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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS AUGUST 2020

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS AUGUST 2020   As a young child Rob has a memory of returning home from a family holiday to a home break-in. A thief had broken a window and stolen one of his most precious possessions. The family’s collection of Commonwealth Bank metal money boxes had been stolen. All of Rob’s savings were gone! As a child it was a significant violation.
This week we have read several articles that describe the cost imposed by COVID-19 and compared the losses as similar to a thief, or a destructive storm. Thankfully the authors didn’t just focus on the costs of this world changing pandemic, but prompted ways to count the losses and to progress to thankfulness and next steps.
For many of us the way our life has been changed or restricted has been more than unsettling. While in Australia we had to cancel many appointments, were restricted in movement around the country and lost the opportunity to meet with some family, friends in person and say many physical farewells. But all was not lost.
The past eight months has been full with connections with many generous hearted people. People who welcomed us, prayed for us, physically provided for our needs and farewelled us. We left Australia with full hearts, and who would have known a year ago that so much of these connections could be on video calls?
Before our departure a week ago we were able to schedule many goodbyes and with our South Australian based children this could even involve a physical hug.
In that final week we witnessed quite a few miracles to gain a visa, flights, US money and necessary documents to satisfy entry requirements to Cambodia.
COVID-19 has not taken everything. Just like Rob’s childhood coins and money box that was eventually replaced and the window was repaired. A virus has cost a lot for many of us, but one day it will become a distant memory. Now is a good time to begin naming the losses, but also discern and plan your next move. We have the wonderful privilege of doing that now in Cambodia.
Thank you 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 to all of you who helped us to return here with such full hearts ❤️.
Listening to Khmer musical instruments evokes many senses as a story is played by the musician. This Khmer musical instrument known as the Tro Ou is a traditional bowed string instrument. Its body is made from a special type of coconut covered on one end with snake skin, and it has three strings.
Visitors in the village
Welcome to our kitchen, after three negative Covid19 tests we are reunited with visitors (initially physically distanced through a flyscreen door) bringing encouragement and even gifts of Khmer food.
Thankfulness:
For goodbye season embracing technology.
For the privilege to be reunited in the village with our in country Global Interaction team and Khmer friends.
For opportunity to utilise home isolation to discern next steps.
For encouragement and support from the Khmer community of South Australia.
Requests:
For adjustments as our family re-learning living life apart.
For renewed annual visas and work permits.
For wisdom across the team in making decisions for their family needs.

 


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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS JULY 2020

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-1

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS JULY 2020

During this past month we have had some rest and adventure that has taken us from bicycle tracks and rock art in the Flinders Ranges, walking trails in the Lincoln National Park and whale watching at the head of the Great Australian Bight. What a great privilege we have had these past six months to visit such amazing places as well as eat bread together with so many of our Aussie family and friends in the places where they call home. We are ready within ourselves to return to Cambodia for the next three years. As we write these words we do not know if our return to Cambodia is weeks or months away, but we do experience peace as we seek to make the most of each day we are given, whether or not we remain here in South Australia longer than expected.

To return to Cambodia we require the Australian Government to agree to an exemption to travel, additionally in Cambodia we need to satisfy the Cambodian Government that we do not carry COVID -19 virus infection, that we have medical insurance to a minimum of $50,000 USD and provide a deposit of $3000 each for our potential virus testing and quarantine expenses. And of course our agency seeks to make a wise and careful decision that now is a safe and responsible time to return.

This quick update comes with an invitation:
Are you interested in God’s mission?

If you are passionate about helping other people to find wholeness, completeness and wellbeing in your situation or elsewhere… then click here to consider joining with others to grow in understanding at Global Interactions ‘Strategic Mission Week’. This is a course that Rob and Deb participated in during January and it is available for anyone.

ANSWERED REQUESTS

  • Our four children in their different situations are thriving despite some challenges in this unusual COVID season.
  • The generosity of our supporters blessing us in more than just financial ways.
  • For opportunity for us to take rest and leave recently.

ONGOING REQUESTS

  • For wisdom for our leadership and the board of Global Interaction making many decisions in this challenging, changing season.
  • For a smooth transition to re-engaged with language learning online back with our language nurturers from the Khmer village where we live.
  • For continued patience and creativity around remaining in Australia longer than planned.
  • For doors to open for the unknown length of time of accommodation and connect within the Khmer community of Adelaide.

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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS MAY 2020

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run the race with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS MAY 2020

“IN LIFE, IT IS NOT WHERE YOU GO, BUT WHO YOU TRAVEL WITH” is the caption of a popular Peanuts cartoon by Charles Schultz. In this season of traveling parts of Australia meeting together with new and old friends, this cartoon captures some of the essence of the life we have been honoured to journey this past six months.

Six months ago, we arrived on mainland Australia and began criss-crossing state borders, visiting many lounge rooms and chapels, walked some bush trails and seen sunrise and sunsets over beaches, but where we have journeyed is far less impactful than who we have been with. A highlight has been the stories we have shared with cross-cultural workers and their families from decades past who inspired us and treated us like close family members. Many cross-cultural workers and their supporters shared their passion with us to see true peace bring transformation to people of other communities and cultures.

One story of William and Millie Wilson (affectionately known as Bill and Mill), when they first went to the live cross-culturally, they were well into their 70’s. Bill and Mill were the answer to many needs for team support in the place where they served. The team leader of the time later confided with Bill that he had been hoping for younger team members. However, in the first month of their arrival Bill beat the then team leader at both tennis and squash. Together we learn and grow from sharing stories.

We are now ready to return to Cambodia, but there are a few hurdles that have emerged due to the impacts on international travel from COVID-19. As well as the Australian government placing a ban on overseas travel, there have been considerable restrictions on availability of flights and restrictions on arrival and transfers between many countries. We are encouraged however to hear in the past week that Cambodia has removed a number of restrictions on arrivals of people from certain countries and their neighbour Thailand has signalled it is removing restrictions on passengers arriving and transferring on flights to places like Cambodia by the end of June.

We have heard predictions of months to years that will pass before international travel will get moving again, but we are becoming more hopeful that there are signs that parts of the world like Cambodia will be cautiously opening their doors to international arrivals soon.

In the meantime, we have returned our primary attention to Cambodia and are putting in place increased hours of Khmer language lessons, team Zoom meetings and are considering a physical move of our current Australian home base to be living within a Khmer community north of Adelaide. We are excited about these opportunities before us.

Thank you for your partnership with us. Thank you to those who in the past few months have increased, maintained or begun their financial support of us. We are humbled in the knowledge that many of you have remained generous in your support despite finding this season bringing amplified financial and other difficulties. The work we are a part of in Cambodia is only made possible by your generosity. If you would like to contribute either a tax-deductible pledge of a regular amount, or a once off donation please be in touch, or click on the ‘Support Rob & Deb Griffith’ orange box below

Here is the print friendly PDF copy Click here to open

Support Rob & Deb Griffith
Jim & Marilyn Kime
Jim & Marilyn Kime shared stories, even songs with us from three different countries they served in and the years of volunteering with the same mission agency Global Interaction.
Ros Gooden
Ros Gooden shares her heart for history. She has served both overseas since 1965 for 18 years and then in the head office 21 years, and volunteers currently all with Global Interaction.
Five Barley Loaves
From Five Barley Loaves: Australian Baptists in Global Mission 1864-2010 Edited by Tony Cupit, Ros Gooden and Ken Manley.
We highly recommend this book to read and re-read many inspiring stories.
Thankfulness:
For all the many creative ways you have expressed support for the Khmer people. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
For the pandemic inspired opportunity to reset rhythms and be still more than usual.
For the wisdom and inspiration received from the many who have blessed our journey.
Requests:
For wisdom for our agency as they navigate changes and transitions together.
For our family as we cheer each other across significant distances and borders despite all being in Australia.
For discernment to live within the Khmer community of South Australia.
For adjustments to online learning with our Khmer language nurturers from the village community where we call ‘home’.

 


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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS APRIL 2020

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Philippians 2:2
GRIFFITH GLEANINGS APRIL 2020   What does a pandemic look like in Cambodia?

With the Australian media saturation of COVID-19 coverage focused mostly on how Australia is coping compared to places like America and Europe you might be wondering how somewhere like Cambodia is managing. Cambodia has had officially a total of 122 cases of positive COVID-19 infection, with no reported deaths. This week marks more than 2 weeks having passed without an official new infection.

It sounds like pretty positive progress when Australia is approaching 90 deaths to COVID-19, but there have been reports of air travel passengers departing Cambodia receiving positive tests on their port of arrival, so the Cambodian testing activity may have some ‘blind-spots’ to the actual levels of infection.

The response to the disease has had a huge impact. When the first case of virus infection was recorded in Siem Reap the government closed all schools. Government schools have no capacity to take classrooms ‘on-line’ with most teachers not having access to a computer and most families not even having a smart phone, unless they are relatively wealthy. Siem Reap being a tourist city has had a lot of the tourist dependant businesses close. Without a social security safety net, there will be knock-on effects to thousands of Khmer workers in the tourist sector and their families. Many rely on their income to have loans to repay motorbikes among other things. Due to concern around COVID-19 this past month the Cambodian government cancelled the holiday for Khmer New Year (which would be a bit like a Western government cancelling Christmas). And to cap it off the principal of the school garden where Rob volunteers reported that the strawberry plants are all dead!

Thankfully in the village we usually call home our Khmer friends report that everyone is healthy. Many of the Khmer have modified some of their activities and will often wear homemade style facemasks, but the more novel way of protecting their family is to place a scarecrow looking effigy outside their home to confuse the bad spirits to infect the effigy instead of their actual family members!

Being based back in Australia for the past 5 months, we very much miss living in Cambodia. Had there been no travel restrictions, we would have been preparing in the next month to soon be back in our Cambodian home. With some talk of international travel being the last restriction to be lifted, we are in for an unknown waiting period. Meanwhile we have started back working on our Khmer language learning and revision. Our focus is shifting to returning well; prepared for our next 3 years in Siem Reap province Cambodia.

Thank you to those who have supported us to share God’s love in Cambodia. Thank you for those of you who have encouraged us and shared stories with us in recent weeks about how Jesus changes everything. We know that these are uncertain and difficult times for many.

Here is a video we prepared for you:  https://vimeo.com/400078112

Global Interaction has prepared a lot of May Mission Month resources that you can also check out here: https://www.globalinteraction.org.au/be-involved/may-mission-month

The work we are a part of in Cambodia is only made possible by your generosity. If you would like to contribute either a pledge of a regular amount, or a once off donation please be in touch, or click on the ‘Support Rob & Deb Griffith‘ orange rectangle below.

Here is the print friendly PDF copy click here to download

Support Rob & Deb Griffith
Learning that the discipline of playing the piano can be used to bring joy to many, as it bought Deb deep joy in listening.
Skipping like we have never seen. Yes, God uses all aspects of our skills, character and our story to touch the lives of others.
Thankfulness:
For good health among our Khmer friends and families, our team and own families.
For ease of access to communicate with our Khmer friends and our family.
For you and all supporters who are faithfully supporting and upholding us, and our family.
Requests
Discernment for all families/individuals experiencing new stressors and changes.
For clarity of our message as we share God’s heart for mission with many.
Wisdom for our team families based in Cambodia that they can know and share God’s peace.

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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS MARCH 2020

He says, Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

 

 

                         GRIFFITH GLEANINGS MARCH 2020

 

The world seems like a different place. When we returned to Australian soil in late November the world stock markets were continuing to climb to record levels. Despite parts of Australia having suffered from severe drought and bush fires resulting in devastation of thousands of homes, unemployment rates in Australia was lower than forecast. While we had been in Cambodia last year Australia elected a government that promised to return a budget surplus of 7.1 billion dollars and eliminate all debt in a decade. These things now seem a distant memory and the world news is dominated with just one subject.

Our own situation has changed quite a bit as well. We are still thankful for many friends who have loaned us accommodation and modes of transport for our travels and training, but our ‘wings have been clipped’ of late. This week we entered self-isolation back in South Australia after our travels had taken us to Maroubra, Kurrajong and Orange NSW. We had been preparing to visit Narromine last weekend, where Rob had been asked to present a message on ‘Fairness to the poor’ at Narromine Baptist church, but then the whole idea of meetings in places like church buildings became inconceivable.

We discovered on our last night in New South Wales that we were staying in the suburban area that could boast Australia’s most concentrated occurrence of COVID-19 infections. Before boarding our Adelaide flight, we passed through airport check-in and screening area where there was no need to worry about personal distancing. There was nobody else to line up with us. We certainly have little to complain about being ‘isolated’ in a place like Australia. In our thoughts about COVID-19 impacts, we can’t help but think of our friends in Cambodia, many of whom can’t afford to buy soap, let alone hand sanitiser to maintain good hygiene. If you require a ventilator in Cambodia you probably need to travel to somewhere like Singapore or Thailand. People in places like Cambodia are likely to be severely impacted by COVID-19.

Our plan has been to prepare for return to Cambodia for our next three years before the middle of the year. Right now, we know that we have to hold all our plans loosely. We had planned to visit friends and church groups between now and the end of May. To help us stay connected with people we have now downloaded numerous social media platforms that until recently we had not heard of! This week we have video style meetings planned using at least 4 different platforms. This week we are prepared for a Loom, Google Hangout, Messenger, WhatsApp or Zoom chat together; although we hadn’t even heard about the first couple until recently.

Thank you to those who have supported us to share God’s love in Cambodia. Thank you for those of you who have encouraged us and shared stories with us in recent weeks about how Jesus changes everything. We know that these are uncertain and difficult times for many.

We still require further financial support before we can return to Cambodia. If you are in a position to become a financial supporter or even increase the support level that you might already give, please be in touch. We are required to reach our budget target through donations and pledges. If you would like to contribute either a pledge of a regular (monthly/quarterly/yearly) amount or a once off donation please be in touch, or click on the ‘Support Rob & Deb Griffith‘ link below.

Here is the print friendly PDF copy  click here to download

Support Rob & Deb Griffith
Visiting people and events is changing to stay connected.
Rob’s Dad near 90 years old.
Thankfulness:
For safe travels around South Australia, New South Wales then two weeks of mandatory self-isolation.
Being well supported by the community while in isolation.
Sharing with many people so keen to engage in story telling in old and new ways.
For God’s promises reinforcing he never changes but he changes everything.
Requests
For the Cambodia impact of COVID-19 that will disproportionately affect the poor.
For flexibility and creativity with staying connected with others in new ways.
For our Cambodia team as we have currently three family units in Cambodia and three in Australia each seeking to share God’s living hope among the Khmer people.

 


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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS FEBRUARY 2020

 

Caste all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Isaiah 43:19

 

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS FEBRUARY 2020

You are here! When you are standing looking at a map on a signboard ‘you are here’ is often the label that helps you orientate yourself. On a recent visit to Granite Island in South Australia we were drawn to look at various sculpture installations scattered around the island. Some art works seemed almost to blend into the environment, others seemed bizarrely out of place. The last one to gain our attention was a mixture of both. One piece of art was the sign like one you might expect to announce the name of a park, simply bore the words “You are here”. Something about this sign seemed to be profound and humorous at the same time. How often are we really present in the moment? So often our concerns or maybe even our electronic devices transport us to another place.

Over the past couple of months, we have had a few moments where we wondered where we were or have missed being present in the moment due to many conflicting thoughts and adjustments to being back in Australia. Sometimes we have felt overwhelmed by the number of choices that are available in a supermarket, or found the adjustment to new methods of payment somewhat baffling.

Other times we have seen things with a new clarity that we could only have received by being absent from Australian culture for a while. Returning to Australia after 3 years in Cambodia has helped us to see some things in new light.

When we first arrived back one of our first questions was: Where are all the people? We could drive though a whole suburb in a city and only see people through windows of the car that drove past (presumably the remainder were hidden within the house where they live). In rural Cambodia where we have grown to call home, people spend most of their time outside. Houses are a place you might choose to sleep inside, but that is about it. There is so many more opportunities to build relationships with Khmer people just by the design of their homes. Khmer people in a rural village cook, eat and wash their dishes outdoors; they sit, entertain guests and even bathe outside. We have so many more opportunities to interact with our neighbours living in Cambodia.

Warm hospitality has been our experience of our time spent with friends right around Australia during our travels. Some of the homes we have stayed in however, purely by design, make us strangely feel isolated from other people. Modern architecture has taken away the outdoor sitting space on the front veranda, as well as the space to hang a hammock or swing a cricket bat! Aussie architects, don’t forget the importance of community and being a blessing to your neighbours…

In past weeks we visited friends at Wagga Wagga, Wodonga, Torquay and around Melbourne. More recently we caught up with South Australian friends from Laura, Broadview, Andrews Farm, Blackwood and beyond with more to follow. During the next month we have a number of opportunities to meet with people in 2 states, some of which are mentioned below. If you haven’t booked a date to catch up with us, please be in touch.

For those around Adelaide we welcome you to join with us either Saturday 29th February, Global Inspire 9-11:30am at Blackwood Hills Baptist Church (rsvp required ASAP to Jane Norman in the Global Interaction state office email jnorman@globalinteraction.org.au), or afternoon tea (as a less formal time to listen, sharing and building understanding and support for our journey in Cambodia) at Brenda Anderson’s home (bring a plate to share), Coromandel Valley 4-6pm Wednesday 11th March (rsvp required for attendance and address at least a week before to email coro.brenda@gmail.com).

Global Interaction is the organisation that equips, cares for us and sends us to Cambodia. They rightly require that we raise 100% of the budget required for the next 3-year term in Cambodia. This doesn’t need to be all the funds in our hands or bank account, but if good people like yourself are able to pledge to support us regularly in the future that can be counted as well. At this time, we need to increase our support by close to $900 per month for 3.5 years. If you are in a position to become a financial supporter or even increase the support level that you might already give, please be in touch. We hope to reach our budget target through donations and pledges by April. If you would like to contribute either a pledge of a regular (monthly/quarterly/yearly) amount or a once off donation please be in touch, or click on the ‘Support Rob & Deb Griffith‘ link below.

https://www.globalinteraction.org.au/who-we-are/people-groups/khmer/rob-and-deb


Stop Press…We now have a print friendly PDF copy click here to open

Support Rob & Deb Griffith
We have been privileged to feel some beach sand under our feet and bicycle tyres!
A typical living space at a Khmer home.
Thankfulness:
For reconnecting in person with Rob’s parents for the first time in well over 3 years.
Making new friends and reconnecting with old ones across 3 states in January and Feb.
For valuable training opportunities and time for reflection, study and retreat.

Requests:
For increased financial support to reach our 100% required target by April.
For our team in Cambodia as they prepare for a team gathering and covenant making early in March.
That God’s Mission, globally and locally, will be something that ordinary Aussie Christians see themselves as engaged in.
For team Cambodia members preparing for the transitions of home assignment.
For wisdom, discernment, family, rest, energy, fruitful meetings, sharing, travels, and daily schedule.

 

 

 


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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS AUGUST 2020

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,...
article post

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS JULY 2020

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the...
article post

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS MAY 2020

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off...
article post

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS APRIL 2020

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in...
article post

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS MARCH 2020

He says, Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10                        ...
article post

GRIFFITH GLEANINGS FEBRUARY 2020

  Caste all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Isaiah 43:19  ...
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