conference was much bigger and provided good opportunities for networking with others.

An ingenious cucumber-shaped water pump at the Amish farm

While there we were able to take a day off to visit the Amish Farm Museum in Lancaster County. It was fascinating to learn more about their way of life, and we especially enjoyed chatting to the teacher at their one room school house.

Almost straight after the visit to the USA, Steve went to Spain to attend Eurocon, a WEC regional conference for all of our teams in Europe. As a result of his presentation on safeguarding, he has now been asked to do some safeguarding training for leaders in Europe, probably in the Netherlands in the spring.

Holiday time

At the end of September we were able to go away to Norfolk for a two week break, which was a wonderfully restful time. We enjoyed visiting nature reserves, windmills and beautiful deserted beaches with more seals than people. In November Gill was able to make a brief visit to Liverpool with her sister, to meet her cousin (not seen since our wedding day in 1982!) and see the area where her mum grew up. It has changed a lot!

Family news

Peter and Miriam continue to live in Nottingham and have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. They managed a week’s holiday in Scotland with only half a day of rain. David has recently passed his driving test and is looking forward to having a car – this will make things a lot easier for him as he currently cycles many miles to work in all weathers. Michael and Bethany are busy at the ELWA hospital where they have recently introduced a nutrition programme for children under 5. Please pray for the success of this programme, as it is hard to get the supplies to the places where they need to be.

Praise and prayer

As it is only a few weeks till December 25th, we want to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas season and God’s blessing and peace for the New Year. We look forward to hearing your news too.

Love from Steve and Gill

Follow up on July 2018 training

Mission Training at CBC July/August 2018

“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.”

Romans 15v20

As Paul wrote to the church in Rome, ‘preaching the gospel where Christ was not known’ remains at the heart of the vision of many missions. Sending workers to preach that gospel among people groups in West and North Africa, the Middle East and beyond who do not know Christ demands commitment and determination, both from those who go and the organisations and churches that send them out. Good sending involves adequate training, which is where our course fits in.

Who came?

We had 12 adults and one little girl representing 7 nationalities – Germany, Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, South Korea, Brazil and South Africa. Someone from another mission also attended part-time.

Where were they going?

The biggest group went to Bourofaye Christian School (BCS) in Senegal, and two others went to North Africa and the Middle East. Allof the destination countries have very few believers, which means that long-term cross-cultural mission is essential to reach the people there with the gospel. Without practical support such as teaching and caring for the missionaries’ children, many long-term workers find it almost impossible to stay. Our group members are an essential element in church planting teams. Ten of the staff are now in place, and the Belgian family are engaged in pre-departure training.

How was CBC involved?

CBC kindly agreed to host the course in 2017, following the sale of the WEC property in 2016. Given how well it went, we repeated it this year.

Paul wrote to the Romans:

“I plan to do so [visit the Christians in Rome] when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.”

Romans 15v24

Just as the church members there were encouraged to assist him on his journey to the unreached, so CBC assisted our group members on their journeys with the same purpose.

We had over 50 people directly involved, some giving many hours, in hosting, child care, catering, transport, devotional messages and more. The support and engagement was brilliant and so much appreciated. Without the enthusiastic and committed involvement of so many CBC members the course would not be possible. Thanks too to those who were involved in prayer and encouragement for us and the group.

Our group also contributed to each Sunday morning service and in Junior Church, as well as running a mid-week session where they spoke about their journey into mission and were prayed for.

What was the course about?

The course at CBC has a specialised focus on working with missionaries’ children to help equip teachers, family tutors,administrators, and dorm staff for their roles. It covers safeguarding (including health and safety), looking after boarding children, emotional well-being, teaching skills, the missionary kids’ experience, cross-cultural transition, specific country information and Christian education. There was also input from several visiting speakers.

How are they doing?

The new staff members at BCS have settled in well. Angela sent us this photo, which also includes Philip who attended last year and several others who were unable to come.

Angela talks about her class:

Teaching the youngest year group has many joys. There’s never a dull moment as curiosity is a common trait throughout the day. They love learning new things and my heart is filled every time I see them grasp new concepts. The children don’t usually hold grudges, so each day is afresh start. You can get to know them quickly because all of them are very open and enjoy sharing their opinions. They can be selfless,thinking about other people, and they often choose to pray for others and their pets. Watching them progress and grow as individuals, as well as a collective group, reveals how much God loves the little children and how important it is to see the world with a loving,child-like vision.

The two ladies who went to other places are also doing well. Keep praying for their adaptation and integration into the culture.

Next Year?

Yes! The course will again be hosted by CBC, and the dates are 21st July –1st August. The 21st-27th July are for all participants, and the extra few days will focus on additional skills needed for teaching assistants and dorm staff.

Steve and Gill Bryant December 2018