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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6


Have you ever planted a garden and seen it grow to produce flowers and fruit?

When we moved to the rural village home where we now live in Cambodia, we were keen to see the bare earth that surrounded our home to be transformed to be covered with lawn and have flowering plants added to the scattered fruit trees. Plants can grow quickly in the tropics and the garden in front of our home is admired by our neighbours as ‘sa-ardt’; a Khmer word that describes something being clean, pure, or beautiful.

This garden graced by butterflies, birds, lizards and the odd snake has bought much delight to us and our Khmer friends of how things grow in the tropics, but also to a plethora of insects and fungus that we are not as familiar with that equally enjoys the garden; obviously for different reasons.

Our friends have given us cuttings and seedlings to add to the garden. Last year we planted some trees with a friend Mr S. One of these trees is already taller than us both. Some plants are fast to grow and produce fruit, such as the pineapple that can bear fruit in 18 months. One of our Jackfruit trees was planted 7 years ago and only this year will produce its first fruit. Being in our garden gets us thinking about our relationships in Cambodia.

Some of our friends here came into our lives with almost instant connection. Others have taken a lot longer to see that we now have a friendship that has grown deep roots. Unlike Westerners, Khmer don’t divide up their lives into physical, emotional or spiritual parts. It is usual to start a language lesson with a prayer and seek help for things like Rob being quick to remember what he is learning.

Rob’s friend and language nurturer Mr S was beginning a language lesson with Rob this past week with a prayer. Mr S is a devout Buddhist and was a monk for 7 years of his life. He prayed though on this occasion that God would give him peace in his heart, peace in his family and peace in Cambodia.

Mr S was a small child in the civil war that followed the Khmer Rouge coming into power and causing the deaths of possibly a quarter of the Cambodian population at the time. He is familiar as a child with the sounds of gun fire and bombs exploding in the forests of Battambang province. He even carries the scars of what as a curious young teenager he did that resulted in an unexploded ordinance blowing up in his hands and face. The people of Cambodia know something about war and peace. During the last national election, the prime minister told the electorate that voting for him was the only way that they could have peace in Cambodia.

Some of our activities in Cambodia can have near instant results (like the planting of tropical grass runners in our lawn), other activities as intercultural workers may take a lot longer to bear fruit (like the Jackfruit in our garden). We thank those of you who pray with us that the people of Cambodia would know genuine peace, not just in a political peace. We seek that our friends will encounter wholeness, completeness and wellbeing; that their prayers of peace in their heart, peace in their family and peace in Cambodia will be answered.

Bas relief on ancient Khmer temple; captures life giving stories and a sense where where the Khmer people have grown from.
As language nurturers gathered with one of our team member’s; our Growing Participator Facilitator to retreat in a province most had never been to before for just under a week; they grew stronger as a community.
Growth shared together with Khmer friends of seasonal rice crops.
Growing families through the gift of new life.
Growing ផ្លែខ្នុរ jack fruit enjoyed by all.
Growing in new skills of singing Khmer carols with nurturers playing musical instruments altogether.
For schools re-opening across Cambodia.
For opportunities opening up as our team refines strategies of purpose and engagement.
For sharing the seasons of life as a family through different contexts.
For all team families to be reunited in Cambodia.
For the wellbeing of local Khmer friends whose struggles are real, constant and intense.
For tourism and employment opportunities to return soon as COVID-19 is contained.