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O.M. Mission Workers
Stephen, Varya, Benjamin and Toby Brandon

Serving God’s Kingdom through serving O.M. missionaries around the world with information and communications technology

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October 2005 - the unexpected return home

June 2009 We've made yet another international move, this time back to Steve's home country of New Zealand. Benjamin is in Year 3 at school, Toby has started Kindergarten, Varya is doing voluntary Mental Health / Social Work work.

Internet work for Operation Mobilisation continues from the other side of the world though! There is a huge amount going on, from Facebook pages for Operation Mobilisation, to various OM web sites, and the crucial OM intranet system that Steve is in charge of.

Please pray for this vital aspect of OM's communication and technical work. We covet your prayers!

October 2005 After almost two years as full-time Christian workers in the Czech Republic, this part of our story is unexpectedly coming to an end. On October 20th we returned to the United Kingdom; we’re on sabbatical here until January 2006, after which time we will remain in the UK for the foreseeable future.

For the time being, we've stopped developing and maintaining this site. We've stopped writing our diary, but trust that the experiences we wrote about over our time in the Czech Republic and re-entry into Scottish/UK culture may amuse you, entertain you, educate you, and perhaps inspire you into Christian missions or support for churches in the Czech Republic.

   
Highlights of 2008?  

October-December
The long trip to New Zealand. After many months of planning and preparation, then new house found on the internet, the visas, full medicals, insurance, house removals, travel, week in Canada with friends, Disneyland, time spent staying with other family members in New Zealand, we finally made it to our new house in Wanganui!

Summer in New Zealand is lovely - not too hot, good BBQ weather etc. It's just a bit weird having a summer Christmas!

Highlights of 2006?  

26 Dec 2005: Toby Born
(ok that’s 2005, but only just!) Our second little miracle arrived in a hurry the day after Christmas, but since then he’s been the most laid-back baby imaginable! Benji and Toby are already best of friends, and we love to see their mutual love and admiration! Praise the Lord for a quick labour (1hr 11min) and for being able to deliver him in an English-speaking environment.

July: 1st visit back to Czech, plus English Camp
We had been cautious about our first visit back to the Czech Republic after our rather hurried departure last October. In the event we had none of the negative emotions we had anticipated. It felt like we had never been away - our Czech language was fairly fluent, we loved every bit of it. English camp was awesome as always, and we came away feeling that a part of our hearts will always remain in the Czech Republic, even if we’re not able to live there again.

Choirs
Steve has started singing again in earnest: first with the Thomas Coates Memorial Choir in Paisley, then with the nearby Kilbarchan Singers. A HUGE highlight was being part of a massed choir singing in the Albert Hall in London as part of the BBC Proms season, singing in Orlando Gough’s "We Turned on the Light" in August.

Benjamin Starts School
Benji turned 5 in June so started the new term of school at the end of August. For all the changes his life has undergone in his 5 years, we are thrilled and overwhelmed at how easily he has adapted to school here. He has quickly made friends, his reading has come on in leaps and bounds, and he’s also going to tennis and swimming lessons. What a boy.

Web Work
Stephen works for OM’s International Coordinating Team. Working closely with the IT department and the International Communications team, he combines skills in web design, programming, communications and IT. Current challenges include designing and programming on-line Credit Card giving for/to OM world-wide, and major updates to OM’s international and internal web sites. Short term mission trips and mission IT jobs are available on the OM International web site.

 

Highlights of 2005?  

July 2-9 : Teen Street Central Europe
“The Event” for Christian Youth in Central and Eastern Europe, held in our city in the Czech Republic! We helped with preparation and audio visuals for this event: www.teenstreet.cz

July: English Camp
As a way of reaching out to ordinary Czechs, and kicking off new friendships, the English Summer Camps can’t be beaten. This was our 3rd camp, and already we have made a number of non-Christian friends through this and other past camps.

English Teaching
Varya was one of two teachers running OM Czech’s English school. There are two semesters per year, and about 50 students attend each. This is a great way to reach out to our community, and maintain close contact with students.

Many Short Term Missions
Varya was OM Czech’s Short Term Missions coordinator. She has been busy organising quite a number of missions groups from around the world who have come to the Czech Republic in 2005.

Graphic Designer
Stephen’s main job: to produce leaflets, fliers and all kinds of promotional material. Plus the OM Czech web site. Plus CDROMs. Etc. He was also part of the music team in our Czech church, and helped to organise combined church worship evenings. A major highlight was producing a worship CD, “Smim ti rikat” with the music team.

team lifebenji on a sledSaint Miklaus

   
What does OM do in the Czech Republic?

(OM is the missions organisation we work for)

Supports and resources local churches, with workers, expertise, training, premises, literature, short term missions teams, Alpha courses etc.

Runs English Classes for Czechs (ECC)

Runs twice-monthly English Bible Meetings (EBM)

Presents programmes on world mission and evangelism to Czech churches, youth groups and Bible colleges

Supports Czech nationals on the mission field around the world

Runs Teen Street Central Europe (new this year — see above)

Supports church-planting initiatives around the Czech Republic

   

Who are we?

Stephen Brandon is a New Zealander — Varya is a Scot — Benjamin (5) and Toby (b. Dec 2005), our sons, are … half of each!

  • Before January 2004, we lived in Neilston, a wonderful village near Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Between January 2004 and October 2005 we lived and worked in Ceske Budejovice, in the Czech Republic.
  • From January 2006, and continuing for the next one or two years Stephen is working on OM’s web sites and other IT and communications work, while Varya spends more time looking after Benjamin and Toby.
  • From December 2008 we're back living in New Zealand. Stephen retains his role in OM as International Web Manager, attached to the International Coordinating Team in Carlisle, England. Due to the time zones (about 12 hours difference between New Zealand and England) he's sometime working crazy hours.

We are a family who are crazy enough to follow, when we feel that God calls us to do something. So far this has led us to the Czech Republic back to Scotland, then on to New Zealand. But who knows where this will all end up?

Committed to church life, other Christians, and Christian missions (particularly in Central/Eastern Europe), we want to motivate others into giving of their time and energy to serve God and help others.

 

Why these pages?

We’re a family with a mission. After some 8 years in Scotland we felt that God was moving us on to work in the Czech Republic, helping Czech Christians and Czech churches to be more effective in sharing God’s love.

We joined Operation Mobilisation, a worldwide Christian Missions organisation, which has a team in the Czech Republic (OM Czech Republic web site — now in English!) as well as in over 60 other countries in the world.

“In the Army, it takes 9 support and logistics staff for every soldier in the field”. We are aware of the importance of our support team and want to keep communication lines open. We want (and need) to keep friends, family and supporters up to date with our plans, thoughts and feelings. Christian mission is a team effort. We need you.

 Please check back regularly to see what we’ve been up to, and to check out additions to the photo gallery!


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