When Jonathan Bryant (’12, M.S. ’14) considered what he wanted to major in during his time at PCC, he couldn’t have known how God would use two overseas trips to burden his heart for missions and for teaching English. Although he studied computer information systems for his undergraduate degree, Jonathan decided to change his focus once he finished his bachelor’s. “Seeing the opportunities English teachers could have going into closed countries led me to study English education for my master’s,” Jonathan said.
As Jonathan studied English education, his wife, Evanie (’13), finished her degree in elementary education. Jonathan added, “Evanie . . . grew up here in the Philippines, but after migrating to the U.S. as a teenager, going to public school in the U.S., and then going to PCC, she saw how education could be used as a ministry, especially if a teacher had a Christian worldview.”
And while both Jonathan and Evanie have a passion for teaching children and teens directly, they have been specifically burdened for training teachers themselves. This passion is what led them to become managers of Doane Rest, a missionary guest house owned by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). Although Jonathan and Evanie have worked at Doane Rest since 2016, the guest house is not new—it was started in 1932 and has continued despite wars (including World War II) and the 1990 Baguio earthquake.
Jonathan explained that Doane Rest acts “as our base of operations now (while we work towards full funding) and into the future when we can bring teachers in for training.”
Currently at the facility, the Bryants stay busy managing their staff of four full-time employees, scheduling reservations, and welcoming guests when they arrive. Although COVID-19 has caused their guest numbers to be down, Jonathan explained, “We thank God for the guests we still have visiting, many of whom have kids that haven’t been out in almost a year.”
The guests that have come have appreciated the opportunity to get away. Not only does the facility offer comfortable bedrooms and fully equipped kitchens, but it also has a playground, a half-court basketball area, and a picnic spot. These amenities are valuable as many Christian missionaries and families in the Philippines were limited on where they could go for months. In addition to welcoming those who have made their own reservations, the Bryants have also sought to be a blessing to local pastors and missionaries by hosting a Thanksgiving meal and, more recently, by holding painting classes outdoors so that local pastors and their families could enjoy “fellowship and fresh air.”
As they look back on their own training, Jonathan appreciates the part that PCC had in preparing Evanie and him for teaching. “With our ultimate goal being teacher training to evangelize the children of the Philippines, prepared us for our ministry by making us holistic Christian teachers. We aren’t simply Christian teachers with a Bible class, we show Christ to our children in every subject.”
It was through this practice of incorporating the truths of Scripture into non-Bible classes that really gave them the burden for training teachers. During the first year the Bryants lived in the Philippines together, Evanie taught English at a school. Evanie said, “Our school math teacher, Mrs. Mylene, came to my classroom after school one day to tell me our student Jennifer said she got saved through my English class. Mrs. Mylene was curious as to how I did it, she being a Christian herself. I told her I didn’t remember personally leading Jennifer to Christ, but as a Christian, whether I’m teaching about subjects, verbs, etc., I make it a point to ultimately reflect Jesus.”
“This is a situation that showed us the need for Christian teachers to get Christian training,” Jonathan said.
Although the Bryants are still working toward incorporating more training sessions into their schedule at Doane Rest, they are using the facility in one other unexpected way—training parents themselves.
“Because of COVID-19, all schools have closed, meaning parents must now ‘homeschool.’ Many parents have no clue how to teach their children at home using government-issued education materials, and many just need someone to listen to their troubles and give them basic teaching advice,” Jonathan explained. “We have been talking with some local parents both in person, when possible, and online, trying to help and encourage them.”
As the Bryants look forward to expanding their ministry in the future, they are also grateful for how they have already seen God working through the ministry there at Doane Rest.
“Currently, we are grateful for the opportunity to provide rest to missionaries and pastors. We know that they need a break, and we pray that God will strengthen their marriages, families, and ministries as they take time to recharge.”