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(from an article by World Vision journalist James Addis)

Peter and Sue Bryan describe themselves as a couple of typical Kiwis in their mid-fifties. In New Zealand they have a small hobby farm in a beautiful river valley in the Nelson countryside and a close family of six daughters and seven grandchildren.

But a passion for the poor and oppressed has more than once caused them to leave this comfortable existence, first for Zaire, where Peter, a medial technologist, worked in a missionary hospital, and later for Rwanda, where the couple cared for war-traumatised orphans following the genocide in 1994.

When World Vision rang and asked them if they would lead a pioneering work among the abandoned and disaffected youth in outer Mongolia, the Bryans were ready to say "yes". As Sue says, "As Christians we believe and try to follow the teachings of Jesus, who was particularly concerned about the poor, oppressed and powerless. It seems that is where we have always felt we could do a little to help. After Zaire and Rwanda we wanted to use our experiences and what later working years we had to bring a little hope, love and encouragement to these kids and a better chance in life."

They knew first hand what life was like for some of these children. One of their daughters had left home and lived rough, taking drugs and associating with juvenile criminals. The family’s unconditional love was key in helping her come through it. “What we have been through has better prepared us to accept young people wherever they are at. Nothing shocks or surprises us. It has given us compassion for kids who are in these situations and we want to help them make better choices for themselves.”

These lessons are proving essential in Mongolia. Sue quickly reels off the sorts of problems the couple face now the Light House is established. She says the older youths are often anti-social and aggressive. Sexual promiscuity and even prostitution are common.

With all its problems, though, life in Mongolia presents its rewards. The Bryans’ best moment was to see the children they had first taken in to the Light House go to school and head off for their first camp, just six months after they had left the streets. “They looked so confident, happy and normal, excited at the prospect of spending a week in a new learning environment with the possibility of making new friends. There was no fear of being different and their self-esteem was intact. It brought tears to my eyes when I remembered how we had first encountered them – dirty, ragged, suspicious, and anti-social, living down a dark hole in the ground, and I felt overwhelmed when I thought how much they had changed in such a short while.”



How did the Light House Start | Why is it Called the Light House
Daily Life | Preparing for the Future | Peter and Sue | First Encounter
Street Children's Stories | Where the Money Comes From