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He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate- bringing forth food from the earth: Psalm 104:14




A stark cultural difference between the Khmer where we live and our home culture is the different approach to growing grass around the home. It is usual for Khmer people to remove every blade of grass anywhere near their house and sweep the dirt clear of any residue of organic matter. A ‘lawn’ is a strange sight to be seen grown around a home. Some belief that grass attracts mosquitos or provides protection for snakes.  When we moved into the village we decided to grow some grass out the front of our home for what we think can be visual appeal and soil benefits. This has brought much discussions and interest from our neighbours who observe our strange habits, as they watch us plant, water, and cut the grass. Being in the tropics this grass has grown rather rapidly, especially as the wet season has now arrived. Unlike the rate of growth of tropical grass, relationships can be relatively slow to grow. Just like in Western culture some relationships are challenged by busy work schedules and competing priorities (particularly we felt this in our relationships with city friends). But Khmer culture also has other factors such as ‘saving face’ and giving of respect and honour. Often we are given the place of respect and privilege in relationships that is first made obvious by the best chairs being given to us to sit on, even when most Khmer are seated on the ground. We have even noted at times children being told to move when they choose to sit on a more elevated seat than us. Our white skin gives us a special honoured status, but there are other dynamics that include the patron and client aspect of the culture where we are given the status of patron (with the assumed responsibilities that come from this relationship). Navigating these interactions are becoming easier as we learn more of the Khmer language and culture, but we still lack so much vocabulary and our foreign accent doesn’t help always either. Deep relationships take the time of many ongoing encounters to build patterns of trust and understanding. Grass can sometimes seem greener on the other side of the fence. But it doesn’t take much experience to learn that grass is greener where you water, fertilise and nurture it. We are so privileged in many ways living here. Not the least of these privileges is the knowledge that we have the support of so many like you to take what time it takes to build deep and lasting relationships. We look forward to many conversations in the future that help our friends grow in realisation of lives of wellbeing, wholeness and peace.

Collecting grass to feed cattle
Cambodian jungle recreation
That new Queensland team members the Crilley family will arrive in early August.
For the opportunity to take leave and enjoy trekking in the Cambodian jungle together.
That the Chreav school community has kept the vegetable garden maintained in Rob’s absence recovering from surgery.

Prayer Requests:
For national elections on the 29th of July.
For flexibility and wisdom as we are shaped as a team with newly arriving members.
For complete healing for Rob.