Steve and Gill Bryant’s Prayer News June 2021

Steve and Gill on a walk near their home

Dear friends

Warm greetings on a fine summer’s day. Our prayer letter is coming to you a little sooner than normal, as we need to share some important news.

Changes coming at BCS

Last time we wrote, we told you about the many effects of COVID 19 on the world of missions. The virus has had a big effect in a fairly short time period, but there are other, longer-term trends which are also bringing about change. Some of these developments are very positive, but others present more of a challenge. For some time now, recruitment for long-term missions has been declining in traditional Western sending countries. In some parts of the world, the Church is much more vibrant than in the UK, and this means that missionaries are being sent from former mission fields such as parts of Africa and India. This is a very encouraging development, but it does not mean that the job is done…..we still need missionaries from the West. So many of our missionary teams are still short of workers, and there remain many peoples who do not yet have access to the Gospel in their own language.

Our main piece of news this time concerns BCS, the school where we served in Senegal from 1990 to 2001. Last time we asked for prayer that new long-term directors would be called to the school. Sadly, this has not happened, and other key long-term staff are not in place either. Alongside this situation, the profile of WEC Senegal has changed in recent years. There are now far less WEC families using the school, although for some time now it has also provided low-cost education for children from other mission agencies.

After a long process of prayer, discussion and consultation with others, the decision has been reached to merge with Dakar Academy, an American Christian school based in Dakar. They are looking to open a primary school in the area where BCS is situated, and a partnership agreement is being worked out. There will be a transition period during which students who are currently in Year 8 and Year 9 will be able to complete their IGCSEs, but after that the school will only offer an American curriculum. The next academic year, 2021 to 2022, will be the final year of BCS, a school which has been serving the needs of MKs for over 40 years.

This decision has implications for many families, and also for the long-term school staff. It will affect other mission agencies, particularly from newer sending countries. For many of them, funding their children’s education is a big challenge.

For ourselves, the changes represent the end of an era – we began to think about serving at BCS shortly after David, our middle son, was born in 1987. We went to Bible College for a year in 1988, joined the WEC Candidates’ course (4 months in residence at the HQ) in 1989, and spent several months in France to improve our language skills, before heading out to Senegal in November 1990 with three children aged 5, 3 and 14 weeks. The childhood years spent at BCS had a profound impact on our sons and to a large extent formed who they are today.

After our return to the UK in 2001, we continued the connection with BCS, due to our new role as International Education Consultants. As part of this role, we have run the MK Staff Training course (formerly MK Pre-field Orientation, or MKPFO), since 2002, and this year’s will be our 20th course.

MK Staff Training 2021

Despite the pandemic, WEC is still recruiting for MK ministry. So far we have 13 participants
signed up for this year, including three home-end MK support workers, one family tutor going to Cambodia, and nine new workers committing to a year at BCS. As with last year, the course will be delivered online via Zoom.

Prayer requests

  • Pray for the staff, students and parents at BCS, as they adjust to all of the implications of the changes that will be taking place.
  • Pray for the transition period, and for the teachers and students who will be affected by that.
  • Pray for the provision of affordable education for all missionary families. Possibly new, creative solutions will be needed.
  • Pray for us as we prepare for the MK Staff Training course. This year it takes place from Monday 26th July to Thursday 5th August, (some participants only do the first week.)

Many blessings
Steve and Gill

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Steve and Gill’s Prayer News – March 2021

Steve and Gill on a walk near their home

Dear friends

Warm greetings on a fine spring day. It is time to share our news once again.

We continue to be busy with our ministry. Last week Steve was involved in organising an on-line half day conference for mission agency staff who are responsible for member care and families. There were 58 attendees from many different organisations. Gill has been doing some research into how COVID 19 has affected our families across the world, and she gave a presentation of her findings.

How has COVID 19 affected missionary families?

There has been huge disruption to travel. Some families had to leave their field of service at short notice, and have not been allowed to return, so they are stuck in their passport country for an indefinite time. Others are in-country but due to border closures, they are not allowed to leave for home assignments. In some places there are movement restrictions within the country.

Some of our members have had the virus but have thankfully recovered. In one remote location, the whole team were ill. They had to stop their church planting programme as the virus was so rampant, but their work has now restarted.

Some have been confined to their apartments with their children for long periods, such as the team in Spain. It has been a challenge to maintain team cohesion where members cannot meet up properly and some have been displaced.

As in the UK, missionary parents have had to become home-schooling teachers at short notice. This is complicated by many factors – sometimes the parents don’t have enough knowledge of the language in which their children are being educated. On-line learning has not always been
well-organised, especially in locally-run schools. New workers have been unable to make progress in their language learning, due to the need to do home schooling.

Children and young people have responded in different ways. More introverted children have often enjoyed being at home, whereas extroverted ones struggle with the lack of interaction. It is depressing for some, and mental health has been affected.

Please pray for missionaries facing these challenges. We have shared some resources with them through our Educare magazine and by writing to leaders and recommending videos, presentations and materials for families and teenagers to help them process their experiences.

What about the MK Schools?

Many schools have been closed, but some are now open again. BCS in Senegal restarted fully in January, complete with the boarding students. There are many precautions in place. We are encouraged to report that the next batch of new staff who did our training course in July are
now in place – a teacher with four children and a young woman from Brazil. Three further staff members from the same course are due to travel to Senegal in the summer.

Pray for new directors for BCS. The couple from Australia who were due to replace the current director are no longer able to commit to the role. This is an urgent need. Pray also for peace and stability in Senegal.

Last time we mentioned a couple heading for Chiang Mai to look after boarding teenagers in the WEC Hostel there. We praise the Lord that Jaehee and Mary are now in place – pray for them to develop a good relationship with the students and adapt well to the culture.

What about recruitment?

Due to the pandemic, we are seeing a drop in the numbers of people applying for MK ministry. Despite this there are some encouragements. An experienced teacher from the UK is now delivering on-line classes to teachers and students at a school in Central Asia. We have one
person registered for the Zoom-based MK Staff Training course in July so far.

Working online

We continue to work online most of the time, with many Zoom meetings, emails and chats. In the next few months we hope to organise some online meetings within WEC for training and fellowship. Pray that we will be able to engage people with these possibilities.

How are we doing?

We have both stayed well and have recently had our first dose of the vaccine. We were so impressed with the efficiency and dedication that we saw at our local vaccination centre, and feel privileged that we can have this protection against the virus. So many countries do not have
access to the health care that we have here.

Staying at home has given us more time together, and saved on fuel and air miles. Steve has done one or two DIY jobs that had been waiting for a long time.

Like many others, we long to see our family. We are able to see David every week as he lives locally and he is in a ‘bubble’ with us. We last saw Peter and Miriam in September, and Michael and Bethany in August last year. It is now a year since we last saw Steve’s mum. Thankfully all of them are well, and our sons and daughters-in-law are able to carry on working. Michael is
currently in Liberia on a four week trip.

Find out more about missions

MomentumYes is a free 6 week online course about missions. It is very contemporary and interactive and well worth signing up for. It starts on Tuesday 20th April. Have a look at it here:

As always, we want to thank you for your ongoing interest, support and prayers. Let us know how we can pray for you too.

Many blessings
Steve and Gill

You can contact us here as well as downloading a PDF of this letter here.

Steve and Gill Bryant’s Prayer News October 2020

WEC logo

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

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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 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

Steve and Gill Bryant’s Prayer News December 2018 Happy New Year for 2019!

This letter comes with our love and greetings. For a change, we are starting with family news. We had a wonderful joy-filled day on 10th November, when our youngest son, Peter, married Miriam at Cornerstone Church in Nottingham.

Peter and Miriam, Nov 2018

Bethany and Michael will be going to Liberia at the end of January to serve at the ELWA hospital run by Serving in Mission (SIM). This hospital just outside Monrovia hosted two of the largest Ebola Treatment Units during the epidemic that swept through Liberia in 2014-2016.

We have just enjoyed a lovely Christmas spending time with all of the family over the holiday period.

David lives locally and continues with his gardening business. He still has plenty of winter work as the weather is so mild at the moment.

Gill turned 60 in August and to celebrate we had a special holiday in September, staying in a cottage on the Norfolk coast. One of the highlights was seeing seals playing in the sea along a beautiful deserted golden beach.

60 years young

This photo was taken in front of a seventeen arch bridge near the home of some friends that we visited on our way back from Norfolk. We like this picture because of the ideas represented by the bridge. More of this below….

We joined WEC in 1989 and went to serve at Bourofaye Christian School (BCS) in Senegal, to help provide education and support for the children of missionaries. The parents’ goal is to use all possible means of sharing the Good News of Jesus, the One who is the bridge to God. Since returning to the UK in 2001 we have served as WEC’s International Missionary Kids (MK) Consultants, seeking to help our MKs and their families as they cross the many bridges of transition in their lives, caused by living in more than one culture, changing schools frequently and facing lots of goodbyes. In October Steve helped to organise a day conference on family debriefing, a training day designed to help missions to support their families as they go through changes. Some transitions are planned or gradual, whereas others are traumatic and sudden, perhaps involving deportation or evacuation. Our goal in WEC is to support our families as much as we can, conveying Christ’s love to all of our workers and helping them towards maximum effectiveness. A summary of the training from the conference will be published in the January edition of our Educare magazine, which Gill has been working on.

MK Staff Training

In our last letter we asked for prayer for our summer training course for new MK workers. Thank you to those who prayed! We had 12 adults and one little girl on the course this year, heading for BCS and two other locations. Once again our church, Corsham Baptist, did a wonderful job in hosting our participants, catering and providing all kinds of support from child care to transport to tea and cakes. We are so grateful for the efforts of our wonderful church members and leaders, without whom it would be really difficult to run the course at an affordable cost. For 2019, it is scheduled once more to take place at Corsham Baptist Church from 21st July to 1st August, so we would appreciate your prayers again.

Travel in 2019

There are several overseas visits scheduled for 2019. Steve is still finalising a major trip, and it is likely that he will travel to East Asia for a couple of weeks in March. In May Steve will be attending the Child Safety and Protection Network conference and refresher training in the US, to upgrade his own safeguarding knowledge in the international context. This is essential for him in his role as WEC’s International Safeguarding Officer. Both of us will go to Eurotck in Germany in May – an excellent opportunity for networking and mutual learning for agencies based in Europe. Steve has been invited to give some safeguarding training at two WEC conferences later in the year, Eurocon in Spain in September (regional conference for European team leaders), and the WEC France conference in October.

Once again we want to thank you for your support, prayers and interest in our work. We look forward to hearing your news too, especially at this time of the year when so many of us enjoy catching up.

Love and blessings from Steve and Gill